Hip-hop/rap has evolved considerably over the past decade. Several subgenres were born from the development of platforms like Soundcloud, which allowed people from all corners of the world to share their music and build communities. Mumble rap, jazz rap, trap, and country rap are some of the more recent subgenres that have changed the landscape of hip-hop/ap. Nonetheless, artists who possess longevity in the scene have produced some of the greatest pieces of music in the genre. Here is a top five of the best hip-hop/rap albums you should listen to.
Future – “DS2 (Deluxe)”
The sequel to the Dirty Sprite series of albums, “DS2 (Deluxe)”, is widely regarded as one of the greatest trap albums ever made. Future has crafted an album perfectly suited to the times, featuring some of the best beats from producers Metro Boomin, Southside and Zaytoven, to name a few. His distinct voice flows smoothly throughout the duration of the project, backed only by a single Drake feature on the track “Where Ya At” which peaked at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The unique bass-heavy beats inspired a sound that influenced a whole new generation of trap artists. Some standout tracks from the 18-track project are “I Serve the Bass,” “Blow a Bag,” and “Lil One.”
Drake – “Views”
Views stands out in Drake’s discography as his best crafted album. Switching genres, collaborating with international artists like WizKid and discussing his insecurities, the album has it all. The intro track “Keep The Family Close” sets the tone for the entire tracklist with every listen. With guest appearances from label mates dvsn Majid Jordan, PartyNextDoor, Rihanna and Future, the spectrum of sounds offered across 20 tracks adds to the longevity of the project. “Weston Road Flows”, “With You” and “Grammys” are among the album’s best tracks.
Kanye West – “The Life of Pablo”
As the title suggests, the album is Pablo Escobar, Pablo Picasso and everything in between. Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Electronic and so many other genres collide in a beautiful symphony that has led to its enormous success. The characteristics of the album are carefully selected, which is expected of a Kanye West project, because each artist fits perfectly. Most of the tracks on the album show West’s ability to rap rather than him as a producer. “Waves”, “Real Friends”, “Wolves” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” are tracks that stand out.
Freddie Gibbs, Madlib – “Bandana”
The only collaborative project on this list combined the sample-filled wisdom in Madlib’s production and the lyrical ability of Freddie Gibbs into a solid 10/10 album that stood out in their discographies. The album reflects sounds of nostalgia and carries a sense of experience that the two rap veterans have acquired over the years. “Fake Names”, “Giannis (feat. Anderson .Paak)” and “Freestyle S**t” are standout tracks that rarely sustain the instrumental throughout.
Kendrick Lamar – “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Arguably one of the highest rated albums in Lamar’s discography, “To Pimp A Butterfly” features some of the most thematically produced rap albums. It flows like a movie with intros, transitions, and storylines that stay consistent through his previous work. The album takes a unique approach to telling stories important to black history, which makes the project much more conversational. Songs like “King Kunta”, “Wesley’s Theory”, “How Much A Dollar Cost”, and “These Walls” are some of the most unique songs in Lamar’s catalog.