1. Kendrick Lamar – FEAR.
Previewed briefly on “The Heart Part 4” with a different verse in true rough draft fashion, the top slot goes to Kendrick Lamar’s chilling FEAR. Whether it’s the rattling snake like sound in the left ear, Alchemist’s signature hard snare/intense sample production or Kendrick’s introspective verses it feels like the song Kendrick is most proud of in his career.
2. Quelle Chris – Calm Before Feat. Cavalier & Suzi Analogue
One of the best self-help rap albums ever made, Quelle Chris’s “Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often” was littered with ethos of self-love and dark honesty that made waves in the underground circle. It also included one of the best verses of the year courtesy of Jean Grae.
3. Westside DOOM – Gorilla Monsoon/2 Stings
A movement of grimy, dark, murky nostalgic NY Hip-Hop has been emerging since Roc Marciano’s 2010 Macberg album. If you miss that sort of sound then look no further than the Shady Records signee Westside Gunn from the Griselda Records team. He teamed up with the villain himself DOOM and two stellar tracks from a forthcoming collab project.
4. Loaded Lux Freestyles on Funk Flex – #FREESTYLES075
Well, what can you say. This is no surprise to battle rap fans. Wordplay, metaphors, wit, double entendres, punch-lines, schemes and everything many say is lacking in rap today are all here on display from one of the best wordsmiths alive. You won’t catch everything on the first few listens.
5. Rapsody – Knock on My Door
After years of being slept on, ‘Laila’s Wisdom’ made proved why most of your favourite rappers can’t hang with her on the mic. We all knew Rapsody could outrap many but this album proved just how much of a great artist she was and thankfully made listeners stop saying she was good ‘for a woman’ but one of the dopest rappers alive.
Jay-Z – The Story of O.J.
Kari Faux – Gotta Know Feat. Jerry Paper
Buy Muy Drugs – MFKZT
Thundercat – Uh Uh
Jonwayne –LIVE From The Fuck You
Homeshake – Getting Down Pt II (He’s Cooling Down)
The Blaze – Territory
PARTYNEXTDOOR – Peace of Mind
OverDoz. – District
J Dilla – DD.14
SZA – Doves in the Wind Feat. Kendrick Lamar
Mac DeMarco – On the Level
Karriem Riggins – Dirty Drum Warm Up
David Banner – Who Want It Feat. Black Thought
Tyler, the Creator – Pothole
Tanya Morgan – Cold Modelo
Vince Staples – Yeah Right
Sean Price – Negus Feat. DOOM & Ike Eyez
J.I.D – Somebody
Iman Omari – So Real Feat. Quelle Chris
King Krule – Dum Surfer
Big K.R.I.T. – Mixed Messages
Ariel Pink – I Wanna Be Young
Action Bronson – My Right Lung
The Cool Kids – The Moonlanding Feat. Hannibal Buress
Wiki – Leppy Coqui
Rick Ross – Santorini Greece
Syd – All About Me
Babyfather – Cypher
Mick Jenkins – Or More; The Anxious
Daniel Caesar – Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song)
Frank Ocean – Biking (Solo)
Bonobo – Outlier
THA GOD FAHIM – Danbury Shakes Feat. Mach Hommy