1. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 4
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions hidden by the answers.”
– James Baldwin
Run The Jewels is the answer, your question is, “What’s poppin’?!”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and at the height of Black Lives Matter protests across the Nation, RTJ4 hit the streets and instantly became a battle cry! The album tackles everything from crooked cops, environmental pollution, white privilege, desensitization by social media, to the evils of capitalism. It’s punk, social commentary, party rocking, and most importantly, hip-hop! Pardon me while I go watch Killer Mike jump rope again.
2. Freddie Gibbs & Alchemist – Alfredo
Alchemist is a workhorse and Freddie Gibbs is no slouch either. Alfredo reunites the two again since Fetti in 2018, cooking alongside Currensy. Fans ate that album up and finally got their second helping this year. ESPN’s The Last Dance aired its final episode of the miniseries in May and it’s obvious Gibbs was watching. On the album opener he raps, “Michael Jordan, 1985 bitch, I travel with a cocaine circus” and “Shit was different when Mike left and it was Scottie’s team,” on “Scottie Beam”. Similar to his collaboration with Madlib, Gibbs floats in-n-out over the beats, making it seem effortless. The way he switches up his flows on “God Is Perfect” is straight fresh! Imagine a Freddie Gibbs, Alchemist & Madlib album à la Jaylib!
a) Westside Gunn – Who Made The Sunshine
b) Conway The Machine – From King To A God
c) Benny The Butcher – Burden Of Proof
Buffalo is still running shit! Gunn and Conway dropped 3 albums each (Three, that’s the magic number) and Benny expanded the Griselda footprint by linking with Hit-Boy for a collaborative LP. If you still don’t know, now you know.
4. Logic – No Pressure
Child-rearing is work. Poetry is work. Raising a kid and livin’ the rap life is mind-boggling. Back in July, Logic announced this new album as his last; fatherhood calls. Benefit of the doubt, No Pressure is a perfect send-off.
5. Black Thought – Streams Of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Abel
For Round 3, Mr. Trotter teams up with former Bad Boy Records Hitman, Sean C. When he’s not straight dumbing out the bars, we get an introspective Black Thought talking about relationships and race. I hope he keeps these streams coming!
OTHER NOTABLE HIP-HOP ALBUMS:
Big Sean – Detroit 2
Blu & Exile – Miles: From An Interlude Called Life
Elzhi – Seven Times Down Eight Times Up
Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By
Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony
RAPPERS NEW TO ME THAT MADE AN IMPRESSION:
Chris Crack – White People Love Algorithms
Larry June – Numbers
ALBUM TO SUBMIT INTO A CALIFORNIA 2020 TIME CAPSULE:
Serial Killers – Summer Of Sam
Dinner Party – Dinner Party
Kali Uchis – To Feel Alive EP, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)
Mayer Hawthorne – Rare Changes
The Twilite Tone – The Clearing
Hank Mobley – Soul Station (1960)
The Bar-Kays – Money Talks (1978)
Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love (1985)
Hard Knocks – School Of Hard Knocks (1992)
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
FEATURED ARTISTS I DIDN’T EXPECT:
DMX, Slick Rick, Supercat
SONG SPOTIFY SAID I LISTENED TO THE MOST:
Sofie “Truth Of The Matter”
Shout-out to D-Nice for being the first to DJ on Instagram Live during Safer At Home measures.
My jams are hither!