This year in Top Hip-Hop
Quarantines, riots, and an unforgettable election could never stop musicians from creating. If anything the experiences of this year has inspired many Hip-Hop artists to discover new sounds in the booth.
As the leading streaming genre , Hip-Hop has not only lead the airways but also the culture. The heavy influence of the rhythmic music has helped push the voice of 2020’s historic events. A surprising 2020 is nearing a finish, let’s look back at 8 albums that kept us company through the madness.
Dark Lane Demo Tapes– Drake
When we are talking about Hip-Hop’s best of the best, it is hard not to include Grammy-award winning R&B and Rap genius Drake. This year he surprised us with a fifth solo mixtape to serve as a precursor to his next studio album expected to drop in January 2021– Certified Lover Boy. This mixtape is Drake’s first full-length project since releasing his record breaking 2018 album–Scorpion. The collection of loose tracks include released or teased snippets leading-up to the project’s most popular song: Chicago Freestyle feat. Giveon.
The world saw many young amazing creatives leave us too soon, Mac Miller is definitely one of those souls. In 2018, just a month after the release of his critically acclaimed fifth album, Swimming, the Pittsburgh rapper died from an accidental drug overdose. Circles is the sixth and final studio album by Mac Miller.
Made in collaboration with Jon Brion, the album is a soulful rap compilation of songs from the late rapper. Brion, famous for making albums with Kanye West had shaped completed the songs Miller had started with him for Circles. The talented but troubled artist created a timeless sound that will never be replicated and features songs like Good News and Blue World.
Good News– Megan Thee Stallion
Arguably this year’s hottest Hip-Hop artist that has taken the world by storm is Megan Thee Stallion. After her hot girl summer she never cooled off churning out hit after hit. Meg ends her 2020 campaign with a few Grammy nods and a debut studio album Good News.
Lined with party and dance anthems that radiate the rapper’s confident attitude, she stays true to herself on Good News. Meg let her strength, sexuality, and the relentless flow she’s become famous for shine with this project. The 17 -track album has features Tik-Tok favorites like Body and Savage Remix (feat. Beyonce).
Eternal Atake– Lil Uzi Vert
After claiming his retirement from making music on Instagram in 2019, Lil Uzi Vert released his second studio album since 2017’s Love Is Rage 2. The 18-track debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and features the viral hit Futsal Shuffle 2020. Lil Uzi also shows us he’s been hard at work by having almost no features on the album (one by Syd in Urgency).
The futuristic album blends electro and trap to transition us to Uzi’s world of Eternal Atake. Overall, the concept, transitions, and the bars are all what make the album so great. Uzi also had a deluxe version that dropped a week later — Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World 2— That featured 32 tracks and notable feature like Chief Keef, Young Thug, and Future.
My Turn– Lil Baby
In 2020, Lil Baby spoke about social injustice dominated the Hip-Hop game while he did it. My Turn is the second studio album by the Atlanta rapper released in late February with the deluxe released in May. Popular songs like Woah and Sum 2 Prove are included in this 26-track album. Lil Baby has some great features from Gunna, 42 Dugg, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, and Rylo Rodriguez.
At No.1 on the Billboard Charts for five weeks straight, Baby had one of 2020’s better performing albums. The rapper comes with a percussion flow that will have you head nodding over every hard-hitting beat. The Apple Music Artist of The Year has also released 2 later singles this year with On Me and Errbody ; ending 2020 with a double platinum album and some award nominations.
Legends Never Die– Juice Wrld
Just before his death in December of 2019, Chicago-based rapper Juice Wrld was taking the music industry by storm. In the span of two years the 21-year old racked up five certified platinum songs and was a viral star. After collaborating with Future on the mixtape Wrld on Drugs (2018), he released his second studio album Death Race for Love (2019) that reached number one on the Billboard 200.
In July of 2020, Legends Never Die debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album was the most successful posthumous debut 20 years and matched a record for most top 10 song entries in the Hot 100 at one time. The 22-track album features collaborations with artist like Tippie Redd, The Weeknd, and The Kid Lori. With singles like Righteous, Come and Go, and Wishing Well reminds us of the untapped potential Juice Wrld had before his passing.
Shoot For The Stars, Aim for The Moon– Pop Smoke
Pop Smoke is another one of Hip-Hop’s talented artist whose newfound fame was shortly lived. After welcoming himself into the rap game with 2019’s breakout single Welcome To The Party feat. Nicki Minaj on his debut mixtape Meet The Woo. From there the rapper skyrocketed with countless remixes and another mixtape–Meet the Woo 2. 13 days after releasing his second mixtape Pop Smoke was murdered.
Shoot For the Stars, Aim For The Moon was his first studio album with features from Quavo, 50 Cent, and Lil Baby. The 19-track album is lined with hits like What You Know Bout’ Love, Mood Swings, and For The Night. The deluxe version comes with 15 extra songs with appearances from Young Thug, Jamie Fox, and Burna Boy.
Savage Mode 2– 21 Savage
Released in mid October, Savage Mode II is a collective studio album by Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage and record producer Metro Boomin. There is also guest narration from voice legend Morgan Freeman throughout the album. The album serves as a sequel to the duo’s previous hit album Savage Mode (2016). It features notable verses by Drake, Young Thug, and Young Nudy on hits like Mr. Right Now and Runnin.
The project follows 21 Savage’s solo album i am > i was (2018) and Metro Boomin’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes (2018).The last time we saw these two artist collaborated, it was on the unexpected compilation album Without Warning, which also featured Offset. Savage Mode II debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200, becoming 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s second number-one album. The widespread acclaim that followed showed just how much fans love it when these two artist get together.
The album focuses on the meaning of “savage mode” according to Morgan Freeman. ” To be in ‘savage mode’ is to go hard, not allowing anything to stop or deter you from your mission.” The punctual sampled beats and 21’s heartless flow make for an untamed sound, showing us all what it really means to be in Savage Mode.
More New Hip-Hop in 2021
This year Hip-Hop has looked very different, but the best of the best rappers and entertainers have not skipped a beat during these unsure times. The future of Hip-Hop is an always changing landscape so it makes sense why theses artist have adapted so well. Just seeing how many people managed to create amazing projects used music this year makes me excited to see what’s in store for 2021.
For more music recaps of 2020 Check out our list of the top Christmas pop songs of the year.