10 Hip Hop Albums to Listen to From 2020.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Let’s get into ten albums to listen to from 2020. All ten are albums that got me through 2020 and also got multiple listens. Did you check out any of these this year?

Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce

Here’s an album that released in October and that totally wasn’t on my radar before. For me, alternative hip hop can be a mixed bag of “Oh, this awesome!” and “Technically, this isn’t bad but it doesn’t wow or move me.” Anime, Trauma and Divorce leans closer towards “Oh, this awesome!” purely because it’s totally different from roughly eight albums on this list.

If you’re a nerd, geek, going through a break up, divorce, or just a hard time, this is as close to relatable as you might get.

Standout Track: Sweatpants Spiderman, The Black Mirror Episode, Wtf Is Self Care

Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris

Westside Gunn—and the rest of hip hop trio Griselda—were all busy this year. Their output of mixtapes and full lengths was just insane in quality and consistency. On his own and with his family/Griselda mates Gunn delivers a strong performance each time.

While I prefer the trio dynamic, Pray for Paris is an album worth listening to! That classic New York sound morphed over the decades but Westside Gunn and Griselda are part of a younger wave of artists who modernized the sound. Check this one out if the trap and drill dominance of modern hip hop don’t do it for you.

Standout Tracks: George Bondo (ft. Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine), Allah Sent Me (ft. Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine)

Hip hop Albums 2020

Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo 2

The final release by late New York rapper Pop Smoke is a strong epitaph for a career that was cut short far too soon. Meet the Woo 2 dropped February 7, almost a week before his death. While I wouldn’t say it was stronger than the other Pop Smoke entry on the list, it was good for a multiple listens and several tracks still get play from me as 2020 ends.

Standout Tracks: Shake the Room (ft. Quavo) Dior, War (ft. Lil Tjay)

Drake – Dark Lane Demo Tapes

Of course, Drake was going to be here. The guy drops music for all moods and occasions. The Dark Lane Demo Tapes mixtape is a mix of sounds old, familiar, and emerging. What I love about this release is that it showcases Drake doing different styles and doing them well. Some via features and others on his own.

It’s basically one of those albums I didn’t know I needed during the spring. That is until it dropped. For me, “War” is the star of the album but it’ll vary for everyone depending on what vibe you’re on.

Standout Tracks: War, D4L (ft. Future and Young Thug), Toosie Slide

Future – High Off Life

Released back in May, High Off Life was one of strongest albums this year and had features from some of the most popular artists in hip hop today. If you know what to expect from Future and how well he works with featured artists, then you already know what you’re getting into.

For those unfamiliar with this Atlanta superstar, check out my picks for standout tracks.

Standout Tracks: Life Is Good (Remix) (ft. Drake, Lil Baby and DaBaby), Trillionaire (ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again), Posted with Demons

King Von – Welcome to O’Block

This year we lost a lot of talent young rappers. Chicago’s King Von is one such artist as well as an artist who could’ve popped much bigger than he did. His debut album Welcome to O’Block is the most gritty, violent and dark album on the list. It harkens back to when gangsta rap was more focused on telling tales of life in the streets without sounding dated.

This is the sound I dig the most, it’s the sound I fall back on after going outside of my safe box and trying out other sounds and genres in hip hop. Welcome to O’Block wasn’t the introduction to King Von but it was the mainstream introduction without sounding mainstream.

It’s not the hardest of balancing acts but it is awesome when it’s executed well.

Standout Tracks: Demon, Why He Told, All These N****s (ft. Lil Durk)

Lil Baby – My Turn

This album dropped in February and is an album that grew on me over the year. It had been out for a time before I actual gave it a listen after hearing “Emotionally Scarred,” one of the big singles from My Turn. It’s a twenty song listen—unless you give the deluxe version a go—and it can feel a bit lengthy.

There are some albums you just vibe to and it’s over before you know it. Then you have the albums where you’re keenly aware that this is a long album and that you have several tracks left. My Turn hovered in the middle but leaned closer to the later.

I’ll be honest and say that it really depends on what state of mind you’re in at the time for this one. That said, it’s a dope album. The main takeaway here is that Lil Baby had growth as an artist much like 21 Savage and this second album really made him a strong contender and winner of different music awards.

Plus, he was just busy this year. The man was everywhere.

Standout Tracks: Emotionally Scarred, Live Off My Closet (ft. Future), We Should (ft. Young Thug)

21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II

Released in October, Savage Mode II came out of the gate swinging. The sequel to the 2016 release gives you a good mix of the aggressive street stuff and some pretty reflective material. This release also built on 21 Savage’s development as a rapper following 2018’s I Am > I Was.

Of the albums on this list, Savage Mode II is one of four that were simply smooth listens start to finish. It’s a collaboration mixtape but this could’ve easily been a full-length given the quality and consistency between songs.

Standout Tracks: Runnin, Mr. Right Now (ft. Drake), Snitches & Rats (ft. Young Nudy)

YN Jay – Coochie Land

It might sound odd but this was pretty much my number two hip hop album this year. Coochie Land came to my attention with the tracks “Coochie” and “Nicki Minaj” becoming a TikTok trend.

The other albums all offered something. Some albums showcased technique while others delivered on style and vibe. Coochie Land was just a fun album start to finish. This is done to YN Jay’s unique, laid back flow which comes off as effortless, frustration when a verse doesn’t take off as intended, and a comedic approach.

If you want something new but familiar, this is the one you want to check out!

Standout Tracks:  Nicki Minaj, Coochie Scout, Coochie Man

Pop Smoke – Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon

Pop Smoke’s debut and only full length—Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon—dropped in July. What an absolute beast of an album this it. It’s similar to Coochie Land in that it features multiple songs that just hit it out of the park. It was floated with four singles but it could’ve had several more, honestly.

The original version came with nineteen tracks while the deluxe pushes it to thirty-four. Those additional tracks have some gems in it but original release is damn near flawless.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.