What a year, what a year! 2020 has been like no year we’ve seen before. The “Coronavirus” pandemic is still running its disastrous course changing our “normal” way of life which ultimately affects the music. Art imitates life and music is definitely an art form. Artist haven’t been able to tour resulting in many artist releasing more music. 2020 has felt like the fastest slow moving year ever however some amazing albums were released.
17 Hip-Hop/Rap albums have reached number one status in 2020 dominating the charts in 2020. Alright I’ll cut the small talk let’s get into the Hip-Hop albums that stood out to me THE MOST in 2020.
No list is complete with a few honorable mentions, so let’s get right into it.
In August Atlanta’s Money Man dropped a deluxe for his “Epidemic” project. I’ve had songs off this project in rotation since it’s release. “24” featuring Lil Baby was also highly successful being featured on TNT during the NBA Playoffs and the track also reached Platinum status in 2020.
NYC Hip-Hop is undergoing a lively transition. The Drill sound has dominated New York City hip-hop as of late birthing the the subgenera “NYC Drill”. “NYC Drill” dominated the charts in 2020 and one of the main stays in the NYC Drill scene is Brooklyn’s Sleepy Hallow. “Deep End Freestyle” became a Tok-Tok hit while achieving Gold status.
Remember when I said “NYC Drill” sound is dominate in NYC, well you can thank Sheff G. For the most part, the Brooklyn emcee is credited for starting the drill wave in NYC. “No Suburban, Pt.2” is the most popular track off the album.
Let’s put things in laymen’s terms, Lil Uzi Vert went off in 2020! The Philadelphia artist dropped his highly anticipated “Eternal Atake” project in March and a week later delivered the deluxe. The Deluxe was part 2 to Uzi’s “vs. The World” series. With 14 new songs and massive features, the deluxe felt like an entirely new album hence why I counted it as one.
Inglewood’s D Smoke’s “Black Habits” album was nominated for a Grammy solidifying it’s status as one of the best drops of 2020.
Before his untimely passing, Brooklyn’s Pop Smoke was well on his way to superstardom. In short time Pop was able to land major features from the likes of Quavo and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie among others. The first single off of the project “Christopher Walking” had fans excited and Pop didn’t let us down.
Back in March, San Fransisco’s Larry June released his first project of the year “Adjust To The Game”. The project was Larry’s best of the year in my opinion and you can read my review for the album here.
TDE signee and Carson California rapper Reason dropped one of the best albums of this year. While many slept on “New Beginnings” we made sure to give this project it’s respect.
Drake on an honorable mention list ? To many that’s blasphemy but here at Diamond KUT LLC we keep it honest. While “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” was a good project I understand Drake dropped this off as a precursor to his “Certified Lover Boy” album dropping in 2021.
Atlanta’s Mulatto had a big year in 2020. Not only did she sign with RCA records, her debut album “Queen Of Da South” was one of the best drops of the year and featured major artist such as Gucci Mane, 21 Savage & The City Girls.
Nav hooked up with Wheezy for a fun album full of hot beats and catchy hooks. I wasn’t giving Nas his proper credit, but this album woke me up.
2020 was a big year for women in Hip-Hop. Several ladies either made their debuts or solidified their place in the game. One of the standouts was Alabama’s Flo Milli. Flo’s hit single “In The Party” went viral on Tik-Tok leading to her signing a deal with RCA records. Flo held it down for the ladies dropping what I consider a top 15 album this year.
Bronx, New York artist A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie continues to release quality albums. While many don’t mention A Boogie’s name when it comes to top albums list, Artist 2.0 was one of the better drops of the year as Boogie solidified himself as one of the top artist out of the Empire State.
Buffalo’s Griselda Gang had a monster 2020. Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, & Conway the Machine all released dope albums in 2020. Conway’s FKTAG was a lyrical masterpiece filled with gritty street raps. While Conway was the first Griselda member to make our list, he won’t be the last.
Nas has been in the rap game for 25 + years and is still going strong. His latest album “King’s Disease” was the bridging of old school Hip-Hop with some of today’s top acts. This album is also another example of the brilliant year Hit-Boy had.
Big Sean built the hype for his highly anticipated “Detroit 2” project when he previewed the snippet for “Deep Reverence” featuring a dope verse from the late Nipsey Hussle. Sean easily delivered one of the best drops of 2020, Once again Big Sean put on for his city.
It took some for me to hop on the Freddie Gibbs hype train but I’m glad I did. The Gary Indiana rapper linked up with legendary producer The Alchemist for a short but well put together project waking all Freddie Gibbs doubters up.
G Herbo released his best body of work in 2020 with “PTSD”. The project harped on growing up in the inner city and all the trauma that comes with it.
I don’t know another artist who dropped as many projects as Baton Rouge’s Youngboy Never Broke Again. The Young artist released a slew of projects however his “Top” album stood out the most. Adding to the hype that Youngboy has built going into 2021.
East Atlanta’s own 21 Savage reunited with Metro Boomin for the second edition of the “Savage Mode” series. I wrote a review on SM2 calling it the best “produced” album of the year and I still believe that to be true.
Earlier, Griselda label mate Conway The Machine made his way onto our top albums of the year list. Now Benny The Butcher makes his debut to our list with “Burden Of Proof”. Burden Of Proof was an amazing body of working and was another feather in the hat for Hit-Boy’s amazing year.
5. Gunna: WUNNA
Gunna had taken some time off from releasing music prior to the release of “Wunna”. The wait was well worth it as Gunna delivered one of the best projects of the year. WUNNA was a bop throughout and proved Gunna can still make music that people really enjoy.
Pop Smoke came inland literally shook the game up. The young Brooklyn artist had secured features from the game’s biggest artist as well as being co-signed by some of the game’s biggest vets. Unfortunately we lost Pop earlier this year. However this body of work further illustrates the potential Pop Smoke had.
Well before he was featured on a Drake track, Lil Durk was well on his way to have the biggest year of his career. JCYW2 was on heavy rotation all year for me and my peers. I also wrote a review on Durk’s project upon it’s release and even then I knew it would finish as one of the best releases of the year.
No artist release was more anticipated this year than Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake”. Many were of the belief that the album actually was never going to be released but Uzi stayed true to his word and released his best body go work yet.
- Lil Baby – My Turn No album title was more fitting than Lil Baby’s “My Turn”. Baby asserted himself as the new top dog in the competitive Atlanta market. “My Turn” featured some of the biggest tracks and showed Baby’s versatility and hit-making ability.