This year was hit and miss as far as albums go. The Griselda crew definitely held it down,Freddie Gibbs & Madlib delivered, and Tyler reinvented himself. These are my Top 10 Albums of 2019.
10. Rod Wave- Ghetto Gospel
Had to keep it local and put my man Rod Wave on the list. His song “Get a Bag” is the Jit Camp anthem. On Ghetto Gospel Rod showed he could stand alongside prominent mainstream acts like Kevin Gates on one of my standout tracks “Cuban Links”. You can really feel the struggle in Rod’s lyrics and voice. It is great to finally see a artist St.Pete can get behind as our own.
9. Da$h & V Don- 5 Deadly Venoms
Naming your EP off of my favorite Shaw Bro’s Kung Fu flick had me sold from the jump. Da$h’s slick delivery meshes perfectly with V Dons grimey beats. Even the tracks released on the deluxe edition slide which is really rare to find. Songs “10x” and “Fangs” featuring Meechy Darko are the definite standouts with the latter being one of my favorite tracks of the year. I hope to see more collaborations between these two.
8. Roc Marciano- Marcielago
Roc Marciano already has one classic album with “Reloaded” but with “Marcielago” he adds another great album to his already stacked catalogue. He’s Jay Z if Jay Z didn’t go mainstream but with way better flows and bars. Definitely an unsung hero of this new boom bap renaissance, songs like “Richard Gear” are a hardcore hip hop fans wet dream. Producing pretty much the entire project except a few of The Alchemist beats, Roc definitely improved beat wise adding a few more drums then normal. Roc’s beat chops are top tier. The cold NY feel of “Ephesians” featuring KA is one of my favorite tracks on the album. KA had one of my favorite lines on the album with “ Seems the team had good genes, but wanted better denim.” This decade I hope Roc is able to get some more notoriety for being one of the best in the game.
7. Trippie Redd- A Love Letter to You 4
Trippie definitely held it down for the Cloud Rap and Emo Rap scenes with “ALLTY4”. To me this is his best produced album and when it comes to Trippie all I really need are good beats and dope flows, it doesn’t really matter what he’s saying. Some of his more heartfelt songs about love loss are done way better on this installment then previous which is shown on the track “Til The End Of Time”. Trippie also came through with some of the best tracks of the year with the Lil B dedicated “6 Kiss” featuring the late Juice WRLD and currently incarcerated YNW Melly. Next time Trippie comes to the Bay Area his performance of the Memphis rap inspired “Death” is a must. After the deaths of Peep, X, and Juice pretty much Ski and Trippie are the only ones left from the scene.
6. Smoke DZA & Benny The Butcher- Statue of Limitations.
When two of my favorite rappers randomly come together and drop a flawless short six track EP you know it’s going to be in heavy rotation. Dope beats and fire bars is really all I need in life and DZA and Benny definitely gave me that. Standout tracks “By Any Means” and “Bullets” featuring Conway start the EP of with a barrage of in your face bars. A majority if not all of the production was handled by the legend Pete Rock, who only a few years back released a collaborative album with DZA called “Don’t Smoke Rock” which I could also give my Jit Camp stamp of approval. The best thing I could say about this EP is “Thank God for Drup Rap”.
5. Tyler, The Creator- Igor
Not only was Tyler able to follow up “Flower Boy” but honestly I think he exceeded it. Nothing else right now sounds like this and that’s what makes it special. Some fans might be mad that it’s not hip hop enough but Tyler has always been on a Pharrell esque trajectory. Ear worm songs like “EARFQUAKE” and “I THINK” show that Tyler could take over the mainstream if he wanted to.
4. Griselda- WWCD
On their Shady Records debut Griselda was able to capture the magic that sets them apart from everyone else in hip hop right now. The hardest beats and the dopest bars. This album could have came out in 95 and it would in great next to Wu and Mobb Deep. Standout tracks for me where “Chef Dreds” and “Moselle”, the latter of which has one of my favorite beats of the year provided by Griselda in house producer Daringer. The beat sounds glass moving in water it’s that slick. So many stand out lines from the whole crew. 2020 is definitely going to be their year.
3. Young Thug- So Much Fun
With “So Much Fun” Thug proved he could deliver with a debut album that turned out to be his most complete project to date. Thug’s influence on the game was cemented on “So Much Fun” giving all the slimes anthems like “HOT” and “Light it Up” both of which went over great at his recent live show in Tampa. The production is a step above some of his mixtapes. Thugger and friends made the best party album of the year living up to its name.
2. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana
I first heard about Freddie Gibbs when he was on the XXL Freshman Cover back in 2010, and since the he has grown to being one of my favorite artists of all time. From “Cold Day in Hell” to “You Only Live Twice” Gibbs has always been one of the best when it comes to heartfelt gangsta bars and insane flows. But when he joined up with Madlib on their 2015 classic “Piñata” that Gibbs started to cement his legacy. The question was could the duo follow it up with a sequel, and I’m happy to say “Bandana” delivers on that. “Half Manne Half Cocaine” is one of the hardest tracks I’ve heard in awhile, showing what Madlib can do with a trap beat. “Crime Pays” transports you into a blaxploitation films with a dope sample and Freddie’s smooth delivery. Apparently Madlib produced this entire album on his IPhone but I would have never known that. The beats on “Bandana” are a bit more abstract but Freddie still rides them all the same. Can’t wait to see if the duo drops a third album, after delivering another classic.
1. Benny The Butcher- The Plugs I Met
When I first heard this album around July 4th I knew it was going to be number one on my list. All I need is a 7-10 track album of straight dope beats and bars and that’s what Benny brings. Features from Pusha T and Black Thought validate Benny has someone on their level giving weight to the album. With production from always great Daringer and The Alchemist this project was basically made for me. “Sunday School” is the hardest song I’ve heard all year and “ I Took the Money to the Plug’s House” are two of the hardest tracks of the last decade. On “5 to 50” Benny showcases is storytelling ability ending the album off well. I would tell anyone to go out of their way to listen to this album, Benny is my favorite rapper in the game now because of this album.