Tons of great projects have come out over the years, but for me these are the ones that had the most impact on my life and the ones I listened to the most.
Honorable Mention: Travis Scott-Astroworld
This was the first project for me that Travis was able to make an album flow on all levels. From beats, bars, features this album has it all. To the smash hit “Sicko Mode” to the Leo anthem “Yosemite”, I feel like “ASTROWORLD” will eventually be looked at as a project that elevated the genre of Trap.
Honorable Mention: XXXTENTACION- ?
This spot on the list for X is basically on here not only for his classic “?” album but also for his entire body of work. After being killed in 2018, a majority of the new X projects have been over produced and commercialized. I feel he would have eventually became more of a factor in the main stream but that hard edge lo-fi Florida sound that artists like X and Ski Mask put on the map. “?” shows all sides of the artist X was and was becoming. Songs like “ I Don’t Even Speak Spanish” have a different meaning to me now and X will always be a legend in my eyes.
Honorable Mention: Rick Ross- Teflon Don
Renzel Ravioli has always been one of my favorite artists, but his biggest stamp came on “Teflon Don”. Although Ross is pretty consistent with his projects, “Teflon Don” is the only one I can play all the way through. At the time it showed you could make a mainstream trap album with big budget production. Tracks like “Mc Hammer” and the immortal “BMF” today still stand as two of the biggest street anthems. “Free Mason” featuring Jay- Z was a statement that Rick Ross could stand alongside one of the greats.
20. Lil Peep- Hellboy
This spot is pretty much a career spot similar to X. “Hellboy” is essential Lil Peep and the project that made him my favorite rapper at one point, I’ll never forget the moment I heard he died on my way to work. Even though Peep is gone is impact on Hip Hop and the Emo Rap genre is undeniable. Tracks like “Cobain” and “Hellboy” were a daily ritual a few years back.
19. Casey Veggies- Life Changes
This is more of a nostalgic pick for me. I loved this tape so much I burned “She In My Car” “Whip It”, and “Love=Hate, Ulterior Motives” on a CD that I would bump during my SPC days. Casey is the definition of what modern day mainstream West Coast Music should be dope beats and even better flows. His last few projects “Organic” and “Live & Grow” have all been solid but I’m still looking for him to drop another classic like “Life Changes”.
18. Mac Miller- K.I.D.S.
The first time I heard “Nike’s On My Frey” with my friend John we were blown away. Even though the late Mac Miller never really made a project in this style again, focusing more on an experimental sound rather than traditional hip hop. I will always love Mac for this project with songs like “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza” and “Good Evening” and “Senior Skip Day” being nostalgic favorites for me.
17. Spaceghostpurp- BMW
Had to show Florida some love on this one. Basically the godfather of the Florida Underground sound, SGP’s BMW sounds like an island paradise in the middle of hell. From classics like “Whole Lotta Icee” to “Steelo Ice” this project makes me wish SGP didn’t alienate his whole crew basically making him a recluse in the rap game.
16. Wiz Khalifa- Kush & OJ
This is the definition of nostalgic classic for me. Songs like “Memorized” and “In The Cut” were played at pretty much every house party I went to during my high school days. If they made a soundtrack for my teenage years this is probably it. “The Statement” is another gem of this one. I will always check for Wiz because of this album, the OG version not that wack one on Apple Music.
15. Kanye West- Yeezus
I’ll never forget going to see Kanye for the Yeezus tour with my friend John so that’s why this album means a lot to me. I don’t play it as much today but I can still listen to it straight through. The experimental hip hop elements Kanye went for maybe ok for main stream artists take more chances with their music. Plus the zodiac references on “Guilt Trip” will always stick with me.
14. Ka- Honor Killed The Samurai.
I am new to Ka but after binge listening to him for about a month I had to put “Honor Killed The Samurai” on the list. It’s like if DOOM and GZA combined to make a dope MC. Ka’s ability to paint visual pictures with his words is highlighted on “That Cold And Lonely” which sounds like it could be off GZA’s classic “Liquid Swords”. The comparisons samurai life and street life come together with each track.
13. Westside Gunn- Supreme Blientele
Westside Gunn and Griselda have been running it for the past two years but on “Supreme Blientele” Westside finally dropped a Mafioso Rap classic that can stand alongside classics like Raekwon’s “Only Built For Cuban Links”. The street bars combined with wrestling snippets and references made this project a no brainer to be on the list.
12. Roc Marciano- Reloaded
One of my Top 5 rappers in the game right now. “Rosebudd’s Revenge 2: The Bitter Dose” could have made it in this spot as well it “Reloaded” is probably Roc’s hardest album, due to him focusing more on sample based production on his latter work. Tracks like “Flash Gordon”, “76”, and “Emeralds” are new boom bap classics. Roc Marci bars are on another level, honestly even better than Jay-Z.
11. Nipsey Hussle- Victory Lap
The culmination of his entire career, the late a Nipsey Hussle showed the West Coast is still here with street anthems like “ Status Symbol 3”. You get the business side and street side of Nip on “Victory Lap”. It’s sad that he is gone because who knows how many more classics he would have given us, especially of the recognition from this project.
10. Curren$y & The Alchemist- Covert Coup
Curren$y is one of the most consistent rappers in the game. From “Priest Andretti” to “New Jet City”, Curren$y has classics under the belt but my favorite has got to be his first collab album with The Alchemist. I remember sitting at my desktop when this dropped. “The Type” is one of my all time favorite songs but “007” is a close second. This also marks the Fetti collaboration with Freddie Gibbs on “Scottie Pippen”. Curren$y is mad under rated still to this day, but the Jet Life will always be on top.
9. Joey Bada$$- 1999
Nothing this decade sounds quite like “1999”. Joey was some how able to totally capture that 90s boom bap sound we all know and love. I’ll never forget the moment I saw the video for “Hardknock” and I was hooked instantly. The production from Dilla and DOOM fit perfectly for Joey but Pro Era in house producers did their thing on tracks like “FromdaTomb$”. “Killuminati” featuring the late Capital Steez will always be a favorite of mine with the dope production from Knxwledge. Joey Bada$$ has never been able to surpass this album, but he gave us that “Pinky & The Brain” snippet on “Word Domination” so I’m good.
8. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib- Bandana
I’ve always been a Gibbs fan since his XXL Cover days but once he paired up with Madlib he’s become a Top 5 rapper in the game for me. “Piñata” could have made it on the list but I feel “Bandana” is a better overall project. I loved bow trap influenced Madlib’s production was. MadGibbs are this generations Madvilllan. They supposedly have a part three in the pipeline.
7. Danny Brown- XXX
I’ve never heard anyone like Danny Brown before or since he dropped “XXX”. “Atrocity’s Exhibit “ is Danny at his peak, but I have more of a connection with “XXX”. I love how in your face the project is with tracks like “Lie4” and “Bruiser Brigade”. Danny also has that trippy vibe on tracks “Outer Space” which sounds like a sixties era TV shows intro music.
6. Blu- Her Favorite Colo(u)r
For me Blu has classic albums in two decades but his 2012 project “Her Favorite Colo(u)r” is an indie rap masterpiece. Using scenes from films like “Punch Drunk Love” in the way DOOM uses comic book scenes to tie an album together. From a beats standpoint I think Blu sounds even better on his own production. The best way I can put this album is a late 2000’s indie film but on eac
5. A$AP Rocky- LiveLoveA$AP
A Cloud Rap masterpiece! Tracks like “Wassup” and “Peso” are some of my favorite songs of all time. Although A$AP has shied away from his Cloud Rap roots I hope one day we can get a full collab project between him and either SGP or ClamsCasino, that would just make my life.
4. Xavier Wulf & Bones- Lame
Another Cloud Rap masterpiece and probably the most underrated project of the whole decade. These guys created the Underground Cloud Rap/ SoundCloud scene that everyone knows today. “Persian Palace” might be my favorite song of all time. Tracks like “Acid Man” and “Bloody Gown” are also stand outs. All I know is I will be shouting “I’ve got $87 for some LSD & Weed” for as long as I live.
3. Benny The Butcher- The Plugs I Met
The album that made Benny The Butcher my favorite rapper in the game. All I need is a 7 to 10 track project that’s just dope beats and gritty street bars. Benny gives me both of those things on each track I hear him on. He hasn’t even reached the heights I feel he can go, so I am pretty sure next decade will be treating me very well.
2. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly
The one and two spots could have gone either way. Both projects are really special to me. It came out around the time one of my best friends passed away, with songs like “Aight “ really getting me through hard times. I can’t always listen to this because how dense it is but this is the bar all other rappers are trying to achieve.
1. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
What hasn’t been said about this genre defining masterpiece from Kanye West. This project pushed Hip-Hop to heights it had never gone and still hasn’t reached yet. Despite Kanye’s recent output not reaching this bar, the impact his work has had on my life is great, and it mainly starts with this album.