Rapsody’s Eve, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Bandana, and Little Brother’s May The Lord Watch are Hip Hop albums released in 2019 that are both high-profile and excellent – the best albums of the year up till now. There have been a lot more great releases this year, most of which are flying way below most people’s radars – albums like Epic Beard Men’s This Was Supposed To Be Fun, Nems’ Gorilla Monsoon, Neak’s KWESBAAR, XP The Marxman & IceRocks Nomads, Tone Spliff’s Ardore Melodico, and Gladiator Pen’s Roman Numeralz are examples of albums that all rank high on our Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2019 list but that are pretty much ignored by all the major Hip Hop outlets and by most Hip Hop fans.
For this list, we have selected 9 albums that are even more slept on – some of these get better with each and every listen, and will likely end up somewhere on our best-of-2019 list. For now, we invite you to check these albums out, there’s sure to be a couple here you will love.
Big D & Easy Mo Bee – This Is My Life
Ultramagnetic MCs affiliate Big D teamed up with legendary producer Easy Mo Bee to create This Is My Life – an album that is sure to satisfy all heads nostalgic for that good ol’ NYC boom-bap. With features from Kool Keith, Immortal Technique, Lil Fame, Percee P, Royal Flush, and a host of other underground emcees this album was a long time coming, but the wait was worth it. At 19 full tracks (and none of today’s 2-minute songs nonsense here) this is a long album and it could have been even better if 5 or 6 of the lesser were left on the cutting floor – but that said: this really is a thoroughly entertaining listen with a dozen or so true bangers on it.
Download This Is My Life
Awon – Soulapowa
Awon’s Soulapowa will not be for everyone, but for those listeners who dig extremely smooth soulful, jazzy boom-bap this album is gold. Brooklyn-born Virginia-resident Awon teamed up with long-time collaborator Phoniks to craft this timeless-feeling album. Timeless because Soulapowa would have been right at home in the early 90s alongside A Tribe Called Quest or Digable Planets and timeless because this album will still sound fresh and timely 20 years from now. Soulapowa brings nothing new or revolutionary to the table, but it is a really well-executed album, filled with soulful soundscapes and thoughtful lyrics. An album to kick back and relax to.
JK1 The Supernova – Hip Hop Doesn’t Love You Back
Brooklyn emcee/producer JK1 The Supernova (now residing in Tampa, Florida) dropped a hidden gem with his debut album Hip Hop Doesn’t Love You Back. JK1 The Supernova offers up fairly traditional boom-bap Hip Hop but done well – JK1’s long experience as an underground emcee clearly shows and with Hip Hop Doesn’t Love You Back you get a dose of killer beats and rhymes – what more do you want?
Download Hip Hop Doesn’t Love You Back
Daddy-O - From My Hood 2 U
Brooklyn legend Daddy-O (of Stetsasonic fame) drops a dope project with From My Hood 2 U, a fourteen track odyssey through the neighborhoods of true school Hip Hop. The album features guest spots from fellow legends like Posdnous of De La Soul, Bun B of UGK, Smif N Wessun, and R.A. The Rugged Man.
Highlights are the single “Drumma Man”, “From My Hood 2 U” (with the always excellent Posdnous) and the trip through time “A Good Start”. It’s a smooth and entertaining listen throughout though, and an enjoyable listen especially for older heads who were there in the Stetsasonic days. Much respect to Daddy-O for still holding it down!
Download From My Hood 2 U
The Cloaks - Cloak Encounters Of The Third Eye
The Cloaks are Awol One and Gel Roc based out of Los Angeles Ca. Both members are from the world-renown Project Blowed crew, and also well respected within the graffiti culture. The Cloaks are produced by Awkward DJ/Producer from Bristol (UK) with cuts by long-time collaborator D-Styles (ISP / Beat Junkies) and Sir Beans from Bristol.
The anticipated follow up to The Cloaks first self-titled album, Cloak Encounters Of The Third Eye provides a unique soundscape with two of LA’s most original voices accompanied by some of the best turntablism on the planet. With guest appearances from the likes of Volume 10, Sage Francis, and Kool Keith this album serves up the best underground Hip Hop has to offer. Don’t sleep on The Cloaks if a dark, gritty combo of lyricism and turntablism is your thing.
Download Cloak Encounters of The Third Eye
Horror City & Parental - Supa Vill'n
Horror City is not a group in the traditional sense – it is actually a ‘whole town’ of producers and MCs. Super Star – Horror City‘s frontman – keeps Horror City rocking by releasing new projects with different producers and rappers, usually from the Long Island NY area. You may know Horror City from the “MC Hustler” and “War Party” tracks off Prince Paul’s classic 1999 concept album A Prince Among Thieves – Horror City has been holding it down in the NYC underground for decades now.
For this project, Super Star teamed up with French super-producer DJ Parental. If you’re familiar with DJ Parental’s work you already know quality on the production side of things is pretty much a guarantee. On other Horror City projects the production can be hit-or-miss, thanks to Parental this one is consistently dope though. Super Star is a rapper’s rapper, a true emcee with a flow straight from the 80s – a refreshing sound in these days of mumble rappers and quasi-singers. In fact, Super Stars’ tone of voice and style is reminiscent of Grandmaster Caz – one of the best to ever do it. Check out Supa Vill’n – you won’t regret it:
Download Supa Vill’n
Ullnevano & Logic Marselis – Dustin Grime
In 2013 Baltimore emcee UllNevaNo and Virginia producer Logic Marselis released their first official album called The Protocol on the Magnetik Moments label. This year the duo are back with a new concept album called Dustin Grime. Fourteen dope tracks produced by Logic Marselis with guest appearances from Ill Conscious, Illien Roswell, Jamil Honesty, London Boil, Black Assets, and Rapper AM.
‘Dustin Grime’ is a fictional character, meant to personify the raw and dirty sample-based boom-bap the duo set out to make for this album – and if you ask HHGA Ullnevano & Logic Marselis succeeded admirably. Dustin Grime offers raw beats and raw lyrics – this is an album for 90s-heads with a taste for that gritty golden era boom-bap.
Download Dustin Grime
Napoleon Da Legend & Giallo Point – Coup D’etat Part 2
British producer Giallo Point and the Paris-born, D.C.-native Napoleon Da Legend reconnect to do a new project, ‘Coup D’État Part 2‘, a sequel to last year’s first part. Giallo Point has been making a name for himself in the UK for a good while now and is in ever bigger demand – he has been on a creative roll of late producing dope albums for the likes of Tha God Fahim, Daniel Son, SmooVth, Juga-Naut, Recognize Ali, and Napoleon Da Legend – and his winning streak continues with Coup D’Etat Part 2.
Coup D’Etat Part 2 is a masterclass in smooth instrumentals, filled with atmospheric orchestral arrangements. Giallo Points soundscapes provide the perfect background for Napoleon Da Legend to spit his rhymes over – make no mistake: Napoleon Da Legend is a real dope emcee, with a gifted pen and the necessary skills on the mic to deliver his rhymes. This here is real Hip Hop, nourishment for the mind & soul.
Download Coup D’etat Part 2
Bobby J From Rockaway - Summer Classics
Summer Classics is the debut album from Queens, NYC native Bobby J From Rockaway. Boasting production from Hip Hop veterans like Kwame, Statik Selektah, Sway in the Morning’s DJ Wonder, and Jake One and features from lyrical heavyweights like Lil’ Fame and Killah Priest, the album is not only an homage to his hometown of Rockaway Beach but also to classic Hip Hop.
The title is inspired by the “Summer Classic” basketball league that has been a staple of his community for generations. In his own words, Bobby states: “I feel like every rapper wants that one song that dominates the summertime. My goal was to make a project full of those kinds of records. Something you can play from top to bottom while driving with the top down – Summer Classics.”
This is an album that gets better with every listen, probably my favorite on this list and one that likely will find its way on HHGA’s Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2019 list before the year’s out.
Download Summer Classics