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list Dec 22 2023 Written by

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Welcome to our curated collection of Hip Hop albums from 2023 that (in some cases just barely) missed our best of the year list. While our main list features the top 60 albums of the year, this “Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions” compiles those projects that, albeit just falling short of the top tier, deserve your attention. Embracing a diverse range of styles, from traditional boom-bap to underground and alternative/experimental vibes, and even a touch of mainstream flair, each album holds its merit. Regardless of your Hip Hop preferences, these honorable mentions are joints worth exploring. Dive into this list at your own pace, and you’re sure to stumble upon a hidden Hip Hop gem or two that might have slipped under your radar. Here they are, presented in release date order – the best Hip Hop albums of 2023, our honorable mentions.

Team Demo - It's A Demo

The veterans behind Team Demo, hailing from the DMV area, have been collaborating on Hip Hop production for over three decades. They initially gained recognition in the mid-90s as the Lower Life Forms and Optical the Visionary, later rebranding themselves in 1998 as the self-produced ensemble, Team Demolition.

Their 2023 compilation album, titled It’s A Demo, showcases a dynamic mix of both emerging talents and iconic figures in the industry. Featuring artists such as Wais P, Skyzoo, Planet Asia, Rome Streetz, Hus KingPin, Che Noir, Illa Ghee, Method Man, MC Eiht, Montage One, Termanology, Vado, Kingpen Slim, Sauce Money, Lil Fame, Nems, The Bad Seed, and Ras Kass, the album is set against Team Demo’s signature head nodding beats.

Release date: December 15, 2023.

K-Rino & Trajic - Seven Hour Block

With a career spanning four decades, Houston legend K-Rino has amassed a discography larger than most artists. Just one month after the release of Audio Optics, K-Rino returns with 7 Hour Block, a collaborative album produced by Trajic. While K-Rino’s lyrical prowess has always been unquestionable, some of his previous albums have been hindered by lackluster production. The decision to work with a single producer proves to be a wise choice as Trajic’s diverse but consistently strong beats elevate this album, making it one of K-Rino’s best offerings in recent times.

Release date: December 15, 2023.

Maze Overlay & Wino Willy - Equivalent Exchange

On the heels of Wino From Another Planet – one of the best albums released in November of 2023 – Wino Willy returns with this collaboration with Maze Overlay, Equivalent Exchange. While we prefer Wino From Another Planet, this dusty and laidback boom-bap album is a dope listen too.

Release date: December 12, 2023.

Planet Asia & MidaZ the BEAST - And 1 Rap Shit

Our favorite album from Planet Asia this year is his collaboration with Appolo Brown, Sardines. And for us, MidaZ the BEAST’s The Devil’s Playground, released in February 2023, is his best release of the year. And 1 Rap Sh*t is definitely worth a listen as well though, you won’t regret checking it out.

Release date: December 9, 2023.

Strange Dust - Strange Company

Minneapolis-based producer Strange Dust emerges with a compilation-style album filled with guest appearances. The project features Hip Hop heavyweights such as Blu, A-F-R-O, Tokyo Cigar, and Madlib collaborator Declaime. Known for his production in the group Glow Mechanics and for Montreal singer Mimo, Strange Company serves as a true representation of the vastness of his production quality. Recommended listening for any underground Hip Hop head.

Release date: December 8, 2023. 

Blu & Nottz - Afrika

Blu and Nottz’s Afrika is an interesting listen, but not as good as we’d expected. The subject matter and Nottz’s instrumentals get kind of samy and Blu has been better too. Some of the features – Tristate, Johaz, Eloh Kush, Montage One, Cashus King, G Kidd, Scienze, PCH, Black Shakespeare, Ayun Bassa, Shafiq Husayn, Black Spade, Dee Gray, Mickey Factz, Omah, Shad, Quelle Chris, Ill Camille, Bloodmoney Perez, Xiomara, and Definite Mass – shine, but it’s all a bit too much. Worth a listen, but not a top 2023 album, unfortunately.

Release date: December 8, 2023.

Napoleon Da Legend & Crazy DJ Bazarro - Yellow Cake

Long-time collaborators, friends, and Dysfunkshunal Familee group members Napoleon Da Legend and Crazy DJ Bazarro team up on their first joint full-length album, Yellow Cake. This album features Nejma Nefertiti, D-rock, Skeezo, Grae Wulf, Dro Pesci, Silvandgold, DJ Crocombo, and Manz Rivalz. Crazy DJ Bazarro provides solid boom-bap beats, and Napoleon Da Legend can always be relied upon to deliver dope bars and flows. Yellow Cake is a little bit too generic to stand out, and while it’s far from Napoleon Da Legend’s best work in recent years, it still is a worthwhile listen.

Release date: December 8, 2023.

Akai Solo - Verticality/Singularity

Akai Solo followed 2022’s excellent Spirit Roaming with two new albums, Only The Strong Remain and Verticality///Singularity in 2023. The former album is available exclusively on the new Break All Records website, while the latter is also on Bandcamp. Producers on the projects include Earl Sweatshirt, Nicholas Craven, Wavy Bagels, Roper Williams, August Fannon, TwentyFifthNight, and Pepper Adams.

While we still consider Spirit Roaming his best work, this Akai Solo double header undeniably showcases his evolution as an artist. While continuing to embrace a distinct left-field style, it also demonstrates a newfound accessibility compared to his earlier releases.

Release date: December 8, 2023.

Granuja & Jam Baxter - De Las Sombras

British emcee Jam Baxter, now based amidst Mexico City’s decay, cultivates a new existence, blending his surroundings into his art. With a balcony adorned with rare succulents, a notepad for lizard spotting, and a flea market typewriter, he crafted an album that transcends borders. Collaborating with Columbian rapper Granuja, who traded Medellín’s chaos for the hills of La Ceja, De las Sombras unfolds as a gothic, haunting spiral. Their cross-cultural exchange results in an album unified by doom. Life and death clash in a thick concoction, expertly soundtracked by haunting musical compositions. De las Sombras serves as an OST for supernatural flirtations, encapsulated by the castle on its artwork.

Release date: December 5, 2023.

Dave East & Cruch Calhoun - 30 For 30

Dave East never really fulfilled the promise he established with his early projects, but this collaboration with Cruch Calhoun proves to be a compelling listen, surpassing the quality of most of Dave East’s recent works. While there may not be enough here to make it stand out in the crowded Hip Hop landscape, it is undoubtedly worth a listen.

Release date: November 30, 2023.

Wino Willy - Wino from Another Planet

Hailing from Edison, New Jersey, and shaped by his Philadelphia roots, versatile producer Wino Willy’s Wino From Another Planet is a project that revolves around the narrative of The Wino, an escaped producer fleeing his home planet, reflected in its astral, psychedelic instrumentation and futuristic sound palette. Wino From Another Planet showcases Wino Willy’s prowess in forward-thinking boom-bap, firmly establishing him among today’s most creative underground Hip Hop producers.

The album offers a dope blend of boundless, spacey sounds infused with Afro-futuristic influences, defying categorization from the start. Taking listeners on a vibrant journey through time and space, it strikes a perfect balance between atmospheric, ethereal sonics and gritty boom-bap aesthetics.

Wino Willy’s diversity and mastery on the boards shine through in tracks like the kaleidoscopic “Fresh Cut Flowers” (featuring billy woods and MarQ Spekt), a vibrant display of sonics and imagery. “Slim Chance,” with Daniel Son and WRED featuring cuts by Giallo Point, encapsulates the layered surrealism of the album, combining celestial samples with a booming rhythm section. “The 364 Train To Babylon Is Running Late,” featuring Fatboi Sharif, adds an eerie, ambient-laced instrumental enhanced by Sharif’s ominous flows.

Featuring collaborations with standout names like billy woods of Armand Hammer, Fatboi Sharif, Daniel Son, Da Buze Bruvaz, Gabe ‘Nandez, and more, Wino From Another Planet is a mind-expanding record that brings Willy’s eclectic, progressive boom-bap sound to the forefront.

Release date: November 29, 2023. 

Living Legends - The Return

Living Legends’ The Return marks a momentous occasion for the group as it has been approximately 15 years since their last releaseHailing from Los Angeles, California, The Living Legends have established themselves as an influential alternative Hip Hop outfit. Consisting of Aesop, Bicasso, The Grouch & Eligh, Luckyiam, Scarub & Sunspot Jonz, they formed in 1996 alongside Arata and MURS. It wasn’t until the new millennium that they emerged as a cohesive unit with releases like Angelz Wit Dirty Faces (2000) and the subsequent Almost Famous (2001). Following these releases, they continued to make an impact in 2004 with Creative Differences and their previous LP, Classic, the following year. After a 15-year hiatus since their 2nd EP, The Gathering, the Living Legends are making a pretty strong comeback with their 5th full-length album.

The Return could be the pinnacle of the Living Legends’ career as a unit. The production blends old and new sounds while the guest performances (Del, Brother Ali, and Atmosphere appear, among others) maintain a consistent level of quality. However, this blend of old and new sounds does cause the album to be a bit of a mixed bag, as not all songs will resonate with every listener. Some tracks suffer from bland mainstream production and iffy hooks, but there are standout moments too such as the boom-bap banger, “Letterman.” It is clear that these guys are happy to be reunited – their energy and synergy are palpable, the wordplay is dope, and although we miss MURS’ presence, this album signifies a mostly glorious return for the West Coast outfit.

Release date: November 24, 2023. 

Tesla's Ghost & Purpose B​.​L​.​O​.​O​.​D (Blood Lines Of Original Dynasties)

In the collaborative effort B​.​L​.​O​.​O​.​D (Blood Lines Of Original Dynasties), London-based artist Tesla’s Ghost joins forces with Massachusetts rapper Purpose from Tragic Allies. Having been friends since the early days of Myspace, these comrades from the UK and USA came together for a compelling full-length LP. The album features notable guest appearances by Ray Vendetta, Estee Nack, and Code Nine.

This grimy, crime-themed street rap album showcases the remarkable synergy between the two, and their guests. With great wordplay and atmospheric beats, B​.​L​.​O​.​O​.​D stands out as one of the best underground projects released in November, offering a satisfying gritty and immersive experience.

Release date: November 24, 2023.

Deuce Ellis & Cee Gee - The Green Ouroboros

The Green Ouroboros is a collaboration production album by Deuce Ellis and Cee Gee with the help of DJ J-Ronin as the host of the project. The impressive feature list includes names such as Tragedy Khadafi, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Skyzoo, Shabaam Sahdeeq, and The Musalini – coupled with the dope beats throughout the whole album reasons enough to go check out this one.

Release date: November 23, 2023.

Hahyeem & Karbine - Far From Home

Bronx-based emcee Hahyeem teamed up with NYC producer Karbine for the 90’s inspired album Far From Home. Appealing jazzy boom-bap beats, and the 90s-centric flows to match them – this is a must-listen for fans of early 1990s East Coast Hip Hop.

Release date: November 23, 2023.

Mickey Diamond - Bangkok Dangerous 4

Keeping up with Mickey Diamond’s release schedule can be a challenge, but if you have to choose just one of his projects this year, Bangkok Dangerous 4 is an excellent choice. This album features a collaboration with a handful of talented producers such as Big Ghost Ltd., Nicholas Craven, Wino Willy, Finn, Camoflauge Monk, and Futurewave – among others. Over the course of 11 tracks, Bangkok Dangerous 4 offers nothing but atmospheric underground beats and raw, hard-hitting bars. Don’t sleep on Mickey Diamond.

Release date: November 20, 2023.

E-40 - Rule Of Thumb: Rule 1

Bay Area rap icon E-40, with over 30 years in the industry, continues to showcase his trademark wit on Rule Of Thumb: Rule 1. The repetitive nature of the production seems to work against him here though. Despite this, he displays his smooth idiosyncratic flow throughout the album, with most featured artists adding positive elements to their songs.

While it does offer a couple of strong tracks, Rule Of Thumb: Rule 1 will not be considered classic E-40 material. E-40 appears to be operating in legacy mode at this point, releasing music for the culture rather than elevating his catalog. Still, E-40 fans will undoubtedly dig Rule Of Thumb: Rule 1. 

Release date: November 17, 2023.

JasonMartin - A Compton Story

Despite A Compton Story being a solid listen with some well-executed West Coast-flavored tracks, the album’s overstacked feature list makes it feel more like a compilation album than one cohesive project. While JasonMartin is a talented rapper, the abundance of guest appearances detracts from the album’s best qualities. Nonetheless, A Compton Story is still worth a listen.

Release date: November 17, 2023.

Abyss Dwellas - Slum Hypnotix

Abyss Dwellas are Cosha Don and Deepstar The Abyss Dwella, a duo from the UK and Australia. Slum Hypnotix is a solid boom-bap project, with some interesting features to add extra spice – Edo G, Dirt Platoon, Eto, Melanin 9, Phoenix Da Icefire, Da Flyy Hooligan, Ray Vendetta, Micall Parknsun, Tesla’s Ghost, Arise King David, Logic, Amy True, Jerome Da Chef, Joe Smpte, Joe Smpte, DJ Technic, and DJ Rubix add their skills to this enjoyable 45-minute listen.

Release date: November 17, 2023.

Jamal Gasol & Sandy Solo - Good Chemistry

Niagara Falls-based rapper Jamal Gasol and German producer Sandy Solo teamed up for Good Chemistry, a dope little listen that’s part of the better half of the many many similar-sounding projects that dominate the underground these days.

Release date: November 17, 2023.

Crunch Lo, Rubbabandz & Ruste Juxx - Oxymorons

Introducing “Wu-Tang Meets Boot Camp Click,” an intriguing fusion of rap brilliance and playful contradictions. The term “Oxymoron,” known for combining opposing meanings, takes on a rap context where it’s cleverly divided into two meanings. “Oxy” represents sharpness or acuteness, while “Moron” denotes a person of low intelligence. This linguistic twist becomes the perfect metaphor for a rap group that balances razor-sharp intelligence with insane and super-dope lyrics.

Crafted as the brainchild of Shaka Amazulu The 7th, “Trilogy of Oxymorons” brings together talents from both the Wu-Tang Clan family and Boot Camp Click.  “Trilogy of Oxymorons” is set to release via Black Stone of Mecca, with a dynamic lineup featuring interchangeable members from Wu-Tang and Boot Camp Click. The constant force behind the production remains Cotardz, a producer from Brazil currently residing in Portugal and associated with BSOM, ensuring a cohesive and compelling sonic experience.

The first of the trilogy, Oxymorons, offers a dope blend of sharp intellect and bold creativity, and a skillful convergence of Wu-Tang and Boot Camp Click members under the unwavering guidance of Cotardz. The lineup for Oxymorons includes Rubbabandz from the Wu-Tang-affiliated G P Wu, Crunch-Lo from Othorized F.A.M, and Boot Camp Click’s Ruste Juxx. These three skilled MCs trade lyrical darts over Cotardz’s innovative sound production. Features from Cappadonna, The Holocaust, School of the Gifted, Shabazz the Disciple, Frukwan, Timbo King, Shaka Amazulu the 7th, and Rockness Monsta, and cuts by DJ Flipcyide add extra weight to what is a real banger.

Release date: November 17, 2023.

Cyrus Malachi - The Feather Of Tehuti

Cyrus Malachi’s The Feather of Tehuti delivers a dope dose of dusty, atmospheric boom-bap from the UK rap scene. The album stands out for its unwavering consistency and cohesive vibe, maintaining a haunting atmosphere throughout. Producer Safwan’s ominous beats and DJ Evil Ed’s cuts provide a solid backdrop for Cyrus Malachi’s distinctive gruff voice and raw rhymes. Don’t overlook Cyrus Malachi and his The Feather of Tehuti.

Release date: November 15, 2023.

Edo G - We Do Good

Solid 90s-centric boom-bap from the Boston legend, at a mere 33 minutes it fails to leave a lasting impression though.

Release date: November 14, 2023.

Sankofa - Kung Fu Buffet

Sankofa, the prolific rapper from Fort Wayne, is a force to be reckoned with as he continually delivers dope projects. Kung Fu Buffet is one of his best of the year: tasteful boom-bap beats and playful food-themed lyrics spanning 16 captivating tracks.

Release date: November 14, 2023.

Larry June & Cardo - The Night Shift

The collaborative efforts of this duo lack sonic evolution, maintaining a consistent style that may work for them but leaves room for a more varied approach. The Night Shift offers decent Bay Area music, suitable for a drive, but the structural similarities in every song become apparent quickly and the album struggles to hold interest. Larry June’s laid-back lyrical approach is noted, with moments of impact scattered throughout, but the majority of songs fail to leave a lasting impression. Our preference leans towards Larry June’s other 2023 LP, the more diverse The Great Escape, featuring production from The Alchemist.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

Element Bolo - Bolo

Bolo offers 48 minutes of hard beats and hard bars, with beats from Element Bolo and others and rhymes from a stacked group of featured artists, names like Termanology, Ea$y Money, Ruste Juxx, Nems, UFO Fev, Lil Fame, Wais P, XP the Marxman, and Krumbsnatcha most prominent among them. Generic, but enough dope tracks to give it some attention.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

San Quinn & C-Dubb - The Mob Hour Continues

San Francisco’s very own San Quinn teamed up with producer C-Dubb for a gangsta rap album that, while filled with cliches, manages to be an enjoyable ride. The subject matter might feel a bit overused over the decades, but C-Dubb’s g-funk-flavored beats bring fresh and infectious energy with just the right throwback vibes. San Quinn proves he can hold his own throughout the album, even with the surplus of guest appearances. If you’re a fan of 90s g-funk gangsta rap, The Mob Hour Continues is worth a listen.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

Rayne Storm - Audiocity II

Rayne Storm is a rapper and producer from Harlem, New York. Audiocity II is a solid producer’s album, for which Rayne Storm recruited a cadre of vocalists most of whom add value to his beats. Among the most notable artists to appear are Kurupt, Jadakiss, Benny the Butcher, Rick Ross, Cam’Ron, Yukmouth, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Krizz Kaliko, Young Buck, and Tragedy Khadafi. While the overall vibe leans towards the generic and forgettable, a couple of standout tracks emerge that might just deserve a spot on your playlist.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

Lord Apex - The Good Fight

UK rap trailblazer Lord Apex’s The Good Fight features a range of well-crafted tracks, the album includes original production from renowned beatmaker Madlib. The project also highlights substantial production contributions from DJ Khalil (known for collaborations with Dr. Dre and Eminem), Angus Luke, Pops & Crooklin, Black Noi$e, and Earbuds. With additional appearances from Freddie Gibbs, Greentea Peng, and MAVI, the collaboration between established US talent and emerging UK artists adds a layer of excitement to the album. While not necessarily a standout release of the year, The Good Fight is a commendable addition to Lord Apex’s catalog.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

Wiki & Tony Seltzer - 14K Figaro

Wiki’s 14K Figaro comes after an impressive string of collaborative projects with renowned artists such as The Alchemist, MIKE, Navy Blue, Subjxct5, and NAH. Tony Seltzer, a longtime collaborator who played a significant role in soundtracking Wiki’s earliest works, handles the entire production for this album. Guest features on the project include Remy Banks from World’s Fair, Zelooperz from Bruiser Brigade, and the prolific WifiGawd from D.C. Half God (2021) remains our personal favorite among Wiki’s projects thus far, and even if 14K Figaro is more forgettable in comparison, it still deserves a listen or two.

Release date: November 10, 2023. 

Raw Milk - Raw Milk

Raw Milk is a collaboration between The Suspect Allegedly and A-God The Old Soul. On Raw Milk, a fusion of underground Hip Hop with elements of psychedelic rock samples and new age concepts is explored, all delivered with a touch of humor, including features from Mo Rukuz, Jesse the Tree, Acumental (of the Palmer Squares), Skram and Mr.Credo. All tracks were produced by The Suspect Allegedly.

Release date: November 10, 2023.

Onry Ozzborn - BlvckBeachBoi

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Onry Ozzborn has played a pivotal role in the North-Western alternative Hip Hop scene. Co-founding acts like Grayskul, Dark Time Sunshine, and Oldominion, Onry Ozzborn has established himself as a notable rapper and producer. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with heavyweights such as Aesop Rock, Sleep, Mr. Lif, P.O.S, Slug, and Busdriver, while also consistently releasing solo and group projects since the late 1990s.

Onry Ozzborn’s 2023 solo project, BlvckBeachBoi, showcases dope rhymes over solid beats, all enveloped in a slightly dark and left-field vibe. Noteworthy producers Blockhead, Smoke M2D6, and Rain have contributed their craftsmanship to the album’s instrumentals, while guest artists Aesop Rock, AJ Suede, Pigeon John, DJ King Shameek, Jesse the Tree, and Caleb Bue add their flavor. BlvckBeachBoi is a great listen, a project that should not be overlooked.

Release date: November 3, 2023.

Jeezy - I Might Forgive, But I Don't Forget

Jeezy’s latest album proves that even after over 20 years in the rap game, he can still deliver a solid project. The sound resonates with the Jeezy we remember from the mid-2000s, capturing the essence of his iconic Thug Motivation through The Recession era.

Clocking in at 29 tracks without any features, the album manages to maintain its quality. While there might be a miss or two, they are easily overshadowed by the abundance of good or even great songs. The absence of features doesn’t hinder the overall experience, and the album remains consistently strong.

Typically, extended albums like this one tend to fall short, but Jeezy defies the norm. While it may not reach the heights of greatness, it surpasses any low expectations and proves to be a pleasant surprise. Jeezy’s consistent flow keeps the listener engaged throughout, even though some tracks may blend together due to similarities in sound and content.

Release date: November 3, 2023.

Elaquent - Rediscovery

Canadian producer Elaquent’s Rediscovery, released on the Mello Music Group label, delves into the complexities of adulthood, where the gains are often accompanied by a sense of loss. As we navigate the challenges of growing up, the album explores the struggle to preserve the joy and wonder that defined childhood. Pablo Picasso’s famous quote, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up,” encapsulates the underlying theme.

Rediscovery serves as a time capsule from the past while encapsulating Elaquent’s recent years, blending virtuosic production mastery with the playful creativity of pre-adolescence. Described as a return to form, the album reflects Elaquent’s desire to rediscover the elements in his life that bring happiness and reconnect with his inner child. From martial arts movies to video games, the record pays homage to the passions of his youth that he fell out of love with but has recently rekindled.

Spanning 14 tracks, Rediscovery transports listeners to the euphoria of initial ideation—a return to the mindset of a teenager in a small room with big dreams and unbridled passion. The album combines instrumental tracks with vocal features from artists like Skyzoo, Mathematik, SonnyJim, Dom Chronicles, Brittney Carter, Jazstarr, Ivan Ave, Brainorchestra, Namir Blade, Solar-C, Es, Chester Watson, and John Wells. It is one of Elaquent’s best projects, featuring a slightly more organic and laid-back approach compared to his recent works.

Release date: November 3, 2023.

Black Rob - Life Story 2

In the mid-90s, Black Rob inked a deal with Bad Boy Records, sharing the stage with heavy hitters like 112, Total, Faith Evans, and Ma$e. Riding the wave of excitement generated by his guest features, his 1999 debut LP, Life Story, snagged platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album’s standout track, “Whoa!”, peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100—Black Rob’s sole solo entry on the Hot 100 during his lifetime.

Sadly, Black Rob passed away in April 2021 at the age of 52. Life Story 2 emerges as his first posthumous release, boasting previously unheard recordings and collaborations with artists like Diddy, Kid Capri, Black Thought, Faith Evans, Sway Calloway, Joell Ortiz, Grandmaster Caz, and more. While Life Story 2 leans towards feeling like a compilation due to the surplus of guests, it is a solid posthumous album, honoring the late Bad Boy rapper with a blend of dope rhymes, beats, and a fitting tribute.

Release date: November 3, 2023.

K-Rino - Audio Optics

K-Rino, a legendary figure from the Houston Hip Hop scene, has consistently released albums almost every year since his debut, Stories From The Black Book, in 1993. While many of his albums share common traits such as lengthy runtimes (typically around an hour) and underwhelming cover art, it is K-Rino’s exceptional lyricism that truly sets him apart. This man’s ability to deliver powerful bars and impressive wordplay remains unwavering. His latest offering, Audio Optics, falls in line with his extensive discography. It is not his greatest work, yet far from his weakest. It serves as another solid addition to his already impressive catalog.

Release date: November 3, 2023.

WateRR & Machacha - Almighty

WateRR reaches new heights with ALMIGHTY, a collaboration with Copenhagen producer Machacha that stands out in the flow of WateRR’s recent string of releases. Amid various producer partnerships in recent years, WateRR discovers great synergy with Machacha, propelling both lyricism and production to the next level.

ALMIGHTY marks a peak in his recent discography, even surpassing the impressive standards set by his March 2023 release, Compendium Of Arcanum. Machacha’s production serves as the perfect backdrop for Waterr’s lyrical finesse, significantly contributing to the album’s quality. ALMIGHTY is a must-listen for fans of WateRR, underlining his growth and versatility, and undoubtedly one of the finest underground Hip Hop projects released in November of 2023.

Release date: November 1, 2023.

Shabaam Sahdeeq & John Jigg$ - Don't Feed The Bears

Shabaam Sahdeeq and John Jigg$ team up for Don’t Feed The Bears, a solid collaboration for 90s Hip Hop enthusiasts. The first single, “Tyrant,” offered a glimpse of the project’s hardcore, edgy boom-bap vibe. At a concise 33 minutes, it’s a good listen, though it falls slightly short of creating a truly memorable impact. Hus Kingpin, Spoda, Liteskin, Ethemadassassin, and Kimberly Bush appear for guest vocals, the beats are crafted by Tone Spliff, Tone Beats, DJ Goblin, BP, Shining 88, DJ King Flow, Swab, Kevlar 96, and Reese.

Release date: November 1, 2023.

Pink Siifu & Turich Benjy - It's Too Quiet…!!

Pink Siifu and Turich Benjy’s collaboration, It’s Too Quiet…’!, is a testament to Siifu’s relentless creativity. Following his March 2023 project, Leather Blvd., with Ahwlee, this album takes a bold step into mainstream rap territory, showcasing Siifu’s versatility without sacrificing his underground roots. The psychedelic vibes and experimental nature of It’s Too Quiet…!! make it a captivating listen, blending trippy and trappy elements. Siifu remains an artist who defies categorization, on this particular project offering something for both underground enthusiasts and those drawn to mainstream sensibilities.

Release date: October 31, 2023.

Substance810 & Hobgoblin - Death Waits In The Dark

Death Waits In The Dark is an ideal soundtrack for Halloween. Substance810, the talented emcee hailing from Port Huron, Michigan, delivers dope flows and wordplay on this project. The collaboration with British producer Hobgoblin proves to be a great match. Hobgoblin created an excellent collection of dark boom-bap beats, setting the stage for Substance810 to shine, along with guest rappers Pro Dillinger, Bub Styles, D-Styles, Jamil Honesty, and K-Prez. Without a doubt, this is one of the standout underground albums released in October of 2023.

Release date: October 31, 2023.

Squeak Ru & Diar Lansky - The Thug & The Hip-Hop Head

For The Thug & The Hip-Hop Head Inglewood rapper Squeak Ru hooked up with producer Diar Lansky. Containing high-profile appearances from the likes of MC Eiht, Money B, Lench Mob’s J-Dee, Tha Chill (Compton Most Wanted), and more, this well-rounded project provides an infectious blend of a West and East, with a classic vibe. The Thug & The Hip-Hop Head is a dope album.

Release date: October 31, 2023.

Shahmen - Circle Box Set

Los Angeles emcee B.L.S.’s flow and delivery are an acquired taste, but even those who can’t get with it will still want to check out Circle Box Set because of Amsterdam-based producer Sense’s excellent beats, which provide an atmospheric and gloomy backdrop that matches B.L.S.’s dark bars.

Release date: October 31, 2023.

DoggyStyleeee - All Doggs Go To Heaven

San Bernardino artist Doggystyleeee’s All Dogg’s Go To Heaven is West Coast G-funk by the numbers, but because of the tight production enjoyable enough to merit a listen. Some good features, most notable by the big dog himself, Snoop Dogg.

Release date: October 31, 2023. 

FastLife & Madhattan - Fear City

Dozens of similar-sounding underground Hip Hop projects out this year, but still not bad at all – plenty of dope beats and bars on Fear City.

Release date: October 31, 2023. 

Kool Keith - World Area

World Area is the fourth full-length release by Kool Keith in 2023 and the second one in October. We absolutely loved Serpent, considering it one of Kool Keith’s best releases in the past decade. We really enjoyed Black Elvis 2 and found Mr. Controller to be quite decent. However, when it comes to World Area, we feel it falls short compared to his other 2023 releases. The self-produced beats vary in quality, and content-wise, it feels like more of the same. We are Kool Keith fans, but even for us, there are moments where we feel enough is enough. World Area is a must-listen for die-hard Kool Keith completionists, but for others, we recommend starting elsewhere, perhaps with one of his top 30 albums.

Release date: October 27, 2023.

DJ Hoppa - Hoppa and Friends 3

DJ Hoppa is a producer/DJ from the San Fernando Valley, California. This short project offers a selection of nice cuts, nothing especially memorable, but listenable enough also because of vocal contributions of Logic, Marlon Craft, K.A.A.N., Del the Funky Homosapien, Joey Cool, Grieves, AWOL One, and Slug (among others).

Release date: October 27, 2023.

Verb T & Vic Grimes - The Tower Where The Phantom Lives

UK rap icon Verb T makes a triumphant return with The Tower Where The Phantom Lives, a dope addition to his impressive discography of solo and group works. Demonstrating Verb T at his razor-sharp best, this LP, rich in contrasting emotions and energies, navigates the realms of fiction and fantasy while grappling with the curveballs of everyday life.

Accompanied by the melodically crafted production of Vic Grimes, a Canadian producer who proves to be an ideal ally, Verb T skillfully deconstructs the world at large. With each track, the collaboration unfolds like a psychological thriller, with mental exploration, self-deprecating humor, and didactic storytelling seamlessly woven together. The haunting movie samples enhance the overall experience, giving the album the feel of an original soundtrack.

The Tower Where The Phantom Lives is akin to a narrative arc, with each track serving as a scene that propels the captivating story forward. In this musical odyssey, Verb T takes on the lead role, while Vic Grimes serves as the composer, creating extreme highs and lows that eventually settle into a contemplative groove on the final track and lead single, ‘Your Heart Deserves.’

Release date: October 27, 2023.

Eddie Kaine & BP Infinite - House Of Kaine

House of Kaine, the latest offering from Brooklyn artist Eddie Kaine, is a solid project worth checking out. The production, handled by BP Infinite, showcases a selection of smooth boom-bap beats that complement Eddie Kaine’s flows nicely. While the beats on House of Kaine may not be particularly memorable, they still provide a solid foundation for Eddie Kaine to showcase his way above-average rapping skills. For the best Eddie Kaine listening experience, we recommend checking out A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Eddie Kaine’s collaboration with Big Ghost Ltd. in 2021, which we consider his best work to date.

Release date: October 27, 2023.  


MENACE by California-based producer NappyHIGH is a meticulously curated boom-bap project, where grit and melodic innovation collide. The guest artist lineup includes Westside Gunn, Raekwon, Benny the Butcher, Mick Jenkins, Blu, and Your Old Droog – these well-known artists on the project shine alongside the lesser-known talents present, each artist holding their own and adding value to the album as a whole.

Release date: October 27, 2023.

John Jigg$ - Jigganometry 2

Jigganometry 2, the follow-up to the superior first Jigganometry (2020) by Long Island native John Jigg$, is an okay project. There’s nothing wrong with the features or the beats, but it all feels a bit too middle-of-the-road to warrant frequent rotation.

Release date: October 27, 2023. 

King Iso - iLLdren

King Iso, a rapper hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, is signed to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label. His rap style was influenced by acts like Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and the West Coast and Mid-West chopper scene, which he discovered during his teenage years. Similar to King Iso’s previous albums and most other releases from Strange Music, iLLdren is not a fashionable short 25-minute project, but rather a colossal 70-minute album.

Featuring bombastic beats, rapid-fire flows, and moments of deep subject matter, King Iso never takes the easy route. Enjoyment of his music ultimately depends on whether you can vibe with his unique rap style. However, fans of the music that emerges from Tech N9ne’s camp are bound to appreciate this latest offering from King Iso, which is one of his best works to date.

Release date: October 27, 2023. 

DJ Fresh - The Tonite Show

Solid West Coast Hip Hop from renowned Oakland-based producer DJ Fresh. A large cast of guests add to the quality of the fresh beats, names like Jay Worthy, E-40, Larry June, Curren$y, Payroll Giovanni, Paul Wall, Trae Tha Truth, Stalley, Nef the Pharoah, and Mistah F.A.B. among the best-known features.

Release date: October 27, 2023.

Violence In The Media - Violence In The Media 2

Violence in the Media, a duo consisting of Fashawn and Ramses, dropped an interesting little project with Violence in the Media 2. We know Fashawn is a dope rapper of course, and Ramses holds his own. The content is thought-provoking at times and entertaining throughout. At barely over 30 minutes the album is too short to really leave an impression though, and the quality of the beats is variable. Still, there is something special here, something that invites repeated listens.

Release date: October 23, 2023. 

Kidz In The Hall - Adulting Anonymous

Former Rawkus Records signees Kidz In The Hall’s Adulting Anonymous is a worthwhile listen, offering a blend of chilled-out, melodic boom-bap with thought-provoking lyrics and dope wordplay. While some listeners may prefer less singing on the hooks, those who enjoy a more laid-back style of Hip Hop should give Adulting Anonymous a chance.

Release date: October 23, 2023. 

Barbaric & Alvarez - Grenade Rap 2

Rochester, New York’s rap duo, Barbaric and Alvarez, return with Grenade Rap 2, a sequel to their earlier project, delivering a dose of explosive boom-bap heat. The duo, signed to Grenade Rap Records, raises the bar this time with a blend of lyrical weaponry and production reminiscent of the 90s golden era.

The album boasts a roster of producers including 58Fever, Masta Conga, Thanos Beats, and more, contributing to a sound that pays homage to Hip Hop’s past. Special guest verses from emcees such as MAV, Mooch, Zagnif Nori, M Doc Diego, and Crotona P, along with cuts & scratches by Cut Supreme, add a layer of diversity to the project.

Grenade Rap 2 successfully captures the essence of the 90s era, without necessarily breaking new ground or offering a fresh perspective. The craftsmanship of the beats and the collaboration with guest emcees contribute to the album’s strengths, making it a commendable addition to the duo’s catalog.

Release date: October 20, 2023.

Joey Majors - I Did It My Way

Joey Majors’ I Did It My Way, falls into the middle-of-the-road category of Hip Hop, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It possesses a blend of underground vibes and mainstream sensibilities, making it suitable for everyone, yet perhaps lacking a distinct appeal for any specific audience. The inclusion of various featured artists such as Raekwon, Capone, Jim Jones, Musiq Soulchild, Cheri Pye, Kross, J’Rell, Bolo, and Tiki, hints at the diversity you can expect from this album.

Release date: October 20, 2023.

Vic Spencer & August Fanon - Psychological Cheat Sheet 4

Chicago rapper Vic Spencer has consistently delivered impressive music, releasing multiple noteworthy projects each year. Among our personal favorites are his Spencer For Higher series alongside Sonnyjim and the Psychological Cheat Sheet albums. Continuing this trend, Psychological Cheat Sheet 4 showcases Vic Spencer’s unique style over beats once again entirely produced by the underappreciated August Fanon. Fanon always brings his own authentic touch to his production, and the ethereal instrumentals on this album are flawlessly tailored for Vic Spencer’s distinct baritone voice, off-beat flow, and stream-of-consciousness rhymes. While Psychological Cheat Sheet 3 remains our favorite of the series, this fourth part is a dope listen too.

Release date: October 20, 2023.

Anthony Kannon & Frost Gamble - Cautionary Tales

In the realm of a New York State mindset, rapper Anthony Kannon and producer Frost Gamble join forces on the compelling Cautionary Tales. Anthony Kannon, recognized as “Best Rapper” at the Ithaca Music Awards in 2019, brings forth a captivating narrative drawn from his own life battles and traumatic episodes. The aptly titled Cautionary Tales encapsulates a remarkable journey through a series of biographical depictions, all united by a theme of survival, escape, progression, and transformation.

From witnessing family upheaval at a tender age to overcoming street hustles as a talented athlete, the album delves into the harsh realities of life without glamourization. Surrounded by betrayals, dangers, and loss, Kannon’s journey to new horizons remains undaunted, addressing the challenges of breaking free from the shackles and perceptions held by the street. The themes are handled with impressive maturity, especially in the aftermath of a life-changing experience where trauma was transformed into a new level of focus.

In this latest venture, Kannon collaborates with local veteran producer Frost Gamble, a rap battler turned producer with an impressive international reception since the 1990s. Their partnership is a testament to their shared passion for their home state and their commitment to producing authentic, powerful storytelling set to a high-caliber soundtrack.

Cautionary Tales is an authentically powerful narrative, a storyville of a life less ordinary, accompanied by a dope soundtrack that echoes the duo’s earlier body of works.

Release date: October 20, 2023.

Unscathed & C-Lance - My Dad's Favorite Album

My Dad’s Favorite Album is a collaborative album from rapper Unscathed and producer C-Lance, featuring Celph Titled, Apathy, Recognize Ali, Lord Goat (Goretex), Wildcard, G-Mo Skee, Tone Spliff, Novatore, Justin Cohen, OutcastGawd Lord EL. Grimy, hard-nosed boom-bap mixed with some deeper moments, with C-Lance beats that always have a special vibe to them – this a dope little underground banger.

Release date: October 17, 2023.

Pugs Atomz - Mookie On The Southside

Pugs Atomz introduces Mookie On The Southside, a musical companion to his art exhibit of the same name, reflecting his experiences in Englewood, Chicago. Produced by DJ Real One and Cache 22, with features by Thaione Davis, Shawn Dippington, Hexsagon, and others, the 12-song album presents a snapshot of Pugs Atomz’s hometown journey. The production quality is solid throughout the album, with DJ Real One and Cache 22 providing a fitting backdrop for Pugs Atomz’s storytelling.

In terms of Pugs Atomz’s background, his extensive discography and long-standing role as a radio host on WHPK FM showcase his commitment to the craft. Additionally, his mural art and the USUWE clothing line speak to his broader artistic ventures.

Mookie On The Southside successfully captures elements of Englewood’s history and culture but lacks the true depth and innovation to make it really memorable in a crowded Hip Hop landscape. It’s a good addition to Pugs Atomz’s body of work though, and merits a listen.

Release date: October 14, 2023.

Manco Wilder - There Is No Sunrise Yet To Come

Manco Wilder’s The Phantom Of The Corner Store is one of our favorite projects released in January of this year, and his second full-length of 2023 is just as strong. The hard-hitting beats on There Is No Sunrise Yet To Come are dope as f, and the bars match the grit laid down by the music. If you’re only going to explore one artist in the underground scene that you haven’t delved into before, make it Manco Wilder—an artist worth keeping a close eye on.

Release date: October 13, 2023.

Tres Aurland & C. Ray - Triumph

Tres Aurland, an artist from Lexington, Kentucky, has unleashed a colossal album with Triumph. Clocking in at 24 tracks and 86 minutes, this is not a brief listen. Despite its length, Triumph still manages to be a mostly enjoyable experience. The producer, C. Ray, presents a varied selection of beats, while Tres Aukland showcases his versatility by switching up his flow and delivery throughout. It’s difficult to categorize this album, so the best way to appreciate it is to give it a listen yourself – you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Release date: October 13, 2023.

Westside Gunn - And Then You Pray for Me

Westside Gunn - And Then You Pray for Me | Review

And Then You Pray for Me (also known as Pray for Paris 2) is the fifth and final studio album from Westside Gunn, following up his October 2022 mixtape, 10. We’ve always vibed with the Griselda aesthetic and respected Westside Gun’s artistic vision and business acumen. However, we’ve never been fervent supporters of WSG the emcee. It’s a bit hard to connect with a 40-something man who spits bars sounding like a 10-year-old, not to mention his tendency to overdo those trademark adlibs that can get, well, annoying.

The beat selection on this project is more diverse than on most earlier WSG albums and tapes, which might be why it feels a bit hit-or-miss. The sequencing, unfortunately, is a bit messy too, taking us on a rollercoaster ride from trap to boom-bap and back again. The transitions are abrupt, and the album’s atmosphere undergoes a complete overhaul at every turn. The result is an album with some highs but also plunging lows. Both trap enthusiasts and boom-bap fanatics will likely curate their own playlists from this release, but it seems neither camp will fully embrace the entire album.

Regrettably, this might be Westside’s weakest effort since Who Made The Sunshine. It’s a project where a lot of people showed up, but the man himself not so much. His rapping is not very good here, with some lumbering and awkward flows, especially on the trap-infused tracks but even on the more traditional Griselda cuts. Parts of the album sound inexplicably cheap; Miguel the Plug’s overinvolvement in production raises eyebrows.

The features on this album are a mixed bag—ranging from phoned-in to fire. While we get a sample of JID’s incredible writing or Boldy James and Rome Streetz delivering strong features for Griselda (even if it is over weak beats), we also have to get through annoying Conductor Williams (‘we have a problem’ with that same old bit on every damn song he produces) or DJ Drama shouts and limp contributions from the likes of Rick Ross, Ty Dolla $ign, and others. There’s potential for a dope 12-track album buried in the 75-minute and 21-song tracklist, but in its current form, it is a disappointing final chapter for Griselda’s head honcho.

Release date: October 13, 2023.

Paul Wall & Termanology - Start Finish Repeat

Paul Wall and Termanology are back with a follow-up to their critically acclaimed solid first album as a duo, Start 2 Finish. This new collaborative LP is a perfectly fine listen as well, but also kind of forgettable, despite guest input from big names such as AZ, CL Smooth, Bun B, Large Professor, Big K.R.I.T., and Sheek Louch (among others). Good, but not great.

Release date: October 13, 2023.

OT the Real & araabMUZIK - ZOMBIE

Released on Benny The Butcher’s Black Soprano Family label, ZOMBIE is a strong collaborative album from AraabMuzik and OT The Real, with tight production, great features, and overall quality contemporary Hip Hop.

Release date: October 13, 2023.

Elcamino - They Spit On Jesus

Another Black Soprano Family label release, Elcamino’s latest album is a typical product from the larger Griselda family. While it still maintains an underground feel, They Spit On Jesus is more mainstream-sounding compared to most of Elcamino’s other releases, which are usually under 30 minutes and therefore too short to make it onto our album lists. This project features appearances from Inspectah Deck, Havoc, Benny the Butcher, Fuego Base, Armani Caesar, Zion deLion, Loveboat Luciano, and King Ralph, adding extra prestige to the album. Look past the controversial cover art, They Spit On Jesus is a strong Elcamino project.

Release date: October 6, 2023.

Eto & Body Bag Ben - Integrity 2

Body Bag Ben is undeniably one of the dopest producers in the game, and alongside Eto, they deliver a knockout performance on this kick-ass follow-up to the first Integrity album released back in 2019. Packed with hard-hitting beats and razor-sharp bars, Integrity 2 stands out among the crowded landscape of gritty underground boom-bap. Without a doubt, it is one of the best projects of its sort released in 2023.

Release date: October 6, 2023.

Kool Keith - Mr. Controller

Mr. Controller is Kool Keith’s third full-length album of 2023, following the impressive Serpent collaboration with Real Bad Man and the commendable Black Elvis 2. In contrast to its 2023 predecessors, Mr. Controller feels more like a Kool Keith ‘quickie,’ aligning itself with numerous other projects in his extensive catalog. The album comes across as somewhat scattered and unfocused, with beats—handled entirely by French DJ and music producer Junkaz Lou—that range from hit to miss. Kool Keith’s bars, true to form, deliver his signature bizarre stream-of-consciousness imagery and crazy choruses, featuring a heavy dose of pornographic references (with his anal fixation on full display), and critical commentary on the music industry and fellow rappers, like always.

For those not already initiated into the realm of Kool Keith fandom, Mr. Controller may warrant a pass – Serpent and Black Elvis 2 are better bets. However, avid Kool Keith enthusiasts like us will find themselves liking this release, probably acknowledging that it may not rank among his best efforts but embracing it because of Kool Keith’s unique charm nonetheless.

Release date: October 6, 2023.

Pro Dillinger & Snotty - The Steiner Brothers

The Steiner Brothers is a dope collaboration between Pro Dillinger and Snotty, following the template so many artists in the underground follow these days: (too) concise at just over 30 minutes, atmospheric boom-bap beats, and hard-nosed raps. The only thing different about this project is there’s only one guest (Mickey Diamond on “Texas Tornado”), which is a plus in our book – this doesn’t feel like a random compilation but like a cohesive album. The Steiner Brothers is a good listen.

Release date: October 5, 2023.

Rim - Rimbrandt 2: Metal Canvas

NYC rapper Rim, one-half of Davillins, dropped a strong project with Rimbrandt 2: Metal Canvas. The beats are dope, Rim’s voice and flow are different from most other rappers, and the features – the likes of Guilty Simpson, Napoleon Da Legend, Planet Asia, Ty Farris, Rome Streetz, and Eddie Kane appear (among others) – add value. A must-listen for underground Hip Hop fans.

Release date: October 4, 2023.

SmooVth & Giallo Point - The Hempstead Tape

Not as good as Amongst Wolves, their 2021 collaborative album, but still plenty good. Giallo Point never disappoints with his production, and SmooVth’s laidback flow is a joy to listen to as always.

Release date: October 3, 2023.

Heaven Razah - Rabbi Razah Rubiez

The outstanding Razah’s Ladder (2007), Hell/Heaven Razah’s collaboration with production team Blue Sky Black Death will probably forever be the best album of the Wu-Tang affiliate. Rabbi Razah Rubiez is one of the many recent Heaven Razah projects and one of his better ones this decade.

Release date: October 1, 2023. 

Mansdem - Duck Soup

Duck Soup by Mansdem is a brief but promising project, clocking in at just over 30 minutes. It’s a bit of a shame that the runtime is on the shorter side because, with a bit more substance added to the tracklist, this album might have secured a spot on our best-of-the-year list.

The entire project is produced by Swedish maestro Filip Neuf, and Austin-based emcee Mansdem brings his A-game. Despite the brevity, Mansdem manages to carve out a unique sound that stands out, thanks in part to Filip Neuf’s slightly experimental production. The collaboration results in a dope little project that showcases both the emcee’s skills and the producer’s creative flair. While it leaves you wanting more, Duck Soup is undeniably a commendable effort that hints at the potential for even greater future endeavors from Mansdem and Filip Neuf.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Lord Sko - United Palace

“At only 19 years old, NYC native Lord Sko has positioned himself as the true-school Hip Hop revivalist that every Hip Hop head should have on their radar. Sko is proof that classic Hip Hop is not lost in the new generation of rising artists and music lovers alike; he is a true student of the genre’s rich culture, and his innate storytelling abilities and undeniable flow leave listeners with a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh. A master of his craft, Sko makes it known that he is not confined by any restrictive boxes – his personality, unique interests, and fashion sense set him aside from his counterparts.”

Although the cover art of Lord Sko’s sophomore full-length album may suggest a resemblance to Big L’s classic 1995 debut album Lifestylez ov da Poor & DangerousUnited Palace is genuinely its own unique album. Lord Sko’s voice and style differ from Big L’s too, but he is still a skilled rapper. With his good voice and dope flow, Lord Sko establishes himself as a promising up-and-comer with this LP. Infused with nostalgic vibes mixed with fresh accents throughout, United Palace is a strong album from start to finish.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Swab - The Spy Ring

The Spy Ring is one of the best producer’s albums released in September of 2023. Swab crafted a set of dope boom-bap instrumentals, and his music is elevated by some of the underground finest rhymers: Copywrite, Substance810, Supreme Cerebral, Rim, M.A.V., John Jigg$, Josiah the Gift, GeneralBackPain, Maze Overlay, Mickey Diamond, Ty Farris, Dango Forlaine, Ronnie Alpha, Che Uno, 9th Uno, Nowaah the Flood, Ethemadassassin, Guy Grams, Mental Da God, and Empuls are the emcees who add vocal power to the banging beats.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Mickey Diamond & Camoflauge Monk - Capital Gains

On Capital Gains, producer Camoflauge Monk lays down some of his finest work, and Mickey Diamond truly finds his groove on these beats. This marks Mickey’s standout project of the year, and the bonus? All the featured artists—Jamil Honesty, Cise Greeny, Big Trip, Substance810, Snotty, Pro Dillinger, and Mvck Nyce— bring their A-game too, making Capital Gains an underground Hip Hop must-listen.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Daniel Son & Wino Willy - Gris-Gris

Gris Gris is another strong outing from Canadian underground emcee Daniel Son. Entirely produced by Wino Willy, this short album features nothing but dope beats and bars. There’s not enough here to really set it apart from all the similar-sounding projects out these days, but this one comfortably fits in the top segment of this kind of underground boom-bap nonetheless.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Rome Streetz - Noise Kandy 5

Noise Kandy 5 is the fifth installment in the Noise Kandy mixtape series by Griselda affiliate Rome Streetz. While this isn’t on the same level as last year’s Kiss The Ring LP or this year’s Wasn’t Built In A DayNoise Kandy 5 is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Plenty of hard-ass grimy beats and bars, and Rome continues to be one of the best emcees out of the Griselda camp.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Hemlock Ernst & Height Keech - The Fall Collection

Hemlock Ernst, the rap alter ego of Samuel T. Herring, renowned as the frontman for Baltimore’s indie synth-rock band Future Islands, collaborates with Baltimore rapper and producer Height Keech for The Fall Collection. Following the success of Hemlock Ernst’s 2019 joint venture with Kenny Segal, Back At The HouseThe Fall Collection is another formidable album.

Attempts by rock singers who try to rap are more often miss than hit, but Hemlock Ernst pulls it off again, owing much to the dope instrumentals crafted by Height Keech. The hard-hitting drums provide an ideal canvas for Hemlock Ernst’s raspy and soulful delivery, whether he’s spitting verses or singing hooks. The chemistry between the two artists is palpable, emerging as a defining strength of the album.

Cohesiveness is a hallmark of The Fall Collection, featuring 14 tracks exclusively produced by Height Keech and vocals solely delivered by Hemlock Ernst, except for a standout feature by billy woods on “Inherit My Speech.” Absent are additional features or distractions, contributing to the album’s tight and focused nature. With its finely tuned blend of production and vocals, The Fall Collection rightfully earns its place on this list.

Release date: September 29, 2023.

Joey Majors & Eto - Plausible Deniability

Upstate, NY artists Joey Majors and Eto dropped a dope little project with Plausible Deniability. Cinematic beats and entertaining bars, but nothing especially memorable here to elevate it above all the similar projects out this year. Worth a listen though.

Release date: September 29, 2023. 

Mike, Wiki & The Alchemist - Faith Is A Rock

For Faith Is A Rock, MIKE and Wiki, representing New York, join forces with legendary producer The Alchemist for their inaugural full-length collaboration. The beats, laden with rich samples and crafted by The Alchemist, set the stage for a natural chemistry between MIKE and Wiki that feels like a natural musical kinship.

With The Alchemist at the helm, the production is undeniably fire, and MIKE and Wiki rise to the occasion. The project unfolds with vibey flows and sharp rhymes, creating a sonically pleasing experience. However, there’s a sense that the project could benefit from a bit more energy and focus. While it’s a short ride at just over 30 minutes, it leaves you pondering whether a different structure and delivery could have elevated the overall cohesion.

Despite that, Faith Is a Rock remains a testament to the individual prowess of MIKE, Wiki, and The Alchemist. With a few tweaks, this project could have reached greater heights, but it’s an enjoyable collaboration that hints at the potential for future collaborations.

Release date: September 22, 2023.

Nick Grant - Sunday Dinner

Nick Grant has truly hit his peak with Sunday Dinner, the best project in his career so far. This soulful endeavor showcases not only fire bars and personal storytelling but also reflects a high level of thoughtfulness and execution. The album’s production choices complement each other well, resulting in a remarkably cohesive album that weaves a beautiful narrative. Nick’s rapping skills shine brightly, and the gospel style infused throughout the album adds a great extra layer. Ever since he came on the scene with his ’88 mixtape in 2016 and his well-received debut, Return of the Cool, this South Carolina native has consistently built on his reputation, and this LP is a testament to his growth and artistry.

Release date: September 22, 2023.

Paradime - Period.

Paradime’s Period is more than a comeback; it’s a testament to resilience and artistic evolution. After a 12-year hiatus, the Detroit rapper and producer has crafted a career-defining LP that dives deep into personal struggles, the essence of Detroit, and the complex facets of life.

Opening with “The Porch,” Paradime takes us on a nostalgic journey through Detroit’s past, reminiscing about an era when authenticity reigned in Hip Hop. The album effortlessly shifts between gritty Hip Hop beats, soulful melodies, and jazz-inspired instrumentation, creating a sonic landscape that mirrors the city’s beauty and pain.

“It’s Okay” hits hard as Paradime lays bare his battles with addiction, financial struggles, and the hope that the IRS forgets his number. The raw vulnerability and resilience showcased in this track set the tone for the album. “Annie” is a poignant love song, revealing Paradime’s tender side, but the emotional core lies in “September 22,” a heartbreaking confession of Paradime’s fight against alcoholism, acknowledging years lost and the ongoing struggle for sobriety. The album concludes with “Make My Way,” a reflective piece where Paradime questions the future of his career while affirming his enduring love for music.

Honesty and vulnerability define Period. Paradime fearlessly raps about personal struggles, creating a relatable and moving narrative. The production, featuring collaborations with top-notch producers like Apollo Brown and Charlie Beans, is a standout element. The beats are fresh, and innovative, and perfectly complement Paradime’s bars.

Period isn’t a one-time listen; it demands multiple plays to really appreciate it. This album is a celebration of talent, resilience, and the enduring power of honest storytelling.

Release date: September 22. 2023.

Joey Cool - Enjoy The View

Kansas City’s Joey Cool has been busy building a pretty strong catalog over the last few years. Released on Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label, Enjoy The View has some of the bombast usually present on Tech N9ne’s own albums, even if it is more toned down – Joey is Cool. Close to an hour of music, Enjoy The View is a fully realized piece of music, arguably Joey Cool’s best yet.

Release date: September 22, 2023.

Vic Mensa - Victor

Chicago-based Roc Nation representer Vic Mensa’s sophomore album Victor, offers a mix of flavors that caters to a broad spectrum. There’s something for everyone here, Mensa seemingly trying to strike a balance between underground vibes and mainstream appeal. While not particularly vibing with the auto-tuned crooning on certain bland trap tracks, we can definitely get down with some of the more gritty, boom-bap-infused cuts. Victor finds its groove but perhaps doesn’t quite hit the high notes we were hoping for.

Release date: September 15, 2023.

Mike Flips, Nord1kone & Seize - Life Cycles

Producers Mike Flips and Seize join forces to create a nostalgic soundscape of classic boom-bap beats, setting the stage for the nimble lyricism of Outsiders Syndicate emcee Nord1kone. In Life Cycles, we’re taken on a journey through time and introspection, with lyrical prowess that bridges the gap between the past and the future.

This album is an entertaining sonic experience that pays homage to the roots of Hip Hop while gazing forward to new horizons. The inclusion of guest appearances by El Da Sensei from the legendary Artifacts and the talented Outsiders Syndicate emcee The I.M.F. adds a bit more depth and dimension to the project.

Life Cycles is a testament to the enduring power of classic boom-bap, skillfully revitalized by Mike Flips and Seize and elevated by Nord1kone’s lyrical finesse. If you’re a fan of Hip Hop that pays homage to its heritage, this album deserves a spot in your rotation. It’s a bridge between the golden era and the ever-evolving future of the genre, and it’s definitely worth a listen.

Release date: September 8, 2023.

NapsNdreds & Nottz - Photos From The Darkroom

Photos From The Darkroom is one of NapsNdred’s best projects to date, helped by engaging production by Nottz, who can usually be relied upon to craft dope beats. Features by DJ Revolution, Cyrus DeShield, Hus Kingpin, DJ Eclipse, and D.V. Alias Khryst add extra flavor. Not memorable enough to really stand out in the quality-filled month of September 2023, but Photos From The Darkroom definitely deserves a mention here.

Release date: September 8, 2023.

Fat Tony & Taydex - I Will Make A Baby In This Damn Economy

Houston’s Fat Tony, a champion of underground Hip Hop’s DIY spirit, shines on I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy. Produced entirely by Los Angeles-based producer Taydex, this album cements Fat Tony’s status as a skilled rapper. Taydex’s versatile production spans various styles, from bass to house to hyperpop.

The album takes listeners on a captivating journey, showcasing Fat Tony’s lyrical prowess. His storytelling prowess shines as he delves into personal experiences and social issues. The album’s sequencing creates an emotional arc, balancing introspective moments with reflections on his career. Recorded in Taydex’s North Hollywood studio, the album exudes freedom and flexibility, resulting in a creative yet accessible project.

Release date: August 25, 2023.

Da Flyy Hooligan & Kong the Artisan - F O M A (Fundamentals of Musical Art)

London-based emcee Da Flyy Hooligan has been going strong for a while, and he keeps the momentum burning bright with F O M A (Fundamentals of Musical Art). His previous works, such as the 2021 collaborative project Flyyghost (alongside producer Teslas Ghost) and Ben Kingsley (featuring production by Micall Parknsun), left a strong impact. With F O M A, Da Flyy Hooligan continues this hot streak.

The album serves as a testament to Hooligan’s remarkable versatility, showcasing his adeptness in various styles, from the raw energy of street-hop to his prowess as a lyricist, and even delving into reflective rhymes that strike a chord.

With F O M A (Fundamentals of Musical Art), Da Flyy Hooligan once again proves his mettle and leaves listeners eager to witness the next chapter in his artistic journey.

Release date: August 25, 2023. 

DJ Muggs - Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley

DJ Muggs’ Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley marks a highly anticipated chapter in the series, a long-awaited release after 23 years since the second volume. This installment follows in the footsteps of the classic Soul Assassins album from 1997, a notable benchmark for producer-led projects.

Uniting a diverse array of MCs from all eras, DJ Muggs showcases his signature style by offering them his meticulously crafted sonic canvases. The album features an impressive lineup including Slick Rick, B-Real, MC Ren, Ice Cube, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Scarface, Devin the Dude, CeeLo Green, Evidence, Boldy James,  Westside Gunn, Roc Marciano, Rome Streetz, Meyhem Lauren, and Freddie Gibbs. These voices seamlessly blend with Muggs’ instrumentals, forming cohesive and engaging soundscapes.

DJ Muggs’ instrumental work remains as commendable as ever, setting the tone with atmospheric and fitting backdrops that allow the emcees to thrive. While the album might not boast immediate standout tracks that embed themselves firmly in memory, it does offer a consistent level of quality throughout – with “Metropolis” (with Method Man and Slick Rick) and “Dump On Em” (with B-Real, MC Ren, and Ice Cube) as easy favorites for the 90s-crowd, even if it’s evident Muggs’ production style is especially suited for the voices and flows of the likes of Roc Marci, Boldy James, and Rome Streetz.

Soul Assassins 3: Death Valley carries an undeniably strong appeal. While it doesn’t aim for groundbreaking uniqueness, it certainly stands out as a notable producer album this year. DJ Muggs strikes a balance between his skillful craftsmanship and collaborative energy, resulting in a release that contributes meaningfully to this year in Hip Hop.

Release date: August 25, 2023.

Nems & Scram Jones - Rise Of The Silverback

Hard beats and hard bars. Battle rapper Nems is a skilled emcee, but his constant tough-guy posturing can get kind of tiring (especially when realizing he’s 40 years old, too old for his juvenile ‘f your life’ act). The beats and flows on Rise Of The Silverback are entertaining though.

Release date: August 18, 2023. 

Zilla Rocca & Jason Griff - Stacking Chips

Zilla Rocca, a Philadelphia-based emcee and member of The Wrecking Crew, teamed up with Chicago producer Jason Griff to create the dynamic offering Stacking Chips. The album features a host of familiar Zilla Rocca collaborators, including Shrapknel, Defcee, ZeroStar, SolarFive, Ace Cannons, Skech185, Milc, Alaska, Jesse the Tree, andrew, and Alex Ludovico. Their collective involvement imparts a palpable sense of camaraderie and unity to the album.

The beats are crisp, with a perfect balance of old-school and new-school influences. The rhymes are sharp and witty, with a lot of clever wordplay, fun trash-talking, and some sharp social commentaries and pop culture references. Each artist brings their own unique flavor to the table, creating a rich and varied soundscape. Overall, Stacking Chips is a dope album that is sure to please fans of underground Hip Hop.

Release date: August 18, 2023.

Killah Priest - Vedic Vape Room

Vedic Vape Room is Brooklyn’s Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest’s second full-length of the year, following the trippy Forest Of The Happy Ever After, which was an odd project even by Killah Priest’s standards. Vedic Vape Room is more accessible, but it is an acquired taste like all of his music. On Vedic Vape Room, Killah Priest mixes drumless spoken word tracks with more traditional sounding boom-bap, while the lyrical content is typical of Killah Priest: esoteric stream of consciousness, full of mythical and religious musings. Killah Priest fans will eat this up, newcomers should start with his best 5 albums, knowing this one – while not bad at all – is a middle-of-the-road KP album and not the best he has to offer.

Release date: August 16, 2023.

Recognize Ali & Soul Chemist - ALi

ALi is underground great Recognize Ali’s third full-length of the year, (almost) entirely produced by Detroit producer Soul Chemist. It’s another strong outing for Recognize Ali, but quite as strong as some of his other recent releases – for us the album he released in March of this year, Back To Mecca II, is his best offering of 2023, an album with a bit more punch than this one. That said: nothing wrong with ALi – this is a must-listen for fans of underground rap too, if only for the standout cut “Allahspeed”, which features dope verses by guests Guilty Simpson and Rapper Big Pooh.

Release date: August 16, 2023.

Cozmo - If Tomorrow Never Comes

Bay Area artist Cozmo’s If Tomorrow Never Comes is a musically versatile album, with a lot of mainstream sensibilities, but with enough grit to appeal to listeners outside of the mainstream too. The feature list says it all: Conway the Machine, Styles P, Wiz Khalifa, Berner, Jadakiss, Smoke DZA, Sy Ari Da Kid, Dylan House, Demrick, Mainey Vent, Goldiie, Kevin Cossom, and Dom Polo make appearances – something for everybody here. If Tomorrow Never Comes is not a bad album at all.

Release date: August 16, 2023.  

Noname - Sundial

Noname’s Sundial is a mixed bag. The album has groovy beats and conscious themes, but it also suffers from inconsistent energy levels, repetitive lyrics, and a lack of quality control.

Sundial proves itself beyond the initial appearances set by the terrible cover art, but it doesn’t live up to the standard set by Noname’s earlier projects Telefone (2016) and Room 25 (2018). Although tracks like “black mirror” and “gospel?” highlight her potential, the album as a whole lacks lyrical substance. The themes and production choices sometimes clash with Noname’s vocals and flow. The most notable low point is Jay Electronica’s anti-Semitic verse on “balloons,” which introduces unwelcome controversy to the album. General likability is not a big concern for Noname though, something she proves regularly in antagonistic public communication on platforms such as Twitter.

Despite its flaws, Sundial does signal Noname’s return to her signature style. The album tackles harsh realities and pertinent issues, showcasing her readiness to take a stand, even if it is not a popular one or if it means relinquishing a wider platform. Additionally, contributions from artists like Ayoni, billy woods, $ilkMoney, and Common add layers of thought-provoking content. And while the jazzy production is of inconsistent quality, the overall sound of Sundial is smooth and enjoyable.

Overall, Sundial is a step back from Noname’s earlier work, but it’s not a complete letdown. Fans of Noname’s music will likely find some things to enjoy, but they may also be disappointed by the album’s inconsistencies.

Release date: August 11, 2023.

Kut One - Live Wires 3

Melbourne’s own Kut One returns with the third installment in his acclaimed Live Wires series, and it may just be the best one yet. On each one of this album’s 10 tracks, Kut One proves that he’s not only one of the genre’s best turntablist/producers—he’s also an incredible curator. He teamed up with a slew of incredible talents spanning several generations, including King Magnetic, Craig G, Rasheed Chappell, Estee Nack, Daniel Son, Jamal Gasol, and Guilty Simpson, to deliver a cohesive, straight-up dope project.

Release date: August 11, 2023. 

Ray West - Macaroni Ray

Producer Ray West perhaps is best known for his underrated collaboration with Kool Keith on A Couple Of Slices (2015). For Macaroni Ray, Ray West produced a selection of slick and airy instrumentals for a nice roster of emcees to rhyme over – Kool Keith shows up along with The Koreatown Oddity on “Is He Real?” and “Got The Flow”, and the likes of A.G., Blu, SmooVth, Milano, Nelson Dialect, GD, Lord Tariq, O.C., Party Arty, Abdul Jabar, The God Kadi Amin, Breeze Brewin, Playa Haze, Defcee, and Zilla Rocca are also present to add bars to beats. Macaroni Ray is a chilled-out, entertaining listen.

Release date: August 11, 2023. 

D.O.V & Swann - Hail & Fire Mixed with Blood

Toronto rapper D.O.V’s style is known to be conceptually dark and enigmatic, exploring the deeper meanings of the darker parts of life. His flow is heavily embedded with rhythm and punctuality, suited for the solid beats on Hail & Fire Mixed with Blood that were crafted by Swann. Appearances by Killah Priest, Ruste Juxx, Reks, Planet Asia, Phillie Mob, Clubber Laing, DJ TMB, Resin, and Gambit Ramsay add some extra flavor to what is an enjoyable but kind of lightweight project.

Release date: August 11, 2023.

Optimystic - Take 'Em Underground

Optimystic is an Australian emcee who teamed up with a host of dope rappers to create what is a must-listen for 90s-centric boom-bap aficionados. Take ‘Em Underground features guest bars from the likes of Rockness Monsta, Canibus, ONYX, Frukwan, U.G (Cella Dwellas), Tragedy Khadafi, Mic Handz, Chip Fu, and Shabazz the Disciple (among many others), and dope beats crafted by Loftwah the BeatSmiff. Nothing revolutionary here, but over an hour of banging boom-bap with a throwback feel that’s thoroughly enjoyable.

Release date: August 11, 2023.

Al Wonder - Black Baviar

Black Baviar is a producer’s album by Al Wonder, a pretty dope album on which Al Wonder gets a lot of things right. The album is surprisingly cohesive, despite its hour-long runtime and diverse roster of vocalists: DMC of Run-DMC, Ras Kass, Kurupt, Planet Asia, KXNG Crooked, Guilty Simpson, Benny the Butcher, Killah Priest (and others) appear, along with the likes of Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, and some non-American rappers who are regular collaborators of Al Wonder. The beats on Black Baviar are dark and atmospheric, and quite quirky at times – different enough from the general fare to keep listeners’ attention. Hip Hop listeners who are looking for a fully realized listen that is not run-off-the-mill, will likely enjoy Black Baviar. 

Release date: August 7, 2023.

Chase Fetti - Blender Talk

Cliffwood, New Jersey rapper Chase Fetti’s Blender Talk is a typical Griselda-style album, with the same kind of beats and street raps we know so well from this corner of Hip Hop by now. Chase Fetti’s voice is singular enough to be recognizable, so that’s one little thing that sets Blender Talk apart from all the similar albums that dropped in recent times. Benny the Butcher, 7xvethegenius, Keisha Plum, Conway the Machine, Boldy James, Rome Streetz, Mikee Mula, Tsu Surf, Elcamino, Trap Jefe,  and Cory Gunz appear to add weight to the project.

Release date: August 4, 2023.

Rahiem Supreme & Wino Willy - Snake & Crane Secret

Wino Willy comes with a compelling set of beats to bring out the best from prolific emcee Rahiem Supreme, who turns in one of the strongest projects in his catalog with Snake & Crane Secret. That cover art is pretty awesome too.

Release date: August 1, 2023.

Skizza & AK Productions - Champion Season

Skizza is an emcee from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For Champion Season he teamed up with fellow Saskatchewan resident AK Productions, who crafted a dope selection of laidback and soulful mid-tempo boom-bap instrumentals to serve as fitting backdrops for Skizza’s entertaining rhymes. We liked Skizza’s 2022 project Bridge City Underdog, and Champion Season is a strong project too. 

Release date: July 31, 2023.

Travis Scott - UTOPIA

We are not the biggest fans of trap music, but we have come to appreciate Travis Scott’s work over time, especially his albums Rodeo (2015) and ASTROWORLD (2018). He is one of the few artists who use autotune as an actual instrument, not just as a tool to hide a lack of skill. Scott’s fourth studio album, UTOPIA, is not on par with Rodeo and ASTROWORLD, but it is a fine album nonetheless. We actually enjoyed the overall listening experience.

The album opens with the explosive “ESCAPE PLAN,” which sets the tone for the rest of the album. UTOPIA is dark and atmospheric, with a mix of trap, cloud rap, neo-psychedelia, and even some boom-bap. The production over the course of the album is pretty great, with a lot of beats going hard, except for the single “K-POP” that is… that song is easily the worst track on the album. Scott’s flows on UTOPIA are varied, and he delivers some of his most energetic performances on tracks like “FE!N” and “LOST FOREVER.” There is little that is actually deep or worth remembering here content-wise, and some of the lyrics are cringe-worthy. However, as a bubblegum light listen, UTOPIA serves its purpose.

Some of the features are highlights, with Beyoncé, 21 Savage, Future, The Weeknd, James Blake, and even Drake all delivering strong performances. However, some of the other features – and there are a lot of them – feel like they are there to pad out the runtime of the tracks, and they don’t add much to the overall album. The biggest problem with UTOPIA is its length. At 19 tracks and 73 minutes, it is simply too long for an album of this type. This is especially true of the second half of the album, which features a number of tracks that are filler.

Overall, UTOPIA is a mixed bag. It has its moments of brilliance, but it is also uneven and bloated. Fans of Travis Scott’s experimental side will likely enjoy the album, but others may find it to be too long and uneven. We liked it more than not, so it deserves a mention here even if this is not our go-to part of rap music.

Release date: July 28, 2023.

Kount Fif - Do Andriods Dream Of Electronic Sheep

Do Andriods Dream Of Electronic Sheep started in 2005 when Kount Fif ran late to a GZA show at the 930 club in DC. Handing out fliers in front of the venue was R.M.L. and this meeting would be the start of almost twenty years of making music together. Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep is the culmination of Kount Fif’s career spanning the last almost two decades. With appearances from Nas, Heltah Skeltah, Killah Priest, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, Canibus, Uncommon Nasa, Sadat X, Awol One, Copywrite, U-God, Planet Asia, Royce 5’9″, Inspectah Deck, Planetary, Last Emperor, Cappadonna, Guilty Simpson, Awon, Atmosphere, and Bobby J From Rockaway (among others), this one of 2023’s best producers albums (not ranked on our best of 2023 list because not all material on here is ‘new’), one tailor-made for Hip Hop purists.

Release date: July 28, 2023. 

Tech N9ne - BLISS

BLISS is Kansas City phenomenon Tech N9Ne’s 24th full-length album (counting the 8 albums in his collab series). It’s a solid Tech N9ne project, but far from his best. Anghellic (2001), Everready (The Religion) (2006), K.O.D. (2009), All 6’s And 7’s (2011), and Something Else (2013) are our favorite Tech N9ne albums, and BLISS is not on par with those five. Similar to 2021’s ASIN9NE and 2020’s ENTERFEAR, Tech N9ne recruited way too many artists for features on BLISS which gives it kind of a collaboration/compilation album-type feel. Their contributions are hit-or-miss and bring down the album a couple of notches – more Tech N9ne and fewer guests would have been better. The album is overlong too, the excessive length and the overload of guests give the album a bloated feel. That said, the album is enjoyable and entertaining enough when it’s good – with the typical bombastic Tech N9ne instrumentals and lots of signature rapid-fire rhymes. Tech N9ne fans will be well pleased with BLISS, Tech N9ne newcomers should start with the five classics mentioned and circle back to this one later.

Release date: July 28, 2023.

Chika - Samson: The Album

Chika’s full-length debut album, Samson: The Album, is a confirmation of her talent, which was already well-established by a series of EPs. The album opens with an impressive intro from Lin-Manuel Miranda, a significant nod for Chika, considering her background as a former child of the theater. Throughout the album, Chika fearlessly bares her soul, delivering reflective and unguarded moments that create an emotional narrative.

A dope feature from Freddie Gibbs and contributions from legendary artists Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder adds further weight to the album. These features not only elevate the project but also help draw intriguing parallels between Chika and the biblical character after whom the album is named. While Chika’s singing voice is strong and polished, her hoarse rap flow adds a unique edge to her music. The mainstream-friendly sounds of Samson: The Album do not compromise her authenticity, as there permeates a distinctive Hip Hop flavor that will resonate well with listeners who usually stay well away from whatever the mainstream has to offer and who prefer a more grounded Hip Hop sound.

At 54 minutes in duration, Samson: The Album stands as a fully realized piece of music. Chika’s ability to blend raw emotion with mainstream appeal makes this debut a compelling and captivating listen, one that deserved more promotion and hype to help fulfill its potential.

Release date: July 28, 2023.

Napoleon Da Legend & Clypto - Pen Game

Napoleon Da Legend doesn’t let up, dropping a dope project every few months. For Pen Game, he hooked up with producer Clypto, who came through with a selection of dope instrumentals for NDL’s rhymes to shine.

Release date: July 28, 2023.

The Bad Seed & JR Swiftz - Strike The Shepherd

Strike The Shepherd is another solid project from The Bad Seed, the NYC-based veteran underground emcee who has been on a roll these last few years. Dope beats crafted by JR Swiftz, and strong features by Wordsworth and Skyzoo – Strike The Shepherd is well worth a spin or two.

Release date: July 28, 2023. 

Mitchy Slick & Sir Veterano - Everybody Hates Mitch

Strong Arm Steady’s Mitchy Slick teamed up with producer Sir Veterano for an entertaining dose of 90s-centric G-funk. Uncomplicated, but fun throwback West Coast Hip Hop.

Release date: July 27, 2023. 

Mickey Diamond & Sadhugold - Death Threats

Sadhugold delivers a set of dark and gritty beats that seem tailor-made for Mickey Diamond’s grimy rhymes and flows. Death Threats is another addition to a rapidly growing catalog composed of quality underground bangers from Mickey Diamond.

Release date: July 21, 2023.

SkyBlew & Scottie Royal - A Soulful Taste of Jazz: The Royal Blew Experience

Chapel Hill emcee SkyBlew and Charlotte-based producer Scottie Royal are regular collaborators, and their 2023 album, A Soulful Taste of Jazz, is their best work yet. Royal’s jazzy production is a perfect match for SkyBlew’s soulful vocals, and the two create a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh.

Royal’s beats are a mix of 90s-flavored East Coast jazz rap in the vein of ATCQ and Digable Planets and the laid-back soulful sounds of J Dilla. SkyBlew’s flows are effortless and his lyrics are full of colorful imagery and optimism. The result is a feel-good album that is both beautiful and moving, and that sounds better each time you listen to it.

Release date: July 21, 2023.

Lt Headtrip & DOS4GW - Tap On The Glass

Lt. Headtrip, one of the founding members of The Karma Kids collective, teamed up with Melbourne producer DOS4GW to create their first collaborative album, Tap on the Glass. DOS4GW is known for his avant-garde drone soundscapes and has worked with artists like Curly Castro and Armand Hammer. In this album, he brings some of his darkest and most experimental beats to date, creating a dystopian soundscape that looms over the rest of the album.

Tap on the Glass features appearances from Collasoul Structure, SKECH185, Teddy Faley, Samurai Banana, ELUCID, and Christina Pecce. Pecce, in particular, adds an interesting layer to the album as she contrasts Headtrip’s growls with her beautiful, operatic singing on the standout cut “In Somnis Praestigiae”. Samurai Banana provides sharp turntablism, while the verses from ELUCID, SKECH185, Teddy Faley, and Collasoul Structure are gripping.

Headtrip’s low, gruff voice and big personality feed off the energy provided by the production and the features, dropping some of his most unsettling wordplay to date. The dark, loud, and aggressive Tap on the Glass is not for the weak of the heart. The album carries listeners from the dusty styles of raw East Coast rap to the fervor and existential dread of a classic tragedy. It’s enthralling as it is prescient and showcases some of the grittiest, darkest left-field underground Hip Hop of the year.

Release date: July 21, 2023.

Legendary Baller - All Mack Everything

“We can settle this as gentlemen, or get into some gangstersh*t, it really doesn’t matter, I’m still keeping the bitch”. This is a fun album, filled with macked out rhymes by Legendary Baller, who doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Melodic tunes, throwback flows, and cameo’s (mostly on interludes) by industry icons such as Big Daddy Kane, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Big Boi, and Bun B – Legendary Baller with his All Mack Everything will get a smile on yourface without a doubt.

Release date: July 17, 2023.

Dave East - Fortune Favors The Bold

Early in his career, Dave East looked like he could become the next big thing in Hip Hop. However, he never really delivered on that promise. A long series of forgettable, mixed-bag projects killed the hype that once surrounded him, and his latest album, Fortune Favors The Bold, is unlikely to change things.

The album is overlong for what it has to offer, clocking in at just over an hour. A host of different producers came up with an inconsistent platter of instrumentals. There are some dope tracks on the album, but there are also just as many bland beats that are further marred by weak pop hooks. East’s lyrical content is not particularly strong either, on par with the unmemorable beats.

All of this may sound harsher than it should. There are some enjoyable moments on the album, without a doubt. However, we expect more from Dave East, even after all this time.

Release date: July 14, 2023.

Substantial - Adultish

Adultish is Substantial’s 5th studio album. The LP explores the world of a self-described “grown-up with more growing to do” over soul/jazz sample-based production and live instrumentation. Guests include Shing02, Uyama Hiroto, Mega Ran, Marcus D, Stephanie Gayle, T.Lucas, Tamera Wellons, MLLN, Javier Starks, Malcolm Jackson, DJ RBI, DJ Jav, Matthew Shell, and Black Root.

Release date: July 14, 2023.

The Musalini & 9th Wonder - Don & Eye 2

Don & Eye 2 is The Musalini’s third full-length project of 2023, his third album on 9th Wonder’s Jamla label, and this one with the iconic producer himself taking care of production duties. With 9th Wonder on the boards, you can rely on the beats and loops being soulful and laidback, a perfect match for The Musalini’s chilled-out pimp rhymes.

Release date: July 7, 2023.

Cuban Pete & BoFaatBeatz - The Year Of The Rabbit

Lyrics by Cuban Pete (and a bunch of guests), beats by BoFaat, and cuts by DJ JabbaThaKut. Nothing especially memorable about The Year Of The Rabbit, but fans of 90-centric underground boom-bap will find plenty to enjoy here.

Release date: July 7, 2023. 

Speaker Bullies - Art Of Disrespect

Speaker Bullies is a duo consisting of rapper Supastition and producer Praise, and their collaborative project Art Of Disrespect is a strong piece of Hip Hop. Appealing boom-bap beats, and the bars to go with them – not just from Supastition (who has proven often enough he is a dope emcee), but also from guests like Skyzoo and Rapper Big Pooh (among others). Don’t sleep: Art Of Disrespect is one of the best Hip Hop albums released in July.

Release date: July 7, 2023.

Vega7 The Ronin & Superior - Sleep Is The Cousin

Superior is a producer of Spanish descent and based in Germany, and his work on the boards for Sleep Is The Cousin is outstanding. Vega7 The Ronin bars are entertaining and his flows are dope, but is the production that makes this project a must-listen. Lots of similar albums out these days in this underground section of Hip Hop, Sleep Is The Cousin is one of the best of the year of its kind.

Release date: July 7, 2023.

Esham - Purgatory

Legendary Detroit rapper Esham released his debut studio album, Boomin’ Words from Hell, in 1989 at the age of 16, establishing himself as one of the originators of horrorcore rap. Still going strong, Purgatory represents his 23rd studio album. Not his best work, but not his worst either – listeners who’ve been interested in his previous releases should definitely check this one out.

Release date: July 7, 2023.

Clever 1 & Giallo Point - GUNZ, KNIVEZ & NUNCHUCKZ

One half of Da Buze Bruvaz teamed up with renowned British producer Giallo Point for GUNZ, KNIVEZ & NUNCHUCKZ, a dope little project composed of polished boom-bap beats and hard rhymes. Clever 1’s throwback flow is reminiscent of Philly underground icon The Last Emperor, reason enough to give this one a listen.

Release date: July 1, 2023.

Calculus - La Cosa Nostra

Calculus is a producer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. For La Cosa Nostra he recruited a bunch of dope emcees to rhyme to his banging beats: Tragedy Khadafi, Cappadonna, Canibus, Planet Asia, Heaven Razah, Killah Priest, Prodigal Sunn, Yukmouth, Swifty McVay, Young Buck, and Bronze Nazareth are among the guests on this project. With this roster, you can be sure the bars on La Cosa Nostra are fine – but for us, the beats will make us return for repeated listens: these beats go deep and HARD. Straight-forward, uncomplicated, but super enjoyable nonetheless, La Cosa Nostra is a banger.

Release date: July 1, 2023.

Teflon - 2 Sides To Every Story

“Teflon’s much-anticipated new album 2 Sides to Every Story is a celebratory moment for the Brooklyn native, who burst onto the scene as part of M.O.P.’s First Family during the late ‘90s New York rap scene. Following contractual headaches and some time away from the game, the acclaimed emcee is back like he never left. And he’s not doing it alone, either. Telfon is joined on this project by two of Hip Hop’s finest producers and his closest collaborators, DJ Premier and Jazimoto, who split production duties down the middle.

Together, they’ve crafted a raw, mature album that showcases Teflon at the top of his lyrical game. And his mission statement is clear as soon as he starts spitting on the banger “Out the Gate.” Teflon still has that distinctive, instantly gripping voice that pulls you in, just so he can hit you over the head with dope wordplay and straight bars. His fire burns bright throughout the rest of the record, whether it’s on bangers like “No Fake Love” and “Hostile Takeover (feat. Benny the Butcher)” or socio-political joints like “Life in the FEDS” and “Contraband.”

While Teflon goes solo for a number of cuts on the album, he also calls on his M.O.P. brethren to provide their signature energy. The two Brownsville bruisers appear on “The Thoro Side” and “Know Our Way Around,” while Lil Fame also appears on the teeth-gritting “It Is What It Is.” It’s a true full-circle moment for Teflon, whose name is heavily linked to M.O.P.’s discography since their ‘96 album, Firing Squad. And for Hip Hop heads who have been bumping his music since then, this album couldn’t have arrived any sooner.” 

This Bandcamp blurb tells you what you need to know. Fans of that raw M.O.P. sound of the 1990s, and those with an appreciation for DJ Premier’s signature sound should definitely check out 2 Sides To Every Story. Premier comes with a selection of dope beats, and Jazimoto’s contributions are just as good – resulting in banging backdrops for Teflon’s powerful voice.

Release date: June 30, 2023.

Kota the Friend - Protea

Brooklyn’s Kota The Friend brings the essence of summer to life with Protea. With a total of 16 tracks, Kota crafts a kaleidoscopic blend of funk, Hip Hop, house, and jazz, setting the stage for an enjoyable listening experience.

“Protea” features a range of standout tracks, including “Keep Me Goin” and “Nobody.” Kota also enlists a talented lineup of guest artists, including Aloe Blacc, Braxton Cook, Hello O’Shay, Zak Abel, Samm Henshaw, Jennifair, Allen Stone, Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball, and Wolftyla, adding their unique flavors to the mix.

In Kota’s own words, Protea serves as a love letter expressing appreciation and admiration for the person who stood by him during his darkest hour. The album’s title takes inspiration from his wife’s favorite flower, symbolizing a timeless piece of art created specifically for her. The featured artists on the album were carefully chosen, as they were a significant part of their journey together. Kota’s intention is clear – to remind us to show appreciation to those who support and uplift us during our most vulnerable times.

Protea marks Kota The Friend’s third project of the year, following Lyrics To Go, Vol. 4, and his collaboration with Statik Selektah on the excellent To See A Sunset. While Protea is undeniably enjoyable, it leans towards a breezy and lightweight listening experience. It effortlessly delivers the fun and uplifting vibes of summer, even if it may not be the most memorable release in the grand scheme of Kota’s musical journey.

Release date: June 30, 2023.

Loveboat Luciano - Parole

Parole is Buffalo emcee Loveboat Luciano’s sophomore full-length album. Following his earlier releases and signing with Black Soprano Family Records, Loveboat Luciano delivers a fresh perspective on his life. The album features notable collaborations, including Benny the Butcher, Dave East, Che Noir, and Conway the Machine. Parole showcases improved production choices compared to his earlier releases and consistent feature performances, highlighting Loveboat Luciano’s renewed passion since returning to the microphone. Parole is not remarkable enough to leave a lasting impression, but it’s a solid street rap album nonetheless.

Release date: June 30, 2023.

Born Divine - Wrath Of The Titans

Born Divine is an emcee affiliated with the extended Wu-Tang family, especially with Cappadonna. Wrath Of The Titans is a solid project, with bombastic boom-bap beats and hard bars from Born Divine and guests such as Cappadonna, Prodigal Sunn, Bishop Lamont, Ty Nitty, and Solomon Childs. Wu-Tang completionists and fans of music out of the JMT/AOTP camp should definitely check out the hour-long Wrath Of The Titans.

Release date: June 30, 2023.  

Shady Ray - Sheila's Boy

Shady Ray is a veteran emcee from Inglewood, California and Sheila’s Boy is a pretty good album, with entertaining bars that are worth listening to and dope melodic boom-bap backdrops to keep your head nodding. Nothing to make it really stand out, but no reason not to check it out – Sheila’s Boy is a solid listen.

Release date: June 30, 2023.

Bronze Nazareth & Illah Dayz - Ponch'e

This Bronze Nazareth production features rhymes by longtime collaborator Illah Dayz, and guests Cappadonna, Salute Da Kidd, Kurt Solid, Wuzee, Kevlaar 7, Hollywood Dots the Oncelor, and Rain the Quiet Storm. Dark boom-bap beats and the bars to go with them – this project offers nothing you haven’t before, but it’s an OK album.

Release date: June 28, 2023. 

Granddad Woolly - OITO (Once Infinity Takes Over) (Red & Blue)

Granddad Woolly is an underground emcee from Atlanta, who says about himself that his influences are rooted in the golden era and underground/alternative scene. It sure is clear his sound is not typical of Atlanta or the South – Woolly definitely developed his own sound. We liked his 2019 collaboration with Lisbon, Portugal producer CHIKANO -ly, titled KanoDadda: EXPRMNT VII, and this OITO doubleheader is a must-listen too. Conductor Williams, Nottz, Statik Selektah, and Khrysis are a couple of the producers contributing, and features include Atmosphere’s Slug and Quelle Chris. Red and Blue are two separate releases, we treat them as one single album though – a dope one-hour album that is well worth your time.

Release date: June 23, 2023.

Cee Gee Incorporated - Downtown Raphael

Cee Gee Incorporated is a producer/DJ, formerly 1/2 The Almighty Rebelz with emcee Semi-Auto and currently 1/2 of duo Green Giant with emcee/graphic artist Frigid Giant. Two years after the release of CeeGeeOlogy, which was supposed to be a final album, Columbus Green better known as Cee Gee has made a return as a solo artist to record another production album: Downtown Raphael. Some dope beats and features here, on a project that has something of a basement mixtape kind of feel, a rough around the edges vibe that actually adds to the album’s enjoyment. Highs and lows on Cee Gee Incorporated’s Downtown Raphael, but the highs win out – this project deserves attention

Release date: June 16, 2023. 

Royalz - Bloodsport

Blood Sport is Royalz’s sophomore production album, inspired by martial arts movies of the 1980s, representing Royalz’s experiences in the music industry as well as combat sports. Blood-soaked boom-bap beats and dope rhymes by renowned underground spitters like Josiah the Gift, The Hidden Character, ONYX, Still Livin’, Lord Goat, Culprit, Eddie Kaine, SmooVth, Rim, Tornts, Tha God Fahim, Bigfoot, China Mac, and Body Bag Ben make for a banging project that’s a must-listen for fans of that grimy underground sh.

Release date: June 15, 2023.

Statik Selektah - Round Trip

Statik Selektah’s Roundtrip is good, but not great. The album does kick off with a star-studded lineup of collaborations that guarantees a worthwhile listen. With emcees like Posdnous, AZ, Inspectah Deck, Joey Bada$$, Cormega, and Conway the Machine on board, the first half of the album is stacked with talent. Statik Selektah’s ear for beats shines throughout the project, blending elements of boom-bap, soul, and jazz rap seamlessly. Combining hard-hitting drums with smooth piano melodies, he crafts memorable loops and infectious rhythms.

While the first half of the album excels in both production and lyricism, the second half experiences a slight dip. One particular misstep is a lackluster Nems feature, which is among the weakest of the year. Despite its flaws, Roundtrip has its standout moments. Tracks like “Round Trip” and “Ain’t Much Too” exemplify Statik Selektah’s talent as a producer and curator. These songs showcase his ability to assemble captivating collaborations and deliver infectious melodies. So while Roundtrip may have its lackluster moments, especially in the second half of the tracklist, it remains a worthwhile addition to his discography.

Release date: June 9, 2023.

Bizarre (D12) & Foul Mouth - HGG2 (He Got a Gun 2)

Detroit emcee Bizarre is a founding member of D12, and he has been putting out solo efforts since his 1998 debut EP Attack of the WeirdosHGG2 (He Got a Gun 2) is his sixth full-length album, a sequel to the Foul Mouth-produced He Got a Gun from last year. HHG2 is even better than its predecessor, which wasn’t bad at all, to begin with. The album features a range of beats, from boom bap to jazzier tracks, and includes guest appearances from Rah Digga, Fat Ray, Piff James, J-Classic, Boog Brown, Dango Forlaine, Nick Speed, NEMS, RJ Payne, Kain Cole, and Nature. The album showcases Bizarre’s hardcore lyricism and Foul Mouth’s boom-bap production, with each feature delivering solid verses. While the album may not be groundbreaking, it is a worthy addition to Bizarre’s discography and a follow-up that builds on the strengths of its predecessor.

Release date: June 9, 2023.

Enrichment - Different

New Jersey producer Enrichment’s latest album Different features an array of notable guest appearances. The album boasts collaborations with Redman, Kuniva of D12, KXNG Crooked, Sheek Louch, John Creasy, Termanology, Chris Rivers, DJ Tray, RJ Payne, Emanny, HiDefinition, Skyzoo, and Rell.

While the album presents an interesting lineup of featured artists, it falls into the category of being a just okay release. It offers a listenable experience without offering anything particularly groundbreaking or remarkable. Enrichment’s production skills are evident throughout, providing solid beats and a cohesive sonic backdrop for the guest verses. However, the album lacks that extra spark that sets it apart from the multitude of releases in the genre.

For fans of the artists involved, the album may still hold appeal as a chance to hear their favorite artists on fresh tracks. Enrichment showcases his ability to assemble a talented roster of collaborators, and each artist delivers their verses competently. The album doesn’t leave a lasting impression or offer a standout moment that truly captivates though. Overall, it’s an okay album that fulfills expectations but doesn’t quite reach the level of being something truly special.

Release date: June 9, 2023.

Maze Overlay - Nouveau Antiqua

Phoenix-based emcee Maze Overlay’s style of rapping is an acquired taste, but those who can get with his lazy monotone flow are in for a treat, as the production of this 14-track platter by Wax Pack is an atmospheric delight. Nouveau Antiqua is an album that deserves a front-to-end listen, don’t be surprised if you find yourself keeping it on rotation.

Release date: June 2, 2023.

Dirty Dike & Pete Cannon - Mattress

“This is Dike’s first solo LP on his very own record label, marking a new chapter in the legacy of one the UK underground’s most prolific and impactful figures. The Mattress LP is entirely produced by long-time collaborator, and Melonskin co-Founder, the incredibly talented Pete Cannon on his renowned Amiga computer – bringing forth his signature 8-bit crusty heaviness.”

Dirty Dike’s Sucking On Prawns In The Moonlight (2014) remains our favorite album of his, but Mattress is dope as f too – deliciously dark and gritty, thanks to Pete Cannon’s production chops and Dike’s wordplay. Guests like Kool Keith and Jam Baxter add some extra flavor to what is a sure-shot favorite for listeners with an eye on and an ear for UK Hip Hop.

Release date: June 2, 2023.

Ugly Tony - Time Flies

Carefully curated, French producer Ugly Tony’s album boasts features from such artists as Marv Won, Edo G, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Sean Boog, Snook Da Crook, ETO, El Gant, Fel Sweetenberg, and multiple tracks with frequent collaborator The AbSoulJah. A lot of the samples used on this project are from ’70s and ’80s progressive rock albums, which gives the album an interesting, distinct flavor.

Release date: June 2, 2023.

Jamil Honesty - The Gods Honest Truth

Jamil Honesty is an accomplished emcee and beatmaker originally from Staten Island, now residing in Baltimore. Over the course of his extensive career spanning over a decade, he has released multiple projects that have received critical acclaim. The Gods Honest Truth is a dope album too, with great lyrical display and engaging production.

Release date: May 30, 2023.

Odd Holiday - L.I.S.A. (Life is Strangely Altering)

L.I.S.A. is the debut release by the semi-nomadic duo consisting of Mattic, a Charlotte NC native currently residing in France, and producer Daylight Robbery! who has one foot in the burgeoning jazz scene of London, UK, and the other in the boom-bap foundation of Brooklyn, NY. They are both members of Clouds in a Headlock, a group affiliated with the ŌFFKILTR collective. Last fall, Clouds in a Headlock released their Breakfast in Phantasia debut album. Odd Holiday builds on that project with L.I.S.A. – a dope project, with enjoyable summertime beats and great flows and wordplay.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Kail Problems & DJ Hoppa - A Flower Blooms In May

This release marks the second collaborative project between Panorama City emcee Kail Problems and San Fernando-based DJ Hoppa and is set as the first installment of A Flower Blooms series. A Flower Blooms in May is a strong project, with appealing instrumentals and vocals. Kail Problems is an artist to keep on your radar.

Release date: May 26, 2023.


Arkansas-born artist Kari Faux’s third album, REAL B*TCHES DON’T DIE! is a 12-track project that pays homage to her Southern roots, blending crisp production with a laid-back and confident flow. Influenced by acts like Outkast and UGK, Kari Faux asserts her power while keeping the regional vibe authentic and dominant. The album showcases her growth as a rapper and singer-songwriter, resulting in an enjoyable and authentic listening experience.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Es-K & Type.Raw - Raw Essentials

Raw Essentials is a solid producer’s album. Es-K and Type.Raw crafted a set of dope 90s-centric instrumentals for a host of emcees to get loose on – the likes of El Da Sensei, General Steele, Napoleon Da Legend, Ruste Juxx, Ill Conscious, and A-F-R-O most prominent among them.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Cril - The Next Best Step?

Cril is an emcee/producer hailing from Brooklyn, and he is also the founder, producer, and host of Out Da Box Media, a Hip Hop media outlet known for interviewing creative and conscious Hip Hop artists of the independent Hip Hop scene.

In The Next Best Step?, Cril tackles the theme of overcoming indecisiveness when striving for new goals. With lyrical depth and introspection, he effectively captures the experience of feeling stuck and uncertain about the best path to take. Rather than dwelling on the challenges, Cril’s music serves as a thought-provoking catalyst, encouraging listeners to reflect on their own journeys and find the strength to progress.

The album showcases a skillful blend of boom-bap, soulful, and jazzy elements, creating a captivating musical landscape. Thoughtful verses intertwine with soulful melodies and jazzy undertones, crafting a nostalgic yet innovative sound. Cril’s ability to evoke emotion through his music resonates with listeners, leaving a lasting impact. The album’s positive messages and relatable themes make it a worthy addition to any Hip Hop enthusiast’s collection.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Jay Worthy & Roc Marciano - Nothing Bigger Than The Program

Roc Marciano’s production represents the strongest aspect of this Jay Worthy project. Nothing wrong with Jay Worthy’s bars and flows either, there’s just nothing really memorable here. The album’s brevity (32 minutes) and a few so-so guest appearances too many also contribute to standing in the way of this album being counted among the best releases of the year. That said: Nothing Bigger Than The Program is a perfectly enjoyable little project nonetheless.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Daz Dillinger - Dat N***a Daz

Daz Dillinger’s name is cemented in Hip Hop history ever since he emerged as a prominent figure in the 1990s under Death Row Records, playing a pivotal role in propelling West Coast rap and gangsta rap to mainstream success. Collaborating with Kurupt, he forms one-half of the esteemed rap duo known as tha Dogg Pound, with the classic Dogg Food (1995) as their work.

Daz honed his production skills under the tutelage of Dr. Dre while working on Dre’s groundbreaking debut solo album, The Chronic, in 1992. His contributions extended further on Snoop Dogg’s highly influential solo debut, Doggystyle, in 1993, solidifying his reputation as a skilled producer. Notably, Daz solidified his production prowess with his contributions to 2Pac’s iconic All Eyez on Me album in 1996. His solo debut album Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back (1998) remains his best solo work, he never topped that underappreciated West Coast gem.

Dat N***a Daz is not a super memorable album either, but it’s far from bad. Throwback West Coast Hip Hop by the numbers, but enjoyable enough to deserve a mention here.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

The League - We Landed On The Moon

Mostro and Program are The League – a duo from Buffalo, NY. We Landed On The Moon is a strong, loosely space-themed, album that runs for close to an hour and that never overstays its welcome – this is a well-rounded project composed of nothing but entertaining wordplay, dope 90s-centric beats, great sampling choices, and sharp cuts & scratches.

Release date: May 26, 2023.

Rakeem Shabazz - Wise The Dome

Rakeem Shabazz from Durham, North Carolina is the host of Wise The Dome TV, a podcast designed to highlight topics within Hip Hop and knowledge of self-ciphers. For this Wise The Dome album he recruited producer Furious Stylez to craft the beats and a host of talented underground emcees to lay down rhymes. 13 tracks, all fire – this is a must-listen.

Release date: May 25, 2023.

Chris Skillz & Ronnie Alpha - Luminous Clouds

For Luminous Clouds Delaware emcee Chris Skillz teamed up with producer Ronnie Alpha, who provided him with a set of smooth and melodic boom-bap beats to serve as backdrops for his rhymes, along with bars from the likes of Skyzoo and Tha God Fahim. Forgetable, but enjoyable.

Release date: May 19, 2021.

EllMatic & JoDu - Train Of Thought

JoDu is a producer and musician hailing from Germany, who joined forces with emcee EllMatic from the Netherlands for their first collaborative album, titled Train of ThoughtTrain of Thought transports its listeners across a spectrum of emotions and sonic panoramas, seamlessly weaving soulful beats with introspective lyrics. JoDu’s meticulously crafted beats serve as the ideal canvas for EllMatic’s lyrical dexterity and entertaining vocal performances.

Release date: May 19, 2023.

Thirstin Howl the 3rd & Matteo Getz - Thoughts Skillustrated

Melodic boom-bap production by Mattea Getz and fun wordplay by Brownsville veteran Thirstin Howl the 3rd and guests such as A.G., Masta Ace, Rockness Monsta, U.G., and Blaq Poet – among many others. Worth a listen.

Release date: May 19, 2023.

Jay NiCE - Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine by Delaware-born Atlanta-based Jay NiCE is a loose concept album about the joys of waking up in the morning and getting the day started, being thankful God rose you up for another day in this wonderful life. The album contains a fully staffed team of some of the best producers today in the underground. The likes of Jansport J, Python P, Benji Socrate$, Giveemsoul, A Margin Of Freedom, ChopTheHead, Murph, Wazasnics, Mal’akh Kasa, and Phil A give the album a grand feel. Features are stacked with star power artists including Estee Nack, Flee Lord, Fredro Starr, Recognize Ali, Big Cheeko, T.F, Chace Infinite, Kuji Young, The Outlawz, The God Fahim, and RU$H.

Rise & Shine is one of those albums that will get lost in the shuffle in an era when there’s so much quality Hip Hop on offer and there’s nothing that really makes the album stand out – but the beats on this project are solid enough as are the rhymes, there’s enough here to deserve your attention.

Release date: May 17, 2023.

Paranormal - When Art Becomes Ugly

This 10-track platter by New York-based emcee Paranormal offers a strong set of grimy beats and rhymes, building on the dope singles “Kimba Dawn” and “River Tam”. Check it out.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

Amadeus 360 The Beat King - The MPC Jedi

The MPC Jedi is a strong producer’s album from Amadeus 360 the Beat King. His 90s-centric beats bang, and guests M.O.P. (Lil Fame & Billy Danze), Ras Kass, Sticky Fingaz, Nems, Craig G, Masta Ace, Buckshot, Termanology, Rockness Monsta, Termanology, El Da Sensei, Tek, Tragedy Khadafi, Whispers, Shyheim, Keith Murray, Billie Splyff, Lil Dee, DJ Evil Dee, Markos Clark, DJ C.S.P, Chad Hart, Demorne Warren, and Prayah add flavor to the instrumentals. The MPC Jedi is dope.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

Planetary - Project Pluto

Planetary is one-half of Outerspace and a core member of Army of the Pharaohs. Banging boom-bap beats, sharp cuts & scratches, and hard-nosed bars – fans of Outerspace, AOTP, and Jedi Mind Tricks type of underground Hip Hop will know to pick up Project Pluto.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

Recognize Ali & Stu Bangas - Guerilla Dynasty 2

Recognize Ali is one of the hardest-working emcees in the underground, dropping multiple projects each year, and appearing on everybody’s albums as a featured artist. Guerilla Dynasty 2 is his second collaboration with boom-bap producer Stu Bangas, following up on Guerilla Dynasty (2021). Just like the first one, Guerilla Dynasty 2 is a potent collaboration – Stu Bangas can always be relied upon to come up with knocking beats and Recognize Ali’s got bars for days. As for Recognize Ali’s releases in 2023, we prefer the raw gutter vibes of his March release Back To Mecca II, but the slightly more polished Guerilla Dynasty 2 is a Recognize Ali sure shot too.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

All Hail Y.T. & Observe Since ‘98 - Ill Gotten Gains

Ill Gotten Gains, a collaborative LP from the Delaware rapper All Hail Y.T. and Loretta Records boss Observe Since ‘98, is a solid 10-track street rap presentation. It’s not the best work either of these artists ever released, and it does not stand out in this overcrowded niche of Hip Hop, but it is worth a listen nevertheless.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

Heem - From the Cradle To The Game

Heem, a Buffalo-born member of Benny The Butcher’s BSF (Black Soprano Family), delivers a candid and at times humorous depiction of life in the trenches on his sophomore project, From The Cradle To The Game. Following his appearances on the label’s showcase EP, Heem released his debut mixtape, Long Story Short, and a debut EP titled High ArtFrom The Cradle To The Game serves as Heem’s full-length debut, allowing listeners to delve deeper into his background. With appearances and production from Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Stove God Cooks, Styles P, Jansport J, DJ Green Lantern, and the Black Soprano Family, this LP showcases Heem’s attention to detail and unfiltered honesty. From pain to triumph, Heem offers an introspective look into his life, while solidifying his place within the BSF camp.

Release date: May 12, 2023.

Five Fingers Of Funk - Portland Say It Again

Five Fingers of Funk is a ten-piece live Hip Hop band from Portland, Oregon, founded in 1992. Portland Say It Again is the first Five Fingers of Funk album with the original lineup since 1998. The album boasts noteworthy collaborations with esteemed Northwest Hip Hop artists Cool Nutz, Jumbo (of the Lifesavas), Bosko, Chillest Illest, and Mic Crenshaw, as well as true school icons Dres (of Black Sheep) and Jamalski. The tracks on the album cover a wide spectrum, ranging from tongue-in-cheek posturing with “My Mom’s Prius” and “You Already Know,” to a heartfelt letter addressing a young black boy amidst the George Floyd protests in “Shorty’s Gonna Change The World,” and a sentimental tribute to their hometown with the title track, “Portland Say It Again.” Throughout the album, vibrant full-band instrumentation remains a constant presence, making for a funky feel-good album that is impossible not to love.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

Mickey Diamond & Mallori Knox - Nobody Bleeds Like Flair

Mickey Diamond’s Nobody Bleeds Like Flair is undoubtedly his standout work of 2023, representing his third release within the year. While it is a dope project that showcases his talent and continuing artistic growth, it falls slightly short when compared to his remarkable run in 2022.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

JustMe & Cas Metah - The New '93

JustMe and Cas Metah are members of the Ohio-based collective Scribbling Idiots, and The New ’93 is an entertaining presentation of throwback Hip Hop, composed of laidback boom-bap beats crafted by JustMe and the bars to match them by Cas Metah and guests such as Cappadonna, Tragedy Khadafi, Planet Asia, and Aceyalone (among others).

Release date: May 5, 2023.

Ralphiie Reese - Slang Poetry

Ralphiie Reese is an emcee emerging from the Philadelphia underground and his Slang Poetry is an atmospheric street rap project, composed of dark instrumentals and moody lyrics from front to back. This is one of the better releases in the subgenre that dropped in May of 2023.

Release date: May 5, 2023.


Despite being the second shortest BUSDRIVER album to date, it doesn’t fail to deliver a punch and satisfies the cravings for BUSDRIVER’s style in a concise 32-minute package. The album was in the works for around five years since the release of  Electricity Is On Our Side (2018), which was another album that had some standout tracks but a few misses as well. Nevertheless, the wait for this project was worth it, as BUSDRIVER always manages to capture attention. While the first half of the album is more potent and experimental than the latter half, the overall listening experience is quite enjoyable – even if MADE IN LOVE is not on par with BUSDRIVER’s best albums Temporary Forever (2002), Fear Of A Black Tangent (2005), and Perfect Hair (2014).

Release date: May 5, 2023.

Napoleon Da Legend & D-Styles - Invincibl Rap Mislz

For Invincibl Rap Mislz, prolific Comoros-born Brooklyn-based emcee Napoleon Da Legend teamed up with producer D-Styles. Napoleon Da Legend was responsible for one of the most generally underappreciated albums released last year, his Maison De Medici ended up in our top 25 albums of 2022. Despite the high frequency of his releases, he rarely misses. This collabo is another hit for Napoleon Da Legend. His bars are listen-worthy as always, and D-Styles’ dope beats are atmospheric and engaging, laced with crisp cuts & scratches in all the right places.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

The Musalini & O Finess - Goldie & Slim

For Goldie & Slim fresh Jamla Records signee The Musalini reconnected with regular collaborator O Finess for some more chilled-out pimp sh. Goldie & Slim is The Musalini’s second album of the year and his second one released on 9th Wonder’s Jamla label. We slightly prefer his March release (Gentlemen Of Leisure, with John Dutch), but there’s nothing wrong with Goldie & Slim either, The Musalini is nothing if not consistent. Fans of artists like Roc Marciano, Freddie Gibbs, and Larry June better not miss out on The Musalini.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

TzariZM - O.T.H.E.R. (Over Time He Earns Respect)

Orlando, Florida-based emcee/producer TzariZM dropped plenty of dope Hip Hop in the past (his 2014 collaboration with Planet Asia Via Satellite is one to check out if you never listened to his music before), but this O.T.H.E.R. (Over Time He Earns Respect) album may be TzariZM’s best yet. There’s a hard-to-define charm about this album, a kind of raw basement feel that somehow gives it a true Hip Hop vibe. Production is a bit rough around the edges, but it works to the album’s advantage. Bars and flows match the production, making this 18-track presentation a must-listen for all those who like their Hip Hop straight and pure.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

Conway The Machine - WON'T HE DO IT

Conway The Machine’s WON’T HE DO IT is not bad at all, but it does fall short of Conway’s previous LPs – From King to A GOD (2020) and especially God Don’t Make Mistakes (2022) are superior. WON’T HE DO IT follows Griselda’s typical style, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there’s something lackluster about this particular project. Conway’s verses are solid enough, but the production is kind of a mixed bag, with some typical Griselda grit alternated with some more vanilla crossover-oriented beats. The album could have done with fewer features too.

Although there are strong tracks like “Brucifix”, “Brick Fare”, “Stab  Out”, “Brooklyn Chop House”, and “WON’T HE DO IT”, the album also has some sludge (including “Kanye”, “Water To Wine”, “Super Bowl”) to trudge through. God Don’t Make Mistakes showcased Conway’s refinement and vulnerability, but with WON’T HE DO IT, Conway’s style feels tired, like he’s merely going through the motions.

Looks like Conway (much like Westside Gunn) needs a filter to determine what to release to maintain the standard of excellence he is capable of achieving, the quantity-over-quality approach inevitably leads to some misses. That said: all this possibly sounds more negative than it should – a mediocre Conway project still is better than most other Hip Hop out there, but in the oversaturated coke-rap subgenre there’s a lot of better material on offer than WON’T HE DO IT.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

MC Eiht - Lessons 2: Poverty Book

Lessons 2: Poverty Book is not MC Eiht’s best release in the last ten years – Which Way Iz West (2017) and Official (2020) are better – but it’s a solid release that’s worth a listen nevertheless, on par with the first Lessons (2020). At 80 minutes Lessons 2: Poverty Book is overlong, with some inevitable filler, but overall it’s a fine piece of West Coast ‘old-fashioned’ gangsta rap and a testament to Eiht’s longevity.

Release date: May 5, 2023.

ONYX - Blood On Da X

30 years since Onyx’s iconic debut Bacdafucup, and still going strong. These days a duo consisting of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz, Onyx delivers an OK album with Blood On Da X. Some highs, some lows, nothing especially memorable, but solid overall. Blood On Da X will not gain them any new fans, but people down with Onyx from the beginning will want to pick this one up. Favorite track: “The Boom Boom Bap”.

Release date: May 3, 2023.

Killah Priest - Forest Of The Happy Ever After

Killah Priest has never been one for run-off-the-mill Hip Hop, and especially his post-millennium output is in its own lane. Forest Of The Happy Ever After is even stranger than most of his other recent releases though, a spoken-word curiosity composed of abstract storytelling and mostly drumless instrumentals. This is one only for the biggest Killah Priest die-hards probably, for KP noobs this will be a total head-scratcher. We are Killah Priest fans, so we will keep this one in rotation, but well behind his last true masterwork Rocket To Nebula (2020), and earlier masterpieces like Elizabeth (Introduction To The Psychic) (2009) and The Psychic World Of Walter Reed (2013).

Release date: May 1, 2023.

Klassy - Good Seeds

Klassy is an emcee (and tattoo artist) from Echo Park, Los Angeles. Good Seeds is her debut full-length album, produced by veteran producer and Beatrock backbone Fatgums. He crafted a dope set of soulful boom-bap beats for Klassy and her guests to rhyme over, stylish instrumentals showing an appreciation for classic Hip Hop with scratched-in vocal snippets taken from classic joints from artists such as Common, Mobb Deep, MC Lyte, and Lauryn Hill. Klassy delivers confident verses while revealing her vulnerabilities as a young Filipino mother, all of it with a beautiful voice and a great melodic flow. Other Beatrock artists show up for mostly strong guest spots, most notably on the dope posse cut “Greatest Song Ever”.

Release date: May 1, 2023.

Charlie Smarts & DJ Ill Digitz - CHARLIETAPE

Charlietape is the debut album between Charlie Smarts & DJ Ill Digitz. Based in NYC, Charlie & Digitz represent 2/5’s of the NC Hip Hop crew Kooley High. As the only two members of Kooley High living in NYC, Charlie & Digitz decided it was time to join forces and create something unique that represented this NY-to-NC experience. With Charlietape, the Duo also wanted to break some of Hip Hop’s current conventions and blueprints. They have succeeded with this 19-track classic East Coast Indy Hip Hop offering.

Charlie Smarts’ bar-driven raps are at their peak here; each track requires multiple play-backs to catch his multi-layered wordplay. Stripped down, yet confident and refined, Charlie Smarts’ subject matter reflects an emcee finally coming into his own in the Big City. Adding another dimension to the project, DJ Ill Digitz has deftly crafted Charlietape together with vintage soundbites, scratches, shout-outs, and other mixtape-esque sensibilities. Digitz is a true student of the game, and it is on full display. The end result is a full-on immersive listening experience. Sit back and enjoy. Features production from the legendary 9th Wonder, Jansport J, and Grammy-winning producer Eric G. Guest MCs include Skyzoo, J Scienide, Nolan & Kooley High’s Tab-One.”

Charlietape is a dope project, with its pure Hip Hop vibe totally different from Charlie Smart’s more soulful previous album (2020’s We Had A Good Thing Going), but equally good.

Release date: April 28, 2023.

Ill Bill - BILLY

23 tracks, 70 minutes of music, production by the likes of DJ Muggs, Statik Selektah, BodyBagBen, Stu Bangas, and C-Lance (among others), and guest spots from Sick Jacken, Immortal Technique, Vinnie Paz, Lord Goat, DJ Eclipse, Nems, Slaine, DJ JS-1, Kool G Rap, Tragedy Khadafi, Ransom, and others – BILLY is a monster of an album.

Ill Bill, a veteran of the Brooklyn underground scene, first gained recognition as a member of the influential quartet Non-Phixion and has since become known for his prolific work ethic, both as a solo artist and as a member of groups like La Coka Nostra and Heavy Metal Kings. BILLY is his eighth album, and despite its prodigious length, one of his best. True to his brand, we get nothing but hard bars over hard boom-bap beats – and the impressive guest roster provides some welcome variety to round out what is a dope underground banger.

Release date: April 28, 2023.

Crimeapple - YDFWC?3

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

The third part in Crimeapple’s YDFWC? series is a solid little project, on par with the second one in the series, but not as good as the first. Fun bars, and dope boom-bap beats, but a little lightweight at just over 30 minutes.

Release date: April 28, 2023.

YUNGMORPHEUS - From Whence It Came

From Whence It Came‘s smooth production is perfectly complemented by Los Angeles rapper YUNGMORPHEUS’s low-key delivery and voice. The lo-fi, chill aesthetic that is a hallmark of his sound is not for everybody, but it comes off beautifully on From Whence It Came, which is another YUNGMORPHEUS winner as far as we are concerned.

Release date: April 28, 2023.

Flee Lord & Crisis - 2-3 Zone

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Flee Lord and Crisis’s 2-3 Zone is a solid piece of underground Hip Hop, but it will be lost in the shuffle in a period where so many other similar and superior projects drop. You can’t go wrong with 2-3 Zone though, so no reason not to check it out.

Release date: April 28, 2023.

Dust Raps The Blues - Problems

Like us, you probably have never heard of Portland, Oregon-based artist Dust Raps the Blues before. Like us, you will be happy to remedy that – Problems is a great album with dope blues guitar-infused beats, and engaging bars. 12 tracks, and not a weak one among them – a standout that needs a mention though is the 8-minute opus “John Wayne Typewriter Pillow”, the centerpiece of what is an album that deserves all the attention it can get.

Release date: April 26, 2023.

Lloyd Banks - The Course Of The Inevitable 3: Pieces Of My Pain

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Lloyd Banks rounds out the trilogy that he began in 2021 with The Course Of The Inevitable 3: Pieces Of My Pain. The first one remains the strongest entry in the TCOTI series, but The Course Of The Inevitable 3: Pieces Of My Pain is a solid album from the G-Unit veteran too. Method Man, Vado, 38 Spesh, Tony Yayo, Dave East, and Cormega show up for features, and the beats are dope from front to back. Sixteen full tracks, close to an hour of music – this is how an LP is made. The Course Of The Inevitable 3: Pieces Of My Pain is not especially memorable, but still perfectly enjoyable.

Release date: April 21, 2023.

M-Dot - egO anD The eneMy 2: A Dissolute Paradise

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

“In a post-pandemic world, currently consuming itself, M-Dot paints a poignant picture of a hopeful paradise, as the blue-collar emcee hopes to make way for a better future for his children. The sequel once again features a legendary production lineup from the likes of Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, !llmind, Black Milk, G Koop, Apollo Brown, and more. Guest appearances include Willie The Kid, Vast Aire (of Cannibal Ox), and EMS.”

egO anD The eneMy 2: A Dissolute Paradise is the long-awaited follow-up to the 2017‘s egO anD The eneMy. Though not quite as strong as its predecessor, this album from Boston-based emcee/producer M-Dot is a solid enough Hip Hop record, fully realized and well-rounded. An impressive line-up of top-tier producers crafted the soundscapes, and the thoughtful lyrics penned by M-Dot and his guests go well with the polished boom-bap beats. We are not too crazy about the hooks on some of the tracks, but overall this is an album that is well worth your time.

Release date: April 21, 2023.

Kesper & LEX - An Honorable Exchange 2

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

An Honorable Exchange 2 is the sequel to 2018’s An Honorable Exchange. Fifteen hard-hitting boom-bap tracks with features from Kurious, Skanks the Rap Martyr, Aïda, $amhill, Sunez Allah, Legit Easy, ChezRocka & Sinister Cause, cuts from Tone Spliff, Debonair P, Fred Ones & DJ M-1 and production from Timepiece, Buck, DJ Modesty, SeasRA23, Mondo, Monk NYH, BMR Pro, C-Spec, Seth Silensir, Tre Eiht & LEX.

Nothing you haven’t heard before, but it doesn’t matter: when it comes to 90s-centric NYC underground boom-bap, An Honorable Exchange 2 is solid as f.

Release date: April 21, 2023.

Kool Kat - Reservoir Dogz

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Kool Kat is an up-and-coming producer based out of Cologne, Germany. He’s one to watch because his boom-bap production is dope as f.  Artists like Nems, Big Twins, Flee Lord, SmooVth, Tha God Fahim, Spit Gemz, Bub Styles, DJ Access, Estee Nack, Elcamino, M.A.V., The Musalini, Napoleon Da Legend, Eto, Daniel Son, Brisk Fingaz, and C.S.P. appear to add bars and cuts to the beasts – the result is a must-listen for fans of underground boom-bap.

Release date: April 21, 2023.

Falcon Outlaw & Daniel Son - The Tzu Keepers

The likes of Futurewave, Slang Hugh, Reallyhiiim, Finn, Raz Fresco, Wino Willy, DJ Which Doctor, Jo Millz, Judex Beats, Wolfagram, and Sibbs Roc crafted a platter of beats for Falcon Outlaw and Daniel Son to get loose on – this is just one of many excellent underground Hip Hop projects that dropped in the first half of 2023, but it’s a top end of the spectrum. Normal runtime (44 minutes) and nothing but dope beats and bars – The Tzu Keepers is a keeper.

Release date: April 21, 2023.

Fuego Base - Biggest Since Camby

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Fuego Base is a gritty rapper hailing from Hartford, CT, representing the Black Soprano Family name with his official BSF debut project titled Biggest Since Camby. The title is a tribute to Marcus Camby, a former Hartford basketball star who was drafted second overall in the historic 1996 NBA Draft. Biggest Since Camby features appearances from some of the grittiest emcees in Hip Hop, including BSF-head-honcho Benny The Butcher, along with Sheek Louch, 38 Spesh, Uncle Murda, OT The Real, and Fuego Base’s fellow BSF cohorts.

Fuego Base’s innate storytelling ability, raw delivery, and impressive wordplay have been earning him recognition, and now he’s taking the next step with Biggest Since Camby. Hard boom-bap beats, some smooth hooks, and the bars to go with them: this is a dope album and a great addition to the BSF catalog.

Release date: April 20, 2023.

Fendi P & Ceez Neckmusik - Sumin To Smoke To

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

For Sumin To Smoke To Jet Life’s Fendi P reunited with DMV producer Ceez NeckMusik for 10 dope cuts and a single collaboration alongside Curren$y. Short, but sweet – this is an enjoyable little project with nothing but laidback vibes to do just what the album’s title suggests.

Release date: April 20, 2023.

Kidd Kidd - Street Fame

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Street Fame is a solid album from former G-Unit rapper Kidd Kidd, his second album since going independent back in 2018. Polished, mainstream-friendly beats and relatable bars – nothing about Street Fame really stands out, but there’s enough to enjoy here anyway.

Release date: April 14, 2023.

Grafh & 38 Spesh - Art Of Words

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Art Of Words is not bad, but not up to the level of quality we expected from Grafh and 38 Spesh – they both have done better in the past. Nevertheless, worth a listen and a must at least for followers of either artist.

Release date: April 14, 2023.

Vic Spencer - If George Bush Was Cool

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Prolific Chicago emcee Vic Spencer is nothing if not consistent, his Psychological Cheat Sheet (1-3) and Spencer For Higher (1-4, with British producer SonnyJim) series being particular favorites of ours from his prodigious output in recent years. If George Bush Was Cool is a dope project too, with 14 tracks composed of enjoyable instrumentals and Vic Spencer’s entertaining stream-of-consciousness bars.

Release date: April 7, 2023.

Chillin' Villain Empire - Critical Bass Theory

After establishing themselves in the 1980s, Chillin’ Villain Empire eventually became focused around the core trio of Riddlore, NgaFsh, and Tray-Lo, and while there have been a few hiatuses and a lot of different members have joined and left the group over the years, CVE has always had a presence in the Los Angels underground – also because CVE became part of the Project Blowed collective when it emerged in the mid-90s, shaping Los Angeles underground Hip Hop in the mid-90s with a range of notable artists and groups, including Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Open Mike Eagle, and Busdriver.

Critical Bass Theory represents an impressive return to Hip Hop for CVE. Impressive because it’s not a given that veterans who started out decades ago are still able to bring fresh and innovative Hip Hop to the fore. This album is an exciting piece of music, composed of excellent production, thoughtful bars, and killer flows. Critical Bass Theory is a must for people who have been following Project Blowed affiliated acts over the years, for anyone interested in forward-thinking underground Hip Hop really.

Release date: April 3, 2023.

Illinformed - Illin' For Meds

British producer Illinformed never disappoints when it comes to crafting atmospheric boom-bap beats. Illin’ For Meds is a 24-track producer album that features 1jack, All Hail Y.T, Babylon Dead, Bil Next, Bill Shakes, Bisk, BVA, Chris Skillz, Crossbow T, Datkid, Dirt Platoon, Eric The Red, Frek 1, Gaza Glock, General, Inja, Jack Jetson, Jay Nice, Leaf Dog, Left Lane Didon, Lisaan’Dro, Pertrelli, Res One, Ruste Juxx, Sean Peng, Sk!nt, Smellington Piff, Tony Broke, Verb T, Wish Master, and Wyatt Earp – an impressive roster of talent who appear to complement Illinformed’s dope beats.

Release date: March 31, 2023.

Kurt Solid - The Process

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

The Process is a dope underground Hip Hop album, with strong bars and flows by Detroit emcee Kurt Solid and solid boom-bap production from Wu-Tang affiliate Bronze Nazareth over 14 full tracks.

Release date: March 31, 2023.

Estee Nack & V DON - BRAP (Born Rewards & Penalties)

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

V DON’s atmospheric boom-bap production is excellent, there’s some of his best work on this project. Estee Nack and guests like The Hidden Character, Primo Profit, Rigz, and Eto come with solid content and performances, making BRAP an above-average contribution to underground Hip Hop in what is one of the best months for Hip Hop in a long time. At 33 minutes, BRAP is too short, but that’s the major complaint here.

Release date: March 29, 2023. 

Hit-Boy - Surf Or Drown

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Hit-Boy’s production has always been a bit too polished and poppy for our tastes, and this Surf Or Drown producer’s album offers that typical Hit-Boy sound. Some good tracks (the one with Nas is our favorite), and some meh tracks – it’s not a bad album at all, but not an especially memorable one either.

Release date: March 24, 2023. 

Zelooperz - Microphone Fiend

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

Microphone Fiend is Detroit’s Zelooperz’s first full-length release since his dope 2021 LP Van Gogh’s Left Ear. Zelooperz’s idiosyncratic flow is an acquired taste, but his energy and personality make Microphone Fiend a worthwhile listen even if a more traditional flow and delivery has your preference. Also, the instrumentals on this album are solid for the most part (“Climate Change” is our favorite) – Microphone Fiend is one of Zelooperz’s strongest and most consistent albums to date.

Release date: March 28, 2023.

Mistah F.A.B. - EYE AM

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions

One of the most prominent and colorful figures of the San Francisco Bay Area hyphy movement, North Oakland-based rapper Mistah F.A.B. presents a somewhat exceptional combination of street credibility, social consciousness, astute introspection, and irrepressible goofiness. it is hard to keep up with Mistah F.A.B.’s release schedule – this is his sixth or seventh release of the year (and it’s not even April) – and we’re not fans of everything he drops, but EYE AM is a quality release. His – cussword-free – bars are fun, and the beats are dope throughout. EYE AM is our favorite Mistah F.A.B. project to date.

Release date: March 24, 2023.

Kota The Friend & and Statik Selektah - To See A Sunset

Kota The Friend and Statik Selektah’s first full-length collaboration To Kill A Sunrise (2021) was an uncomplicated but fun listen, with jazzy boom-bap beats crafted by Statik Selektah and thoughtful lyrics from Kota The Friend. To See A Sunset sees the Brooklyn emcee continuing with the chill-out summer vibes from To Kill A Sunrise – Statik Selektah’s beats are warm and soulful, and Kota’s bars entertain from start to finish. To Kill A Sunrise was good, To See A Sunset is even better – Kota The Friend’s best album yet.

Release date: March 24, 2023.

The TroubleShooters - Production

The Troubleshooters is a duo consisting of Mikal kHill and int eighty, Production is their first full-length collaborative album. Strong 90s-centric boom-bap production with fresh twists, and fun bars – Production is an album that is worth a listen.

Release date: March 24, 2023.

Snowgoons & Grind Mode Cypher - Goon Mode

For Goon Mode boom-bap production crew Snowgoons teamed up with Lingo and Ayok from Grind Mode Cypher. Goon Mode is a monster of an album, with 18 tracks and a runtime of 100 minutes. All cyphers, with at least 6 emcees on every track. Termanology, CL Smooth, Block McCloud, Diabolic, iNTell, K-Prez, Marz One, Mo Rukuz, Rated R CNY, Don PERA, THR3AT, Poet on Drugs, Capcizza, ALLCAPSKANE, G Lyrekal, Cambatta, and others appear – this album is all about BARS.

Release date: March 24, 2023.

Jae Skeese - Abolished Uncertainties

Abolished Uncertainties is Buffalo emcee Jae Skeese’s anticipated sophomore full-length, Drumwork debut, and best work to date. Griselda-style beats and flows, from Jae Skeese and guests like Freeway and Drumwork-founder Conway the Machine (among others), make for a strong album – just missing that special extra something that would set it apart from all the other quality underground Hip Hop releases out at the same time. That said: Jae Skeese is a dope emcee with the personality to carry an album and the introspective nature of his bars throughout Abolished Uncertainties gives the album a thematic cohesiveness absent in a lot of the competition’s more straight-forward street-talk content. So don’t sleep on Abolished Uncertainties – it is a top underground release for 2023 without a doubt.

Release date: March 24, 2023.

Cunabear & Steel Tipped Dove - Steel Tipped Bear Claws 2: Phantasmagoria

Steel Tipped Bear Claws 2: Phantasmagoria is the second collaborative project from Georgia-based mixed medium artist Cunabear and NY producer/engineer Steel Tipped Dove. Steel Tipped Bear Claws 2: Phantasmagoria is a psychedelic trip through lush vibrant tones and raw poetics – and a superior follow-up to 2021’s STEEL​-​TIPPED BEAR​’​S CLAW!, even if that one was pretty great too.

Release date: March 21, 2023.

Sankofa - Multitudes Vol. 1

Prolific Fort Wayne-based emcee is one who does not look for beats to fit the rhymes he wrote, rather he lets the beats tell him what content to write. For Multitudes Vol. 1 he selected 18 beats from 18 different producers and went with the beats to come up with the album’s lyrical content. We’ve been Sankofa fans for a while, and with Multitudes Vol. 1 he adds another dope project to his steadily growing catalog.

Release date: March 20, 2023.

WateRR - Compendium Of Arcanum

Compendium Of Arcanum is one of Chicago emcee WateRR’s best albums in a long string of recent releases. Strong content backed by atmospheric beats – this is one of the many great underground Hip Hop projects released in early 2023.

Released date: March 20, 2023.

Kidd Called Quest - On The Beat

Nothing especially memorable on Kid Called Quest’s On The Beat, but his 90-centric beats do the job, and appearances from guests Eto, Trife Diesel, Vic Spencer, L-Biz, Jae Hussle, El Ay, G Fisher, Azariah, Al Jamar, Year of Jordn, Brogawd, Blessit Nafay, Ice Grill, Curtis Coke, and DJ Sight complete what is dope producer’s album that is well worth a listen.

Release date: March 20, 2023. 

Lil Eazy-E & Daz Dillinger - The Legacy

The Doggpound’s Daz Dillinger and Eazy E’s firstborn son Lil Eazy-E have teamed up for a new project to pay tribute to the memory of Eazy-E and N.W.A, and celebrate (classic) West Coast Hip Hop as a whole. This is a dope album from start to end, with features from Kokane, RBX, and Nhale (Nate Dogg’s son), as well as from Kid Capri (and others).

Release date: March 20, 2023.

Rigz - Heal In

Rochester emcee Rigz (from Da Cloth) adds another dope project to his catalog with Heal In. Rigz’s solo debut Substance Abuse (2020) and his 2021 sophomore solo album Wake Ups were pretty good, and 2022’s Gold was even better – thanks to DJ Muggs’ elite production which turned out to be perfectly suited for Rigz’s smooth flows and Griselda-style street raps. Heal In is a strong follow-up to Gold, a 43-minute presentation of top-tier underground Hip Hop, with Rigz’s most personal bars to date. Production is less distinctive than Muggs’s on Gold, but the slick instrumentals on Heal In go well with Rigz’s rhymes and those of guests like Rob Gates, Bishop the Great, Shonyae, M.A.V., Asun Eastwood, Jai Black, and Mooch. Nice cover art too – Heal In is a well-realized project in all regards.

Release date: March 17, 2023.

Knowledge The Pirate - 5 Lbs Of Pressure

Roc Marciano-affiliate Knowledge The Pirate’s 5 Lbs of Pressure is his best work yet. In a crowded field, Knowledge The Pirate continues with the same gameplan he used to craft his latest albums, based on Roc Marciano’s brand of stripped-down neoclassicism (the Hip Hop subgenre Roc Marci started with the classic Marcberg in 2010). The cinematic 5 Lbs of Pressure is entirely produced by E.L.E.M.N.T. (with one track produced by Animoss), and the soundscapes – spare percussion and concise loops sprinkled with subtle horn samples and piano instrumentals – on this 45-minute record are butter-smooth, perfect for Knowledge The Pirate’s street rhymes and laidback flows. Roc Marciano appears on one of the album’s standouts “Corsairs”, but there are no weak spots to speak of here: 5 Lbs Of Pressure‘s strength is its consistency, and no skips are required while listening to this excellent Knowledge The Pirate album.

Release date: March 17, 2023.

Arrested Development - On The Cutting Room Floor

So normally we do not include mixtapes that are composed of leftovers from recording sessions for other albums, but for this Arrested Development project, we have to make an exception. On The Cutting Room Floor contains ten tracks (actually nine and an interlude) recorded in the last ten years that were left off albums Arrested Development dropped in that time period. The fact that the songs on On The Cutting Room Floor didn’t make the cut is a testament to the quality of Arrested Development’s latest releases – it’s not for nothing Don’t Fight Your Demons and For The FKN Love rank high on our best-of-the-year lists of 2020 and 2021.

There are plenty of albums that get released where it would have been better if they had ended up on the cutting room floor, but in this case, it clearly is the other way around – we can be thankful to Speech and company they decided not to keep the songs on this tape from the public. All songs on On The Cutting Room Floor are terrific pieces of music, and there’s a cohesiveness to the project that belies the origin of them – no way these tracks feel like leftovers from different albums. Sequencing is done to perfection to achieve this cohesiveness, and to top it off the cover artwork is exquisite – this has to be one of the most beautiful album covers of the year. This may be a collection of leftover songs, but make no mistake: On The Cutting Room Floor is way too good to be ignored – check it out.

Release date: March 17, 2023.

sleepingdogs - i'm fakin' my own death just to get some rest

sleepingdogs is a duo consisting of Philadelphia-based rapper Andrew and Rhode Island emcee Jesse The Tree. The self-produced i’m fakin’ my own death just to get some rest is a great piece of blue-collar Hip Hop, offering 45 minutes of melodic soundscapes and relatable bars – not the same as but certainly reminiscent of the music of every-man Hip Hop icons Atmosphere. Jesse The Tree’s Pigeon Man ended up in our top 30 of 2022, this engaging sleepingdogs album hits the spot too. Listen to i’m fakin’ my own death just to get some rest here.

Release date: March 14, 2023.

NIKFUQ - Agartha

“Journey to the center of the Earth. Deep underground in Agartha Hip Hop music is taken to another level. F*** THE SURFACE PEOPLE.” The Bandcamp blurb for this album tells you everything you need to know – this album from Modesto, California artist NIKFUQ is as underground as it gets. Raw and dark, this kickass project sounds like it originated in an NYC basement about 25 years ago – with enough unique little twists in its sound (Conductor Williams, P.A. Dre, Sadhugold, The Architect, Lord Beatjitzu, Fanatik, Gzilla Productions, and Sovren are credited as producers) to set it apart from the competition. NIKFUQ has a strong voice, his flow is dope, and the beats are enjoyable over the album’s entire 43-minute runtime – you will not regret checking out Agartha.

Release date: March 12, 2023.

Alius Pnukkl & O1ad – Find Myself

Emcee Alius Pnukkl and producer O1 From Detroit’s legendary group Almighty Dreadnaughtz have joined forces for Find Myself. The album contains 14 tracks with features from Guilty Simpson, DJ Los, Lord Jessiah, and others. These veterans know what they’re about – this is a tight album, with nothing but banging boom-bap beats and confident wordplay from start to finish.

Release date: March 12, 2023.

Big Dese & Mike Martinez - Tommy DeVito

Rapper Big Dese teamed up with Florida-based producer Mike Martinez for this solid underground Hip Hop project. Dope bars and enjoyable beats over its entire 10-song tracklist – this is a fun listen.

Release date: March 10, 2023.

Mestizo - IWWIW​/​IIWII

Mestizo is a rapper from San Jose, California. IWWIW​/​IIWII is an ode to his personal human experience, past and present. Heavy drums and dope basslines laced with melodic and some experimental flourishes make for an enjoyable musical palette, and Mestizo’s baritone flow and thoughtful bars add value to the listening experience.

Release date: March 9, 2023.

Oakland GMOs - System 2​.​0

System 2​.​0 from Oakland GMOs is just one of the many solid underground Hip Hop albums that dropped in the first quarter of 2023. The murky beats and sharp cuts by R-Type are dope as f – the overall sound of System 2​.​0 is kind of rough around the edges, but that’s a big part of the charm of this project.

Release date: March 7, 2023.

The Musalini & John Dutch - Gentlemen Of Leisure

The Musalini can always be counted on to come out with some fly pimp sh, and his debut release on 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records label is precisely what we’ve come to expect from the NYC-based rapper. On Gentlemen Of Leisure, he gets to benefit from dark but slick instrumentals crafted by producer John Dutch – slow, hypnotic beats that go well with The Musalini’s ice-cold flows. Billed as an EP, but just over 30 minutes so eligible for inclusion here.

Release date: March 7, 2023.

Deem Spencer – adultSW!M

adultSW!M is a cool album, albeit for a niche audience. NYC-based Deem Spencer’s abstract style, with his soft and mellow vocals, will not appeal to all listeners, and the same goes for the lo-fi left-field instrumentals. The beats here are super chilled-out and almost dreamlike for the most part – in the right mood and setting though (in the dark, with headphones on, for instance), adultSW!M is a really enjoyable listen.

Release date: March 3, 2023.

Lord Apex & Drae Da Skimask - The Elevated And Elusive

The Elevated And Elusive is a pretty solid piece of left-field underground Hip Hop from UK-based duo Lord Apex and Drae Da Skimask. Off-the-wall instrumentals and flows make for an entertaining listen, that will keep your attention from start to finish despite the mellow feel of the album throughout.

Release date: March 3, 2023.

Reignmakers - The Eye Of The Storm

Reignmakers is a Boston-based trio, and The Eye Of The Storm is their second studio album. If there’s enough here to set The Eye Of The Storm apart from all the other dope underground Hip Hop projects that drop these days is doubtful, but there is something kind of different about the flows and beats here that makes The Eye Of The Storm an interesting listen – this project is worth your attention for sure.

Release date: March 1, 2023. 

Maze Overlay & Sadhugold - Afghani Gold

Afghani Gold is a solid project, with outstanding production by Sadhugold and dope bars and flows by Maze Overlay and guests Roc Marciano, Estee Nack, Mickey Diamond, Asun Eastwood, Bub Styles, Snotty, and Yungmorpheus. Afghani Gold is one of the many strong underground Hip Hop albums released in the first months of 2023, and it’s shame if it gets lost in the shuffle – so go give it a listen.

Release date: February 28, 2023.

WILDELUX - The IT Factor

Wildelux is a veteran rapper from The Bronx, and The IT Factor is his supposed last album. If that’s true, he ends his recording career with a bang. It’s not surprising HHGA is partial to traditional-feeling Hip Hop, if it’s well done that is – and clearly, Wildelux knows his craft. The IT Factor is a top-notch throwback Hip Hop album, offering 55 minutes of dope 90s-centric beats (produced by Wildelux himself), sharp scratches from DJ Rad MK, DJ Lef_T, DJ Robert Smith, and DJ M-1, and great flows from Wildelux and guests like A.G. (D.I.T.C.), El Da Sensei, and Sadat X (among others). Check it out.

Release date: February 28, 2023.

Caine - My Thoughts

Caine is a Bone Thugs N Harmony-affiliated artist from Cleveland, Ohio. My Thoughts is a pretty good album, a bit overlong at 71 minutes, but entirely consistent from top to bottom. Caine’s lyrical content is especially deep or memorable, but his flow is dope and his bars are entertaining enough. Production from Mook on da Beat (and others) is more than solid too, the melodic deep-bass beats are fun to listen to and not just for the mainstream crowd. BTNH’s Krayzie Bone and Layzie Bone show up to add extra weight to the record, as do a lot of others – Kurupt most prominent among them.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

Maxo - Even God Has A Sense Of Humor

Even God Has A Sense of Humor is SoCal-born artist Maxo’s first project in four years, a follow-up to 2019’s Lil Big Man. On Even God Has A Sense of Humor, Maxo continues with his soothing mellow lo-fi sound, leaning into jazzy experimentation this time around – aided on the production side by heavyweights Karriem Riggins, Madlib, and Beat Butcha (among others). Maxo is in a more positive headspace now than he was four years ago, but his lyrics still are touching and deep, perfect for his emotional flow and the gorgeous instrumentals. Even God Has A Sense of Humor is a great project, one that should put Maxo on more people’s radars.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

Preach Jacobs – Frances

Preach Jacobs is an indie Hip Hop artist and journalist from Columbia, SC. Frances is named after his maternal grandmother, the album features Georgia Anne Muldrow, Skyzoo, Juan Holladay, and Abyss Graham with production by Tall Black Guy, Chris Charles, Dug Infinite, and Cap. This 12-track offering is composed of soulful jazz-flavored instrumentals and mature bars from top to bottom – this is quality Hip Hop, for grown-ups.

Release date: February 24, 2023. 

Canibus & Johnny Slash - Self Licking Ice Cream Cone

Canibus’s problem has never been his pen game or his performances, his weakness often was his beat selection skill. On his best album Rip The Jacker (2003) Canibus got to benefit from elite production from Jedi Mind Tricks’ Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind, on some of his other albums he was let down by mediocre or even straight-up wack production. Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone is part of the better half of Canibus’s catalog, thanks to Johnny Slash’s menacing boom-bap production. Canibus is on point with his bars, and guests such as Rockness Monsta, Hus Kingpin, Kurupt, Ras Kass, Killah Priest, Ab-Soul, Kool G Rap, Chris Rivers, and KXNG Crooked add extra value. Not as good as Rip The Jacker, or Kaiju (Canibus’s slept-on 2021 collaboration with BodyBagBen), but Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone still is plenty good.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

Hell Razah aka Heaven Razah & RoadsArt - Renaissance Art

Renaissance Art is the third full-length album from Hell/Heaven Razah and producer RoadsArt. Full-length is a bit of an overstatement, as the album runs for no more than 30 minutes and a couple of seconds, making it barely eligible for inclusion here. Still, a Hell/Heaven Razah record is always worth a listen, as this Wu-Tang affiliate knows what he’s doing. Renaissance Art is on par with Renaissance Child and definitely worth a listen.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

OutcastGawd Lord EL, J.Vengeance & C-Lance - TERRORIZORS

Hard beats, hard raps – this underground boom-bap banger is another quality project in an oversaturated subgenre. If hard-hitting deep-bass beats are your thing, C-Lance got you covered. TERRORIZORS will likely get lost in the underground shuffle this year, it is definitely worth your time though.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

Payroll Giovanni - Ghost Mode

Detroit rapper Payroll Giovanni’s Ghost Mode is a must-listen for fans of stories of street life in a style reminiscent of ’90s West Coast rap, with polished beats crafted by Cardo, Kidd the Producer (and others), and smooth flows from Payroll Giovanni and guests such as Jeezy and Babyface Ray.

Release date: February 24, 2023.

Fliptrix - Mantra No. 9

Fliptrix is a London-born lyricist who plies his trade as a solo artist (Fliptrix), as one-quarter of the acclaimed outfit The Four Owls (Big Owl), and as managing director of High Focus Records (Zander). With eight critically acclaimed solo albums under his belt and three massive albums with The Four Owls, it is safe to say Fliptrix is one of the leading artists in UK Hip Hop.

Mantra No. 9 is a solid Fliptrix album – there’s no weak entry in his catalog, and this ninth album offers a presentation of quality Hip Hop like all its predecessors. His second album Theory Of Rhyme (2010), and the excellent Patterns Of Escapism (2016) remain our favorite Fliptrix albums, but Mantra No. 9 is a worthy addition to a super consistent discography.

Release date: February 21, 2023.

Nappy Nina - Mourning Due

Nappy Nina is an Oakland-raised, Brooklyn-based artist, and her Mourning Due is a great piece of music. Production on Mourning Due is firmly left-field, soothing and even hypnotizing in places, more frantic and slightly unsettling in others – but always engaging. Nappy Nina raps about loss, grief, and her life experiences as a queer Black woman in today’s world, doing so with a smooth flow and content filled with beautiful poetic flourishes. Moor Mother, MAVI, and lojii show up for guest vocals (among others), if you like those artists’ music you will probably dig this Nappy Nina project too.

Release date: February 17, 2023.

Ty Farris - No Cosign Just Cocaine 5

Coming up in Detroit’s cutthroat and competitive battle scene Ty Farris was fast to gain respect and notoriety for his sharp lyrics and clever wordplay. No Cosign Just Cocaine 5 is the fifth and final installment in Farris’ “No Cosign Just Cocaine” series, this edition features guest appearances from Big Rube, Jae Skeese, J. Arrr, Vega7 the Ronin, Flames Dot Malik, Pro Dillinger, Mickey Diamond, Snotty, and Daniel Son, and production from Graymatter, Fonkstarr, Trox, The Standouts, Stu Bangas, Big Ghost Ltd, Wino Willy, Finn, and Bozack Morris.

Ty Farris doesn’t reinvent the wheel with No Cosign Just Cocaine 5, but the Detroit rap-vet has the skill, attitude, and self-confidence to elevate a project like this way above the average underground Hip Hop release. The beats are dope, the lyrics are on point – No Cosign Just Cocaine 5 is a must-listen if polished boom-bap coke rap is your brand of Hip Hop.

Release date: February 17, 2023.

Josiah The Gift & SB11 - God Is Gracious

God Is Gracious is a collaborative album by Jersey emcee Josiah The Gift and producer Sb11. An intimate and soulful experience provided as a dedication to the birth of Josiah’s newborn son, and fathers across the world. SB11 provides atmospheric beats and melodic soul samples as Josiah brings his personal experiences through his lyrical abilities.

Release date: February 14, 2023.

5Star - Letters From The Golden Era

5Star is a veteran duo from San Francisco, consisting of producer Don Lo Legendary and emcee Gennessee. The title of this project should tell you everything about what to expect: classic hard-hitting boom-bap beats combined with fresh lyricism and witty punchlines – this is a solid throwback Hip Hop album.

Release date: February 10, 2023

Enels - Kill All Evil

Boston-based producer/rapper Enels’s Kill All Evil offers a solid slice of underground Hip Hop. “Ghost”, with guest rhymes from Apathy and cuts from DJ Slipwax is a highlight, “Underground” (with Slaine) another – but there are plenty more tracks to enjoy. Enels’s dusty boom-bap beats are a bit quirky here and there, as are some of the vocal performances (some of the hooks can be kind of annoying), but overall the positives far outweigh the negatives here.

Release date: February 9, 2023.

MCF & Hxlysmxkes - Mask Covered Faces

Mask Covered Faces is about as underground as it gets. Raw boom-bap beats and the bars to go with them – Mask Covered Faces is just one of the many dope underground Hip Hop projects released in February of 2023. Too short at barely 30 minutes, but well worth checking out anyway.

Release date: February 7, 2023.

P-Ro & Chuck Chan - Painter's Touch

Rapper/producer Chuck Chan (from the Upstate New York-based HomeTeam Empire collective) never disappoints with his beats, and he doesn’t do so here either. Boston emcee P-Ro is the one who gets to benefit from Check Chan’s atmospheric production on Painter’s Touch, coming with some of his best content to date. Lots of excellent underground Hip Hop dropped early in 2023, and this project is one of them.

Release date: February 7, 2023.

Steel Tipped Dove - all the weight feathers don't have

all the weight feathers don’t have is a nice little left-field oddity from producer Steel Tipped Dove, composed of nothing but lush, dreamlike instrumentals – half of the tracks with vocals from the likes of Shrapknell, R.A.P. Ferreira, AJ Suede, Donwill, and others.

Release date: February 6, 2023. 

The Bad Seed - Something Greater Than Myself

The Bad Seed is a veteran underground rapper from Brooklyn NYC, his career began in 1998 with his group O.B.S. (Original Blunted Soldiers), which included artists such as Jean Grae, Pumpkinhead, Krisis, and others. He’s been very productive recently, dropping multiple full-length projects every year. Something Greater Than Myself is his first full-length released in 2023, a great addition to his catalog. 17 tracks and a runtime of 53 minutes, Something Greater Than Myself offers value for money. The Bad Seed is a dope emcee with a strong voice and a classic flow, and his content matches the no-frills, hard-hitting 90s-centric beats. Something Greater Than Myself is one of our favorite The Bad Seed projects, if you’ve slept on his music up to now this is an excellent entry point.

Release date: February 6, 2023.

Gold Chain Music - Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction is a solid Hip Hop album by Planet Asia and his Gold Chain Music crew. Nothing especially memorable here, but no weak spots either – just a set of dope beats, and enjoyable vocals from Planet Asia, A Plus Tha Kid, Piff James, K Burns, Montage One, Skunkz, Lenox Hughes, TriState, Yah-Ra, Supreme Cerebral, Midaz the Beast, and Washeyi Choir.

Release date: February 6, 2023.

Will4Prez & Hobgoblin - Bar Barracks

For Bar Barracks Camden emcee Will4Prez teamed up with British producer Hobgoblin. Hobgoblin never misses. His dusty boom-bap beats are dope as f, and Will4Prez is an emcee with bars for days and the skills to do justice to Hobgoblin’s atmospheric instrumentals.

Release date: February 5, 2023.

Rawlsmatic - Role Reversal

“Rawlsmatic is a duo consisting of respected producer-DJs, Rhettmatic (Member of the World Famous BeatJunkies, Visionaries, Cypress Junkies) and J Rawls (produced for Black Star, Slum Village, Beastie Boys, Capital Steez & more). Their debut collaborative album Role Reversal features vocals from Craig G, Blu, Ras Kass, Wordsworth, Sadat X, El da Sensei, Supastition, and others. This genre-bending album takes the listener on a sonic journey through moments of gritty Hip Hop as well as lush soul/R&B soundscapes, also providing a glimpse into modern jazz. Rhettmatic reminds you why he’s one of the most respected DJs in the world with his masterful scratches throughout the album. J Rawls’ signature Jazz-Hop sound meshed with Rhettmatic’s West Coast bounce creates an undeniably hypnotic and original sound that is all their own.”

Release date: February 3, 2023. 

Termanology - 50 Bodies 7

50 Bodies 7 is Termanolgy’s 44th project. What we get here is not a regular album format with fully formed songs – most of the fifty tracks on this tape clock in around the one-minute mark, more snippets than songs really. It works nicely though,  50 Bodies 7 offers nothing but straight bars backed by hard 90s-centric beats laced with solid sampling and sharp cuts & scratches – pure Hip Hop from start to finish.

Release date: February 3, 2023. 

Jehst - Mork Calling Orson

“Referencing the cult alien sitcom from the turn of the 80s, Jehst’s sixth full-length album – Mork Calling Orson – reaches a typically supreme standard of syllables and similes bearing a red-eyed hue. Featuring the singles “Lonely World”, “One Horse Town”, and “Wild Herb” and guest performances from Confucius MC, Eva Lazarus, Lee Scott, CW Jones, and SINDYSMAN, Jehst continues to unlock his superpower of making the melancholic incisively slice through all before him.”

Jehst is one of our favorite Hip Hop artists from Britain. His debut album, The Return Of The Drifter (2002) is a timeless masterpiece – one of the best UK Hip Hop albums of all time – and Falling Down (2003), The Dragon Of An Ordinary Family (2011), and Billy Green Is Dead (2017) are formidable albums as well. Mork Calling Orson is a strong addition to Jehst’s catalog. Stylish laid-back beats and mature lyrical content over 13 tracks and a runtime of 45 minutes make for a well-rounded and fully realized Hip Hop album that is entirely consistent from top to bottom. Don’t sleep on Jehst.

Release date: February 3, 2023.

Stik Figa & DJ Sean P - Pookey: Stik Figa Finds Himself

Stik Figa is an emcee originally from Topeka who released a great album, Heresy, last year – entirely produced by August Fannon, one of our favorite producers of this era. This year Stik Figa got with DJ Sean P who took care of all the production on Pookey: Stik Figa Finds Himself. Although not especially memorable, DJ Sean P’s laid-back 90s-centric beats serve as fitting backdrops for Stik Figa’s bars – he is a way above-average emcee, who flows with an effortless air that makes the art sound easy. Pookey: Stik Figa Finds Himself is not Stik Figa’s best work, but it is still better than most Hip Hop out today.

Release date: February 3, 2023.

Substance810 & D-Styles - He Who Laughs Last

At 30 minutes and 9 seconds (including an intro and an outro) and just eight real songs He Who Laughs Last is more like an EP than a proper album really, but what little content this project contains is top-tier underground Hip Hop. For He Who Laughs Last Substance810 teamed up with The Legendary Beat Junkies Crew member D-Styles, who comes with some of the dopest beats you’ll hear this year (“Hyper Realism” – just wow). Fat beats and entertaining content by Substance810 and guests like Josiah The Gift, Nowaah The Flood, Jay Royale, and Napoleon Da Legend – be sure to check out He Who Laughs Last.

Release date: February 3, 2023.

MidaZ The BEAST - The Devil's Playground

Orlando-based artist MidaZ The BEAST’s Delle Digga-produced The Devil’s Playground is a GREAT little project. The album contains fifteen tracks with an average length of around two minutes – some more vignettes than fully formed songs: an ideal project for the ever-increasing short attention span crowd of course, but not just for them. MidaZ The BEAST’s gruff voice and dope flow shine with confidence, and you can hear he’s having fun recording his bars. What elevates The Devil’s Playground another notch is Della Digga’s work on the boards. These days a lot of underground Hip Hop sounds similar, using the same kind of Griselda-inspired gritty boom-bap beats as musical backdrops. Della Digga’s sound is cut from the same cloth too – but his instrumentals have a hard-to-define but unique twist to them, a fun little quirk to give them a slight left-field edge that sets them apart from the beats of most of the competition. So we have great lyrical performances AND excellent beats here – put together it makes for a must-listen project.

Release date: February 3, 2023.

Cosm - Tuscan Leather

Cosm is a British emcee, and his Tuscan Leather is an album you need to check out if that Griselda-type sound is your thing – this album sounds like it comes straight from the depths of the New York underground. Cosm’s monotone slow flow may not have a lot of range, but it perfectly matches the gritty boom-bap beats crafted by a producer called Andretti – Tuscan Leather is a strong project you will not regret giving a chance.

Release date: February 3, 2023.

Mooch & RDJR - Green Light

RDJR’s melancholic underground production on Green Light is a knock-out – easily the strongest aspect of the project and the reason the album is included here. Mooch’s content is pretty generic though, and his flow and delivery are an acquired taste. He sounds kind of like Westside Gunn – if you’re not bothered by listening to a constant high-pitched whiny flow you will like this album more than we do.

Release date: January 31, 2023.

TMFSE & Shape - Naked Brunch

For Naked Brunch, New Jersey rapper TMFSE (The Man From Somewhere Else) teamed up with producer Shape, also from New Jersey. Naked Brunch is one of the rawest and bleakest albums you will listen to this year. TMSFE’s introspective lyrics are intensely personal, delving deep into his inner feelings, fears, and troublesome life experiences. Shape’s abstract instrumentals match the mood set by TMSFE’s lyrics – this album is a great example of how expertly produced music can enhance the impact of lyrical content. The cathartic Naked Brunch is not an easy listen, but it impresses because it feels pure and genuine – and also because the dark production is dope as f.

Release date: January 31, 2023.

Deleteeglitch - Creature Of Habit

Deleteeglitch is an artist from Tampa, Florida and his Creature Of Habit is a must-listen for fans of abstract and experimental Hip Hop. The beats on Creature Of Habit are chaotic, wild, and at times abrasive, and clearly the focus of this project – where usually music serves as the backdrop for vocals, it seems it’s the other way around here. Deleteeglitch’s monotonously delivered stream-of-consciousness rhyming (and that of guests like Sleep Sinatra, Breezy Montclair, and Ghais Guevara) mostly gets ‘swallowed’ by his self-produced wall-of-noise instrumentals, and that’s OK in this case. Creature Of Habit is a challenging listen without a doubt, but an oddly captivating one.

Release date: January 28, 2023.

Styles P - Penultimate: A Calm Wolf Is Still A Wolf

Styles P has always had the same problem as his LOX partner Jadakiss: there is no doubt about their ability as emcees, but they never really succeeded in parlaying their skill into memorable albums. Penultimate: A Calm Wolf Is Still A Wolf is not that album either. It’s not bad at all, but it just doesn’t leave an impression. Thankfully Styles P refrained from infesting this album with corny R&B choruses, something both he and Jadakiss often spoil their own albums with, but overall the album still lacks punch.

The album is produced by Brady Watt and Styles P himself, and the beats they crafted are all solid enough, but also kind of bland. Styles P (and Jadakiss too) should get with a producer like The Alchemist or Apollo Brown and let them create some beats to justice to their rhyme skills. Maybe for his last album that will follow this penultimate one? Penultimate: A Calm Wolf Is Still A Wolf: good, but not great – at least Styles P is consistent in his output.

Release date: January 27, 2023.

Ty Farris & Trox - Welcome 2 Room 39

Detroit emcee Ty Farris has dropped plenty of underground heat in recent years, and this collaboration with producer Trox is one of his finest projects yet, on par even with the best entries in his excellent No Cosign Just Cocaine series. Slick boom-bap beats, smooth flows, and entertaining content – Welcome 2 Room 39 is a great addition to Ty Farris’s discography.

Release date: January 27, 2023.

Manco Wilder - The Phantom Of The Corner Store

The Phantom Of The Corner Store from relative unknown Manco Wilder is an excellent project, containing some of the best underground Hip Hop you will hear this year. “Woody Guthrie” with an appearance from the elusive billy woods is a stand-out, as are tracks like “Phantoms” (with Eddie Kaine), “Les Legions Noires”, “Massasauga” (with Saipher Soze and Daniel Son), and “Death Drives A Porsche” (with Phakt). Not a weak track among the rest of the tracklist either, this is an entirely consistent playthrough. Entertaining bars and flows from all artists involved, and great atmospheric boom-bap beats, with a slightly left-field edge here and there – The Phantom Of The Corner Store is a must-listen.

Release date: January 27, 2023.

Mickey Blue - A Long time Coming

A Long Time Coming is NYC-based producer Mickey Blue’s debut album. The album is composed of obscure samples, bass-filled beats, and razor-sharp cuts, coupled with veteran wordsmiths providing lyrical knock-out blows. Mickey Blue is an ambassador of that authentic boom-bap sound, on this album bringing grimy street bangers, some up-tempo joints, and a couple more ominous-sounding songs. A Long Time Coming is a strong album, especially Hip Hop traditionalists will love this one.

Release date: January 27, 2023.

Reuben Vincent - Love Is War

Love Is War is Charlotte, NC artist Reuben Vincent’s much-anticipated debut studio album on 9th Wonder’s Jamla label (under exclusive license to Roc Nation Records), with appearances and production from 9th Wonder, Young Guru, The Soul Council, Rapsody, Reason, Domani, and Stacey Barthe. Reuben Vincent is one of those natural talents, at 20 years old he already has everything needed to be a Hip Hop star – his flow, cadence, and pen game are top-notch, and he has that hard-to-define star power. On Love Is War he bears his soul and shows remarkable insight for one so young, reflecting on the lives of young Black men in today’s world – serious subject matter blended seamlessly with lighter-themed wordplay that proves he a dope emcee as well as an intelligent songwriter. Love Is War is musically rich (you can depend on the sounds to be stylish and soulful when 9th Wonder and company are involved), the content is meaningful, and the performances of Reuben Vincent and the featured artists are strong. Love Is War is a great album, and Reuben Vincent is an artist to keep an eye on.

Release date: January 27, 2023.  

Onoe Caponoe - Concrete Fantasia

London-based psychedelic rap enigma Onoe Caponoe’s fifth studio album Concrete Fantasia continues his strong run. The career-defining Surf or Die (2019) remains his best album as far as we are concerned, but Concrete Fantasia comes close enough. It definitely is more accessible than his fourth full-length Invisible War (2020), which is a wonderful album in its own right, but probably too intense and unsettling to appeal to anyone but the most undaunted alt-rap listeners. The fact that Concrete Fantasia is easier to digest than Invisible War is, doesn’t mean it is an easy listen – there are always experimental edges to Onoe Caponoe’s music and this album is no exception. Like his previous albums, Concrete Fantasia demands attention and commitment – because of its runtime of close to an hour but also because there’s a lot to unpack, Onoe Caponoe’s instrumentals and content are too layered to take in casually. Not for everybody maybe, but fans of abstract and experimental Hip Hop will likely love Concrete Fantasia.

Release date: January 26, 2023. 

Great Lakes Collective – Impressive Debut

Great Lakes Collective is a three-man crew (two emcees and a DJ) from Cleveland, Ohio, making early 90s-style Hip Hop. Impressive Debut is a pretty good project, there’s an infectious energy here that makes it a fun listen. Bizzy Bone and Layzie Bone from Bone Thugs N Harmony appear to give Impressive Debut a bit more cachet. Impressive Debut = dope throwback Hip Hop, check it out here.

Release date: January 25, 2023.

Lone Wolf Son Of Cosmos - Thunder Dog

Thunderdog from producer/rapper Lone Wolf Son Of Cosmos is a strange one. Atypical in more ways than one, the most obvious is the way it is composed – there are 15 tracks, almost all around 5 minutes long, bucking the trend we see these days of short songs and short albums that cater to the attention deficit crowd. The sound is different from most other albums out today too, both the instrumentals and the vocals are kind of slow and monotonous from the first to the last track, coming off almost like one long song. Though this may not sound exactly inviting, it works here – this is a beautiful piece of music as far as we’re concerned. Lone Wolf Son Of Cosmos’s stream-of-consciousness slow-flow rhymes are perfectly synched with his hypnotic and dreamlike beats, making for an almost meditative listening experience you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.

Release date: January 25, 2023.

Speak The Rebel - Cospatriot Junkbox

Speak The Rebel is an emcee from Boston, and his Cospatriot Junkbox is a pretty strong album. Speak The Rebel’s flows and the (mostly boom-bap) instrumentals that serve as backdrops for his bars are slightly left-field – definitely not run-of-the-mill and all the more interesting for their edginess.

Release date: January 23, 2023.

Ekoh - The D4Tour

Las Vegas rapper Ekoh’s The D4Tour is the fourth album in his Detour series, and it’s another solid entry. Ekoh effectively straddles the fence between indie underground Hip Hop and mainstream rap. His sound is really varied over the album’s 20 tracks, but entirely cohesive at the same time. Ekoh switches up vocal styles constantly, going from straight spitting bars to emo-rapping to singing even – and somehow it works. The D4Tour probably is a touch too polished, modern, and mainstream-oriented for Hip Hop traditionalists – but thanks to the easy-listening instrumentals and Ekoh’s relatable content it is good enough to merit a listen and to deserve a spot here.

Release date: January 23, 2023.

Eto & Futurewave - Dead Poets

This collaboration between Rochester rapper Eto and Toronto producer Futurewave delivers exactly what you’d expect from these two. Futurewave never misses with his dark yet stylish boom-bap production, and Eto can always be relied upon to come up with strong content to match the mood set by the beats he gets to work with. Daniel Son has the best feature on the album on the stand-out “Make It Out”, but the album is great from top to bottom. The biggest knock against Dead Poets is a common one these days: at just over 30 minutes the album is too short to consider it a proper full-length, with a little more substance to the tracklist it probably would made our best-of-the-year list. That said: when it comes to grimy underground Hip Hop, this is about as good as it gets.

Release date: January 23, 2023.

C-Jillz - The Wager

C-Jillz is a Chicago-based beatsmith, and his The Wager is a pretty great producer’s album – composed of nothing but dope beats and bars. C-Jillz recruited rappers like Vic Spencer, AM Early Morning, Original Super Legend, and Sean Strickland (among others) – and most of them come with their A-game. Favorite track: “Learn Today” (with Joe Glass).

Release date: January 20, 2023.

DJ Views - Gizmo Produktionz Volume 1

With song titles such as “Bar Spittin”, “Rappers Acting Wack”, and “Golden Age” it is not hard to guess what to expect from Australian deejay/producer DJ Views’ Gizmo Produktionz Volume 1. This is a dope project, tailor-made for boom-bap enthusiasts and fans of golden-era Hip Hop. Rhymes from Celph Titled, El Da Sensei, Kool Keith, Sadat X, Tiye Phoenix, Reks, A-F-R-O, and Ras Kass (among others), and additional cuts & scratches from Jabbathakut and Tone Spliff make for a kick-ass throwback Hip Hop album.

Release date: January 20, 2023.

Dallas Ford – We Were Told It's Ok To Be Here

Dallas Ford is a Pennsylvania-born rapper, We Were Told It’s Ok To Be Here is his debut studio album. We Were Told It’s Ok To Be Here is a concept album that follows a character in his/her late-20s from the ball dropping on January 1 through December 31 and all of the trials, tribulations, celebrations, heartbreaks, and self-exploratory moments within. Sonically, the album pulls inspiration from the lo-fi subgenre, mixing gritty 90’s boom bap samples, sounds from 1950’s radio broadcasts, amateur field recordings, home videos, and 20th-century jazz samples with speckled and textured instrumentation – resulting in compelling backdrops for Dallas Ford’s bare-bones constructed storytelling. We Were Told It’s Ok To Be Here is unlike any other Hip Hop album you will hear this year, and we applaud it for its originality and its authenticity.

Release date: January 20, 2023.

Ea$y Money & Chilla Jones - Ea​$​y & Chill

Ea​$​y & Chill is a joint album by Ea$y Money of St. Da Squad and Kingpen battle rap royalty Chilla Jones, with production and scratches by DJ Manipulator. Nothing spectacular here, but Ea​$​y & Chill is an enjoyable piece of straightforward Hip Hop that is worth your time.

Release date: January 17, 2022.

DJ Flipcyide - B.A. BA-RUCKUS

Las Vegas-based DJ Flipcyide is an official Wu-Tang DJ, and for the vocals on his B.A. BA-RUCKUS album he recruited Heaven Razah aka Hell Razah, Sticky Fingaz, Big Twins, Tragedy Khadafi, Canibus, iNTeLL, Judah Priest, Astro Jiggy Jones, Shogun Assason from Killarmy, Shaka Amazulu The 7th, and others. B.A. BA-RUCKUS offers an enjoyable dose of 90s-centric boom-bap, laced with DJ Flipcyide’s sharp cuts & scratches.  

Release date: January 15, 2023.

Phonk P & godBLESSbeatz - Samples Of Eden

Compton native Phonk P delivered a nice underground project with Samples Of Eden. The album is exclusively produced by godBLESSbeatz, whose beats are smooth and gritty at the same time – gelling well with Phonk P’s flows and rhymes, and those of the guest rappers he recruited. There’s little here to distinguish Samples Of Eden from all the similar-sounding Griselda-inspired underground Hip Hop projects released these days, but this album definitely is better than average.

Release date: January 15, 2023.

AWOL One - Scribbleface

AWOL One is a veteran emcee/producer from the Los Angeles underground, known for a long string of solo albums and for his work as part of groups such as The ChemikillzThree-Eyed Cowz, The Shape Shifters, and The Cloaks. AWOL One’s music always is edgy and firmly left-field, and Scribbleface is no exception – in fact, this album crosses genre boundaries constantly. Truthfully, it’s hard to stick any specific genre label on this album – we get plenty of dope Hip Hop beats throughout the album’s nineteen tracks, but there are industrial sounds all over the album too, plus electronic, punk, and rock influences, and singing as well as rapping – all of it sometimes on one single track.

We, for one, love forward-thinkers like AWOL One – and then even for us, his music can be hit-or-miss. Scribbleface is a winner though, one of AWOL One’s best-rounded and most enjoyable projects in a while. Fans of middle-of-the-road, straightforward Hip Hop may want to give Scribbleface a miss – but more adventurous listeners with an appreciation for envelope-pushing experimental Hip Hop will find a lot to enjoy here.

Release date: January 12, 2023.

Him Lo & Wino Willy - GodDon'tF%kWitU

GodDon’tF%kWitU is Him Lo of Da Buze Bruvaz’s best record yet, even if his recent collaborations with British producer Giallo Point were dope as f too. Wino Willy’s rugged beats on GodDon’tF%kWitU are a perfect match for Him Lo’s raw rhyme style and his hard-hitting bars – this is some solid underground Hip Hop.

Release date: January 6, 2023.

Memphis Reigns & D​-​Mitch - Kasan

Kasan is an interesting collaboration between California-based emcee Memphis Reigns and producer D​-​Mitch, coming 14 years after their first joint album Skeleton Crew Diaries (2009). D-Mitch’s guitar play and the sung hooks on most of the songs give this album a crossover vibe at times, but it is Hip Hop enough to give it a recommendation – Kasan is well worth a listen.

Release date: January 6, 2023.

Mad1ne & Blazy Green - Wiggy Wonka & The Gas Factory

Veteran San Antonio emcee Mad1ne (Mad One) hooked up with producer Blazey Green (and DJ Tekneek) for this short but fun golden-age-flavored project. Don’t let the quirky title and cover art put you off – this is a dope throwback boom-bap album composed of nothing but strong bars, beats, and cuts (a couple of useless interludes aside, that is).

Release date: January 6, 2023.

Michael Paul Taylor - Fine Dining

Michael Paul Taylor is a veteran producer from Oklahoma City. On Fine Dining, he takes care of most of the vocals too – the result is a well-rounded project that will appeal to boom-bap fans especially. Taylor’s raw beats and obscure samples give Fine Dining a slightly left-field vibe, the album’s sound is different enough to make it more than just another throwback record – it’s the instrumentals that are the big draw of Fine Dining. Taylor obviously is a producer first and a rapper second: he is not the best emcee you’ve ever heard. But his bars are clever and entertaining, and his mic presence is strong – put together with the contributions of a couple of guest vocalists and his appealing beats, Taylor has delivered a fine listening experience that will hold your attention from beginning to end.

Release date: January 6, 2022.

Ruby Stacks - The Conviction Of Raa Beonyi The Firstborn

The Conviction Of Raa Beonyi The Firstborn is the third album in the Raa Beonyi series by Amsterdam-based producer/emcee Ruby Stacks, following on The Chronicles Of Raa Beonyi (2020) and The Catharsis Of Raa Beonyi (2022). The twelve-track The Conviction Of Raa Beonyi The Firstborn is a tight, self-contained affair – all beats were crafted by Ruby Stacks himself, and there are no guest rappers either. Stack’s flows and rhymes are alright, but it’s the atmospheric instrumentals that are the album’s strongest side. There’s something unique about these beats – Ruby Stacks definitely created his own sound, which sets this project apart from all the mediocre Hip Hop out these days. 

Release date: January 5, 2023.

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2 responses to “Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2023 – Honorable Mentions”

  1. Funky says:

    The Raw Essentials long player is awesome, one of the better throwback albums released so far this year. I am actually surprised it isn’t included in the best of.

    The L.I.S.A album is also really great, Offkilter is proving to be a tidy little label.

  2. ziga says:

    Yo, you should do the best of K Rino albums, he is dope mc and one of most underrated eva

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