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2020 Recap: Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums

A Look at 2020’s Best Soundtracks

2020 has given fans of Hip-Hop a little bit of every style that has made the genre a household product.  From new rising stars to established vets, many standout projects made this year enjoyable.

With great sales and influence, Hip-Hop again showed why it is acknowledged as the most popular genre of music today.  Here are 10 albums that show the best of what Hip-Hop had to offer in 2020 based on sales and critical acclaim.

Lil Baby – My Turn

Sitting atop of the Billboard 200 for five weeks upon its release, Lil Baby’s My Turn pushed the Atlanta rapper to new heights of success.  With singles like “Whoah” and “Sum 2 Prove” leading the way, Lil Baby’s second studio album was able to go double platinum by September after dropping in late February.

The massive success of his track “The Bigger Picture” helped Lil Baby to become one of the most relevant artists in 2020.  The single was the most played protest song following the murder of George Floyd in May.

Although he did not receive a Grammy nomination for My Turn, Lil Baby did receive nominations for “The Bigger Picture” in the categories of Best Rap Song and Performance.

 

Run the Jewels- RTJ4

For everything that Killer Mike has done behind the music, His efforts with El-P as the Run the Jewels have garnered some serious respect and accolades.  RTJ4 which dropped on June 3, debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200.

The socio-political content that Run the Jewels is known for came at the right time since the George Floyd incident was still fresh in the minds of Americans.

From the opening track “yankee and the brave (ep 4)”, RTJ4 was able to capture raw energy synonymous with 2020.  Killer Mike claimed that the album would “march through the motherf–king world like a beast,” and proved that statement to be true.

 

 Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist- Alfredo

After his highly successful collaboration with Madlib (Bandana), Freddie Gibbs teamed up with superproducer The Alchemist to give a gritty classic with Alfredo. The Indiana native was able to deliver amazing storytelling and metaphors over soulful beats provided by The Alchemist.

With singles like “Something to Rap About”, “Scottie Beam feat. Rick Ross” and “1985” Gibbs and Alchemist were able to have their highest charting album to date.  Released on May 29, Alfredo debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200.

The album has also granted Gibbs his first Grammy nomination of his career as Alfredo was nominated for Best Rap Album alongside some very good company like Nas and Royce Da 5’9.

 

Chika- Industry Games

As far as newcomers go, Chika looks to represent the brighter part of what Hip-Hop has evolved into.  Industry Games is one of the true gems of 2020 as Chika uses her unique experience in coming up in the music industry to give seven smooth tracks of lessons and insight.

Industry Games contains songs like the title track “Industry Games” and “Balencies” that detail her fight to be herself despite her image and challenges in facing mental health issues.

Her grind with her debut project has earned her endorsements from both Jay-Z and Diddy as well as a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.  Fans of Hip-Hop look forward to seeing what moves are ahead for the Alabama emcee.

 

  Megan Thee Stallion- Good News

For Megan Thee Stallion 2020 has been a year of growth and expansion through hardship and adversity.  While Meg’s Suga debuted at number seven, Good News exceeded that by debuting at number 2 on the Billboard 200.

With singles like “Body”, “Don’t Stop” and the highly popular “Savage Remix feat Beyonce’” Meg was able to deliver an album that was met with great reception from fans and critics alike.

Megan earned Grammy Nominations for the upcoming awards show in four different categories.  She is up for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Song for “Savage Remix” in addition to Best New Artist.

 

Westside Gunn- Pray for Paris

Hailing from Buffalo, NY Westside Gunn and the rest of Griselda Records have had the music industry on notice with their street stylings.  The bravado and vivid lyrics draw in all fans of Hip-Hop to an experience reminiscent of earlier times in the late 90s-2000s

While other Griselda artists Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine also dropped projects this year, Pray for Paris is the best example of the raw talent and swagger that they exude.

The songs “327” and “French Toast feat. Wale” helped Westside further the Griselda brand to new spaces this year in the Hip-Hop community.

 

Royce Da 5’9- The Allegory

Royce da 5’9’s The Allegory is an example of artists who understand how to express themselves with continued aging and experience.  

Royce teamed up with the legendary DJ Premier once again for The Allegory and gave a very sound perspective on where he believes the music industry is currently.

Songs like “Upside Down feat Ashley Sorrell and Benny the Butcher” and “I Don’t Age” show a poise that has led to Royce receiving his first Grammy nomination. The Allegory debuted at 13 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of sales.

 

Nas- King’s Disease

Over his career, Nas has never failed to deliver thought-provoking lyrics that have helped to shape an entire era of Hip-Hop.  With his most recent album King’s Disease, Nas shows a willingness to collaborate with one of the hottest young producers in Hitboy for the album.

When King’s Disease came out on August 21st the project debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200.  Songs like “Ultra Black” and “The Cure” paved the way on Nas’ 13th studio album earning him a Grammy Nomination in the process.

Roddy Ricch- Please Excuse Me for Being Anti-Social

2020 proved to be an excellent year for Roddy Ricch who has had everyone grooving to his melodic style of rapping.  Although Please Excuse Me for Being Anti-Social dropped in December of 2019,  many of his songs from that album still found relevance and success in streaming and sales.

The rookie album from the Compton artist debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 with 101,000 units sold in the first week.  Being led by the smash single “The Box”, Ricch has won several awards for his project including Apple Music’s Album of the Year.

He is also getting Grammy nominations for in Best Melodic Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his work on “The Box”

 

Pop Smoke- Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon

One of the most heartbreaking stories of 2020 was the tragic passing of Pop Smoke who seemed ready to ascend into superstardom.  Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon showed the promise that Pop Smoke had as a recording artist and fans greatly supported his posthumous project.

The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 following its release on July 3rd selling 251,000 copies in the first week of sales.  Fans can remember Pop Smoke fondly from songs like “The Woo” and “Dior” which is a nominee for Best Rap Performance at the upcoming Grammys.

Pop Smoke joins  Notorious B.I.G, 2Pac, XXX Tentacion, and Juice Wrld as the only Hip-Hop artists to reach the top of the Billboards after their passing.

 

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