HHGA -
75
As far as instrumentals Hip Hop goes, 60 Raw Ones is one of the best projects you'll hear this year (along with Mix Master Mike & Steve Jordan's Beat Odyssey 2020). Veteran DJ/producer Mac McRaw presents 60 minutes with 60 beats from 1993 to 2020 crafted on the classic SP1200 beat machine. Real Hip Hop for those that dig deeper - go check this dope beat tape on Mac McRaw's Bandcamp: https://aeproductions.bandcamp.com/album/60-raw-ones

The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2020: ... read more
HHGA -
80
Cut Beetlez is a DJ/producer duo from Finland, consisting of HP Lovescratch and J-MAN. In recent years they dropped a couple of dope EP's for which they teamed up with Hip Hop traditionalists like The Good People and Nice Guys. What Beetlez? is a real full-length at 44 minutes, and it arguably is Cut Beetlez's best project yet. For this album, the duo recruited a bunch of great emcees like Guilty Simpson, Rah Digga, El da Sensei, J-Live, Reks, The Good People (among others) to take care of the ... read more
HHGA -
72
The cheap-ass cover art of Playwright’s Den does a disservice to the actual content of this project. Playwright Performer is a pretty dope album with all production from veteran Long Island producer/emcee Playwright Performer.

The album features a host of underground names like Ixion Form, Cliff Clavin, Elz Sinatra, Bravos Exodus, Louie Freelunches, Rated R CNY, DJ TMB, I.N.F. Dr Foulmouf, HI Q, Al Harden, Nico the Beast, Jake Haw, Awful P, Drew Dollars, Psych, Julius Sleazer, and Coal ... read more
HHGA -
66
The Xav (also going by The Black Duke, Henry Bemis, Archie Rays, Viazeen, and Z-NO-Zeen) is a rap veteran from Philadelphia. This 2020 release features Large Professor, A.G., Edo G, and Notzz, and is mostly self-produced - with a couple of tracks done by Large Pro and Notzz. Looking at the featured artists and producers and Xav's history it will be no surprise Black Dude has a 100% throwback vibe about it, with smooth 90s-centric beats and flows. Nothing especially memorable here, but an ... read more
HHGA -
67
French beatmaker Kheyzine connected with underground rapper LuGhz for this collaborative album. High Pressure Tactics features the likes of Killy Shoot, Indigo Phoenyx, Whata Mess, and The Deity.V so you know this is about as underground as it gets. Kheyzine's cinematic beats are solid enough and the lyrics are worth listening to for the most part, but there's not enough real greatness here to set this release apart from the rest of the many gritty neo-boom-bap projects that drop these days. ... read more
HHGA -
71
Pittsburgh's J. Sands is back with a new album, the title a play on a 'clumsy' (or dumbass) remark Joe Biden made in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God for the 2020 presidential race. “Vote For Biden Or You Ain’t Black” is a showcase of the writing skills of J. Sands - on VFBOYAB Sands covers many of the social ills that face many people every day in this day and age. VFBOYAB includes features from Hubbs, Craig G, Blu, and Headkrack, and others - their vocal contributions ... read more
HHGA -
75
Along with Knxwledge's 1988, Phoniks' Time Goes By, and C-Lance's The Ghosts of Mount Fuji, this Mix Master Mike and Steve Jordan collaboration is one of the best and most interesting instrumental Hip Hop albums you'll hear this year.

Beat Odyssey 2020 contains 14 cuts distilled from a couple of fully improvised live sessions, featuring Steve Jordan on drums and Mix Master Mike on turntables - resulting in a surprisingly polished project with 45 minutes of strong beats and cuts.

The Best ... read more
HHGA -
70
"Honcho" with Conway The Machine and DJ Premier is the absolute standout on Lessons, but there is plenty more to enjoy. Besides Conway and Premier, there are more notable features - like B-Real, Talib Kweli, Yukmouth, Havoc, and Kurupt (among others). As with most projects that run for well over an hour there is some inevitable filler, but overall this is a good MC Eiht effort - almost as good as Official, Eiht's March 2020 release.

On the Official album MC Eiht overused his ... read more
HHGA -
71
ST. Da Squad is a New England based Hip Hop Supergroup comprised of Termanology, Ea$y Money, Reks, SuperSTah Snuk, Artisin, Clip, Hectic, Dj Deadeye, and Machete.

On the heels of Reks' somewhat disappointing T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied), ST. Da Squad's rapper Artisin comes with a stronger effort: Sinamatik. Artisin has listen-worthy wordplay in store, and production from Artisin himself (along with work on the boards from DJ Manipulator, Shortfyuz, Loman, DJ Flash, ... read more
HHGA -
75
Jersey's DRE Colombian Raw latest album Dre’s Corner 2 is a nice surprise. “Just Venting” “Why (Live This Way)” and “That Come Up” were the previously released singles leading up to this project, and the rest of Dre’s Corner 2 is of the same quality. What we get is 12 tracks with gritty atmospheric neo-boom-bap beats, and raw street rhymes by DRE Colombian Raw, whose attitude and Columbian roots (some of his rhymes are in Spanish) give him enough ... read more
HHGA -
25
Sometimes one hour can seem like hours, listening to Top is such a neverending experience. Sometimes there are some redeeming things that can be said about albums released in this niche (usually the beats), about Top not so much. The beats fall flat and are universally boring, and the beats are not even the worst about this thing. YoungBoy NBA's vocals are really quite horrible - lyrical content and delivery. There's little skill here, and not even autotune can save this guy. If not for the ... read more
HHGA -
67
Reks' twelfth studio album is a bit of a mixed bag. At 19 tracks and one hour of playing time, T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied) is a long album, but Reks has proven in the past that delivering a consistent lengthy project usually isn't a problem for him. T.H.I.N.G.S. is too long though, there are a bunch of tracks that should have been left off.

Reks is a great lyricist, but he only shines sporadically on this album - his rhyming certainly is not on par with his work on ... read more
HHGA -
82
Conway The Machine has already put his mark on 2020 with two collaborative EP’s – one with Alchemist (LULU), the other with Big Ghost Ltd (No One Mourns The Wicked). From King To A GOD is Conway’s third release of the year, and his first proper full-length.

From King To A GOD is Conway’s most diverse project to date and it includes the previously released tracks “Fear of God” featuring Dej Loaf, “Front Lines, “Seen Everything But Jesus” ... read more
HHGA -
69
OC From NC (so not to be mistaken for the legendary DITC O.C.) is one of the hardest emcees to come out of North Carolina. Crown Royal is produced entirely by D.R.U.G.S. Beats and it features guest appearances by Boog Brown, Jarren Benton, Maestra, Seb Zillner, Illpo, Precyce Politix, Kieston Prophecy Reece, Lacy Haith, S.P.A.D.E, J Gunn, Seb Zillner, Jozeemo, and Vanessa Ferguson.

Bars and beats: if raw underground boom-bap (with some melodic flourishes here and there) is your thing, Crown ... read more
HHGA -
70
There Is No Mafia is Rochester, N.Y. native Pounds latest hard-hitting effort, arguably his best yet (and certainly better than Trafficante - his first album released in 2020). Like all Pounds projects, There Is No Mafia packs some serious tough talk and hard-nosed bars into its 32 minutes, but it's the atmospheric instrumentals that elevate this project above most of Pounds' earlier works, plus there are a bunch of good features too (by 38 Spesh, G4 Jag, JoJo Pellegrino, and Primo Profit - ... read more
HHGA -
70
Cinematic is a collaborative album from UK Hip Hop underground's Phoenix Da Icefire & The Strange Neighbour. One of the standouts on this project is the 7-minute posse cut "Expendables" featuring some of the UK’s finest lyrical talent, but there are no real weak spots on Cinematic. Maybe nothing especially memorable either, but all in all this is an above-average release that will be enjoyed by fans of melodic, bass-heavy boom-bap.

The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2020: ... read more
HHGA -
60
Detroit 2 is not bad at all, for a pop-rap album. It's clear time and attention went into the creation of this project, but at 70 minutes, it also almost inevitably means there are a bunch of filler tracks ("Time", "Full Circle", "Lithuania" come to mind, and there's a couple more) and some meh features (Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Diddy among them).

"Lucky Me", "Harder Than My Demons", "Everything That's Missing" (ft. Dwele), ... read more
HHGA -
5
The bottom of the barrel, below even - that's where 6ix9ine is at, as a person and as an artist. It's embarrassing to know this vile person making this vile music has an actual fanbase. Who are these people who are listening to this clown unironically?

Most frustrating about the existence of a 6ix9ine is that he is categorized as a Hip Hop / Rap artist - which is an insult to the genre and its fans. FOH.

The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2020: ... read more
HHGA -
71
Bloody Luciano is one of the better projects in the neo-mafioso rap niche this year. Soulful drumless instrumentals crafted by Cali-based beatsmith Clypto serve as fitting backdrops for Syracuse, New York-based rapper Realio Sparkzwell's gritty street tales. This album is well put together and isn't cluttered with features - only Nowaah The Flood and Ty Farris make appearances (with Tone Spliff on the cuts on one of the tracks). A must-listen for Griselda and Roc Marci fans.

The Best Hip Hop ... read more
HHGA -
75
From the Bandcamp blurb: "With his new album, Electric Sheep, Touch explores artificial intelligence, cyberpunk, futurism, and humanity as a social animal. Continuing his collaborations with a single producer, the Edmonton MC is joined by DJ Matto, previously of Vancouver, BC, horrorcore rap duo Hidden Fortress and currently holding down multiple MCs as DJ and producer in Fukuoka, Japan. DJ Matto’s crisp mix of heavy drums, deep bass, and haunting synth sounds as if the music is ... read more
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Recent Review Comments
On REKS - T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied)
"fat-finger typo ;)"
On POUNDS - There Is No Mafia
"I tend to iginore EPs, but yeah he's been pretty consistent in his output (although I didn't much care for his previous project). I liked this one though. "
On Tahmell - Home
"Haven't heard of that one, will check it out if I come across it ;) "
On Z.Younk's review of Tahmell - Home
"Out of respect for Rakim I may have overrated this thing a little bit, lol. "
On Logic - No Pressure
"Since when does the AOTY user score affect how good the album actually is? So it doesn't matter if I give it a 0 right? I think it's the end of a site like AOTY if it allows bot accounts to 'dirty' the ratings, it defeats the whole purpose of the site. Check them out, most of these 100s are new accounts with just the one rating. Anyway, it irritates me, so there you go. "
On Eastern Sunz - Fuel For A Fool’s Errand
"Very good album imo"
On AZEEZUS OUT NOW!'s review of Run the Jewels - RTJ4
"So you legitimately think Future, Lil Uzi Vert, and Don Toliver had better albums than RTJ4? "
On Eto - The Beauty Of It
"Agreed, he's one of the best and most consistent in this niche. "
On Future - High Off Life
"That it's a fact that Future's albums have greater cultural significance is a sad truth. Have to disagree on the songwriting ability claim though, I'd say it's the other way around."
On Future - High Off Life
"LOL. "Too much lyricism to digest, I do it on purpose Two of my bars is more lyrical than two of your verses, come on" (dixit RA The Rugged Man) "
On Jamo Gang - Walking With Lions
"Strong echoes of RTJ for me. Especially Ras Kass' collaborations have been great - I'm still listening to his 2015 Semi Hendrix album https://www.albumoftheyear.org/user/hhga/album/194814-breakfast-at-banksys/ and the one he did with Apollo Brown. "
On StunningDeathIsBest's review of Drake - Dark Lane Demo Tapes
"100% co-sign your sentiments. And it's funny to me how people can get upset if someone has an opinion that's different from theirs. "
On N.B.S. - Lost In Budapest
"Did it though? Wasn't it slated for a 2018 release, but delayed? "
On soundworld's review of Jay Electronica - A Written Testimony
"Great review too, makes me think I was too generous ;) "
On Grafh & DJ Green Lantern - The Oracle III
"Right. Who cares what Rome Streetz says though? He can go smoke WSG's cock as much as he can, maybe he'll be thrown some Griselda crumbs. Nobody cares about a random adlib here and there, me neither. But infesting every single song they do with those adlibs like WSG and his copy cats are doing is taking it to new levels of annoyingness. If that ruins an otherwise potentially great record for me, I'll keep on saying it. It's called an opinion, it seems you're not lacking opinions yourself. Rome Streetz, you and anybody who wants to can listen to grown men go 'pow pow pow' on their records all day for all I care, but I won't. White people bitching, huh? "
On Grafh & DJ Green Lantern - The Oracle III
""Ever get tired of bitching ab the same things on every album?" No. "Who even pays attention to ad-libs?" How can you not pay attention to them? Theyŕe there, and super annoying. "
On FACEMOVIES's review of Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By
"Good review. I've called it Eminem Derangement Syndrome" - lots of people will shit on Eminem no matter what (giving it a zero score after no more than a skim listen). I think this album had its problems, but it's nowhere near as bad a most Eminem haters here would have it. "
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