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The Top 10 Best Rap Albums (to me)

Not a lot of people listen to albums anymore. Everything is popularized by a single song or verse on things like TikTok that then blow up for a while. Which is still great for those artists, but I really enjoy pressing play and listening through an album. I feel like not a lot of credit is given to artists’ albums because people only want to hear that ONE song they like. I want this blog to come off as non-douchey as possible because I used to be very insecure about what music I was listening to especially when people were around. This is going to be very polarizing but here are my top 10 favorite rap albums. Whether it’s a long drive, doing homework, or vibing with a friend, these albums not only are musical achievements but have some form of meaning to me.

Spotify playlist at the end if you just want to listen.

10. “How Live?” – LOOPRAT

I found these guys on a complete fluke. They introduced me to, as they would put it, “this jazz-rap shit”. I really like how they do a lot of music videos and “cyphers” in one take as a true testament of skill. I still put this album on when I need to do work because It has a nice mixture of smooth jazz sounds and amazing verses from each member that weirdly helps me focus. I once sat on the floor in my school’s library with 7-8 books around me trying to write a 10 page paper on the Dead Sea Scrolls while listening to this album. That’s right, it was 2018 and some jackass still wanted to know more about some ripped-up pieces of paper. It was the proudest I’ve been on any piece of school work and I have LOOPRAT to thank… I got a C.

-Favorite songs: “Lifes Work” and “All The Way Live”

9. “Bucket List Project” – Saba

This album is great because it caught me off guard. Saba was on Chance The Rapper’s song “Angels” back in 2015. Which was one of those weird free songs that Apple just put on everyone’s phone without permission so naturally I, with my not-seeking-out-music bullshit, listened to that song way too much. That’s where I first heard of Saba but this album was his biggest achievement in my opinion. I got reminded of that Angels song and decided to look Saba up and found out he has an album. I listen to this album trying to dissect a new song or lyric each time I go to the gym as a way to distract myself while working out.

-Favorite songs: “Stoney” and “Bucket List”

8. “Regulate…G Funk Era” – Warren G

G-funk, or gangsta-funk, was a short-lived genre in the 90s with people like Warren G, Nate Dogg, and Snoop Dogg (we’ll get to him later) that is still around today but just not as popular (unfortunately). This era of west coast rap talked a lot about struggles from these artists while simultaneously saying their rap name as much as possible in a song. But this music also surprisingly had the occasional really funny song or skit in albums like “Gansta Sermon” or “94 Ho Draft” in this album specifically. I remember hearing “This DJ” at a friend’s house party and when I asked what the song was nobody knew. It was one of the first times I verbally said “what the fuck is that song called? I NEED to know”. Any of my friends know I go crazy when I can’t remember a name of a song.

-Favorite songs: “This DJ” and “Super Soul Sis” (technically by Jah-Skillz, but still on the album)

7. “Whack World” – Tierra Whack

This album is just an all-around great time. Every song on this album is a short little jingle that gives you just enough of a taste to leave you wanting more. 15 songs, 15 minutes, and 15 times saying “fuck yea”. It’s a unique way of releasing music that I haven’t seen before. This is Tierra’s break-out album and I still throw it on whenever I want to be in a happier mood. I got her song “Cable Guy” on my discover weekly and wondered “why did the song stop? I was really enjoying it” I come to find out that the album is all 1-minute songs that are perfect for today’s social media algorithm. Speaking of, you might recognize her song “Hungry Hippo” as it was a TikTok trend for a few weeks. Tierra has also been releasing hit after hit as of recent so make sure to check her newest project “Rap?” that literally released today.

-Favorite songs: “Cable Guy” and “Pet Cemetery”

6. “AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP”A$AP Rocky

I know most would choose “Long Live A$AP” as their favorite A$AP Rocky album due to the massive success that it was… but I didn’t. I didn’t and that choice was made with you specifically in mind because the world is all about you. I remember buying this album back in 2015 for the sole purpose of looking cool. I was always ashamed of my music taste for bullshit insecure depressed reasons so I bought this album thinking It would make me cool if people saw or heard me listening to it. I immediately fell in love with it to the almost poetically engaging production that A$AP uses. Also, shout out to my friends from college who call me Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye because of how much I play it when I have AUX which became an ongoing joke. 

-Favorite songs: “Excuse Me” and “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2)”

5. “Professional Rapper” – Lil Dicky

A funny rapper? Yes, please. Lil Dicky was an artist I didn’t know about until this album was released with his “Save Dat Money” music video. Most people discovered him through Youtube and mixtapes which I agree are fucking incredible, but again, I was way too insecure to go looking for music at this time for fear of non-existent teasing. I took an acting class, which was just as easy as you think it is, and one of our first assignments was to sing in front of the class. I ALMOST did the song on this album “Bruh” as a way to show off to the class that I could rap (which I can’t), but on the day of presenting I noticed that 90% of the all-white class were doing raps and saw how cringy it looked so I just sang “All Star” by Smash Mouth… arguably more cringy but at least different. This was also the first time comedically I remember saying “I think I could do this”. Not the rapping, but the subtle way of putting comedy into things most people don’t. 

-Favorite songs: “Bruh” and “White Crime”

4. “Beautiful Thugger Girls” – Young Thug

Like many albums on this list, people will disagree with me on this one. This is easily my favorite Young Thug album because it takes his style in a different direction and blends a lot of attributes together. A lot of rappers nowadays, Thug included, just go from album to album using the same lyrics and beats as the album before. They all feel the same and unrecognizable as if very little effort was put into it to show growth or change in their music. This album feels like Young Thug hit refresh and it shows. Each song feels fresh and unique unlike a lot of rap that you hear today. “Family Don’t Matter” for example is a fun blend of country and rap that doesn’t make me want to immediately kill myself when i normally hear those 2 together. I listened to it when working a shitty maintenance job in the summer it came out. I would be cutting grass at 7 in the morning in flip-flops while listening to this album and getting sunburned. I still enjoy putting this on when hanging out with some friends to see if they catch that it’s a whole album being played because THAT’S how different I think the songs are… also I like doing mini “experiments” on my friends.

-Favorite songs: “Family Don’t Matter” and “For Y’all”

3. “DS2”- Future

I think everyone can agree that this album is Future at his best. This is another album I listened to only to look cool at first. My girlfriend at the time liked to believe she was black and would play the song “Trap N*****” whenever we would hang out to… look cool? I guess? Side note, am I allowed to type the n-word if it’s in the name of the song? I mean I am technically not saying the word when I type out the name of the song but I used asterisks just to be safe. Don’t worry I never said it out loud when listening along with my girlfriend… but she did because, as she put it, “Latinas are allowed to say the n-word”. Also, do I capitalize the N when typing out the “N-word”? Anyway, this album went from me listening to it with a bitch who cheated on me, to me trying to drown out suicidal thoughts while crying on abandoned train tracks, to me bumping it with my roommate getting blackout drunk off my parent’s stolen booze and playing Borderlands 2 on my Xbox. It went from being an album that reminded me of a terrible relationship, to an album that reminds me of some of the best times of my life.

-Favorite songs: “Stick Talk” and “I Serve The Base”

2. “Doggystyle” – Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg is a staple in the rap community and while his newest stuff isn’t my favorite, I can still always go back to this golden era of rap where making songs about having sex was still fairly groundbreaking especially if you described it in a pleasantly crude manner like Snoop does. It’s this type of music that started the whole “rap rebellion” of adults (specifically parents) not liking this style but covering it up with “children shouldn’t be hearing this”. Similar to the Warren G album I mentioned above, this album is a very bouncy feel-good experience of Snoop and his pals having a good time on every single track. I fell in love with this album while driving down to Wildwood NJ to visit my girlfriend at the time. Why was I driving 2 hours every week to hang out with a girl for less than a day only to drive back home the same day? Because I was desperate for any form of love or attention. This album made the drive and those dark thoughts of whether we are ever truly loved just a little better.

-Favorite songs: “Who Am I” and “Ain’t No Fun”

1. “To Pimp A Butterfly” – Kendrick Lamar

That’s right. My favorite rap album is To Pimp A Butterfly. If you don’t believe me check my Spotify wrapped. There’s not much I can say about Kendrick Lamar that hasn’t been said before by WAY more qualified people but this album means a lot to me. It was the first time I shared an opinion about music that wasn’t immediately met with backlash or a shit ton of confusion. At the time that I was listening to this album, I didn’t know Kendrick was as big a deal as he was. I hit play on the top-selling album on iTunes and actually enjoyed what I was hearing. I listen to this album basically anywhere and everywhere. Most recently, I played “These Walls” when looking at a shitty apartment in Philly because I thought it was comedically appropriate. My roommate and I would have this and “Acid Rap” by Chance on repeat in our dorm while doing basically anything. This album also has easily my favorite rap lyric “life ain’t shit but a fat vagina”… so there’s that. Kendrick is just so poetic in his writing and very cinematic in his production for this album. Each song feels more like a mini-documentary. Whether he has Thundercat helping with a chorus or he’s flying solo, Kendrick always makes each song on this album feel like it has its own marvel style origin story that I want to see.  

-Favorite songs: “King Kunta” and “These Walls”

I know nobody asked, but these are my favorite rap albums and they mean a lot to me. I used to be very insecure about sharing my music taste as I selfishly pointed out at least 3 times before in this blog so thanks for indulging me.

I also made a Spotify playlist with every one of the songs I mentioned so take a listen if you want:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5JY3icVBXsIjJKZZyLYmLE?si=75265302403c4e40

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Written by Conall Lynch

Conall drinks vodka and chases it with a Granny Smith Apple. He likes to say “the mustache is just for content” but deep down wants to keep it.

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