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Greatest Rap Albums of the Decade (So Far)

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> Greatest Rap Albums of the Decade (So Far)

While underground rap has thrived recently with the rise of Griselda and Armand Hammer, the albums in the mainstream for this decade have reached outside of the tight-knit rap circles and affected many lives. Here are those meaningful, fun, exciting, and devastating albums that have shaped the 2020s so far.

1. Run the Jewels - ‘RTJ4’

1. Run the Jewels - ‘RTJ4’

Released in the wake of distressing times following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, RTJ4 is yet another peak-form record for Run the Jewels that is as crucial as it is technically brilliant.

2. Little Simz - ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’

2. Little Simz - ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’

The epic masterwork from Little Simz comes as a follow-up to the Mercury Prize-nominated Grey Area, expanding her music and herself to the farthest reaches she could manage.

3. Tyler, the Creator - ‘Call Me If You Get Lost'

3. Tyler, the Creator - ‘Call Me If You Get Lost'

The effortless flow from start to finish of Call Me If You Get Lost shows that Tyler the Creator lost not one bit of his rap skills following IGOR, coming across as better than ever before.

4. Lil Nas X - ‘Montero’

4. Lil Nas X - ‘Montero’

For skeptics of “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X’s debut full-length will come as a shock; Montero is the most visionary debut rap record of the decade so far.

5. Freddie Gibbs - ‘Alfredo’

5. Freddie Gibbs - ‘Alfredo’

Though better known for his collaborative albums with the producer Madlib, The Alchemist makes an equally vital partner for the Midwest rap legend.

6. Dave - ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’

6. Dave - ‘We’re All Alone In This Together’

This sophomore release from the British rapper Dave met high expectations after a debut album structure like a therapy session; We’re All Alone In This Together reaches even farther than its predecessor for another detail-oriented masterpiece.

7. Genesis Owusu - ‘Smiling with No Teeth’

7. Genesis Owusu - ‘Smiling with No Teeth’

A singular debut that draws from many inspirations, at times going so far away from rap that Genesis Owusu becomes a genre of his own.

8. Jay Electronica - ‘A Written Testimony’

8. Jay Electronica - ‘A Written Testimony’

Though some complained that Jay-Z showed up too frequently here, this debut album is thrillingly inventive nonetheless.

9. J Hus - ‘Big Conspiracy’

9. J Hus - ‘Big Conspiracy’

As British rap keeps growing into a mainstream genre, J Hus’ Big Conspiracy marks the first worthwhile U.K. entry of the 2020s.

10. Megan Thee Stallion - ‘Good News’

10. Megan Thee Stallion - ‘Good News’

The long-overdue debut studio album from this admirably talented star balances popular appeal with bold displays of her captivating attitude.

11. BROCKHAMPTON - ‘Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine’

11. BROCKHAMPTON - ‘Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine’

Every subject on life that this group has tackled fervently culminates in one of the best Brockhampton albums.

12. Mac Miller - ‘Circles’

12. Mac Miller - ‘Circles’

Completed reverently by producer Jon Brion after Miller’s death, Circles is a moving listen despite its simplicity thanks to the surrounding context.

13. Moor Mother - ‘Black Encyclopedia of the Air’

13. Moor Mother - ‘Black Encyclopedia of the Air’

Experimental artist Camae Ayewa tones her approach down musically, but the lyrics and songwriting remain as vital as ever.

14. Nas - ‘King’s Disease II’

14. Nas - ‘King’s Disease II’

Though the first King’s Disease won Nas a Grammy, this record improves on the original with more daring production from Hit-Boy and more memorable lyrics across the board.

15. Earl Sweatshirt - Sick!’

15. Earl Sweatshirt - Sick!’

Sick!, the standout rap record of 2022 so far, shows Earl Sweatshirt at his most lyrically developed and instantly engaging.

16. Dizzee Rascal - ‘E3 AF’

16. Dizzee Rascal - ‘E3 AF’

The grime star whose debut album won the 2003 Mercury Prize now leans towards accessible music approaching, dare I say, a pop-leaning record.

17. Clipping - ‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned’

17. Clipping - ‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned’

Returning to horrorcore after their first attempt on There Existed an Addiction to Blood, the experimental trio fronted by Daveed Diggs once more excels at any sound they attempt.

18. Slowthai - ‘Tyron’

18. Slowthai - ‘Tyron’

Slowthai sounds inspired as he turns his lyrics inward, dividing the record into his aggressive and reflective side.

All albums are available on major streaming services now.

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