Syd – “Broken Hearts Club”
Syd shares a more personal side on “Broken Hearts Club.” The LA singer battles with falling in love, feeling the ups and downs of unrequited love through energetic drums and somber chords. “Broken Hearts Club” features Lucky Daye, Smino and Kehlani. This is a great listen for anyone who enjoys spacey production and intimate vocal runs that pluck at your heartstrings.
Vince Staples – “RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART”
Even though Vince Staples dropped his seventh studio album just a year after his self-titled album, the Long Beach rapper is ready for superstardom. Vince negotiates his mortality in his latest album, “RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART.” Vince also begins to question his idea of “home,” being bigger than Long Beach. Vince often raps about growing up surrounded by gang culture in Long Beach and how it shaped him. It’s safe to say that “RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART” is nothing but magic.
Kehlani – “blue water road”
Oakland-born singer Kehlani released their sixth studio album “blue water road” earlier this year. In an interview, Kehlani shares how becoming a mother made her realize that music does not need to be full of rage or sadness to be “deep.” With their newfound maturity, Kehlani released a remarkable project while adding an amazing cast of guest features from Syd and Justin Bieber to Blxst, Thundercat and more.
Kendrick Lamar – “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers”
After a five-year hiatus, King Kendrick has returned with his fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” In this project, Kendrick gives a critique of culture itself. Kendrick puts a magnifying glass on how trauma manifests on an individual and communal scale. Kendrick challenges listeners to examine their trauma, vices and practices to break generational curses and start healing.
Earl Sweatshirt – “SICK!”
Earl Sweatshirt dropped his fifth project, “SICK!” on Jan. 14th. Longtime fans of Earl, real name Thebe Kgositsile, know the rapper has range. — Earl flexes his versatile repertoire throughout the 10-track album, discussing topics of humanity, the pandemic and more. His lyricism packs a punch, but his delivery is calming. If you’d like to explore the mind of Earl Sweatshirt, tune into “SICK!”
The Weeknd – “Dawn FM”
Earlier this year, The Weeknd returned with his latest chart-topping album, “Dawn FM.” The Canadian singer continued with the retro-yet-futuristic sound he established in his previous album, “After Hours.” The Weeknd nods to 70s disco and 80s pop to make his recent album a late 20th-century time capsule. Hate it or love it, The Weeknd’s approach to ’70s disco and ’80s pop music helped the singer carve a lane out as one of the music’s most exciting and profitable acts.
Babyface Ray – “FACE”
Babyface Ray dropped what many believe to be one of the best rap albums of the year with “FACE.” The Detroit native pushes the boundary on Detroit music sounds by hopping on tracks with 42 Dugg, Yung Lean, G Herbo, and Pusha T. “FACE” is a must-listen for fans of punchline-packed, trash-talk Michigan rap.
Bakar – “Nobody’s Home”
“Nobody’s Home” marks Bakar’s first album in almost four years. Bakar returns with his long-missed soulful and alternative sound across 14 tracks. Bakar demonstrates versatility unseen before on previous projects, ranging from pop to rock to R&B — but remains undeniably Bakar. Fans of King Krule, Cosmo Pyke, and Daniel Caesar would want to add this one to their libraries.
Saba – “Few Good Things”
What makes “Few Good Things” one of the best rap albums of the year lies within Saba’s ability to bridge the gap in the hip-hop world. The Chicago native brings rap veterans Krayzie Bone, Black Thought, Fousheé, Smino, G Herbo and more on Saba’s third studio album. While “Few Good Things” takes a more optimistic approach than its predecessor, the album remains thought-provoking, enough for every rap fan to find something new with each listen.
Yeat – “2 Alivë”
Even though Rap Caviar recently crowned Yeat Rookie of the Year, the newcomer is making huge waves, collaborating with rap’s biggest stars and landing a song on the new Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack. Yeat has a style that sounds undoubtedly new-age southern, but the LA-based rapper just getting his feet wet. Yeat nods to alt-rap and early Soundcloud hip-hop on this emotional but buoyant 20-track album.