Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums Of 2020 So Far (Ranked)
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Before we get into the list, let's set some things straight.
This is my opinion.
My opinion might be different from yours.
I explain the reasonings behind each choice, and if you disagree, I'd love to hear why in the comments.
Some honourable mentions that didn't make the list include :
UNLOCKED by Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats
Slime & B by Young Thug & Chris Brown
The New Toronto 3 by Tory Lanez
Pray 4 Love by Rod Wave
With all of that out of the way, let‘s get into it.
10. King's Disease - Nas
King’s Disease released August 21st and was predominantly produced and written by grammy-winning Hit-Boy.
The title refers to gout, which mostly affected Kings or people of wealth. It’s contracted by a combination of consuming too many of certain foods and reduced extensive movement.
Although Nas sticks to his classic flows and traditions, the album also does dip its toes into new aspects and qualities that would appeal to the newer generation of listeners. With standout production from Hit-Boy, some people (such as myself) would compare his craft (on this album) to something you’d see on a Kanye album.
People could argue that this album deserves to be put higher, lower, or not even on this list at all. My reasoning stems behind the only drawback that this album has. Nas unfortunately hasn’t fully adjusted to the new era of Hip-Hop, and it’s blatantly obvious in his flows and rhythm. To give credit where credit is due, Nas still made a very solid, respectable album, with clear hard work being at the forefront of each song.
This is why it comes in at #10 on our list.
9. High Off Life - Future
High Off Life isn’t Future’s best work, but it’s definitely nowhere near his worst. With production, features, and flows venturing into all areas possible, he manages to have a couple of pretty good songs on here.
Future’s biggest obstacle that obstructs him from becoming a superstar artist is his ability to create consistent music. While he does have his lows, he also has his highs as well. Songs like “All Bad”, “Solitaires”, “Trillionaire” and “Accepting My Flaws” are proof that Future is capable of making good music. While there are some songs that stand out, there’s a large pool of songs on this project fade into the background or are just plain out not good.
Future still manages to make hit songs, and is well known for a good reason.
Not to mention the numbers “Life Is Good” put up, there’s no argument that Future’s “High Off Life” deserves to be on this list.
8. Heaven Or Hell - Don Toliver
Despite the impressive quality of Don Toliver’s breakout album, “Donny Womack”, it was unfortunately in the shadow of Travis Scott’s Astroworld, as they had the same release date. With his career more in the spotlight in the past year, people were looking forward to Don Toliver’s second commercial album. With his first album essentially being unheard of, most people felt like they were waiting for his “first” album. People were in fact actually treated to the first single off of his upcoming single, which was called “No Idea”. ”No Idea” was an exceptional song, but it didn‘t fully get the ball rolling until it found its way to TikTok. Regardless if it was ruined by TikTok or not, it still should be considered a very good song.
With the album’s eventual release, it in fact did not disappoint. Automatically songs like “After Party”, “Cardigan”, and “Euphoria” were songs that stood out and performed surprisingly well on the charts. The album also provided depth with lowkey songs like “Wasted”, “No Photos” and “Heaven Or Hell”.
A lot of people (including myself) were very impressed with the production and vocal performance on this project, and it’s no secret that Don Toliver has a lot of potential with a bright future.
Definitely not a masterpiece, it still should be considered a valuable project. This is why it comes in at #8 on our list.
7. Meet The Woo 2 - Pop Smoke
Pop Smoke first hit the scene with his hit single “Dior” in 2019. “Dior” was an interesting song to listen to, because it was so very different from what people were used to in hip-hop.
With some more singles dropping (“Shake The Room”, etc.) he also made an appearance on The JackBoys album, on the song “GATTI”.
With his talent and style becoming more and more recognized, it was only a matter of time before he dropped a project. When he finally did drop, it was clear Pop Smoke wasn’t someone to dismiss.
Songs like “Mannequin”, “Element”, and “Invincible” were crystal clear examples of the style and quality that Pop Smoke was to bring. Unfortunately his untimely death put those anticipations to rest.
This album deserves to be on this list based on the quality, stats, and the fact that it will go down as a classic.
6. WUNNA - Gunna
Easily Gunna’s best work. His prior album : “Drip Or Drown 2” released in 2019 and was highly anticipated, but disappointed the general public due to the monotone theme of the album.
With the poor reception on his previous album, Gunna officially solidified the meme of being better as a feature then he is on his own records. People feared that this year would be a repeat of the past year, but to everyone’s surprise, Gunna proved that he’s capable of making respectable tracks.
With solid production backing him up, he chose to float and flow over the beats he was presented with, as opposed to mumbling words with no enthusiasm.
The deluxe version proved to be even better than the original with the addition of songs like “ONE WATCH”, “RELENTLESS”, and “NOTHING 4 FREE”.
Majority of the album is of top-notch quality, and it goes to show that Gunna is growing and improving as a big name rapper in the game.
5. Legends Never Die - Juice WRLD
Juice WRLD’s posthumous was a prime example of how someone’s posthumous album should be handled. With quality songs that were actually finished and completed, it’s easy to see this as a normal album from Juice himself.
This album came filled with standout songs, while also providing depth at the same time. Songs like “Conversations”, “Wishing Well”, and “Hate The Other Side” charted well not only because it was Juice, but because they were genuinely good songs. On the other side of it, there was an acceptable amount of depth with lowkey songs like “Blood On My Jeans”, and “Stay High”. I personally appreciated that it showed where Juice wanted to explore his music before his demise, with the rock themed song “Man Of the Year” and the EDM themed song with Marshmello : “Come & Go”.
Juice is definitely one of the greats of his time, and his music speaks for itself. The great work and talent on this album puts it at #5.
4. My Turn - Lil Baby
Like Gunna, Lil Baby shows off his growth and improvement with his newest album. This is also for sure his best work, and it’s easy to see why, as he displays back to back quality work. The production, pen game, and flow all show why Lil Baby is considered “The People's Favorite”.
All things considered, Lil Baby could easily fight for a higher spot on this list, but the only reason Lil Baby (in my opinion) is on the list where he is, is solely because he lacks a certain quality that makes his songs memorable. Although there are definitely exceptions (“We Paid”), Lil Baby has a hard time making music stick around.
Aside from that, there’s no doubt that Lil Baby deserves high praise for his work on this album.
3. Eternal Atake - Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert was teasing Eternal Atake since I don’t know when. It was so extremely anticipated, that people were creating this image of it in their minds that it would be a godsend of a project from Uzi. When it was first announced that he’d be dropping it soon; the debates, the arguments, predictions, all became the forefront of everyone’s conversations.
Unfortunately, when it did drop, people were very mixed on it. Majority of the community were very upset because it didn’t live up to their expectations. While it wasn’t a 11/10 project, I’m here to tell you it was still excellent.
The highest charting songs being “Baby Pluto”, “Silly Watch”, and “P2” were basically what most people were looking at, while there was actually good depth within the album.
Lower key songs like “Prices” and “Bust Me” and “That Way” prove that you shouldn’t always listen to the general public.
It would be a crime if we didn’t mention the deluxe version of this album. Essentially a whole new album, this came jam packed with 14 new songs, on top of the original 18. Songs like “Myron”, “Bean (Kobe)”, “Leaders” and “Trap This Way (This Way)” took fans back to the closest thing to 2016 as you can get.
The deluxe being filled with so many good new songs, on top of the already respectable original, rightfully puts it above all the prior albums on this list.
2. Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon - Pop Smoke
Another album by Pop Smoke, this one sadly being released after his death. Pop Smoke’s posthumous album actually shared a few parallels with Juice WRLD’s album. They were both well crafted posthumous albums, and they both explored new genres of music.
Instead of Rock and EDM like Juice, Pop Smoke chose to extend his voice into R&B. This venture turned out to be a major success, especially considering the song “Mood Swings”.
Pop also sticks to his normal bread and butter music with songs like “Creature”, “Aim For The Moon”, and “44 Bulldog”, which gives OG fans what they always wanted. He also steps into the more mainstream themed hip-hop with songs like “West Coast Shit” and “Snitching”.
It’s unfortunate that his life and career were cut so short. It was apparent that Pop wasn’t afraid to venture into new music, while making sure it still sounds good. The fact that his album has so many standout songs, depth in quality, and even successful songs in other areas he’s not familiar with, gives him an edge on every other album on this list.
And yet it does not come close to our #1 pick.
1. The GOAT - Polo G
When I first heard what Polo G was gonna be naming the title of his new upcoming album, I was very skeptical of what gives him the right to pull a move like that. But with my first listen, it all became clear to me...
Polo G is the GOAT.
Not really, but he brings up a very solid argument as to why he can contend with the top of the game.
Polo G brings us into his album with heart, soul, beats, flow, and spectacular production. Songs like “Flex” and “Go Stupid’ show off his speed and tenacity, while songs like “Heartless”, “Martin & Gina” and “Beautiful Pain” show that he can slow things down with more emotion. “Go Stupid“ could‘ve been a way more appreciated song, but it was unfortunately ruined by TikTok. With literally every single song being a clean listen through, depth would be an understatement.
Polo G proves that he’s not in the same league as the newest class of rappers, and that he's a name to watch out for.
That being said, it’s hard to say where he’s gonna be in the future, but it’s not hard to say that it’s definitely a bright one.
This is why The GOAT comes in at #1.