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Hip-Hop is Dead. Long Live Hip-Hop. 270+ Projects Checked Out So Far This Year


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I drifted away from hip-hop due to an utter apathy towards mainstream trends like trap beats and Autotune. Yeah, I'm getting old. But before I really gave up and sat in the corner listening to Mecca and the Soul Brother for eternity, I challenged myself, and by extension, hip-hop, to really prove one way or another whether hip-hop was dead. 


My Mission


To check out as many fresh hip-hop projects from 2021, especially focussing on newer artists, artists I didn't know, and just generally challenging my own ideas and preconceptions about what hip-hop has become. My focus was this, but, I did also ensure I checked out any notable high-profile releases, including projects that might not usually fit my taste. In an effort to be thorough, I have so far checked out over 270+ fresh projects this year. 


Brief Summary of My Findings So Far


This year has been fantastic. I have meticulously worked through an extensive catalogue of releases which has reached over 270+ projects already with 3/4 of the year passed. I'd say there is somewhere close to 70-80 projects that I could recommend, but will attempt to narrow it down as much as possible. 


I intend to use this thread to do my very best to show that, there is an abundance of tremendous hip-hop that has been released this year. Not everything has been good, but there's been an amazing number of projects that I'm convinced most people won't find without hard-work and digging. Well, in order to share my efforts with as many people as possible, I'm going to try and catalogue my results and findings in the hope that some other people here can also enjoy some of the great music. If you can learn to trust my judgement, I can show you some great stuff and help you avoid the all the poor stuff I worked through, in order to find the gems. 


So, a little about me, first...


 My main introduction to hip-hop was mainstream stuff, late 90s mostly. Tupac, Big, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, and then into the early 2000s i followed the whole Shady/Aftermath hypetrain through 50 Cent, G-Unit etc. Around about 2005 I popped into the monthly hip-hop threads and was introduced to some amazing stuff, including, but not limited to, MF Doom, Little Brother, Wu-Tang, Non-Phixion, Arsonists, Sean P, Boot Camp Clik, Edan and many others. I was also introduced to UK artists such as Jehst, Braintax, Task Force and Klashnekoff. Rllmuk was largely responsible for my introduction into underground and alternative hip-hop that defined my hip-hop tastes for almost the decade that followed. 


So, hopefully you can see where I'm coming from, and also why I'd like to give something back, where possible. 


My Plan for Content in this Thread


 1) Collect a and frequently update my lists of the best projects this year, I will do this in a comment directly below the main post.


 2) Post a once-weekly summary of new releases (Friday)


 3) Post a once-weekly short review round-up of the previous weeks releases (Thursday)


 4) Occasionally I'll add a more detailed review for any noteworthy or significant releases


Anyway, if you've made it this far - thank you, and hopefully I can repay your patience with some high quality music recommendation!


Footnote, I decided to create this new thread mostly for two reasons:


1) I know I'm not alone in my discontent and disconnect with modern hip-hop, and hoped a fresh thread might help this scope of my project reach those outside the usual hip-hop thread 


2) I felt like I have kinda taken over the regular hip-hop thread with some of my attempts to share fresh music, while still not really scratching the surface of some of the great stuff I've found.


Thanks again! 

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This comment will be where I keep summary lists of the best projects I have checked out this year. I will follow a structure and the entries will be updated on a weekly basis.


 - Top 50 LP projects

 - Top 15 EP projects (less than 30 minutes or less than 10 tracks)

 - Top 10 Compilation/Producer Albums


Initially, they will not be in any particular order. At the end of the year I will put them in order and give them a score/10.


Excludes are re-releases, such as Aquemini (Deluxe) and RTJ4 deluxe. Any significant re-releases which include new tracks that are not instrumentals, I will make a special mention for at the bottom.


Top 50 LPs


Beneficence & Confidence - Stellar Mind 

Your Old Droog - TIME 

Asun Eastwood & Finn - The S.O.U.L. 

The Good People - The Greater Good 

101 - Whatever Happens Happens 

Propo'88 & Wildelux - Certified Craftsmen 

D2x - The Color Blue 

Asun Eastwood & MAV - 98 Miles 

Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram 

Big O & P-Rawb - The Complexity 

Philmore Green - Knowledge and Power

[UK]Ramson Badbonez - Lead by Example 

Shadow the Great - More Life 

MAV & Swab - A Luxury You Can’t Afford 

Rashid Hadee- Prime Diesel 

Lukah - When the Black Hand Touches You 

Rita J - The High Priestess 

God Hates Gucci - Let the Dirt Say Amen 

RAP Ferreira - Bob’s Son 

Tanya Morgan - Don & Von


[UK] Inglorious Poet - Fine Art (The American Project) 

[UK] Truemendous- Misdiagnosis of Chyvonne Johnson 

[UK] Sonnyjim & Buckwild- Coke Le Roc

Nas - Kings Disease 2 

Gotham (Talib Kweli & Diamond D) - Gotham 

[UK] Illiterate & Loop Faction - Ordinary Kids 

Evidence - Unlearning Vol 1 

Awon & Phoniks - Nothing Less 

[UK] Giallo Point & Juga-Naut - Smoke Filled Room 


Damu the Fudgemonk - Conversation Peace 

Ka - A Martyr’s Reward 

General Steele - Amerikkka’s Nightmare III 

Cornerstore Connoisseurs – No Stunt Doubles 

[UK] Red Master - Unsung King 

The Palmer Squares - out with the old 

Vic Spencer - Brainstem Factory 

Vic Spencer - Legend Laws of Power 

[UK] Rick Fury - Return of the king 

Sankofa - The Most Delicious Gold 

Amari Mar - Grand Rising 

Lord Juco – Raised Right 

Apathy - Where the River Meets the Sea 

WateRR - For the Streets and Scholars 

Napoleon D Lagend & Nejma Nefertiti - Alter Ego 

Outlawz - One Nation 

ANKHLEJOHN - As a Man Thinketh 

Oswin Benjamin - Joy Comes in the Mourning 

[UK] Blue City CDF - Into the Void 

El Da Sensei - Solving Cases 


Top 15 EPs (< 30 mins / 10 tracks)



Boom Bap Project - Return Flight EP 

[UK] Heavy Links- NWC EP

Jayy Grams - GRAMS EP 

[UK] Chester P - Love the World EP 

LocalBlac & ToneSpliff - Masked Assailants EP 

Shadow the Great - The Cure EP 

Substance 810 & Hobgoblin - the Hanging Gardens EP 

Nejma Nefertiti - The Harvest EP 

Ill Conscious - Import Export EP 

Jay-Ef - Believe it or Not EP 

Medhane - Amethyst of Morning EP 

[UK] Blue City CDF & Mr Substance - Mind Map EP 

Benny the Butcher - Pyrex Picasso EP

Nejma Nefertiti - Valley of the Queens EP 
Shadow the Great - How it Goes EP 


Compilations / Producer Projects


Wounded Buffalo Beats - Black Magic & Horns 

Nef - Tabula Rasa 

Mello Music Group - Bushido 

Peter Rosenberg - Real Late

Khrysis - The Hour Of Khrysis 

[UK] Pitch 92 - Intervals 

DJ Cosm - Natural Within 


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New Releases, Friday 24th

 - Westside Gunn-  Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B
 - Solemn Brigham - South Sinner Street
 - The Grouch & Eligh - What Would Love Do
 - Dark Lo & Havoc - Extreme Measures
 - Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels Deluxe Edition (this includes no new tracks beyond instrumentals from the 2020 releaese)
 - Lukah - Why Look Up, God's In the Mirror
 - Tommy Evans - False Conscious Liberation
 - El Da Sensei & Jake Palumbo - Solving Cases

 - Larry June & Cardo - Into the Late Night

 - DJ Muggs & CRIMEAPPLE - Cartagena
 - Blu - The Color Blu(e)
 - Illa Ghee - Vocabulary Hercules


I will follow these up with summary reviews on Thursday, 30th, along with any projects that drop between now and then. 

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