2020, the year everyone wants to forget but no one will stop talking about. People thought 2016 was bad when all the celebrities died but in 2020 it wasn’t David Bowie and Gene Wilder who took their last breath, it was your nana, MF DOOM and pretty much anyone living in a care home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we couldn’t go to any live music events and for most of the year couldn’t even go to the pub.
Live shows being an impossibility meant that many bigger acts pushed back album releases as to not lose out on the touring money that comes with new music. Fortunately the underground didn’t let it stop their creativity and has continued to treat us to some incredible music.
Instead of my usual top 50 or 100 I thought I’d keep this year’s list more concise, so with great difficulty I’ve got it down to just 20 projects released in 2020. This list is a little different to my usual ones as I’ve tried to incorporate as any styles as I can, to give a good taste of the variety of great music that came out. There are a fair few albums I loved just as much as these but I left them out because the vibe was similar to others already on the list. The order here is very rough too, all these releases are superb so you should go listen to every one of them!
Let’s hope that things improve in 2021 and we can really move on from the dreaded 2020, but for now take one last look back as I guide you through the best releases of the year. The two podcast episodes are below and if you’re still hungry for more hip-hop after this, then you can head over to this YouTube playlist full of the best hip-hop music videos of 2020.
20 Cashus King – Weightless
19 Henny L.O. & Ohliv – Sages
18 SahBabii – Barnacles
17 Jyoti – Mama, You Can Bet!
16 Need For Mirrors – Flames
15 Zelooperz – Gremlin
14 Naeem – Startisha
13 Nuff Pedals – I Am Nuff Pedals
12 Your Old Droog – Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition
11 Young Nudy – Anyways
10 ANKHLEJOHN x Navy Blue – As Above, So Below
9 High Contrast – Notes From The Underground
8 Brandy – B7
7 Scratchclart – DRMTRK EP X
6 Kenny Segal x Serengeti – Ajai
5 Mez – Tyrone 3
4 Ka – Defendants of Cain
3 R.A.P. Ferreira – Purple Moonlight Pages
2 Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Innocent Country 2
1 Roc Marciano – Mt. Marci