Whatever you’re looking for in rap music, we’ve got it covered. From debut mixtapes, to 29th studio albums. From the mean streets of Oak Park in Sacramento to the swamps of St. Petersburg, Florida. Our favorite releases of 2019 covered all areas of the ever-expanding rap spectrum, delivering career-best efforts from established stars and statements of purpose from newcomers. Some of these projects find sons ruminating on the legacy of their fathers, host reflections on lengthy prison sentences, and attempt to explain the unbearable emotional toll of growing up in poverty. And others boast extravagant odes to life’s simpler pleasures.
Audible Treats is proud to have been a part of hip-hop’s huge 2019. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump and please share this with friends.
Young Dolph & Key Glock – Dum & Dummer (Paper Route EMPIRE) link
Rising to prominence in defiance of the traditional label structure, Young Dolph and Key Glock helped transform Paper Route EMPIRE into a world-conquering force. Swapping bars atop state-of-the-art trap production from Bandplay, the two emcees have an infectious chemistry and a playful rivalry, creating a tangible electricity that powers Dum & Dummer, their 2019 collaborative project. Comprised of 11 tag-team tracks and several solo showcases for each emcee, Dum & Dummer debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 and spawned creative videos like the Next Friday-referencing “Baby Joker” and the psychedelic “Water On Water On Water.”
E-40 – Practice Makes Paper
(Heavy On The Grind Ent.) link
Few rappers have been able to sustain a successful career in the rap game for multiple decades, and none have done so with such effortless style as E-40. Spanning 26 tracks that explore every corner of the rapper’s headspace, Practice Makes Paper is a testament to 40 Water’s need to succeed and dedication to his craft, which drives his prolific and high-quality output. His 29th studio album, and his record 19th album to place in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Rap Album Sales chart, welcomed guest stars from all over the rap spectrum, most notably Quavo, Roddy Ricch, ScHoolboy Q, and A$AP Ferg on the hit posse cut “Chase The Money.”
03 Greedo – Still Summer In The Projects
Concrete walls can’t hold back a talent like 03 Greedo, L.A.’s favorite son. Teaming up with a fellow Los Angeles legend, super-producer Mustard, Greedo turned the sunniest season into a year-long affair with Still Summer In The Projects. Spanning 11 songs, including the breezy local hit “Trap House” ft. Shoreline Mafia, Still Summer In the Projects displays the versatility and variety typical of a Greedo project, as the Watts native consistently finds the most interesting way to approach Mustard’s warm keys and snapping snares.BONUS: Don’t make your year-end lists before hearing Netflix & Deal, Greedo’s upcoming collaborative project with Kenny Beats, which features appearances from Vince Staples, Freddie Gibbs, Maxo Kream and more.
Maxo Kream – Brandon Banks (Big Persona/88 Classic/RCA Records) link
Maxo Kream emerged from poverty in the Houston projects to become one of rap’s greatest raconteurs. Turning the page to a new chapter in his career, Maxo Kream dug deep into his past on Brandon Banks, his major label debut, exploring his relationship with his ex-con father, who used the code name Brandon Banks in his various schemes. Always looking for adventurous sounds, Maxo leveled up to complete his musical vision, enlisting A-Listers like Mike Dean and Murda Beatz, as well as previous collaborators like teej and Ryan ESL. The album boasts a long list of highlights, including the soulful “Meet Again,” listed by Esquire, Billboard, and Vulture as one of 2019’s best songs so far, the sinister, ChaseTheMoney-produced “Still,” and the sexual and lyrical “She Live,” featuring fellow Houston emcee Megan Thee Stallion
Rod Wave was one of 2019’s most compelling underdogs, slowly building a cult following with a stunning live show and emotional songwriting. Aided by major co-signs from Kevin Gates and Meek Mill, Rod’s Ghetto Gospel project debuted at #14 on the Billboard 200, before improving its chart position to #10 with an even bigger week 2. With heavy use of organic instrumentation, including snaking electric guitars and warm organ swells, Ghetto Gospel gives a proper title to Rod’s spiritual and nakedly-emotional blend of rap music, defined by Rod’s unique singing ability, able to switch from a bluesy croon to rapid-fire triplets at a moments notice. Praised by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and more, Ghetto Gospel documents the birth of a new kind of rap star…and promises even brighter things in the future.
Shoreline Mafia – Party Pack Vol. 2 (Atlantic) link
Building a worldwide following with their hedonistic strain of West Coast rap, Shoreline Mafia is the preferred soundtrack to any L.A. function. A tight nine-pack of radio-ready snap, the group’s 2019 project Party Pack Vol. 2showcases the lived-in chemistry between the group’s four emcees (Fenix Flexin, OhGeesy, Rob Vicious, Master Kato), while also opening up the party to kindred spirit guests. With production from frequent Shoreline collaborators like Ron-Ron and Ace The Face, along with hitmaker D.A. Doman, the new EP finds several unique sonic avenues within the collective’s dark, minimalist sound world, from the ping-ponging synths and rumbling bass of “Half N Half,” to the bright keys of “Caribbean,“ to the manipulated vocal samples of the Doman-produced “Wings.“
Casanova – Behind These Scars (Roc Nation Records/Republic) link
Deftly commanding his authoritative bark, Brooklyn artist Casanova raps in all caps. The Republic/Roc Nation signee delivered the impassioned and reflective Behind These Scars in October, exploring how his time spent in prison informs his every thought, emotion, and action. Expanding on the turbulent East Flatbush narrative that began with 2018’s Commissary, the upcoming album bursts with radio-ready bops, reflective ruminations on post-prison life, and the aggressively confrontational bangers on which Casanova made his name. The album features the radio hit “Coming Home,” featuring Chris Brown, and the thunderous “So Brooklyn,” which spawned a social media challenge that inspired starsfromall over the country to show their hometown pride.
Lil Durk – Love Songs 4 The Streets 2
Though he has an increasing influence on rising rappers in Chicago and beyond, Lil Durk is still rap’s foremost street melodist. The culmination of a remarkable rise from Chicago’s Class of 2012 to the highest echelons of the charts, Love Songs 4 The Streets 2 stresses the duality of Durk, presenting the face he shows at home with his fiancé India with smooth and emotionally intelligent romantic jams and projecting his strength on intense anthems. Debuting at #4 on the Billboard 200 in August, the album boasts highlight tracks featuring Nicki Minaj, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, 21 Savage, and Durk’s OTF signee King Von.
Carrying the weight of his city on his back, RJMrLA delivers every bar like his life depends on it–because it does. Fine-tuning the rhythmic urgency, unshakeable flow, and facility with earworm hooks evident in his previous work, On Goduses its 20 tracks to examine every aspect of RJ’s life, from the chaotic pursuit of stardom in “Rat Race,” to his desire to freeze time to spend more time with his family on “Time,” to his need to find a moment’s peace in “Bang My Line,” to his humble origins on the thrilling “Apartment. With guests that ranged from Young Thug to ScHoolboy Q to Rich The Kid, On God proved that there is much more to RJ than bangers.
Rucci – Tako’s Son
(Mackk & Company / EMPIRE) link
Pushing forward through hardship after hardship, Inglewood rapper Rucci is destined for success. Paying tribute to his father with his debut album, Tako’s Son is a moving picture of Rucci’s life, as he takes his struggles in stride and resolves to “Keep Going.” A well-known Inglewood figure of Salvadorian descent, Rucci’s father Tako was recently deported, stranding father and son on two sides of a national border. On the album, Rucci channels his papá as best he can, relaying life lessons through breakneck bars and tight street stories, laid over hyperactive production. With appearances from fellow L.A. heavy-hitters like Shoreline Mafia, RJMrLA, AzChike, Kalan.frfr, 1TakeJay, and more, Tako’s Son affirms Rucci’s position as one of the leading lights of his city’s rap renaissance.
Sheff G – The Unluccy Luccy Kid (Winners Circle / EMPIRE) link
Sheff G defines the sound of Brooklyn Drill, New York City’s most intriguing rap subgenre in 2019. Channeling the raw energy of his neighborhood’s rap scene, Sheff showed off his deeply musical inflections and smooth rapping voice on his debut mixtape The Unluccy Luccy Kid. With production from Great John, equally adept at pitch-black BK drill beats as brighter, Caribbean influenced sonics, and his frequent rhyme partner Sleepy Hallow, The Unluccy Luccy Kid explores the events that started Sheff on the path to rap relevance, refining his sharp storytelling instincts, and painting a harrowing picture of life in East Flatbush.
ShooterGang Kony – Second Hand Smoke
The latest rising rhymer to blossom out of the Sacramento scene that birthed Mozzy, ShooterGang Kony radiates pure joy for the art of rapping. The 20-year-old rapper perfected his rapidfire slick talk on Second Hand Smoke, outdueling the likes of Sada Baby, DaBoii, and his close friend Nef The Pharaoh. The KIL FMB rapper’s debut mixtape, Second Hand Smoke boasted the gleefully disrespectful “Charlie,” praised by Stereogum (“Unbearably funky shit-talk from a 20-year-old Sacramento kid named after an African warlord. God bless rap music.”), and the moving “Off The Dribble,” a tribute to his fallen friend.
I have a passion for blogging about what's trending in Hip Hop, R&B, and Celebrity Entertainment. I'm a huge sports fan; my favorite teams are The NY Knicks & NY Jets. I also enjoy spending time with family, and working hard as hard work pays off.