This month was defined by catharsis. A slew of talented MCs dropped deeply personal albums where they were examining the world that shaped them, and offering heartfelt portraits of their finding. Wale and Danny Brown both released long-anticipated projects. There was a slew of powerful underground projects from the likes of Radamiz, MAVI, and Pink Siifu and Akai Solo. And on the flip side, artists like Gucci Mane, Kash Doll, and Guapdad 4000 dropped plenty of music worthy of blaring at the function.
Gucci Mane — Woptober II
You know what was coming on 10/17. Gucci Mane offered up the sequel to his Woptober album this time around, and the project is another solid offering. Those who know Gucci, love him for his straightforward brand of braggadocious rap over thumping 808-based beats. Woptober II is another chip off the beloved block with tracks such as “Big Booty” with Megan The Stallion, “Came From Scratch” with Quavo, and “Wop Longway Takeoff” featuring (guess who) Gucci, Peewee Longway, and Takeoff.
Wale — Wow… That’s Crazy
Wale’s Wow… That’s Crazy is a candid glimpse of where the polarizing DC artist is at this point of his career. After becoming a father, experiencing new relationships, and evolving into an even more entrenched hip-hop veteran, Wale has plenty to say. From poignant intro track “Sue Me” and onward the album is littered with bear-it-all moments like “Cliche” and “Expectations” over soulful production. But the versatile rhymer also has fun on “50 In Da Safe” with Pink Sweat$ and “Poledancer” with Megan Thee Stallion.
Danny Brown — uknowhatimsayin¿,
Danny Brown linked with legendary hip-hop producer-rapper Q-Tip for uknowhatimsayin¿, an 11-track showcase of his lyrical prowess. Brown is renown for his animated delivery, but that’s no crutch. Heartfelt confessionals like “Change Up” and the standout “Dirty Laundry,” where he explores his sexual conquests than shows off his wordplay ability with a slew of laundry references in the second verse. uknowhatimsayin¿ is another strong effort from the Detroit rhymer who has offset the relatively late launch into hip-hop consciousness into a one-of-a-kind catalog.
Kash Doll — Stacked
Today’s proliferation of mixtapes and EPs breeds situations like Kash Doll’s. The Detroit rhymer has been in the game for a good minute, but is only just now releasing her debut album Stacked. The title of the album refers to more than the physique Kash Doll self-affirms throughout the 17-track album. From “No Lames” with Summer Walker to “On Sight,” the album is littered with singles women (and men) all over the country will find a strong relation to.
Smoke DZA, Benny The Butcher & Pete Rock — Statute Of Limitations
A trio of the East Coast’s finest linked on Statute Of Limitations. Smoke and Benny take turns getting busy over top-shelf Pete Rock production and bring along a pair of guests in Styles P (“Smoked and Butchered”) and Benny’s Griselda partner Westside Gunn, who added his vivid lyricism to the gleaming “730.” The five-track EP is almost too short a fix, as Benny has been in the zone all 2019 and every verse has been a must-hear. But listeners who take it for what it is will be highly impressed.
Radamiz — Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
Brooklyn rapper Radamiz poured everything into Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes, and the rap game is better for it. The rising rapper is known for his vulnerable introspection, lyrical precision, and stick-to-your-ribs affirmations like “now I look at my limits like Ray Charles” on “Know My Name.” He poetically culls through his philosophies, laments, and triumphs over a soundscape that harkens to the classic New York sound but presents an updated polish on tracks like the soulful “Fake Gucci” and “Knuckles” with Rothstein.
Dark Lo — American Made
On American Made, Philly’s Dark Lo offered up a collection of tracks so grimy that he may have written his bars with a stick in the mud. The OBH rhymer knows exactly what kind of music he wants to make, and fans of hard-nosed rhyming over immersive beats like “Push The Button” and “Free El Chapo” got a potent fix of street music. Lo mans the 12-track album on his own for the most part, except for collaborations with currently incarcerated brother-in-rhyme Ar-Ab and the red-hot Benny The Butcher, who he commenced a rewind-worthy back and forth with on “.” American Made isn’t full of overt social commentary in the vein of a Killer Mike album (aside from the fiery intro), but the grim picture Lo paints of the Philly streets is commentary in itself.
Pink Siifu & Akai Solo — Black Sand
A pair of underground wunderkinds linked up on Black Sand, a collaboration between LA-based rapper-producer Pink Siifu and Brooklyn rapper Akai Solo. Both artists are building their name with observant, philosophical content that interrogates the nature of Blackness and perseverance in a treacherous world. Black Sand is an example of the two artists in their zone. Though Akai handles the bulk of the rhyming while Siifu provides the production, with a variant soundscape that ranges from the atmospheric “Show Love” to the soulful “Captain No Cap.”
Mavi — Let The Sun Talk
Mavi’s Let The Sun Talk is an intense, introspective expose of the Charlotte, North Carolina rapper’s musings on Blackness, spirituality, and memories of “facetime my mama three faded,” as he reflected on album standout “sense.” His stream of consciousness flow marks the project with a palpable fusion of emotion that unfurl over a jazzy, soulful soundscape. It’s one of the year’s strongest experimental records, stamped with an intriguing fusion of vulnerability and militance.
Guapdad 4000 — Dior Deposits
Scam completed? Guapdad 4000 achieved notoriety in the rap game by unabashedly leaning into his past as a scammer, making him a subject of the social mediasphere before most people had even heard his music. But Dior Deposits is here, and he just may be here to stay for a while. Guapdad doesn’t rework the wheel (or compulsively snitch on himself) on the 13-track album, but he provides a fun collection of songs comprised of odes to the trappings of success such as “Ice Out Gold Chain” featuring the “Iced out gold chain / frostbite numb the pain” refrain.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.