The rap albums that helped me get through 2020

January 26, 2021 — by Edwin Chen
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The wide selection of well made rap albums kept me distracted from the hardships of 2020.

While 2020 was a year that put the world on halt, the music industry continued at full force, with many big-name rappers releasing groundbreaking music to help us get through this difficult year. 

While there were plenty of flops, such as Playboi Carti’s highly anticipated “Whole Lotta Red,” there were also plenty of successes for us to enjoy. With so many good albums this year, making this list was hard, but I can assure you that all of these recommendations are worth a listen. 


4. “Legends Never Die by Juice” WRLD

Coming in fourth place is Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die,” first of hopefully many posthumous albums released after his tragic death at age 20 in 2019. 

This album has a somber tone as Juice WRLD discusses his drug abuse and mental health problems that ultimately led to his early death. The honesty and the genuineness is what makes this album one of the best. 

Juice WRLD does not hold back when discussing his suicidal thoughts and drug use. You can hear him mentally struggling and dealing with sadness in each song, such as “Smile,” in which he tells his girlfriend, “Devil on my shoulder tellin' me I'll die soon, I don't really want that to impact you.” 

Though the songs are very dark, each verse is performed to the high lyrical and flow standard that I expect from Juice, making the album one of the best. 


3. “Music To Be Murdered By” by Eminem

Eminem has been dropping hits since 1999, and it’s nice to see an old-school rapper still focusing on making music. What’s more impressive is that the quality of each album holds strong, something that cannot be said for many other rappers. 

That being said, each Eminem album holds high expectations, and “Music To Be Murdered By” did not disappoint. Each verse was brilliantly written, with multiple flows being featured on each song. 

The most impressive song was “Godzilla,” which broke the world record for the fastest rap verse. Eminem’s versatility is incredible, as he changes the flow of his lyrics constantly but effortlessly. 

Each verse is creatively written, with different plays on words and pop culture references to express his message. “Music To Be Murdered By” is proof that Eminem’s King of Rap title holds strong. 


2. “Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon” by Pop Smoke

“Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon'' was released after Pop Smoke was tragically murdered in a home invasion robbery last year. This album is a symbol of the influence that Pop Smoke has on the New York drill scene, which is a subgenre of rap that started in Chicago and has recently become popular in New York. 

Pop Smoke’s deep voice is what sets him apart from any other rapper and is a staple of his music. Through his songs “44 Bulldog” and “Tunnel Vision,” Pop Smoke demonstrates his unique twist on the New York drill scene that has recently grown in popularity. 

Although he addresses the heavy topic of his life in poverty, he mixes in adlibs and sound effects that make the experience of the song feel more exciting. The beats are fairly simple, which allows Pop Smoke to find more creativity in his lyricism and flow. 


1. TIE “Eternal Atake” by Lil Uzi Vert/ “Pluto x Baby Pluto” by Future and Lil Uzi Vert

After a hiatus of three years, Lil Uzi Vert dropped his highly anticipated “Eternal Atake” in March; each song features his quick flow over beats, resembling an alien theme. 

This album has a balanced variety of songs, with songs such as “Baby Pluto” and “Silly Watch” being high energy, and songs such as “Chrome Heart Tags” and “I’m Sorry” being about his love life. 

However, Uzi’s 2020 wasn’t over. In November, after dropping two singles over the summer with Future, Lil Uzi Vert blessed his fans with “Pluto x Baby Pluto,” his project with Future. There was not a single miss on the album. 

In most songs with two artists, each has his separate part of the song. However, Future and Uzi build their verses off of each other, which makes each verse feel connected; their tight dynamic is especially present on songs such as “Million Dollar Play” and “Marni On Me.” To this day, I have not been able to decide which album is better.


While this list consists of the best albums this year, there were plenty of other great 2020 rap albums worth listening to. Some honorable mentions include Kid Cudi’s “Man On The Moon III: The Chosen,” 21 Savage’s “SAVAGE MODE II” and Lil Baby’s “My Turn.”


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