15 Best International Hiphop Releases So Far

By Dante Romero

   2019 is arguably one of the greatest years for Hiphop music. Our local artists have released some of their best works to date, and more and more people are finally appreciating them. The genre is also stronger than ever on the international side. Whether it’s mainstream or underground, the majority of the projects that came out have been universally acclaimed.

   Are you planning on updating your playlist? Let us help you out! Here are the top 15 international albums of 2019 so far. Check them out and enjoy the dope rhymes and beats. We’ve decided to list them in no particular order to avoid unnecessary arguments about rankings.

15. Benny the Butcher – “The Plugs I Met”

   Griselda Records made waves in 2019 once again starting with “The Plugs I Met”.  Benny the Butcher gave us gripping stories about the mean streets as well as his hardest battle-oriented tracks to date. The beats are menacing than ever, and the guest emcees definitely killed it as well. If you’re looking for that dark boom bap sound, then this is for you.

14. Madlib x Freddie Gibbs – “Bandana”

   Madlib and Freddie Gibbs teamed up for the second time in “Bandana”, which is already considered as the album of the year by most music critics. Freddie Gibbs not only showcased his intricate lyricism, but also his awe-inspiring flow. Madlib continued to be unpredictable with his beats, making this LP even more fun to listen to.

13. Tyler, the Creator - "IGOR"

   Musically and lyrically, “IGOR” is Tyler’s most experimental project in his career.  This is where he went all in with his Soul-inspired beats, and it worked all throughout. He’s already well-known for his complex songwriting, but he got even more creative with his lyrics here. Each song requires attentive listening to be fully understood and appreciated.

12. Nas – “The Lost Tapes 2”

   Nas made an impact in 2019 with “The Lost Tapes 2”, an album which features unreleased songs from his last four LP’s. The New York legend talked about a wide range of topics without abandoning his sharp lyrical ability and delivery. Kanye West, The Alchemist, Pete Rock, and many other great producers have provided this project with arguably their most diverse sound.   

11. Czarface & Ghostface Killah – “Czarface Meets Ghostface”

   Czarface (7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck) surprised Hiphop heads all over the world when they collaborated with Ghostface Killah for a full-length album. While “Czarface Meets Ghostface” consists mostly of braggadocio rhymes, the emcees still managed to keep it fresh thanks to their unique pen game and flow. Production-wise, 7L’s beats are sure to satisfy fans of that rugged boom bap sound.

10. Westside Gunn – “Flygod is an Awesome God”

   Another Griselda Records artist came out with a critically-acclaimed record this year. From the vivid imagery of the verses to the brooding boom bap beats, “Flygod is an Awesome God” has everything you need in a grimy Hiphop album. Westside Gunn’s heartfelt delivery will certainly catch your attention in every track as well.  

9. Anderson .Paak – “Ventura”

   Some may argue that this is a Soul / R&B record, but if you listen closely, “Ventura” still has enough Hiphop flavor to be part of this list. Anderson .Paak is once again successful in showing his skills in singing, rapping, and producing. The diverse lineup of guests also helped make this record an instant classic. Who wouldn’t be moved by the late Nate Dogg’s vocals on “What Can We Do?”

8. Smif-N-Wessun – “The All”

   After 16 years, Brooklyn heavyweights Tek and Steele are still legit beasts on the microphone. “The All” sees Smif-N-Wessun doing what they do best: spitting dope hardcore bars on mesmerizing boom bap instrumentals. Fans of their early works as a duo and with Boot Camp Clik won’t be disappointed with this one.

7. Dreamville – “Return of the Dreamers III”

   Dreamville, a label founded by J. Cole, released its third compilation album entitled “Return of the Dreamers III”. The artists from the roster as well as the guests brought their A-game lyrically, and the mix of Trap and R&B beats gave the LP a unique feel. Upon finishing the record, you will definitely want to hear more from the rappers and producers involved.

6. Ill Bill & Stu Bangas – “Cannibal Hulk”

   Ill Bill went back to his Horrorcore roots in “Cannibal Hulk”. He joined forces with producer Stu Bangas to create a masterpiece for heads who are craving for some diabolical Hiphop. Ill Bill continues to impress with his blood-soaked rhymes while Stu Bangas proved why he’s one of the illest beatmakers in the genre today.

5. Styles P – “S.P. The Goat: Ghost of All Time”

   The Lox’s Styles P continues to put in work this year. Last May, he released his 11th solo album “S.P. The Goat: Ghost of All Time”. The New York-born emcee, as always, showcased his incredible pen game and his laidback yet sinister delivery. S.P. also benefited from the amazing combination of traditional and modern beats. Whatever the sound, Styles P certainly killed it from start to finish.  

4. Denzel Curry – “ZUU”

   Denzel Curry gave us some of the best Trap anthems of 2019 in his fourth LP “ZUU”. He talks about his life growing up in Carol City while maintaining his impressive writing style and flow. Each song will make you feel Curry’s love (and sometimes hate) for his hometown. Music-wise, the instrumentals are guaranteed to hype you up from beginning to end. 

3. Sadistik – “Haunted Gardens”

   Sadistik represented Leftfield Hiphop to the fullest this year with his fifth album “Haunted Gardens”. The nihilistic content of the songs may be unsettling for traditional Hiphop listeners, but with an open mind, you will surely be enthralled by Sadistik’s unique writing. Making the tracks more effective are the beats, which are as gloomy as the rhymes.

2. Rapsody – “Eve”

   Raposdoy left Hiphop heads in awe again with her third album “Eve”. In a rightfully aggressive way, she raps about issues that women are still facing not only in the rap game but in society in general. Her intricate rhyming style and powerful delivery blended well with the dope beats, which are provided by respected producers such as 9th Wonder and Khrysis.

1. Jim Jones “El Capo”

   Jim Jones dropped his seventh solo album this year called “El Capo”. The Dipset representative shares the ups and downs of living in the streets of New York with his creative rhymes and captivating flow. Each track is produced by The Heatmakerz, and they certainly lived it up to their name. Rsonist and Thrilla created sounds that both old and new school heads can bob their heads to.

   Do you agree with the entries? If not, don’t hesitate to share your own version in the comments section. Let us know also if we missed something. Hiphop is definitely alive and kicking, and it will continue to grow in the years to come. Expect more quality albums before 2019 ends!