Best rap vinyl collection: Top 10 contemporary hip-hop albums you need
Is there such a thing as modern rap vinyl records worth having in 2022? With some of the most amazing hip-hop albums released over the past few years, the answer is yes!
For hip-hop heads who survived the SoundCloud era and still have a love for genuine creativity, these past few years have been a real Renaissance. In fact, there have been a handful of legendary projects released within the past 5 years that actually deserve that rap vinyl status treatment.
Some albums are so damn good that playing them on any current-day medium would be straight-up disrespectful. There’s something magical about taking a record out of the sleeve and spinning it the old school way.
In the past 5 years in particular we have seen the reign of artists like Kendrick, Cole, and Drake. The emergence of female emcees as well as new movements such as Brooklyn Drill and Griselda.
We also lost some legends but their work will carry on for generations to come. The best part is that there hasn’t been just one sound dominating. If you look outside of the trap scene you will find as diverse artistry as ever.
Modern rap vinyl records you need for your collection:
Tyler the Creator
Released: May 17, 2019
Run Time: 39:43
Tyler’s fifth studio album IGOR was a groundbreaking moment in his ever-evolving sound and career. Using elements of neo-soul, funk & R&B it’s hard to label this as just a rap album.
With features from Solange, Kanye West, Playboi Carti, and more, Tyler took home the Grammys’ 2020 Rap Album of the Year. The lead single “Earfquake” became his highest-charting single ever reaching #13 on the Billboard Top 100.
What made this album really stand out was the production (Tyler produced almost the entire thing) and sonics from the vocal layering that made this project stand out from many others. Plus its just really f*cking good!
Album: Death Race For Love
Released: March 8, 2019
Run Time: 72:04
With production by Hit-Boy, Boi-1da, and Rvssian (among others) and features by Brent Faiyaz, Young Thug and NBA Youngboy, Juice Wrld floats through the 22-track album with effortless melodies and raw emotion.
While the record is on the longer side, you get well-rounded tracks that show you many of the different styles and flows that made him one of the most exciting young talents in the game.
Young Dolph & Key Glock
Album: Dum & Dummer 2
Released: March 26, 2021
Run Time: 60:20
Dum & Dummer 2 was the last joint project between Memphis legend Young Dolph and his artist/cousin Key Glock. While Dolph made his name on the independent scene through countless projects over the past decade, Key Glock emerged a star in his own right and is now the heir apparent.
With the second installment of this project, their chemistry, along with producer Bandplay, is on another level. Even if you’re not a big fan of trap music, their beat selections and insane punchlines made this an instant classic.
Album: The Off-Season
Released: May 14, 2021
Run Time: 39:03
There may be no more consistent rapper than J. Cole in the game today and his 2021 project The Off-Season proves that yet again. If he’s not running his label, destroying features, or hooping in Africa, he’s putting together another classic record to reset the game.
This cohesive 12-track album features production by Timbaland, DJ Dahi, Boi-1da, and appearances by 21 Savage, Lil Baby, and Morray just to name a few.
The opening track “9 5 . s o u t h” features production using a sample from Jay-Z’s “U Don’t Know” interpolated with a classic Lil Jon hook and Cam’ron adlibs. This sets the tone for the rest of the cinematic project including other hits like “m y . l i f e” and “p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l”.
Released: July 3, 2020
Run Time: 56:41
Unfortunately, Pop Smoke was not around long enough to receive his flowers but when Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon dropped five months after his passing, the whole world realized his enormous potential.
While the project had a lot more commercial appeal than his early projects, you can hear his uniqueness on every track as well as the versatility to sing and completely switch it up.
With dozens of features including 50 Cent, Future, Quavo, Lil Baby, and more, this album was one of the biggest things in music for an entire summer.
Album: King’s Disease 2
Released: August 6, 2021
Run Time: 51:25
One of the greatest musical outcomes of the Pandemic was the resurgence of Nas and no project better encapsulates this than King’s Disease 2.
Alongside superproducer Hit-Boy, the duo has gone on an epic run of projects that don’t look like it’s ending any time soon. Nas even won his first Grammy for Rap Album of the year for the first King’s Disease project.
KD2 goes just as hard. With features from Eminem, EPMD, and a rare appearance by Lauryn Hill, this is a must-own project.
Released: August 3, 2018
Run Time: 58:33
Astroworld is the project that blasted Travis Scott into the stratosphere. His psychedelic brand of music took over hip-hop and with a tracklist packed with features, you can hear a melting pot of artistry.
The record features guest vocals from The Weeknd, Drake, Kid Cudi, and Frank Ocean, amongst many others, and production by Mike Dean, Hit-Boy, Tame Impala, Thundercat, and Scott himself.
Everything from the theme, tours, and marketing for this project was a legendary moment for hip-hop. Despite the unfortunate tragedies at Astroworld Festival in 2021, this is a must-cop on vinyl.
Released: April 14, 2017
Run Time: 54:54
Leaving off the world he painted in To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick channeled the moniker Kung Fu Kenny to deliver 14 strong tracks including “Humble”, “Element”, and “Loyalty” featuring Rihanna.
The album even became the first non-jazz or classical work to win the Pulitzer Prize for music because of the many themes shining a light on social justice. Taking home the 2018 Rap Album of the Year at the Grammys, it’s safe to say he did his damn thing.
Kanye West & Kid Cudi
Album: Kids See Ghosts
Released: June 8, 2018
Run Time: 23:50
Kids See Ghosts was the first (and hopefully not last) collaborative project between the super-duo of Kanye West and Kid Cudi.
The album is exactly what you get when you combine two of the greatest rapper-producers of all time. Yet they pushed themselves to create different sounds with a more progressive and experimental project.
With a quick 7 tracks, only a few vocal features, and a contemporary piece of art as the cover by Takashi Murakami, this is a modern rap vinyl that everyone must have in their collection.
Album: Victory Lap
Released: February 16, 2018
Run Time: 65:30
If you know anything about Nipsey Hussle, you know that he is methodical in his approach to life, business, and music. Victory Lap is a testament to all of his ideas and beliefs. It’s also a celebration of how far he came.
When you listen to Victory Lap, you are basically listening to Nipsey’s life. This collaborative effort with producer Mike & Keys features vocal appearances by the likes of Cee Lo Green, Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, and more. This is an absolute must-own for any rap vinyl collector.