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Did the pandemic curate the best hip-hop albums in years?

It is no doubt that 2020 is a year that will be remembered for its erratic and emotional nature but the biggest takeaway might just be the hip-hop albums produced during the pandemic.

As many of these memories are rooted in negativity, one of the more positive aspects was the undeniable plethora of great music that was released this year.

With the occurrence of the pandemic locking the world indoors, questions were raised about how the production and distribution of music, especially hip-hop, would be affected.

Given the numerous factors in our current society that would be perceived hindrances towards creativity artists have risen to the occasion.

Notable artists like Jhene Aiko, Big Sean, Childish Gambino, Kehlani, and 21 Savage, to name a few, have returned triumphantly with some of the year’s best music.

2020 has also been a representation of the bright new talent as artists like Liv.E, Kenny Mason, Giveon, and Abby Jasmine amongst many more who have emerged with substantial projects.

Collectively, this pandemic year has produced countless albums that have set the tone for hip-hop music to come for the rest of this decade. So what exactly has made hip-hop so strong in the midst of the extreme solitude at hand?

While the possibility stands that most of the hip-hop music released was made over a period of time that began before 2020, this year played a hand in its inspiration.

In light of 2020’s occurrences, this year has been a time of introspection for artists to reconnect with their music and ultimately their purpose.


Big Sean bodies hip-hop during the pandemic with his Detroit 2 album

Expressed in the highly coveted release of his album Detroit 2, Big Sean has expressed how his time away from music and quarantine has helped him reconnect with his spirit.

Feeling as though he was reaching a point of burnout by the constant urge to release music as a means to stay relevant rather than to progress artistically, Big Sean decided to step back and reflect.

In doing so, he returned this pandemic year to drop one of his most vulnerable and arguably best body of hip-hop music to date.

BTS of Detroit 2

Besides his prolific lyrical ability that has always been an integral piece to his music, it’s the apparent spiritual growth that is prevalent throughout the project that makes the album so special.


Trippie Redd keeps it Pegasus fly during the pandemic

Trippie Redd is another great example, with the recent release of his album Pegasus. Not only was this one of his most cohesive albums to date from a listener’s standpoint, but the concept within the album also highlights his maturity as an artist.

Highlighting the Pegasus as a symbolic guardian angel who accompanies him throughout the listening experience, Trippie’s effort to convey this message is exceptional with his implementation of Spooky Sounds EP.

Explaining in an interview with Zane Lowe that his album was a process that extended over a year, Pegasus serves as a testament to that.


Jhene Aiko keeps the vibes going

Three-years after her last album Trip, Jhene Aiko approached her latest album Chilombo with healing as her intention behind its creation. Released at the very beginning of the lockdown in early March, the album released right on time for those who were in need to heal.

Over the duration of her album Jhene studied the nuances of sound healing to implement sounds in her music that resonated with certain parts of the human body. The end goal was to evoke feelings of positivity through sound.

Jhene Aiko on Sound Healing (5:40)

Abby Jasmine dropped an album and used her hip-hop artistry to navigate negative vibes in the pandemic


Staten Island, NY native Abby Jasmine has used this time to eradicate negativity from her creative space as a way to create her best music yet. With the release of her deluxe album Who Cares?, Jasmine put her versatility on display with influences of Hip-Hop, Dance and R&B throughout.

In talking about what contributed to her creating a project that was true to the entirety of her sound. Understanding that music will always come accompanied by opinions of others, Abby Jasmine chose to do things her way.

In attending her press conference with °1824, Jasmine gave insight on the makings of her album. Having the opportunity to ask her about what she does to maintain her creativity in between the process of making her album.

Highlighting activities that stem outside of the music, Abby Jasmine attributes painting, gaming, cooking and being around friends in keeping her mentally balanced.

Music has been one of the most important aspects of this year for its healing properties during a time where mental, spiritual, and physical health was at an all time.

The wide range of great albums released across all genres released has shown the many ways in which hip-hop plays a vital role in our society today. Music is a part of our culture that has multi-faceted purposes for people whether that be entertainment or momentarily escape from our pandemic reality.

Considering the variety of talented artists that have released meaningful hip-hop albums with a substantial meaning behind it during the pandemic, music listeners around the world have are left with no other option but to be excited for what’s yet to come this year and beyond.

What are your thoughts on the music that has come out this year during the pandemic? What do you attribute to the high quality of music? How do you think this will transfer over into 2021?

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