Some amazing Hip Hop albums have dropped within the last month. Some of these may have slid under your radar. That’s where I come in. Below are five October 2020 Hip Hop releases that I’ve been bumping recently. If you’re a fan of Hip Hop, you should be listening to these.
WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE, Westside Gunn
- Release date: October 2, 2020
- 11 songs, 40 min.
- The amount of material Griselda releases is hard to keep up with unless you’re actively on the lookout for it (we’ll see yet another release below). Gunn has already released Pray for Paris and Flygod is an Awesome God 2 this year. Who Made the Sunshine isn’t as good as Paris but it’s still entertaining as only Gunn can be.
- There are some standout features on this album that legitimately shocked me. Not one but TWO Slick Rick verses is a pleasant surprise. Busta Rhymes makes a questionable appearance; Black Thought comes in and shuts the shit down and we even get a Jadakiss verse. Smoke DZA appears (among others) in an enjoyable posse cut as well. We see the usual Griselda suspects like Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and Boldy James who all turn in fantastic verses. Overall though, the album is all Gunn. His sound doesn’t stray too far from the usual formula but that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect. Also, our time with Gunn will be short-lived as his self-imposed retirement begins this December. If you’re late to the Westside Gunn party, definitely check this album out but keep in mind this may be the second-best October 2020 Hip Hop release Griselda drops this month.
- Standout Tracks: “The Butcher and The Blade”, “Ishkabibble’s” “Good Night”, “98 Sabres”
Keep Going, Larry June
- Release Date: October 2, 2020
- 10 Songs, 25 min 52 seconds
- Simply put, the collaboration between Larry June and Harry Fraud is a perfect match. Harry Fraud’s production has been on point all year and he offers Larry June the perfect soundscape for his brand of lazy, Bay area player raps. This album probably won’t be on many year-end lists but it’s a tremendous listen and worth a mention among these other 2020 October Hip Hop albums.
- Linking up with Harry Fraud was an incredible career move for Larry June and it also led to some standout features on this album. Frequent Fraud collaborators Curren$y, Dom Kennedy, and Jay Worthy all make an appearance. La Musica de Harry Fraud also gives Larry a smooth and funky psychedelic sound that’s perfect for a rapper so heavily influenced by Mac Dre. June isn’t going to set the world on fire with his raps but he consistently stays on brand and offers a vibe that only he can provide. Larry defines his personal brand best when he says: “I rap sometimes but I’m usually kickin’ knowledge”. If you’ve never heard of Larry June before, jumping in with this album is a good place to start.
- Standout Tracks: “Organic Miracles”, “Sunday Morning Drive”, “Drinks with Tracy”, “Let’s Go to New Orleans”
New Beginnings, Reason
- Release date: October 9, 2020
- 14 songs, 47 min 42 seconds
- Reason has been preparing us for this album all year. He’s released a variety of singles and videos that have all been great and in turn, it’s made the hype for this album palpable. Somehow, it lives up to the hype. Reason is on a mission to prove he belongs among TDE’s incredible stable of artists with this major-label debut. He’s an angry, passionate, and versatile rapper. The number of flows, moods, and stylistic changes that happen during its runtime are staggering. He’s sneering on “Stories I Forgot”, rapping his ass off on “Extinct” (along with JID and Isaiah Rashad), lifting the curtain on “Fall” and getting honest on “Windows Cry.”
- Overall, this album is a great debut and something I’m going to be bumping well into 2021. Reason enlists Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Vince Staples, Rapsody, JID, Isaiah Rashad, and an uncredited Kendrick Lamar yet it always feels like Reason’s album. He is the star of the show and the features are only there to accentuate and push him to be better. Now, however, the real work begins. Reason called next and he came through for TDE with this album. Now he’s gotta keep it going.
- Standout Tracks: “Show Stop”, “Flick it Up”, “Extinct”, “Windows Cry”
Anime, Trauma and Divorce by Open Mike Eagle
- Release Date: October 16, 2020
- 12 songs, 34 minutes 24 seconds
- Being a comedian gives Open Mike Eagle an incredible sense of timing. This extends from his comedy and to his way with words but is immediately apparent with the release of Anime, Trauma, and Divorce. Melancholy mood music, quarantine raps, a therapeutic release, etc… Whatever you want to call this 2020 October Hip Hop release, Michael Eagle is getting some shit off his chest with this album.
- Fresh off of a divorce and dealing with the pandemic reality we live in now; this album deals in themes of loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty. Despite these heavy themes, OME knows how to put on a show. Moments of levity interspersed throughout the album, nerdy references to comic books, and even a couple of appearances from his 11-year-old son (Little A$e) give this album a joy you wouldn’t expect from such a seriously themed album. Open Mike Eagle is a must-listen or must-watch with everything he’s associated with and Anime, Trauma and Divorce are no different.
- Standout Tracks: “Death Parade”, “Bucciarati”, “Asa’s Bop”, “The Black Mirror Episode”
Burden of Proof, Benny the Butcher
- Release Date: October 16, 2020
- 12 songs, 38 minutes 17 seconds
- If Gunn’s album was classic Griselda, Benny the Butcher’s Burden of Proof does something a little different. Entirely produced by Hit-Boy, this project is unique within the Griselda catalog and I think it pays off. Benny sounds energetic on tracks like “Timeless” and “Burden of Proof” but he does it in a way where he never loses the grit and grime that made him famous.
- It’s hard to understate how great Hit-Boy’s production sounds with Benny’s lyrics. It feels slightly commercialized but in an early 00’s Jay-Z type of way. Benny isn’t selling out but he made an album that’s more accessible than his usual fare. He brings some heavy hitters with him too. Freddie Gibbs, Big Sean, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross all make appearances along with the standard Griselda features to round it all out. All in all, this album might be in the running for the best of 2020 and belongs near the top of Griselda’s releases as a whole.
- Standout Tracks: “Legend”, “Burden of Proof”, “One Way Flight” and “Timeless”
Written by Sean Curley