Yet another list to argue over.

Ah, yes, another list to argue over.

In April, we brought you the 20 best hip-hop and R&B albums of the year. In June, we brought you 30 albums. Now, we’re up to 40 albums as the fall weather kicks in. We look forward to fighting with you all on Twitter.

[Editor’s Note: As we move into Quarter Three, we’ve taken off late December 2018 albums to make room for the 2019 offerings. Additionally, this list was finalized on October 3, thus albums released October 4 and later were not considered.]

40. slowthai — Nothing Great About Britain

slowthai-nothing-great-about-britain

Release Date: May 17, 2019
Record Label: Method Records

An agile storyteller, Northampton’s slowthai expertly mixes elements of UK grime and drill while unpacking the micro and macro of his British upbringing. Carrying no pretensions and seamlessly style-shifting across genres with his frenetic cadence, the singular rapper makes you move and listen simultaneously. In a year that has seen British rap dominate—from DAVE and Little Simz to Skepta and Octavian—slowthai’s versatility and poignant messaging set him apart. He’s funny while commanding attention, hilariously painting stark portraits of British classism, racism, and abuse in an ultimately gripping and focused fashion. —Zach Miller

39. Young Nudy & Pi'erre Bourne — Sli'merre

young-nudy-slimerre

Release Date: May 8, 2019
Record Label: None

On paper, Young Nudy and Pi'erre Bourne seem like an odd couple. Nudy’s raps find just enough color in the stoic ground of his Atlanta upbringing while Bourne’s beats are trap-tinged rockets rigged to touch the stratosphere. They’ve proved doubters wrong several times since Nudy’s Slime Ball mixtape days, but the duo’s latest collab Sli'merre stands as their most potent. Nudy bends his voice around beats both psychedelic (“Sunflower Seeds”) and menacing (“Call Dat Bitch Homicide”) like a man possessed. Finding pockets where none should exist is all in a day’s work for Atlanta’s brashest tag-team duo. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

38. YBN Cordae — The Lost Boy

ybn-cordae-the-lost-boy

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Record Label: Atlantic Records

YBN Cordae remembers what albums sounded like during the blog era. When Kendrick Lamar made Section80; when J. Cole made Friday Night Lights; when Chance the Rapper made Acid Rap. That timeframe is channeled on The Lost Boy, his debut album on Atlantic Records. The North Carolina-born, Maryland-raised rapper weaves through a coming-of-age story with thoughtful self-reflection, pointed storytelling, and soulful nostalgia. It’s a charming, major-label effort by a developing and youthful rapper with an open, old soul. Cordae still lacks a defining identity, but in the very least, The Lost Boy proves he knows how to tell a compelling story. —Yoh

37. Flying Lotus — Flamagra

flying-lotus-flamagra

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Record Label: Warp Records

Flying Lotus has never made the same album twice. Somehow, with each new offering, the Los Angeles-born producer uncovers an unexpected direction to travel. Flamagra is Fly Lo’s latest and longest studio album, one that finds his eclectic production inspired by the idea of a flaming apocalypse. It is a funky doom; kaleidoscopic psychedelia meets irrespirable, otherworldly rhythms. Flamagra unfolds slowly, filling every second with wobbling bass, glitchy, ear-grabbing loops, and support from guests who aid in capturing a fantasy engulfed in fire. —Yoh

36. Kevin Abstract — Arizona Baby

kevin-abstract-arizona-baby

Release Date: April 25, 2019
Record Label: RCA

Kevin Abstract is not my American Boyfriend for nothing. His third album, Arizona Baby, is a thoughtful cross-section of what it means to be openly gay in hip-hop and openly gay in America. Abstract paints so many necessary shades of queerness into the pop culture zeitgeist, and all the while expanding his sonic repertoire. Sounding nothing like BROCKHAMPTON, or American Boyfriend, Arizona Baby is a paranoid, anxious, and heartfelt project. There is love, and there is deep trauma. But throughout the album, there is light. —Donna-Claire Chesman

35. Maxo Kream — Brandon Banks

maxo-kream-brandon-banks

Release Date: July 18, 2019
Record Label: RCA

Maxo Kream’s music has always maintained a striking balance between raw and heartfelt. On Brandon Banks, his major-label debut, that balance reaches its apex. His storytelling is gripping (“Meet Again”), and his bouncy delivery creates rhythms too intoxicating to ignore (“Drizzy Draco”). Brandon Banks is full of thrilling starts and stops, but Kream’s most impressive feat is the connections he makes to his family. For better and for worse, the album is named for and dedicated to Kream’s father, and Brandon Banks certainly lives and dies by the ties that bind. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

34. Kemba — Gilda

kemba-gilda

Release Date: September 19, 2019
Record Label: Republic Records

Bronx rapper Kemba has always rapped as if his life depended on it. On Gilda, his major label debut, he unlocks a newfound passion and a more potent drive. The album is named for his mother, who passed away in 2017, and her presence looms over every bar. Familial hardships (“The Feels”) sit next to bold proclamations of self (“Deadass”) as the artist born Matthew Jefferson grows up on his own terms. His thoughtfulness has never sounded more dynamic. Gilda is both lyrically sharp and sonically lush, a foundation as sweet and robust as the mango-cherry ICEE pulsing through his veins. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

33. Jhay Cortez — Famouz

jhay-cortez-famouz

Release Date: May 24, 2019
Record Label: N&E Entertainment LLC

Jhay Cortez’s raps bubble over moody and brooding production worthy of any trap star. His smooth melodies are nothing short of ear candy on “No Me Conoce” and “Sabe,” while the drama of his vocal on “Easy” turns him into a larger-than-life character. Cortez’s delivery owns the room and his singles consistently top charts. Every Jhay Cortez song balloons and undulates with irresistibly rich energy. The man is an electric force pulsing through the speakers. He is more than deserving of America’s ear, but he barely needs the attention. In layman’s terms, Jhay Cortez slaps. Tune in. —Donna-Claire Chesman

32. Baby Rose — To Myself

baby-rose-to-myself

Release Date: August 22, 2019
Record Label: Human Re Sources

Let’s not get too pedantic about it: Baby Rose’s voice is undeniable. It’s indestructible. Her warm and loving vocal tones compliment her deft songwriting. Baby Rose writes of the bellows of heartbreak and self-actualization with impressive candor. Her guttural delivery transforms her every note into a crushing blow to the chest. We feel pain alongside Baby Rose, and we rise from our shared ashes all the same. To Myself is more than a debut album. It is a statement of purpose for an artist on the rise. —Donna-Claire Chesman

31. KOTA The Friend — FOTO

kota-the-friend-foto

Release Date: May 15, 2019
Record Label: FLTBYS

No album warrants a tracklist of 19 songs. Yet, in crafting a worthy spiritual successor to the Rawkus Records era of music that many fondly romanticize, KOTA The Friend comes as close as humanly possible to justifying this run-time on FOTO. The album personifies the term “easy-listening,” maintaining a consistent mood throughout between KOTA’s strikingly unaffected delivery and the delicate, jazzy production on which he raps. No slouch on the mic, KOTA possesses a rare gift for situating bravado alongside vulnerability. He conjures favorable similarities to Phonte at his best, but not so much that FOTO ever suffers for these comparisons. —Hershal Pandya

30. Future — Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD

Future 'The WZRD'

Release Date: January 18, 2019
Record Label
: Epic Records/Freebandz

Women, wealth, and worries are the three Ws found pulsing through the veins of Future’s seventh studio album, The WZRD. Lyrically, there’s nothing new under WZRD’s promethazine sun, but the magic is in his ability to resurrect old muses as revamped concepts. Future hasn’t radically changed over the years, but here the presentation is altered. WZRD is another installment of melodic confessing, hypnotic anthems, and oil-black trap production that carries the infectious torch passed down from its predecessors, but it stands alone as a fresh glimpse into Future’s rockstar world. —Yoh

29. Quelle Chris — Guns

Quelle Chris 'Guns'

Release Date: March 29, 2019
Record Label: Mello Music Group

Quelle Chris is self-aware enough to know that everything in this life—emotions, money, ourselves—is weaponized. His sixth studio album Guns isn’t about physical violence as much as it’s a deconstruction of the actions we take in a world slowly devouring itself. Quelle travels the roads of Trump’s America with a twisted sense of humor and animated beats as his only sidearms, jumping between characters, ideas, and planes of existence as only he can. Guns is a polemic on reality itself, a reminder that no weapon formed against a sharp mind shall prosper. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

28. Toro y Moi — Outer Peace

Toro Y Moi 'Outer Peace'

Release Date: January 18, 2019
Record Label: Carpark Records

What good is inner peace when the outer world is falling apart? Toro y Moi’s Outer Peace combines a sleek disco sheen with contemporary rap cadences to bring pep to an increasingly passive-aggressive world. The housing market has crashed (“New House”) and sex barely sells like it used to (“Ordinary Pleasure”), but at least James Murphy is spinning records at his house tonight (“Laws of The Universe”). That cynical sense of humor alone will keep your toe tapping throughout Outer Peace, that is if the gorgeous grooves and crushing low-end don’t. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

27. Solange — When I Get Home

Solange 'When I Get Home'

Release Date: March 1, 2019
Record Label: Columbia Records

Solange’s take on Houston hip-hop belongs in a museum. She treats her hometown’s “chopped and screwed” traditions with elevated care throughout When I Get Home, placing it on a golden pedestal to be admired and revered. Dispersing interludes at every turn in the form of fragmented conversations and poems, she creates a linear journey that eternally builds upon itself. When “Almeda” parades into the spotlight with strutting kicks and whooping vocals, it’s impossible not to stand and salute Solange. —Kenan Draughorne

26. James Blake — Assume Form

James Blake 'Assume Form'

Release Date: January 18, 2019
Record Label: Polydor Records

The most accessible of his projects to date, Assume Form is a triumphant release that marks the evolution of James Blake’s artistry, as he matures past the reductive “sad boy” label he’s famously lamented. An unapologetically romantic album, Blake sheds the claustrophobic production of his previous output in favor of shimmering compositions, genuine hooks, and winning collaborations with the likes of André 3000 and Rosalia. Retaining his lyrical flair, Blake punctuates the album with quintessential lines, like “let's go home and talk shit about everyone,” that remind you of the artist who first grabbed your attention years ago. —Hershal Pandya

25. Kyle Dion — SUGA

Kyle Dion 'Saga'

Release Date: March 8, 2019
Record Label: None

There are no words to explain Kyle Dion’s amazing, stunning, arresting, becoming, disarming, endearing, charming, affirming, enchanting, beguiling, mollifying, soothing, blaring, encouraging, surprising, yearning, pining, astounding, breathtaking, stupefying, thrilling, outstanding, exciting, exhilarating, electrifying, intoxicating, moving vocal tone on SUGA. Just press play. —Donna-Claire Chesman

24. Kehlani — While We Wait

Kehlani 'While We Wait'

Release Date: February 22, 2019
Record Label: TSNMI/Atlantic Records

While We Wait isn’t the full entrée, it’s just the appetizer. While waiting on the full-length follow-up to 2017’s SweetSexySavage, Kehlani treated fans to a taste of where she’s heading next. Kehlani bares her soul as staunchly as she always has to provide an unfiltered look into her state of mind. On While We Wait, she’s equal parts vulnerable and commanding, struggling to move on from a complicated relationship on “Too Deep” before confidently telling off an old lover on “Nunya.” With a diverse complement of beats, storylines, and moods, there’s plenty to enjoy on this small project. —Kenan Draughorne

23. Maxo — LIL BIG MAN

Maxo 'Lil Big Man'

Release Date: March 15, 2019
Record Label: Def Jam Recordings

Maxo makes growing up sound incisive and blaring. This album takes place in the crevices of the torment of maturing. LIL BIG MAN is a dusty reclamation of voice, relying on traditional boom bap structures and methodical writing to deliver a solemnly eviscerating experience. The wisdom baked into LIL BIG MAN will at once inspire, surprise, and soothe you. Maxo is Def Jam’s best-kept secret, but not for much longer. —Donna-Claire Chesman

22. Lizzo — Cuz I Love You

lizzo-cuz-i-love-you

Release Date: April 19, 2019
Record Label: Atlantic Records

Equal parts bold, sexy, and witty, Cuz I Love You is a commanding listen that features Lizzo at her best. Harnessing her confident mic presence and ear for massive hooks, Lizzo creates a genuinely urgent body of work. A showcase for her eclectic sensibilities, the album jumps effortlessly between the eponymous opener which recalls the work of The Alabama Shakes, to the infectious pop stylings of “Juice,” without missing a beat. It’s a shame Lizzo infamously fixated on one mixed review because overwhelmingly, the universal response to Cuz I Love You was justifiably glowing. —Hershal Pandya

21. Polo G — Die A Legend

polo-g-die-a-legend

Release Date: June 7, 2019
Record Label: Columbia Records 

Polo G isn’t waiting to receive his flowers. At just 20 years old, the Chicago rapper’s debut album, Die A Legend, reads like a breathless statement of purpose. Life has taken too much from the rapper, born Taurus Bartlett, for him to quit now. Across the album’s 14 tracks, scars created by loved ones lost (“Deep Wounds”) and a corrupt police system (“BST”) compel his meticulous croons. Even a banger like “Pop Out” mixes the spoils of victory and pained reflection with dizzying ease. Die A Legend maintains this balance throughout, finding energy in the melancholic. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

20. Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats — Anger Management

rico-nasty-anger-management

Release Date: April 25, 2019
Record Label: Atlantic Records

Kenny! Rico! Together! A match perfectly made, Anger Management is a brisk concept album that captures all the stages of a temper tantrum and boasts some of Rico’s best work (“Big Titties”), and highlights the duo’s impeccable chemistry. Rico made this album from the heat of anger and the thrill of the up-and-down. She imparts boundless energy unto every cut. Kenny’s production is from another plane where music is warped and only made on acid. Their collective thump and vigor make Anger Management the pump-up album of every summer. —Donna-Claire Chesman

19. Ari Lennox — Shea Butter Baby

ari-lennox-shea-butter-baby

Release Date: May 7, 2019
Record Label: Dreamville/Interscope

Ari Lennox blessed my new apartment during our interview; her soul is kind, and her music is knowing. Her musings on the failures of modern dating sound scrumptious with her silky vocal texture. The beauty of Shea Butter Baby is in the way Ari captures minutiae and makes it sound regal. She does not pull from the abstract, and it’s the rootedness of her art, the humble quality of the content, that makes the album such a triumph. Ari’s professing that this record is for Black women, too, is triumphant. The beauty and love of community permeate the work. —Donna-Claire Chesman

18. Anderson .Paak — Ventura

anderson-paak-ventura

Release Date: April 12, 2019
Record Label: Aftermath/12 Tone Music, LLC

A throwback to the beloved soul music of the ’70s, Ventura is a return to form for Anderson .Paak after the mixed bag that was Oxnard. The key takeaway here is Anderson .Paak is fine when he raps, but he is special when he sings. Whether via the glorious, Smokey Robinson-assisted cut, “Make It Better,” or the disarmingly danceable, “Twilight,” Ventura is a breathing testament to this takeaway. The album offers lush canvasses to showcase the stunningly silky tone of .Paaks voice. Add to this a transcendent André 3000 guest verse and the case for Ventura becomes undeniable. —Hershal Pandya

17. 2 Chainz — Rap or Go to the League

2 Chainz 'Rap or Go to the League'

Release Date: March 1, 2019
Record Label: Def Jam Recordings

Twenty-three years after the late, great Notorious B.I.G. rapped, “Either youre slinging crack rock, or you got a wicked jump shot,” Atlanta hip-hop veteran 2 Chainz stands as an example of a man who had the jump shot and sold the drugs but ultimately chose rap as his escape route from poverty. His fifth studio album, Rap or Go to the League, is an opulent celebration inspired by the city that raised him and the odds he’s overcome. Rap or go to the League is a grown man still progressing as an artist, finding his most introspective voice. —Yoh

16. DaBaby — Baby On Baby

DaBaby 'Baby on Baby'

Release Date: March 1, 2019
Record Label: Interscope

DaBaby’s Baby On Baby is 32 minutes of exhilarating trap sermons. He builds the church of Baby On Baby upon confidence pure as cocaine, a charisma so contagious it could charm the Halliwell sisters. The lively, dynamic production perfectly fits his distinctive, Southern rap voice. There are few holes to be found in DaBaby’s artistic armor; it’s refreshing to hear a new artist sound so developed. Baby On Baby is one of the most replayable albums of the year, and at this rate, we will remember 2019 as the year that DaBaby broke out and began his hip-hop takeover. —Yoh

15. Burna Boy — African Giant 

burna-boy-african-giant

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Record Label: Spaceship/Bad Habit/Atlantic/Warner Music

With African Giant, international Nigerian superstar Burna Boy created more than a masterpiece. He created a social statement and global experience. Burna paints a spiritual picture, one that is uniquely his own, yet still feels like it belongs to all of us. African Giant is undeniably Naija, dipped in history and Yoruba dialect, leaping over language and cultural barriers. Burna’s lyrics are poignant, coasting over production charged with Afrofusion anthems, dancehall riddims, and hymns. The 19-track album is not just a vibe, it’s a victory. —Ronnia Cherry

14. Boogie — Everythings For Sale

Boogie 'Everythings For Sale'

Release Date: January 25, 2019
Record Label: Shady Records/Interscope

On Everythings For Sale, Boogie accomplishes the rare feat of making an intensely personal album that is simultaneously self-aware and suitably mature enough to avoid veering into the trap of solipsism. A distinctly West Coast album that borrows influences from the Midwest, the specificity of Boogie’s lyricism is brought to life with pretty production, alliteration-heavy flows, and an effortless knack for melody. All of these come together to create a listening experience that is surprisingly pleasant, despite the album’s undeniably dense subject matter. —Hershal Pandya

13. Little Brother — May The Lord Watch

little-brother-may-the-lord-watch

Release Date: August 20, 2019
Record Label: Imagine Nation Music/For Members Only/EMPIRE

That North Carolina duo Little Brother’s May The Lord Watch exists is a blessing. It was unclear if we’d ever see Little Brother—currently comprised of rappers Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh—on a record together again, but they pulled it off. On their fifth album, they sound like they’re happy to be together again. Phonte and Pooh appear rejuvenated, modernizing The Minstrel Show’s aesthetic while still dropping jewels that rap fans of any age will find relatable. The beats shimmer and the rhymes are funny and poignant. Let’s be thankful that UBN’s hiatus was only temporary. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

12.  EarthGang — Mirrorland

earthgang-mirrorland

Release Date: September 6, 2019
Record Label: Dreamville/Interscope

EarthGang’s Dreamville debut, Mirrorland, doesn’t stop moving. The motion of each song is exuberant and dynamic, a result of multi-flavored carnival production paired with WowGr8 and Olu’s animated storytelling. How the creative West Atlanta duo stretch and morph their voices to match a variety of styles and sounds make for an exhilarating debut album. It’s a Crayola box wrapped in dynamite. Mirrorland explodes from start to finish. —Yoh 

11. Rapsody — Eve

rapsody-eve

Release Date: August 23, 2019
Record Label: Jamla Records/Roc Nation

Rapsody’s life music has evolved. Where 2017’s Laila’s Wisdom saw Rap focusing inward and weaving a gorgeous tapestry of the Black woman’s experience, Eve features Rap looking outward in all directions. With her most enlivened performances to date, Rapsody honors the Black women who came before her, all to the point of creating opportunities for the Black women who will come after her to take up space. As an album, Eve is lively and emboldened. As a mission statement, Eve is admirable. Rapsody’s deep love of history and Blackness make this the most excitable album in her deep catalog. —Donna-Claire Chesman

10. billy woods & Kenny Segal — Hiding Places

Billy Woods 'Hiding Places'

Release Date: March 29, 2019
Record Label: Backwoodz Studioz

billy woods and Kenny Segal are not scared; they are not in hiding. Instead, they are affecting wordsmith and mad scientist banding together to traverse the depths of retread emotions. A record concerned with the past and what it means for an emotional space to become hollow, Hiding Places will challenge and reward you in the same turn. Kenny Segal’s production is quietly cacophonous and cloudy, while woods presents his most direct and open writing to date. The pair belongs together. —Donna-Claire Chesman

9. GoldLink — Diaspora

goldlink-diaspora

Release Date: June 12, 2019
Record Label: RCA

Subtlety isn’t a characteristic that listeners often encounter on a major label album; the machine believes in a straight line product that doesn’t require further explanation. That’s not GoldLink. The Maryland native is a master of music woven to unveil slowly. With Diaspora, his RCA “debut,” Link has created his most subtle, yet replayable work of art. Thanks to production warm as spring, Diaspora is a splash of Utopian sunshine, yet in the shadows of his lyrics, the 26-year-old is adding his mysterious life to the lexicon of Black music. It’s the mystery that endures, not the explanation, and Diaspora is shaped to be an album that lasts. —Yoh

8. Megan Thee Stallion — Fever

megan-thee-stallion-feveer

Release Date: May 17, 2019
Record Label: 1501 Certified Ent LLC/300 Entertainment

The rise of Megan Thee Stallion is a blessing to witness. With her formal 300 Entertainment debut, the “1501 Queen” establishes herself as one of the most charismatic forthright rappers working. Her energy is explosive. Her writing is bombastic. Her deliveries are bursting with conviction and swagger. Megan Thee Mack is unchained and unstoppable on Fever, a celebration of her Houston roots and flair for spending another man’s coin. Megan is a dominant force in hip-hop, and considering the sheer strength of Fever, she does not seem to be slowing down. —Donna-Claire Chesman

7. Young Thug — So Much Fun

young-thug-so-much-fun

Release Date: August 16, 2019
Record Label: 300 Entertainment/Atlantic Records

So Much Fun is a safer work than some of Young Thug’s more elastic, head-spinning offerings. Across 18 songs, the long-awaited debut uses shoulder-shaking trap rhythms and ear-candy melodies to deliver his most accessible work since Rich Gang’s 2014 mixtape, Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1. It’s still Thug, though. He provides humor and hits; thrilling bravado and infectious style, all while being the original nucleus that inspires many of his contemporaries today. So Much Fun is the commercial oeuvre for an artist who was always a star but never shined in the mainstream. —Yoh

6. Denzel Curry — ZUU

denzel-curry-zuu

Release Date: May 31, 2019
Record Label: Loma Vista Records

Denzel Curry is proof you can always go home. His latest album, ZUU, is a testament to home as the ultimate battery charger. Curry sheds the conceptual bombast of his last album, TA13OO, in favor of a non-stop thrill ride through the streets of his native Carol City, Florida. The sun-drenched comforts and drawbacks of home, along with clanging production from longtime collaborators FnZ, help him paint some of the most vivid images of his career. These are top-down bangers baked in the 98-degree sun. With ZUU, Denzel Curry found freedom in his backyard. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

5. Little Simz — GREY Area

Little Simz 'Grey Area'

Release Date: March 1, 2019
Record Label: AWAL Recordings

Little Simz wants you to stop fucking with her heart. She says as much two tracks into GREY Area, her boldly cathartic third studio album. At 25, Simz is approaching the threshold of adulthood with more questions than answers, armed with bars that cut to the bone. She’s been one of the UK’s best rappers for years, but her songs have never been so focused, the beats—cooked up by longtime producer Inflo—never so varied and explosive. GREY Area is her masterwork, a panoramic view of a future star fighting back a quarter-life crisis. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

4. Dave — Psychodrama

Dave 'Psychodrama'

Release Date: March 8, 2019
Record Label: Neighbourhood Recordings

Plenty of reviews have regarded Dave’s Psychodrama as an album of a generation, a landmark of UK hip-hop, and we have to agree. Dave burrows into the depths of his psyche and bravely reports his findings in an accessible and banging format. He makes the intimate aggressive and touching all at once. Psychodrama reveals Dave to be a master writer and rapper, an artist’s artist, and an artist to watch for years to come. —Donna-Claire Chesman

3. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib — Bandana

freddie-gibbs-bandana

Release Date: June 28, 2019
Record Label: Keep Cool Records/Madlib Invazion/RCA

Good rap sequels are hard to come by. Thankfully, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib aren’t your average rapper-producer duo. Their debut album, 2014’s Pinatarecontextualized their respective sounds while cross-pollinating with each other’s audiences. This year’s Bandana is more holistic in form, its creators in sync for the first time. Their camaraderie strengthens Gibbs’ elastic flows (“Situations”) and storytelling (“Fake Names”) as much as it pushes Madlib to embellish his trademark samples with trap hi-hats (“Half Manne Half Cocaine”) and crisp kick drums (“Gat Damn”). Trust and freedom embolden this latest chapter in the MadGibbs Cinematic Universe. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

2. Jamila Woods — Legacy! Legacy!

jamila-woods-legacy-legacy

Release Date: May 10, 2019
Record Label: Jagjaguwar (in partnership with Closed Sessions)

Jamila Woods makes eternal music. Her runs, her inflections, and her writing are all meant to stand the test of time. On Legacy! Legacy!, Jamila performs a time-bending act, bringing her literary heroes back to life and keeping them squarely in our thoughts as she carries their poetics into her classic album. Legacy!’s success is rooted in a fullness of life and self-love. There is so much agony in the world, but there is still so much love to share. Jamila Woods is in the business of spreading love. Plus, the record also doubles as a great reading list. —Donna-Claire Chesman

1. Tyler, the Creator — IGOR

tyler-the-creator-igor

Release Date: May 17, 2019
Record Label: Columbia Records

Heartbreak may well be the most spectacular human emotion—the way it wrings us out, leaves us out to dry, and forces us to grow and change—and Tyler, the Creator catalogs these impeccable shifts in his sixth studio album, IGOR. A sonic leap from Flower Boy, yet a logical branching out from Cherry Bomb, Tyler took everything good about his music—melody, thoughtful lyricism, bangers, irreverence for traditional song structure, and pitch shifts—and poured it into IGOR.

From his endearing off-key singing to the thoughtful, queer storyline, IGOR is a feat of artistry. The album pulls at your heartstrings in subtle ways. The caterwaul on “EARFQUAKE” (“Don’t leave, it’s my fault”) haunts me on even the sunniest of days. IGOR is phenomenal. IGOR is catharsis in bright pink hues. IGOR makes me cry good tears. IGOR is Tyler’s opus. We’re so lucky to watch his career in real-time. —Donna-Claire Chesman

Related