10 Albums That Are Still Criminally Underrated
In no particular order I'm going to discuss ten albums that are underappreciated. I do not believe that most of these albums are the best of all time by any means, they are just not talked about or respected as much as I think they should be. All of the albums on here do not get the attention they have deserved whether they are just not relevant or overshadowed. I am going to talk about them in hopes of shining a light on them.
HNDRXX - Future
Future is one of the best trap artists of all time and has a pretty solid discography to match it. Whenever people talk about him they are quick to mention DS2 and Monster, which are both great in their own respect, but HNDRXX often goes forgotten. Although it is not Future's best album, it's top three at the very least for me. It is dark, moody and offers some more personal moments from Future. He also dives into some R&B type tracks like Comin Out Strong with The Weeknd and Selfish with Rihanna which both go over incredibly and are some of his best work. The album is a bit long but also Future's most consistent effort as there is not a miss to be found. If you're not too into Future I highly recommend HNDRXX, it is my favorite record of his.
Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve
Although Injury Reserve has been talked about a lot lately due to their highly praised recent release, By The Time I Get To Arizona, I feel their self-titled project has always been left in the shadows. It is an experimental, fun rollercoaster of an LP, even for its thirty-eight minute run time. The production is all great and unique and leaves a lot of room for the guys to perform. Tracks like Jailbreak the Tesla with Amine and GTFU with JPEGMAFIA and Cakes da Killa provide a great jolt of unhinged energy while other songs like What A Year It's Been, Three Man Weave and Best Spot In The House are emotional, deep tracks that can even force a tear or two while also highlighting the diversity of the record.
Kiss Of Death - Jadakiss
One half of The LOX, Jadakiss has recently been talked about due to his incredible Versuz Battle that went viral. He is one of the most understated rapper's of the early 2000's and deserves more respect as an artist. Kiss Of Death itself is a great gangsta rap album and isn't given any attention at all in the hip-hop community. Jada uses dynamic, lively production where he lays down some of the most dangerous and disrespectful lyrics of this time, comparable to that of 50 Cent. However Jada's bars are more clever and complex then 50's and his harsh delivery is just as memorable. Kiss Of Death itself deserves some attention but Jadakiss in general deserves more respect.
LONG.LIVE.A$AP - A$AP Rocky
Rocky's debut studio album is often overlooked when talking about 2010's rap. With the critical acclimation and popularity of AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP and the recent resurgence and respect of TESTING, Long Live tends to get overshadowed. Yes, there are a couple of weak tracks like Pain and Jodye, but nearly every other song on here is great. Rocky also gives us some classic, unforgettable songs like Goldie, Hell, F**kin' Problems, 1Train, Fashion Killa and several others. Rocky's game changing production choice and his one of a kind flare and versatility make this album unique and important. The amount of different sounds and styles Rocky brings together here while keeping a cohesive sound is heavily understated in the grand scheme of hip-hop.
People's Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm - A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest is undeniably one of the greatest and influential hip-hop groups of all time, and with that being said they have several classic records. Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders are all time classic albums, and their late record We Got It From Here... often takes up the spotlight, but People's Instinctive Travels is still great. Songs like Luck of Lucien and Ham 'N' Eggs show off Tribe's talent, like the rest of the album. Their innovative jazz instrumentals and clever, socially aware lyricism was groundbreaking at the time. Can I Kick It? is also one of the best songs of all time. Although this record isn't as great as the prior three that I mentioned, it is still better than some rappers' best albums.
Sonder Son - Brent Faiyaz
Although Brent is highly praised as a whole, I feel like his debut project, Sonder Son is rarely mentioned. I feel that F**k The World is great but wholly inferior to Sonder Son. Brent is a lot more passionate on it and the instrumentals are a lot more lively and complex. At twelve tracks it is the perfect length as it is twelve amazing tracks that have high replayability and raw, unfiltered talent from Brent. Maybe with Brent announcing his new album is on the way we will see love for Sonder Son resurface, but until then give it another spin as this is a classic R&B record.
Strays with Rabies - EARTHGANG
EARTHGANG as a whole is one of the most underappreciated acts in Hip-Hop, as the duo's zany personality and willingness to experiment makes them like a modern day OutKast, although their output is nowhere near that level yet. However Strays with Rabies tends to be forgotten even when people do mention them, as MirrorLand, which is great in its own right will forever overshadow it since it came out in 2019 and Strays with Rabies is from all the way back in 2015. For an album that was far before the duo's buzz it has some of their best tracks. Punchanella, Simba, Masturpiece, Lady Nectarine and several other tracks all rival the quality of their current output. With Ghetto Gods supposedly being on the way it is a great time to revisit this underground classic.
The Infamous - Mobb Deep
Mobb Deep may be the most criminally underrated hip-hop acts of all time, as they created the formula for boom bap street rap and have put out several all time classics. The Infamous is the most mentioned of them as it is the best, while still being severely overlooked in the grand scheme of hip-hop. There is not a moment of weakness on this record as Prodigy and Havoc's amazing chemistry keeps you on the edge of your seat for this violence riddled masterpiece. Both of their storytelling is some of the best at the time it came out and still holds water when compared to today's music. Their music while serving as the blueprint manages to sound one of a kind and polished to this day.
The Lost Tapes - Nas
With this being released as a mixtape, people often forget it exists. Coming out in 2002 this underrated gem was still during prime Nas and is in the upper upper echelon of his catalog. The instrumentals are minimalist, lowkey and have smooth samples that are all upbeat and fun. Nas slides over these beats effortlessly with some of his most complex writing and vivid storytelling in six years. When people say Nas's discography is a little spotty than don't mention tapes like this it is pretty upsetting as it is one of the best mixtapes of all time. Like most of the records on this list it is short and concise, with only eleven tracks and eleven excellent tracks at that. Less will always be more when it comes to putting out quality, long lasting music.
The Sailor - Rich Brian
Another rapper who is just under-appreciated as a whole, Rich Brian put out one of the most versatile and consistently great records in the last five years with The Sailor. Every song on here is super unique and sheds light on a new topic Brian wants to discuss, all of them relating to his journey to the top. Songs like Yellow, Drive Safe and Slow Down Turbo are all perfect songs for their own extremely different reasons. And when an artist is able to show off such high levels of creative variety, it's not only a sign of how good they are now but how they could be. I feel like Rich Brian hasn't fully been accepted into the hip-hop-sphere, as anyone who knows him thinks he's great but most people don't seem to give him the chance. If he was, The Sailor would've been shown a lot more love since its release.