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Your health being the true barometer of your wealth is a maxim that has been embraced by the hip hop community for quite some time, as the culture has been pivotal in awareness-driven initiatives since its inception. The latest international health scare to hit close to home comes in light of the discovery of Coronavirus, which has spread throughout the U.S., and prompted schools, professional sports leagues, and businesses to shut their doors in an attempt to contain the infection.
As information continues to be acquired and the number of infections continues to rise, Americans have attempted to get in front of the issue and seclude themselves from the outside world. These self-imposed quarantines have left many citizens scrambling to collect food, drink, and other basic necessities to hold them over until it’s safe to hit the streets once again.
In addition to these needs, entertainment is also on the list of boxes that need to be checked off before locking in, particularly the music you’ll be listening to, to help pass the time.
So, REVOLT TV compiled a list of 11 essential rap and R&B albums to keep you occupied until further notice. Check them out below.
1. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is an album that inspires the listener to delve deep into themselves, and address and analyzing the complexities of their own lives, making it a quintessential listen in these trying times. Focusing on the man in the mirror and unpacking his mental inventory, Lamar turns in a transparent body of work that shall serve as a reminder that peace can be realized in the hours of chaos.
2. Solange Knowles - A Seat at the Table
When you’re in the mood to rid yourself of the stress that the daily grind can create, Solange Knowles’ A Seat at the Table is an appropriate project to get you into your zone of zen. “Cranes in the Sky” may be the main draw, but the brilliance of the entire album lies in the sum of its parts, as “Weary,” “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “F.U.B.U.” are sublime selections that will keep your mind at ease amid the panic surrounding you.
3. J. Cole - 4 Your Eyez Only
J. Cole’s music has been labeled as mellow in comparison to his contemporaries, leading to jokes and memes about his songs being inadvertent lullabies. However, of all of the projects he’s released thus far, his fourth studio album, 4 Your Eyez Only, finds him embracing that sentiment like never before. On it, he puts forth a conceptual project dedicated to a fallen comrade, which serves as a snapshot of Cole’s evolution into fatherhood.
4. Kaytranada - BUBBA
As we begin to close ourselves off from the rest of society, the hypnotic grooves of KAYTRANADA’s latest release, BUBBA, are just what the doctor ordered. Crafting addictive backdrops for a mix off stars including Kali Uchis (“10%”), Charlotte Day Wilson (“What You Need”), and Pharrell Williams (“Midsection”), the artist puts forth a riveting collection with this project, which should keep us from going stir crazy during our mandated sabbatical.
5. JAY-Z - 4:44
Scars have to be revealed in order to heal, which led JAY-Z to put it all on the table with 4:44, a release that saw Hov giving a glimpse into the inner-workings of his life, particular his role as a husband and father. Taking account for his transgressions on the album’s title-track while moving onward from them and examining his legacy throughout, JAY’s willingness to air out his dirty laundry is something we can all take a page from.
6. Tyler, the Creator - IGOR
Tyler, the Creator’s willingness to push the envelope is as evident as ever on IGOR, a conceptual effort that finds the maverick producing the entirety of the project. Featuring a robust list of co-stars including Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Kanye West, the album serves as a snapshot of its author’s beautiful mind, and is great background music as we make sense of the madness around us.
7. Future - HNDRXX
Trap stars can get lonely from time to time, too, and Future created the perfect soundtrack for this select set with HNDRXX, which found him belting his heart out while delivering melancholic vibes. Featuring the rugged ballads like “Use Me,” “Turn on Me,” and “Sorry,” the project finds its author basking in his emotions and bearing his soul in a fashion that never fails to give us a healthy dose of the feels.
8. Rapsody - Laila’s Wisdom
Wisdom is necessary when uncertainty is in the air, and Laila’s has been passed down to us by her granddaughter, Rapsody, who taught us tenets learned from her family’s matriarch on this Grammy-nominated album. Rhyming alongside Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, Lance Skiiiwalker, Black Thought, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Musiq Soulchild, Rapsody schools the youth through offerings like “Power,” “Nobody,” and “A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love,” making this project great for easy listening.
9. Noname - Room 25
Hailing from the Windy City, Noname’s breezy flow and calming presence has a way of disarming listeners and drawing them into her world, which occurs upon pressing play on her 2018 release, Room 25. On highlights like “Blaxploitation,” ”Prayer Song,” and “Window,” the star shines, as she reels off couplets that read like pages out of a diary. Her poetic musings and the plush backdrops they’re plastered across makes Room 25 a long player to jam to at your leisure.
10. Ari Lennox - Shea Butter Baby
With a voice as soothing as Ari Lennox’s, you’d be a fool not to have her debut album, Shea Butter Baby, in rotation. As we attempt to keep from losing our sanity in light of our current solitude, cuts like “BMO,” “Up Late,” and “New Apartment” should serve as a reminder to unwind during this quarantine.
11. Anderson .Paak - Ventura
We all need a mental vacation every now and then, and Anderson .Paak’s Ventura is the perfect soundtrack for your one-way, as it takes listeners on a sonic excursion through his southern California stomping grounds. Mixed with collaborative efforts like the Andre 3000 assisted opener “Come Home,” and solo salvos like “Winners Circle” and “King James,” the album is a great project to take in, as we attempt to ease the stresses of the current crises affecting us all.