Whenever I talk rap and hip-hop with most people, they always refer to the ‘Golden Era’ of hip hop, reminiscing about the 1990’s and how this was the peak of rap music. They point to all the autotuned, mainstreamed hip pop and trap music that’s being bumped on the radio and are quick to dismiss the current landscape as (c)rap.

Now, due to YouTube, Soundcloud, and all other streaming services, not to mention the mass-consumption society we live in where everything lacks substance and longevity and has to appeal to short attention spans – I totally agree that there is more horrible “rap” music than EVER before. However, for anyone reading that wants to twist these words like a swisha, I’ve got news for you.

Sure, there is a shit-load of trash music BUT there is a HUGE AMOUNT of quality hip hop and rap bumping through speakers across the world if you put in a little effort and don’t succumb to the best marketing plan or mainstream clickbait sensationalist stories, sites and headlines. Which is where we at Rawside Hip Hop come in. We know our shit, we know where to get it and we live and breathe it – and we’re here to tell you – It’s another Golden Age y’all!

The past two years have seen some incredible releases – some which really won’t reach their full potential as classics until they are revisited in years to come, but there has been some banging hip hop released. Forgot about all the ‘popular’ artists who are selling out to sell out, who care more about cash and streams, than beats and dreams – it’s time to dig a litter deeper and uncover the real world of rap where lyrics have never died, where the music means something, you can hear and feel the passion of the craft. In short, it’s the REAL essence of hip hop.

The naysayers will point out Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, Tekashi, Kodak Black, Lil Xan and all the other wack as fuck mumble, trap, commercial ‘artists’ and I totally agree – these guys are straight hot trash, but realistically so was MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, Snow etc. The fact is, there have always been mainstream artists that suck, but there are just FAR too many of them now and to be a real hip hop head, you have to go back to the ‘digging in the crates’.

Without too much trouble, I put together a list of my favourite releases from 2019 and there were about 35 or so. Albums that I bumped more than a handful of times, that I felt were quality hip hop (a number of these came in the final couple of weeks of 2019 so I’m still banging them!). In 2018, I tried to make a ‘Top 25’ and struggled to keep it to this number with so many quality releases in the mix that year too. So, while we love to point out the Wu, Mobb Deep, Pac, BIG, Snoop, DMX, Nas, Jay of the 90’s we have some serious competition in recent years.

Artists like Ruste Juxx, Vinnie Paz, Nems, Murs, Royce – not to mention the ‘relative’ newcomers like Conway, Benny the Butcher, 38 Spesh, RJ Payne…. These guys are bringing the fire and hip hop is in real good hands right now. If you haven’t peeped their latest releases, you need to. Whatever streaming service you use, favourite these artists so you don’t miss a minute. These guys (particularly the Griselda crew, Vinnie Paz, Ruste Juxx. Styles P) are workhorses. They spit quality lyrics, over banging beats and STILL manage to drop album after album on the regular. These guys are still hungry and it shows. So if you’re hungry for more real hip hop in 2020, make sure you follow Rawside Hip Hop and peep the list of some of my favourite releases from the past couple of years below.


  • Nems – Gorilla Monsoon
  • The Diceman – The Power of Now
  • Ras Kass – Soul On Ice 2
  • Billy Danze – THE Baker’s Dozen
  • Black Moon – Rise of Da Moon
  • Ghostface Killah – Ghostface Killahs
  • Inspectah Deck – Chamber No.9
  • Gang Starr – One of the Best Yet
  • Vinnie Paz & Tragedy Khadafi – Camouflage Regime
  • Apollo Brown – Sincerely, Detroit
  • Big Shug – The Diamond Report
  • Diabolic – The Disconnect
  • Skyzoo & Pete Rock – Retropolitan
  • Murs – The Illiad is Dead & The Odyssey is Over
  • Comet Madmen – Cataclysm
  • Erick Sermon – Vernia
  • The Heatmakerz – Gorilla Glue
  • 38 Spesh – 38 Strategies of Raw
  • GQ Nothing Pretty, King Magnetic & Kut One – David & Goliath: Slingshots
  • RJ Payne – Square Root of a Kilo
  • Sean Price & Small Professor – 86 Witness
  • Diamond D – The Diam Piece 2
  • Royal Flush – The Governor
  • Ill Conscious – Logistix
  • Maid – Third Eye Power
  • Sean Strange – Street Urchin 2
  • MED & Guilty Simpson – Child of the Jungle
  • 38 Spesh – 1994
  • Benny the Butcher – The Plugs I Met
  • Ruste Juxx – Magma
  • Slaine – One Day
  • Kuniva – The Bando Theory
  • Lil Fame & Sean P – The Price of Fame


  • Apathy – The Widow’s Son
  • Evidence – Weather or Not
  • Phonte – No News is Good news
  • Krysis & Elzhi – Jericho Jackson
  • Sean Price & Illa Gee – Metal Detectors
  • Royce Da 5’9” – Book of Ryan
  • Mic Handz – The Evidence
  • Pusha T – Daytona
  • Jamo Gang – Jamo Gang EP
  • Jedi Mind Tricks – The Bridge and The Abyss
  • Ruste Juxx & Jake Palumbo – Jake & The Juxxman
  • Yukmouth & J-Hood – Savages
  • G-Mo Skee – Chaly & The Filth Factory
  • 38 Spesh – Son of G Rap
  • D-Tension – The Violence of Zen
  • Phat Cat – Carte Blanche
  • Nine – King
  • Dave East & Styles P – Beloved
  • 9th Prince – The Madman’s Revenge EP
  • Ruste Juxx – King of Crime Heights
  • Masta Ace & Marco Polo – A Breukelen Story
  • Precyce Politix – Drug-Politix
  • Benny the Butcher – Tana Talk 3
  • Styles P – G-Host
  • Dom Pachino – Firegod: Gift of Fire
  • Method Man – The Meth Lab 2
  • Vinnie Paz – The Pain Collector

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!