In the street tale voice of the Notorious one….. ‘Month three, there’s fire from everybody – we’ve already set the year up, another month to gear up, dope joints to make you cheer up, shit, for that fast buck’. 10 crack commandments, what a track and what another sick month for hip hop. If you thought it was hard picking the album of the year already, March ain’t made it any easier! Get at the list and holla back with your thoughts.

Shabaam Sahdeeq & J57 – Precious Stones

Make room at the top of your ‘Album of the Year Contenders’ list….. Shabaam Sahdeeq has teamed up with J57 to deliver a monster. The underground king and super talented lyricist drops flaming hot bars over sick boom bap – real old school Brooklyn style production that pounds! And don’t get me started on the features that see Jamo Gang reunite on ‘Bar Etiquette’ (man we need another Jamo Gang release – Ras Kass what’s up??!!), Gorilla NEMS and Rim Da Villan demolish ‘Smoke Screens’ and El Da Sensei on ‘Acid Rain’. This is flames.


Jadakiss – Ignatius

The much anticipated release from Jadakiss was delayed a week but when it hit, it was well received. Like many of Kiss’s albums, it’s patchy but solid. There is no doubt he can spit, and lyrically he can be next level, but when it comes to delivering a classic album, he just misses the mark with too much crossover and focus on sales. Solid, some bangers, but not an AOTY contender.


Grafh – Oracle 3

After a long hiatus from the Oracle series, Grafh drops the third installment and it’s well worth the wait. The production is punchy and hard, and competes quite well with Grafh’s lyrical darts – which are on point. If you’re looking for one of the better releases of 2020, then look no further. Still one of the best damn emcees in the game and without the lengthy hiatus would be mentioned with the greats. This album shows you all why.


DJ Kayslay – Living Legend

No doubt you’ve probably heard a handful of the tracks that appear on this joint, as Back to the Bars, Part 2 when viral, followed closely by ‘Growing Up In These Streets’ but the whole thing is recommend. It’s only 7 tracks and could have been longer, but each song deserves your attention and a spot on the record. Some quality emcees spitting fire here.


Mic Gutz – World War G

This was a February release that I never got the chance (since Feb was STACKED with releases) to give the necessary time to, so here it is! Reppin Canada, Mic Gutz always bring that street flow. This is no different with hard lyrics over rugged beats and quality features from Canibus, Ras Kass and Joel Ortiz. This is an album you can feel!


Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

A lot has been made about the Jay Electronica ‘solo’ album that features Jay Z on everything apart from the intro and an interlude – but that’s not my biggest gripe. The production is lacking on this as it’s all lo-fi soundscapes. It’s a polarising album so you just have to check it out and see if it resonates with you personally.


Clear Soul Forces – ForcesWithYou

Now this is one of the better releases from the month of March. The downright funky crew are back with another g-funk sounding banger that hits all the right notes. Not only is this a fantastic hip hop release, it’s really fun, funky and fresh which is what we all need right now.


CJ Fly – Rudebwoy

Another fun release, but certainly has more credentials than just being party music. CJ Fly delivers a fantastic album that clearly taps into his Jamaican influences but also keeps it authentic and New York street. He holds his own on every track as we cruise through this hardcore funkfest produced by the man Statik Selektah and the joint cuts with Joey BadAss, Nyck Caution and Conway straight up bang. One of the better and fresher releases of 2020.


Rigz & Symph – Death 2 All Haterz 2

This is hard, but what else do we expect coming out of upstate New York right now! Nothing but bangas and this hardcore release just keeps hitting you in the eardrums. Ferocious spitting, hard beats and hard bars and then some silky smooth synth – it’s a quality offering from ‘Da Cloth’ crew. It’s a guilty little pleasure when you’re short on time but want maximum impact!


Labal S – The Last Upper

Dark, rugged and raw, but this release is one of of the most underrated or unknown releases of March 2020 – but that doesn’t mean it ain’t one of the best. Even the album itself with its moody and melodic boom bap is understated, but the impact is powerful. Give it a listen through, and then play it again. It’s worth more than a few spins.


Blaq Poet – Simon Phoenix

We gave this fire joint it’s own very full length feature review which you can read HERE, so there isn’t much else to say. It’s one of the best albums to drop this month, one of the best albums to drop this year and it’s as rugged, raw and hardcore as you’d expect from Blaq Poet. Mixed and mastered by Comet Madmen and Erex (who does the sick cuts too) – it’s a near flawless victory!


Seven Spherez – BoomBap x Blunt Raps

If an hour of quality boom bap is your thing, then look no further. The next installment in the BoomBap series from Seven Spherez doesn’t disappoint even if it doesn’t move the needle. It sits perfectly in the pocket of well crafted boom bap beats with a host of quality lyrical darts delivered by a variety of emcees who all suit the style and flow of the album.


Statik Selektah x Termanology – 1982 The Quarantine

Topical no doubt, it’s another brilliant offering from of of the best partnerships in underground hip hop. It’s short, but that’s the only knock as Term goes IN over hard boom bap street beats from Statik. Lil Fame makes an impact too and almost steals the show. Social commentary mixed with sweet soundscapes and dope tunes makes for a fantastic little offering to bang while we are all – quarantined.


Estee Nack – BALADAS

“The title means ballads, these are slum ballads G” prolific Dominican wordsmith, Estee Nack’s comment on the full-length collaboration with German producer, Superior. Slow, melodic, piano synth styles – it’s a smooth ride through half an hour of quality lyrical delivery. Nice for a change of pace and some sweet features from Recognize Ali, Ice Lord, Code Nine, Eto and Daniel Son. Take ’em to church.


Fred the Godson – Payback

One of my favourite wordsmiths is back with another little offering in 2020. It’s cruisey, chock full of wicked-ass metaphors and silky smooth production. This is some mood music, just put it on and float through the rest of the day. Fred just keeps getting it done in his clever and effortless manner.


Taiyamo Denku – The Darker Side of Light

Following on from last years ‘The Book of CypherDen’ it was going to take something pretty special to keep that momentum flowing – and that is exactly what Taiyamo Denku has managed to accomplish with this new joint. Wordplay, bars, solid production – it’s all there and on top of that, you get some SICK features from Killah Priest, 38 Spesh, Che Noir, Planet Asia etc. Well worth forking out some cash on bandcamp and keep this one in the rotation.


MC Eiht – Official

Firstly, in a world where ‘albums’ can be 7 songs or less and consumed in less time than it takes (took!) to get a pizza delivered, to get a fully fledged double album from Eiht is just delicious. Even better when it brings that West Coast flava that has always been a staple of MC Eiht. This is a banging album, there is music to bang to, ride to, chill to – and it all meshes flawlessly. Thanks Eiht for keeping it gangsta for us!


Black Geez x Eto – Flour City Street Bible

The tried and true street narrative which is as solid as the rocks it talks about. Black Geez never drops a bad album and this is no exception as he teams up with Eto to navigate a nice soundtrack to ‘that life’. Easy to digest and gets you into that hustler mentality.


Uptown Harlem – L.N.O The Mixtape

If cruise music is your thing, then this release from Uptown Harlem will work for you. It’s easy to ride to, and is quite breezy in nature. Don’t get it twisted, there are still some hard bars in here, but overall this is a decent release and a nice change of pace.


Stove God Cooks – Reasonable Drought

Stove God Cooks delivers drug fuelled lines over melodic and eerie beats which is a formula that seems to be all too familiar these days with Griselda / Benny the Butcher and all other dope music etc. It’s coke tune after coke tune, but it’s cooked up well. For me, it’s too slow, too methodical and isn’t varied enough – plus I feel the market is flooded with this style of flow. Break the Pyrex is a highlight though.


XP the Marxman – BMSO: Big Mijo Shit Only

XP the Marxman has churned out some quality material, particularly over the past twelves months or so and this is just another installment in the discography. This is like the velvet glove that slides over the iron fist, that clean high you get when you ride out to a real one. Worth the spin.


Flee Lord & Chase Fetti – Mandatory Respect

Lo-fi, understated production that allows the silky smooth flow to ride the waves and soundscapes to perfection. It’s grimy at times, raw through others but it’s a lovely ride through the mind of Flee & Chase. The duo just work off of each other effortlessly as they slice these tracks up. Short, but that seems to be a trend.


Him Lo of Da Buze Bruvaz – SLAPYAGODDAMNFACEOFF

The third solo joint from Him Lo and as the album art suggests, this one hits you smack bang in the grill. As you’d imagine, the beats are hard with big drums, and Him Lo brings the aggressive lyrical slaughter for the most part, before taking a change of pace on tracks like ‘Quality Fabricz’. Sinister street talk with features from Da Buze Bruvaz cohort & the one & only Kool G Rap.


June Marx – Diversionary Ops

Some dudes are just talented and June Marx is one of those guys. A former marine, he can produce, write, rap AND he also draws (as seen above with the cover art he created himself). June Marx set a goal to release a project every month in 2020 and he has kept true to his word dropping another EP this month which is really quite fitting in the current unknown landscape. It’s another enthralling mission from the storytelling lyricist. Cop it.


Conway the Machine x Alchemist – LuLu

I was already hesitant about this release just knowing the direction Alchemist has taken with his production of late and this release just confirmed it for me. It’s pretty underwhelming to be fair – the same minimalist, slow, lo-fi beats and it even brings Conway back to earth. It’s not ‘bad’ as such, the content is there etc, but at this stage of the game I am feeling like it’s a little played out and we need more – especially when we know these guys are capable of greatness.


N.B.S – Lost In Budapest

THROWBACK: Now I KNOW this joint is a couple of years old, BUT part of what we do here at Raw Side Hip Hop is keep the love coming and recognising the real. Natural Born Spitters are REAL hip hop and this joint, while released in 2018, has just hit our streaming platforms, so if there are people out there that HAVEN’T heard it, get on this release ASAP because it’s a banger.


Another month, another suite of sick releases for the playlists etc. Now, amid the coronavirus situation, Raw Side Hip Hop also want to take the time out to make sure you are ALL keeping safe and sane. Reach out to use below or via our Facebook page if you want to chop it up! And if you’ve missed any of the previous releases for 2020, then you can find them here: JANUARY, FEBRUARY.

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!