2023 has been a good year for hip hop despite what the oligarchs of the music industry may say. Even with the genre seeing a “sales decline,” we have had a bunch of solid releases of dope rap music. From Nas’s Magic 3, to Larry June and Alchemist’s The Great Escape, and Killer Mike’s Michael the genre definitely has a pulse and appears to have good standing.

So, what could be possibly wrong with the genre? As someone who has been invested in the culture for the last 20 plus years, one could speculate that artist want more control over their music (ownership), and respect. With artist making pennies on the dollar on streams and royalties, and hip hop legends feeling disrespected over invitations to the Grammies, it easy to see that the big industry giants are lost on what the hip hop culture represents which is the people.

Bas – We Only Talk About Real Sh*t When We’re F#%ked Up

Bas has been one of the longest standing artist at Dreamville Records. To that point, I have been fan of the Paris born, Sudanese – American who has always seemed to add his own flare to his sound. He newest project We Only Talk About Real Sh*t When We’re F#%ked Up is the third major project and follow up to his sophomore release Milky Way.

Bas latest project is 17 tracks, coming in around 51 minutes of total playing time. Guest features on the album include J. Cole, Amaarae, A$AP Ferg, Adekunle Gold, Sha Sha, Blxckie, AJ Tracey, and FKJ. Stand out songs on the project include “Passport Bros,” “Diamonds,” “Khartoum” “Paper Cuts,” and “Light Of My Soul.”

Big K.R.I.T. – Regardless It’s Still Timeless

It’s been a minute since Big Krit has dropped something. Well, that changes today as Krit is back with a new EP Regardless It’s Still Timeless. With Krit on the production you can expect heavy bass knocking music just check out his latest song “My Sub Pt 6,” accompanied with his choppy flow. Hopefully this project serves as a sample of full length project that will come later in 2024.

Coast Contra – The Old Way

Coast Contra is group of four emcees Rio Los, Eric Jamal, Ras and Taj Austin. These young men for those unfamiliar with them have been killing tracks in an era that has seen fewer artist step up to the mic. They have returned with a new EP The Old Way. The project features five tracks with the shortest coming in just under five minutes. If you love rapping and looking for something different I suggest you check this out. My favorite tracks are “Aye,” and “Disruptive.”

Elvin Chambers