Fans of rap music were treated to some absolute bangers in 2023. In July, Travis Scott dropped his highly anticipated project Utopia, which quickly shot to the top of the charts. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, where it sat for more than four weeks.
Similarly, Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2, which was released on December 8, marked a triumphant return for the self-proclaimed Queen of Rap. The record sold 228,000 units in its first week, according to Variety, and included features from Drake and Lil Wayne.
In addition to the mainstream heavy hitters, there were a few rap releases that flew under the radar. Here are some of the most underrated rap albums of 2023.
Killer Mike — ‘Michael’
You would be wrong to sleep on any Killer Mike project, and Michael is no different.
The album, released on June 16, includes features from CeeLo Green, Young Thug, and Jagged Edge. While it only peaked at No. 58 on the Billboard 200, fans of the Atlanta-born rapper were thrilled with the record.
“I’ve listened to the Killer Mike album front to back like three times. It’s heat,” one person tweeted.
Sexyy Red — ‘Hood Hottest Princess’
Sexyy Red’s viral antics may have taken center stage in 2023, but her mixtape was just as entertaining.
Hood Hottest Princess featured the breakout singles “Pound Town” and “SkeeYee,” in addition to collaborations with Nicki Minaj and Juicy J.
Along with Sexyy's unfiltered lyrical prowess, the tape also showcases a more serious side of the St. Louis rapper. Sexyy released a deluxe version of the mixtape, which she says is better than the original, on Dec. 1.
“If people thought the first one was lit, they gonna love this deluxe,” she told Billboard. “I love it because I got to collab with some people that I’ve always wanted to work wit. It’s just fun and I’m sure that everyone is gonna be rockin' wit it!”
Wiki, MIKE, and The Alchemist — ‘Faith Is A Rock’
In 2023, New York rappers Wiki and MIKE joined forces for a joint album produced by The Alchemist.
The Alchemist – who previously worked with Eminem, Migos, and Mac Miller – fit perfectly with the lyrical duo. The album fuses the super producer’s dreary beats with MIKE’s nonchalant delivery. Wiki shows off his creative genius in songs like “Thug Anthem,” where he talks about the importance of overlooking conflict.
“Certain s--t, can't explain, I can't entertain / Can't contain, if only we kept with our grades,” He raps. “Renegades, we was out at a tender age / Now it's me and MIKE at center stage.”
Noname - ‘Sundail’
Noname’s flow alone is enough to make Sundail a must-listen.
The 11-track project includes the single “Balloons,” Noname’s first release since she announced she was quitting music in 2019. The rapper caught flack behind the single, as it features a controversial verse from New Orleans rapper, Jay Electronica.
“If anybody asks, tell 'em Farrakhan sent me,” Jay raps on the song. “It's the War of Armageddon and I'm beggin' the listener.”
The bar seemingly references a speech made by Louis Farrakhan which some deemed antisemitic. Noname addressed the controversy on Instagram and stated that she was “not going to apologize for a verse I didn't write,” per Entertainment Weekly.
While the drama surrounding the album may have scared some people away, the music is worthy of a listen.
The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.