For those of us who have existed within the D.C. Metropolitan area (not just D.C., but I’m not using that dumb ass term here), we have been able to witness what could be considered a second renaissance in hip hop — artists like Rico Nasty, IDK, and Cordae (yes, he counts) have continued a path made golden by Wale, Shy Glizzy, and Logic. Even better: there are a wealth of talented artists that are currently giving us an idea of what’s to come.

In this editorial, JUKEBOX:DC has created a ranked list of albums that we feel have had the greatest impact this year. This isn’t just about sales or stream — an album’s quality and creativeness are among other factors considered. As you’ll see, these are also albums that we’ve shared at the time of their respective releases — if we’ve missed anything, feel free to let us know so that we can be more on point moving forward.

Without further adieu, step into the rabbit hole below.

#20: Travy Nostra – Leave Me The Fuck Alone (READ MORE/STREAM)

What’s immediately striking about this project is the fact that you have an artist that’s been buzzing in the area, yet chooses to keep his subject matter focused on how he’s been dealing with his life mentally. It’s a raw depiction of a person who’s in the midst of his storm, and that emotion plays out in real time. This is an absolute must-listen, period.

VIDEOS:

#19: Lil Gray – 10B410 (READ MORE/STREAM)

Representing PG County, MD, Lil Gray (like many of the others you will see) has remained very consistent with non-fiction raps and ever-changing lyricism. One immediate standout from the project is “Pest Control (RAT)” — you’ll know why the minute you press play. Also worth checking out: newer singles like “Get Shit Started” with Big Flock and “Reservoir.”

VIDEOS:

#18: P-Wild & Foams SB – Get Lit Or Die (READ MORE/STREAM)

Two members of one of D.C.’s most iconic collectives make a big return with Get Lit Or Die, a project that’s especially notable for their collaboration with longtime producer Basshed E for its title track. Simply put, Slutty Boyz are still very much in effect, and P-Wild and Foams’ collaborative effort is a true continuation of their dynasty.

VIDEOS:

#17: Kingpen Slim – Blurred Lines (READ MORE/STREAM)

Let’s just keep it all the way real: nobody in this area (or beyond, in many circumstances) have the ability to out-rap Kingpen Slim. The Uptown, D.C. lyricist has been tearing down beats for the past couple of decades, most recently by way of the project Life After Doubt and Trapper’s Delight. Initially, Blurred Lines was released as an exclusive for those who recently support his craft — those that really appreciate real raps from the city can head here to let Kingpen know.

VIDEOS:

#16: Fat Yee – Southeast Gucci (READ MORE/STREAM)

Fat Yee is definitely one of the most prolific rapper from D.C. Case in point: even after blessing the masses with Southeast Gucci, the Barry Farms representative also liberated the well-received projects Life Of Da Dopeman and — just this month — Now Or Never. Extra shout out to Presto Tracks.

VIDEOS:

A small but committed group of writers, bloggers and videographers that (mostly) exist and function all over the D.C. Metro area.