The phrase "there's no time like the present" is one of the oldest cliches in American history, but it's hard to think of instances it applies to more than now with the coronavirus pandemic. As the often-deadly virus continues to spread throughout world, people are using the moment to complete tasks or engage in new experiences that they've been putting off. It's also a good time for any rap fan to catch up on music.
In an era when artists are able to release material more frequently than ever, it can feel impossible to keep track of—let alone listen to—all the dope albums you'd originally planned to check off your musical to-do list. Now that social distancing guidelines are firmly in place until at least April 30, rap fans can listen to those albums that got pushed to the side.
After binging on TV series like Ozark season three, Kemba's debut major label LP, Gilda, is the perfect album to dive into. Then there's Smino's Noir, a 2018 project that continues the St. Louis, Mo. rapper's knack for genre-bending and wordplay. Birdman and Juvenile's Just Another Gangsta, their 2019 joint album, is just as tight as most music from their earlier days despite not reaching the same commercial heights. Or maybe CupcakKe's 2018 album Eden, an album that didn't get quite as much shine as Ephorize, another project she dropped in 2018. There's a big, wide world of hip-hop out there, and now, there's really no excuse not to explore it.
Today, XXL takes a look at 20 hip-hop albums that you never gave a chance, so now's the time to listen. Whether it's projects that made noise on the underground but never broke into the mainstream or albums that didn't hit the charts but are still packed with substance, you can find them below.
See 20 Hip-Hop Albums You Never Gave a Chance, So Now's the Time to Listen