ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Che Noir and Apollo Brown’s “As God Intended”–and some other noteworthy hip hop of late

I’ve been wondering when Apollo Brown would produce a 2020 album. He’s produced some of the best rap albums of the 2010 decade, including projects for certified all-stars like Ras Kass and Joel Ortiz, and newercomers like Skyzoo. Che Noir falls into the latter category, and on top of that, she’s from upstate New York. And she’s female. Oh and one more thing: She’s fucking amazing.

If this doesn’t end up being one of the best rap albums of 2020, then this will be a damn fine year for hip hop.

Here’s a few more 2020 rap albums, both with an old school feel, both worth your time.

First, it’s Eleven and Jason D. This one is the better of the two, both in terms of lyrics and production. Eleven says “I’m never hung up from last year,” but his verses sit nicely on the shelf with 3d Bass, Lyrics Born, Slug, Daddy Kane, etc. “You do that old shit, updated, stay classic, we ain’t afraid to say it.” Most definitely.

Song for song, straight through, this is a great listen for anyone who loves all eras of hip hop and misses the days when you didn’t need to boast about money or use profanity to make a point–and when the point was more about empowerment and emcees tried to move the crowd politically as much as they moved butts.

Excellent, excellent album.

Next, Forward Future by Oakland’s Jahi and the UK producer Configa. Jahi is the new voice on P.E.20, and it’s easy to see why Chuck D took a liking to Jahi. Verbose, golden-age style bars full of consciousness and politically woke calls to revolution.

Jahi’s not as creative or skilled as Mista Chuck, but he’s damn good. And Configa’s beats are a nice compliment–they’re not overpowering, and they sit nicely under tightly constructed verses.

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