Your Old Droog. A Ukranian Jew rapper from Brooklyn. Like so many people I grew up with.
Droog is one of the best at it today. Witty, smart, and original. He’s so good that when he first came on the scene, people thought he was Nas under a fake name. He’s also drawn favorable comparisons to MF Doom.
Check out my ranking of his full discography, below, and drop me a note to let me know what you think Droog’s best is!
Ultraviolence EP (2014)
Not bad, but not memorable. This is formative YOD. His demo “Central Park 5” is in poor taste (“They say I’m whylin’ like the Central Park 5”) but his tribute to Biz Markie, “Just Rhymin’ With Skizz,” works well. The big news about that song was that he revealed his face on the video, proving to the world that he wasn’t Nas.
What Happened to Fire? with Wiki (2017)
Droog’s first album as a collaborator. Soon after he started releasing multiple albums with Tha God Fahim.
YOD Stewart EP (2022)
There are a few great tracks here and a few that are just okay.
The Nicest EP (2015)
A not-bad collection of songs, but only a few are real keepers. Like Through the Nose, which flips around between the expression “pay through the nose,” snorting coke, and other fun, nasal-related actions. Even a short and mediocre YOD collection is fun.
The YOD Fahim (2021)
Droog and Tha God Fahim trade bars about basketball. You can hear how much fun they’re having.
Space Bar (2021)
This is a good record. I don’t rate it higher because I don’t drink and I don’t love sci fi, but I can recognize the greatness here.
The Wolf on Wall Street (2021) and Wolf 2: : The American Dream (2022) with Tha God Fahim
A two-album set about the meaning of wealth in America. Fascinating and smart. Both are great albums.
It Wasn’t Even Close (2019)
By this time, Droog is getting a name for himself and can draw big-name producers and features. The likes of Mach-Hommy, Daringer, MF DOOM, Tha God Fahim, and Roc Marciano, among other, appeared on this. I consider this to be Droog’s first “big” album.
Looseys EP (2017)
Songs that didn’t make his brilliant “Packs” album. So, since they’re not in the pack, they’re loosey cigarettes. Get it?
There’s some genius stuff on here. Just Rhyming features Joey Bada$$ and Styles P, and it’s awesome. And Hip Hop Head…Well, you can guess some of the things he does with the word “head” on this one. But just some of them. Because Droog is the master of multiple meaning.
Kineson EP (2015)
With Kineson, more of a mixtape than an EP since he has 11 songs, Droog began setting a vision for his creations as concept albums. This one is all about Alternative rock and roll. Songs had names like Sonic Youth and Porno for Pyros and he put a guitar on the album cover. Also, this EP signaled how Droog would change with each album.
An album about traveling around the city and around the country, and meeting the love of your life on the metro. That song, Love Train, is probabliy his most popular–who hasn’t wondered wistfully about the one we let slip away? And later, he even steals a KMD beat (MF Doom’s first rap group) on the song Taxi.
A concept album about time travel and the meaning of time.. I don’t love all the tying-together skits, but this works as a rap concept album–and that’s something pretty hard to successfully pull off.
This one is about being a Jew. Songs have titles like Jew Tang Forever and, for the Brooklyn boys out there, Stoop Kid. Jewelry is darker than his other work–much grittier. Love this album.
YOD Wave (2022)
Wave signals a departure and announces a new “wave” for Your Old Droog: He acknowledges he is an adult and is moving on to adult things.
Many rappers can’t make this transition, but YOD Wave leaves the listener unconcerned about Droog’s future: He’s got a lot of great bars still in him.
A tour-de-force. Every song is brilliant. Even the skits work–a rarity for rap albums. White Rappers, Rapman, I Only, Winstons…And those are the songs without the features by the likes of Heems, Chris Crack, and Danny Brown.
For many, Packs is YOD’s best. It almost gets there for me, but there are two that are even better…
Your Old Droog (2014)
His debut album, which incorporated his also-eponymous first EP, had the song that broke him, Nutty Bars, and other gems like Loosey in the Store with Pennies, Free Turkey, On the News, and The ’70s. So many hard-hitting, brilliant cuts on this album. An amazing debut.
Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition (2020)
When you’re talking the best YOD album, you are talking about this one or the previous two. What makes Dump YOD so special is that the music and themes hew close to his Ukranian and Jewish roots, making this a wholly unique and vital record. Clearly his most personal work so far, Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition shows that if Droog continues to develop and mature, he will become a singular and important voice in hip hop. He’s already done enough to warrant a place in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame–but this album shows how much greater potential is untapped. I hope we hear more of this in the future.