Top 20 favorite albums of all time



Mac Miller Live Concert @ Dour Festival-7577

Tavian B.

*Author’s Notes: Limit to one album per artist

Honorable Mentions at the bottom of feature refers to albums close to making the cut while ones near “Favorite Songs” sections refers to songs close to making the cut as one of my favorite songs on the album

Underlined song in “Favorite Songs” section is my “absolute favorite” from each LP

All songs listed in chronological order of appearance on each LP


  1. I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You-Quadeca

Not much can be said about Quadeca’s I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You that I have not said in previous features. The incredible haunting production coupled with the clean vocals help to create an experience which no other artist could. The unique experience crafted by this album is truly next level artistically, and something I feel is almost unrivaled across all of music. The experimentation on the album was certainly a big risk, though one which delivered ample quality and delivered upon every beat expected from it, and even exceeding those expectations. The story line of a ghost looking down upon his family from the afterlife as they move on from is passing is used to great lengths across the whole album, and allows Quadeca to interject lots of emotion into every detail of each track, something he does to great effect with subtle mixing details and small aspects of the album’s instrumentals. This album has everything one could ever want in a record, great production, crisp vocals, catchy melodies, a great storyline and so much more, garnering it the position as my favorite album ever.

Favorite Song(s): “Sorry4dying”, “Don’t Mind Me”, “Picking Up Hands”, “Fantasyworld”, “Fractions of Infinity”

Honorable Mentions: “Tell Me A Joke”, “Born Yesterday”, “House Settling”, “Knots”

  1. Swimming-Mac Miller

Swimming is the quintessential Mac Miller project. His growth throughout his entire discography is honestly astounding, shifting away from substanceless party/frat music and progressing towards deep and introspective records. This album takes Miller’s newfound matureness and utilizes it in the best ways possible. With guest features and production from notable industry names like Thundercat and JID, Miller raps over the calm, lo-fi acoustic production in new and unique ways he’s never done before. This all results in a great album with an array of sounds and concepts throughout the whole LP, helping to keep it fresh and interesting. This album is easy to relisten to, especially since Miller’s tragic passing as it gives insight into what challenges he was facing at the time shortly before his death. Coupled with his posthumous album Circles, which were meant to be a part of a trilogy which unfortunately won’t come to fruition, it allows fans to further appreciate the message of the album, with the whole concept being “Swimming in Circles” and how we will all return to the same point. This message is subtly injected into parts of the album, and this subtle nuance just makes the record better upon every revisit to it.

Favorite Song(s): “Come Back To Earth”, “Hurt Feelings”, “What’s The Use”, “Small Worlds”, “So It Goes”

Honorable Mentions: “Perfecto”, “Self Care”, “Wings”, “Ladders”, “Conversation Pt. 1”, “Dunno”, “Jet Fuel”, “2009”

  1. IGOR-Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator on IGOR accomplishes something not many other albums or artists can or will ever achieve. Branching off from his previous works, IGOR is not at all a rap album. Though it utilizes some aspects of the genre, the LP is a blend of r&b, soul, jazz, funk, electronic, and may other genres. Despite this wide and vastly different range of genres present on the album, none of it feels forced or clumped together in an awkward way that doesn’t make sense. Each song is a catchy melodic experience, and it seems to get better every time I re-listen to it. With unnamed features from artists such as Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, CeeLo Green, slowthai and others, the record is a true homage to music and an experience which many listeners will thoroughly enjoy.



  1. Blonde-Frank Ocean

Blonde by Frank Ocean is a truly one of a kind musical experience. The album was and still is so ahead of its time, still remaining unparalleled by any other album within its genre. The album seemingly gets better as it progresses onwards, though none of the songs which come towards the record’s start or any less quality than those at the record’s end. Masterfully crafted melodies, beautiful ambient production, great guest performances, Blonde has anything you could ever want or ask for in an album and has cemented Ocean as one of music’s top geniuses and most influential artists. The continued praise the album receives 8 years after its initial release just attest to the LP’s quality and make it’s case for one of the best albums ever made even better.

Favorite Song(s): “Nikes”, “Pink + White”, “Self Control”, “Nights”, “White Ferrari”

Honorable Mentions: “Ivy”, “Good Guy”, “Solo”, “Skyline To”, “Solo (Reprise)”, “Pretty Sweet”, “Close To You”, “Siegfried”, “Godspeed”, “Futura Free”

  1. Graduation-Kanye West

Kanye West has been at the forefront of music for over a decade at this point, yet he still hasn’t made anything which surpasses Graduation, the album many believe to be his magnum opus. The third and final album in the “higher education trilogy”, West mixes the best aspects of the previous two installments into this LP. His new and interesting verses and flows coupled with better vocals, production and utilization of features truly help to set this album apart from the rest of West’s extensive discography. Though he always releases quality records whenever he puts his mind and will towards it, Graduation is truly a one of kind album which I don’t think will ever be recreated, not even by West himself. The nuance and detail within the album just help to elevate it all around, with the album somehow managing to be simple yet complex at the same time.

Favorite Song(s): “Good Morning”, “Champion”, “I Wonder”, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, “Everything I Am”

Honorable Mentions: “Stronger”, “Good Life”, “Barry Bonds”, “Drunk and Hot Girls”, “Flashing Lights”, “The Glory”, “Homecoming”, “Big Brother”

  1. When It’s All Said And Done… Take Time-Giveon

When It’s All Said And Done… Take Time is a masterfully crafted album from singer and songwriter Giveon. A California native, the album is a story about Giveon’s past romance(s) in which he ruined by cheating and manipulating the women in his life. The album is exclusively composed of incredible melodies and harmonies, tracks full of emotion and story telling, ambient acoustic instrumentation and so many more great elements. Giveon has an incredible knack for making catchy song full of emotion. I’ve relistened to this album countless times and I walk out of it with a new favorite song. Every song on this record is just so full of life and care, being masterfully crafted in order to be perfect. Every element of the LP is truly phenomenal and it’s truly a perfect album in my opinion.

Favorite Song(s): Every Song (No Absolute Favorite)

  1. Ctrl-SZA

Ctrl is an alternative/progressive r&b album by music sensation SZA. Released in 2017, much of SZA’s popularity can be attributed to this album, especially its big hits such as “The Weekened” and “Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott)”. SZA’s signature vocals coupled with the laidback and ambient production of the record help to craft an amazing listening experience, and SZA does so much with each track. Her melodies always feel fresh and new while still conveying so much emotion through every little inflection she uses across the album. Records like this make you want to experience the love and deep connections detailed in the songs, and Ctrl is no different in that regard. Simply put, Ctrl is a great album and one of the best in its genre in the past decade.

Favorite Song(s): “Supermodel”, “Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott), “The Weekend”, “Broken Clocks”, “Normal Girl”

Honorable Mentions: “Doves In The Wind (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”, “Drew Barrymore”, “Go Gina”, “Pretty Little Birds (feat. Isaiah Rashad)”, “20 Something”

  1. Gemini Rights-Steve Lacy

Singer and songwriter Steve Lacy has finally began to receive the recognition he deserves after the release of his latest album Gemini Rights. Performing and winning a grammy for this album, Gemini Rights is the peak of Lacy’s career so far. Track after track, catchy melodies, amazing acoustic production, and story telling fly out at the listener one after another. Lacy’s smooth and incredible vocals are present all throughout the album with tracks like “Amber” and “Give You The World” put them at the forefront of the track for display. This coupled with the impeccable instrumentation and great songwriting on the part of Lacy help to make this one of the best alternative/progressive r&b albums I’ve ever heard. Only being 10 tracks long, the album is an easy listen and has such a high replay value that you can play it over and over again. You won’t walk away from this project without at least one of the songs stuck in your head, it’s simply that catchy.

Favorite Song(s): “Static”, “Helmet”, “Buttons”, “Amber”, “Give You The World”

Honorable Mentions: “Mercury”, “Bad Habit”, 2Gether (Enterlude)”, “Cody Freestyle”, “Sunshine (feat. Fousheé)”

  1. To Pimp A Butterfly-Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar is an album completely centered around the black experience in America and the fight back against oppressive systems keeping black people trapped in negative areas and poverty stricken situations, a message even depicted in the album’s cover. Lamar uses his incredible technical rapping skills and continuously makes great songs over jazz/soul and funk beats, perhaps being the best production on any of his album’s ever. Guest appearances from Thundercat, Rapsody and others don’t disappear and only helps to elevate the already amazing performances Lamar puts into each song. This album in my opinion is the epitome of Lamar’s self-expression as it sees him be unafraid to try new things, tackle heavy subjects and interject small funny moments showcasing his personality into the album. The message itself is something which makes the artistry surrounding it even better, and is expounded in brilliant ways across every song. The one thing about the album which stops it from being higher is that my love for this album comes more from appreciation for it’s artistry rather than solely being enjoyment, though there is certainly lots to enjoy from this record. Lamar’s storytelling upon the album is one of the record’s greatest aspect, and I believe it to be unrivaled by any album to ever exist across all genres. Overall, this is a truly astounding record which everyone should listen to at some point in your life.

Favorite Song(s): “Wesley’s Theory”, “King Kunta”, “These Walls”, “U”, “Alright”

Honorable Mentions: “For Free? (Interlude)”, “Institutionalized”, “For Sale? (Interlude)”, “Momma”, “Hood Politics”, “How Much A Dollar Cost”, “Complexion (A Zulu Love)”, “The Blacker The Berry”, “You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)”, “I”, “Mortal Man”

  1. CARE FOR ME-Saba

CARE FOR ME is the sophomore album of Chicago rapper Saba. The entire album revolves around a retelling of Saba’s life from an early age, specifically centering around the death of his cousin Walter otherwise known as John Walt. The two of them were extremely close, even going on to found the rap group Pivot Gang along with Saba’s brother and their high school friend. The whole album creates a moody atmosphere about Saba’ seemingly deteriorating mental state and his attempts to cope with the struggles of his life growing up in Chicago, not having a father, relationship struggles and many other issues. The album ultimately culminates into a story of grief as it reaches its climax with the track “PROM / KING” which is a complete retelling of how Saba and Walter first became close, and his eventual death when he was stabbed. The album’s closing track “HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME” sees Saba rap from the perspective of Walter as he looks around the scene of his death and sees his loved ones in pain. The moody mellow instrumentation found across the album help to emphasize the negative emotions Saba feels as he retells these stories of death and grief he’s had to experience his whole life. The album is an incredible musical experience which perfectly conveys the feelings Saba wants you to feel while listening, coupled with catchy hooks and melodies and sleek verse. The familial relations detailed across the album with Walter, his father who isn’t present in his life as he chose to pursue music as a dream, his grandfather who disapproves of Saba’s wish to make music, and many others truly help to deepen the album’s story even further, making this a great listening experience.


Honorable Mentions: “BUSY / SIRENS”, “BROKEN GIRLS”,  “FIGHTER”, “LOGOUT”, “GREY”

  1. Rodeo (Expanded Edition)-Travis Scott

Rodeo is the culmination of everything Travis Scott had worked towards previously at this point of his career. The dark futuristic production and refined use of his signature autotune drenched vocals help craft a masterful mix of dark trap bangers like “3500 (feat. Future & 2 Chainz)” and “Nightcrawler (feat. Sear Lee & Chief Keef)” with more fun experimental tracks such as “90210 (feat. Kacy Hill) and “Flying High (feat. Toro y Moi)”. Rodeo mixes everything a young Scott had been attempting to achieve through all his previous mixtapes. Though his early work was very derivative of his influences such as Kid Cudi or Kanye West, this album sees him come into his own and make great original music. The dark atmospheric melodic trap on this album is unparalleled and overall some of Scott’s best work, leading Rodeo to be in my opinion his best album.

Favorite Song(s): “Oh My Dis Side (feat. Quavo)”, “3500 (feat. Future & 2 Chainz)”, “90210 (feat. Kacy Hill)”, “Nightcrawler (feat. Sear Lee & Chief Keef)”, “Impossible”

Honorable Mentions: “Pornography”, “Wasted (feat. Juicy J)”, “Pray 4 Love (feat. The Weeknd)”, “Piss On Your Grave (feat. Kanye West)”, “Antidote”, “Maria I’m Drunk (feat. Justin Bieber & Young Thug)”, “Flying High (feat. Toro y Moi)”, “I Can Tell”, “Apple Pie”, “Oh Alright (feat. ScHoolboy Q)”, “Never Catch Me”

  1. Sonder Son-Brent Faiyaz

The debut album of alternative R&B sensation Brent Faiyaz, Sonder Son is truly a spectacle. Truly incredible vocals provided by Faiyaz are layed out over his typical moody and somber productions track after track, creating incredibly catchy and atmospheric melodies across the entire album. The emotion conveyed through each and every inflection he uses on the album, along with the bits of story he spreads across the album through interludes, lyrics of songs such as “Home” and clips of exposition create an incredible, cinematic experience for listeners. The album overall combines the strengths of Faiyaz with cinematic and romantic production which only help to elevate the music he creates to even greater heights.

Favorite Song(s): “Gang Over Luv”, “Missin Out”, “Stay Down”, “L.A.”, “Needed”

Honorable Mentions: “Home”, “Talk 2 U”, “All I Want”


Legendary artist MF DOOM’s album MM.. FOOD is an incredible work of art. Released in 2004, the album contains some of DOOM’s biggest songs to ever grace the years of listeners. The great production coupled with DOOM’s skillful technical rap ability truly make the album one to go down as a quintessential rap album. The album utilizing great samples and instrumentation helps to bring out some of DOOM’s best vocal performances across his whole discography. His signature villain moniker and old pop-culture are spread throughout the album, acting to only add more depth and elements to the LP. Despite it’s 15 song length, the album is easy for listeners to digest, with plenty of instrumental interludes sprinkled throughout the record. The album’s quality and versatility allows it to serve as a great introduction point to DOOM for those who may be unfamiliar with his music.

Favorite Song(s): “Beef Rap”, “Hoe Cakes”, “Potholderz (feat. Count Bass D)”, “One Beer”, “Rapp Snitch Knishes (feat. Mr. Fantastik)”

Honorable Mentions: “Deep Fried Frenz”, “Fig Leaf Bi-Carbonate”, “Kon Karne”, “Guinnesses (feat. Angelika & 4ize)”, “Kon Queso”, “Vomitspit”, “Kookies”

  1. learn 2 swim-redveil

Maryland native redveil has released his sophomore album titled learned 2 swim. For only being 18 years old, redveil managed to create one of the most mature albums I’ve ever heard. The best way I can think to describe the album is black excellence and learning to nature as a person. Redveil states the focus of the project to the trials one experiences growing up and how you have to learn to mature yourself based on this journey. The album features smooth, jazz and soul inspired instrumentation, effectively blending these two genres with rap and elements of r&b. One of the unexpectedly impressive aspects of the LP was redveil’s vocals. A skill he hadn’t used much across the other telesales in his discography, this album sees a multitude of catchy melodies coming from the young artist. This new diversity never found in previous installments across his discography help to make this album feel unique and new, factors which further contribute to its greatness.

Favorite Song(s): “Diving Board”, “Better”, “Sky”, Mars”, “Working On It”

Honorable Mentions: “Together”, “Pg Baby”, “Shoulder”, “Morphine (Da Ways)”, “Automatic”, “Home”


A collaborative effort between artists Kanye West and Kid Cudi, KIDS SEE GHOSTS is a self-titled album after the group moniker of the two music superstars. Boasting features from Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T and cover art from Takashi Murakami, the album effortlessly blends the styles of both artists in a perfectly tailored musical experience. The former collaborators trade verses back and forth in a manner in character for both of them, blending Cudi’s signature melodies with West’s incredible production and sleek verses. Both artists play with their fair share of experimentation on the album, one of the more notable instances being West’s drum/gun noises drowned in autotune on the album’s opening track “Feel The Love”. Small quirks like this are what make the album so great, helping to boost the fun of the album and it’s overall enjoyment. The album is only seven songs long, coming together as an easy to listen to, short album full of quality music.

Favorite Song(s): “Feel The Love”, “Fire”, “4th Dimension”, “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)”, “Reborn”

Honorable Mentions: “Kids See Ghosts”

  1. TYRON-slowthai

Tyron is the sophomore studio album of British rapper slowthai. Named after himself, the album is a journey through his life and his deteriorating mental state at the time. Releasing in 2021, the album is divided into discs (halves). The songs titled with all capitals are ignorant tracks meant to be high energy club bangers, whereas those in all lowercase (not presented that way due to AP style) are more serious introspective tracks. The two sides of the album are bridged by the song “PLAY WITH FIRE”, acting to fuse elements of each part. One criticism of the album is the perceived disparity in quality between the two halves. I acknowledge some validity to this, as I believe the album’s introspective section is better than the opening segments, though I don’t believe the drop in quality to be as large a gap as some make it seem. The entire album is very high quality from the lyrics or the detailed instrumentation with both sides of the album having their strengths they play to. Overall, Tyron is an incredible album I recommend to all music enjoyers.

Favorite Song(s): “PLAY WITH FIRE”, “I Tried”, “Push (feat. Deb Never)”, “Nhs”, “Feel Away (feat. James Blake & Mount Kimbie)”

Honorable Mentions: “45 SMOKE”, “CANCELLED (feat. Skepta)”, “MAZZA (feat. A$AP Rocky)”, “VEX”, “DEAD”, “Focus”, “Terms (feat. Dominic Fike & Denzel Curry)”, “Adhd”


WAKE UP LUCKI is a collaborative album between Chicago rapper LUCKI and (as of late) popular producer F1LTHY (sometimes referred to as WAKEUPF1LTHY). This album highlights everything great about LUCKI’s style of music, from the laid back and droning delivery to his lyrics about constant struggles and trials he had to endure in order to get to where he is. Couple this with the fresh and electric production from F1LTHY, and this album acts to elevate the best parts of both artists in a collaboration which could only work between these two artists. A very short listen, the album runs for about 30 mins, sitting at only 12 songs. Across this short LP, I feel there’s no bad songs present on the album. Every song manages to be laid back yet high energy at the same time, something achieved through the contrast between LUCKI’s vocals and F1LTHY’s production. Ultimately, all these aspects come together to craft an incredible album which won’t disappoint fans of this style of music.

Favorite Song(s): Every Song (Absolute Favorite: “U.G.K”)

  1. Freudian-Daniel Caesar

Freudian is the debut album of singer/songwriter Daniel Caesar, and is an album packed full of catchy melodies and transcendent instrumentation. The album has a clear gospel and soul influence, with choir CaDoRio Tribe featuring on half of the album. The acoustic and church-like production utilizing piano and guitar couple perfectly with Caesar’s crisp vocals. Only running 10 songs, the album is an easy listen which invokes a lot of emotion from listeners. The album is titled after Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus Complex, a theory stating that a child has an unconscious desire for the parent of the opposite gender. Caesar uses this theory to make sense of his previous relationships which he seemingly destroyed, and the love lost between two, in the process creating a truly incredible experience and piece of art.

Favorite Song(s): “Get You (feat. Kali Uchis)”, “Best Part (feat. H.E.R.)”, “Neu Roses (Transgressor’s Song)”, “Loose”, “We Find Love”

Honorable Mentions: “Hold Me Down”, “Blessed”, “Take Me Away (feat. Syd)”, “Transform (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson)”, “Freudian”

  1. Big Fish Theory-Vince Staples

Big Fish Theory is the second studio album by California native Vince Staples which I believe to be his best LP to date. The heavy West Coast influence upon the album gives all the instrumentals a grand emphasis on bounciness which makes you want to dance along to every song. Tracks like “745” and “Yeah Right” (housing a secret feature from Kendrick Lamar) are some of the best across his whole catalog, highlighting Staples’ delivery and signature laid back style. The record’s unique production style helps to further the more experimental aspects Staples utilizes on the LP. Above anything else, the album provides a fun and enjoyable listening experience that not many other albums can hope to recreate.

Favorite Song(s): “Crabs In A Bucket”, “Big Fish”, “745”, “Yeah Right”, “Homage”

Honorable Mentions: “Love Can Be…”, “SAMO”, “Party People”, “BagBak”, “Rain Come Down”

  1. By the Time I Get to Phoenix-Injury Reserve

By the Time I Get to Phoenix is the second studio album of rap group Injury Reserve, chalk full of unique experimentation. Made to honor the passing of group member Stepa J. Groggs who died during the album’s creation, this record is truly unlike any other I’ve ever heard. The mechanical and industrial production coupled with the reverb and droning vocals across the entire LP is something truly unique that I doubt any other group could’ve created. The album’s chaotic instrumentals coupled with seemingly random insertion of verses and melodies are meant to reflect the way Groggs’ death affected the other two members of the group. The album’s main inspiration is to be an embodiment of processing grief and moving on. This is reflected as the album progresses, drifting away from busy and mechanical jumbles of noises, and slowly shifting towards ambience and more peaceful songs with smooth jazz-like instrumentation. Overall, this is truly an incredible album which conveys emotion through its chaotic yet subtle nature. The only flaw I find with the album is that it’s certainly an acquired taste, and not something that I can listen to always. This limits the album’s replayability, though it doesn’t hold back the artistic vision conveyed through the LP and its overall enjoyability.

Favorite Song(s): “Outside”, “Superman That”, “Top Picks for You”, “Postpostpartum”, “Knees”

Honorable Mentions: “SS San Francisco (feat. Zelooperz)”, “Footwork in a Forest Fire”, “Wild Wild West”, “Bye Storm”


Album Honorable Mentions:

From Me To You-Quadeca

Circles-Mac Miller

Watching Movies With The Sound Off-Mac Miller

GO:OD AM-Mac Miller

Faces-Mac Miller

Life of Pablo-Kanye West

Late Registration-Kanye West

F*** The World-Brent Faiyaz

Almost There-LUCKI



Channel ORANGE-Frank Ocean

Flower Boy-Tyler the Creator

Call Me If You Get Lost-Tyler the Creator

good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe)-Kendrick Lamar

untitled unmastered.-Kendrick Lamar

The Lost Boy-Cordae

Pray For Paris-Westside Gunn

Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B-Westside Gunn

Alfredo-Freddie Gibbs

Melt My Eyez See Your Future-Denzel Curry

UNLOCKED-Denzel Curry

Luv Is Rage 2 (Deluxe)-Lil Uzi Vert

Whole Lotta Red-Playboi CartiHeaux Tales-Jazmine Sullivan

An Evening With Silk Sonic-Silk Sonic

The Life Of Pi’erre 5-Pi’erre Bourne

to hell with it-PinkPantheress


The Melodic Blue-Baby Keem

1999-Joey Bada$$

The House Is Burning-Isaiah Rashad