The RapNerd’s Lament…

“A Sad Man” by Javi Velazquez


As a life long fan of Hip-Hop, I find myself at a point where I’m extremely conflicted. Although my love for the art form has not wavered, I have begun to question much of the content and intent that has pervaded the mass consciousness of general music listeners. The more I listen, the more I absorb, the more I begin to realize a harsh truth. A truth that many will often defend to the point of being obnoxious, ignorant, selfish or just flat-out wrong. The truth is that we as a Hip-Hop Community hates women, Women in general but Black Women specifically.

On The Diplomats song “Once Upon A Time” Cam’Ron rapped:

“Welcome back to the hallway loiterers
I made mills off the white girl, I exploited her
No disrespecting the ladies, word from my team (why)
That’s the reason Dame smacked Harvey Weinstein.”

By now we should all know about the monster that is Harvey Weinstein and he deserves every punishment that can be given to him. While what Cam rapped about was something commendable on Dame’s behalf, I couldn’t help but think about all the times I went crazy every time “Wet Wipes” or  “Suck It Or Not” was played back in 2007. In 2018 I looked back on those songs began to cringe profusely.  I began to wonder how many men in their early 20’s 10 years ago feel the same way now as I do. As the conversation shifts ever so violently toward women’s rights. I found myself pondering what role if any does Hip-Hop play in the sphere of Misogynoir.

For those of you that don’t know, Misogynoir is defined as; misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias. To break that down further, Misogyny is defined as; the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.  Now when you take those definitions and apply them to the current landscape of Mainstream Hip-Hop (the most listened to genre of music in the world at the present day) There is a very serious issue that stands before us. How many times have we as fans been complicit in the systemic tearing down of black women?

Through the music we have allowed ourselves to fall victim to the politics of respectability. The medium of music videos has done more to marginalize black women. Entire social media and terrestrial media platforms have been created to further drive home that point. So much so, that we as consumers believe that any woman who is apart of these platforms is of low moral standing. We as a community has allowed this to happen.

Another branch of the misogynior tree is rape culture. To make it plain and simple, anytime a woman is forced, or coerced into sex without her consent is rape period. In a world where words or phrases like “thot”, “scrapes”, “stabs”, and “hoes” have become normal jargon, it can blind you to the fact that women, Black women are the targets of these words more times than not. When Rick Ross rapped:

“Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it
Got a hundred acres I live on, you ain’t even know it
Got a hundred rounds in this AR, you ain’t even know it
Got a bag of bitches I play with, on cloud 9 in my spaceship”

he knowingly shared his tactics with us on how he beds women,and all we did was nod along and ran the song back.

There are varying degrees to which we as black men have been complicit with notions and concepts that are less than becoming or savory. Degrees that none of us are exempt from. As I sit here and continue to ponder, I ask myself, where did much is this originate from? On Kid Cudi’s song , “Make Her Say(Poke Her Face)” A song literally about receiving oral pleasure, Conscious Stalwart Common once implored women to “get their hair right and get up on this conscious dick”.  In that verse he answers a poignant question, while “Embodying everything from the Godly to the party” when he finally spit, “that’s the way I was raised in this Southside safari so….” That led me to believe that this has been passed down through generations as misogynoir normally is.

In ending, as I continue this mental exercise, I’m finding myself more confused than when I began. Where is the balance? How do I continue down this path of musical freedom while also being aware that Black Women continue to be marginalized? It’s literally coming from all sides. How do we raise this generation of young girls and boys? when is it the right time to expose them to the art form? While it is beautiful at its core, there is a bunch of muck that surrounds it. Muck that is profitable, Muck that is vibrationally frequent , Muck that is universal.

When 300 Took Over….


The year was 2012, the month was March and to me it was a normal day. I went to work and instead of working, I would normally talk rap with a few of my coworkers. The normal back and forth about what’s hot, what’s not, and who is up next. This one day in particular was different because for the first time, I was one of the people who was being put on to something new. My coworker “JB” told me about this young kid from Chicago that had the streets on lock and I should check him out. Now of course I was completely flabbergasted because I didn’t know who the kid was, so my response was “Word?!, Nah gotta check him out for myself and get back to you tomorrow, whats his name again?” A look of frustration came over JB’s face because he couldn’t remember his name. Then about 10 minutes later he screamed out “BACK FROM THE DEAD!”, “That’s the name of the mixtape, you can find it on DatPiff or just look for it on YouTube, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

Needless to say that ringing endorsement was all I needed to get me excited about the prospect of  new young artist that appeared to be taking the rap underground by storm. I rushed off the clock at work, turned my phone one and went straight to YouTube to get the full introduction. As soon as I typed in “Back From The Dead” I was blown away by the amount of views this kid and his crew had already amassed. An entire column of videos with astounding numbers for the time, They were already viral. No video had less than one million views with hundreds of comments. The kid was Chief Keef and the Crew was 300 or GBE as I would soon come to understand in the following weeks.


The most popular video that I viewed at that time was Chief Keef’s  “I Don’t Like” and It was gaining in popularity. admittedly I was resistant because as a 25/26-year-old, all I saw was a young kid and not taking time to see what kind of impact he and the crew would go on to have. When I got home from work later that night, I continued my research and began to learn the names of  the crew members and many of the names that were shout out in the song. Aside from the track’s lone feature that was Lil Reese, the other names that I learned were…Lil Durk, SD, Tadoe and Fredo Santana.  It was something abrasive but appealing to the music, alarming but authentic. No it wasn’t the train wreck that some tried to make it out to be, but it was indeed a symptom of the socioeconomic issues that plagued many of our inner cities.

As the weeks and months went by, I began to notice something remarkable.  I began to see kids from my hometown and the surrounding areas of Northern New Jersey emulate the other kids they saw on the internet from the mid-west. The slang, hand gestures, clothing, and even musical styles starting bubbling from my state. At first I was taken aback and became angry because I felt that we needed to carve out our own identity musically and mimicking another region would prove detrimental. The longer I looked though, I soon realized that it wasn’t just my state of  New Jersey, but states like New York, Connecticut, various states in the south and the west were all doing the same thing. The influence of GBE was sweeping the country.



Everywhere I looked and listened I saw kids all grouped together screaming “Gang” or “Squad”  along with the corresponding hand sign to differentiate the terms. Every neighborhood became a block named after someone who may have passed away or it may have become their “world” so to speak. Words like “Clout”, “Opps”, and “Savage” can all be directly attributed to the Glory Boyz. Others phrases like “In The Cut” and “Glo Up”  also became a apart of the American lexicon. Even in the present day, you would be hard pressed to find a single person that doesn’t refer to anyone that is overzealous in any arena as a “thot”.



Unfortunately, much of this retrospection comes on the heels of the untimely death of  Derrick Coleman other wise known as Fredo Santana. throughout this weekend, I saw the love pour in from many of the same places that he helped to influence. In a world where hot takes and hyperbole have become the new normal, somehow Fredo being labeled as a legend does not seem out-of-place. The truth of the matter is that for him, his family and friends, the label of legend is supremely fitting. Glo In Peace Fredo Santana.

KayFabe and Hip-Hop


In professional wrestling, kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as “real” or “true”, specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or predetermined nature of any kind. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound like something that is enjoyed by billions throughout the globe? Yes my friends, I am talking about The Sports Entertainment world known as Hip-Hop. While the culture and essence of Hip-Hop is still very much intact, The advent of “beef for profit’ has been something that  many of the labels have sought after since the first Hip-Hop record was sold.

When Hip-Hop was in its infancy in the late 70’s and Early 80’s, the life blood of the art form was based widely on competition and crew rivalries(Factions). During that time battles took place within the boroughs to see who could lay claim to the proverbial throne. As Hip-Hop fought for acceptance and viability, it wouldn’t be long before labels came calling, seeking to cash in on what would later on become known as manufactured beef.

Much like Wrestling, Hip-Hop is littered with “BabyFaces” and “Heels”.  As early as the 80’s you had your “Face Rappers” like Will Smith and Young MC while “Heel Rappers” could be seen as Ice T and NWA. While the face rappers were radio friendly and safe for mainstream ears, It was the heel rappers that gave Rap its edge and street cred during that time. It was cool to root for NWO and DX…oops I meant NWA and Public Enemy.

On the T.I. track “Tell’em I Said That” he rapped:

Please pay attention to this part of the bull
One time got robbed got shot got shook
Got a job started rhymin’ came up with a hook
Got a chain and some tats came up with a look
Went and made it here
Workin’ talk tough in a book
F*** the image and perception they never tough as they look

This quote from the album “T.I. vs. T.I.P” succinctly describes the current era of  Hip-Hop. The “Image” is what the label heads are trying to sell the consumer on a daily basis as it churns out act after act. In true Kayfabe fashion, many of the artists don’t bother to separate fiction from reality instead they straddle the line. “Am I really this mega rich, doped up superstar?, Or am I just a actor?” Now some may view this as pure conjecture but to the impressionable, try telling them that wrestling… is fake.

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When the Drake and Meek beef took place, both artists positioned and postured themselves with a story line that seemed like it was ripped straight from the WWE writer room. While Drake used the Titantron…Shucks I meant the OVOFest screen to get at Meek, Meek cut instagram promos like a true mid carder trying to get over and make it to the main roster. Was it good clean fun for those few days that it occurred, sure but how many of us really believed that any kind of real harm would come to either one of them during this spat.




The Lil Wayne and Birdman situation is something I would liken to the “Montreal Screw Job”. Vince McMahon has been billed as a true heel in the industry and the way he treats his artists….I’m sorry I mean wrestlers… is something that is akin to Birdman. Weezy to me is The Brett Hart of the Rap game and was forced to put other rappers over while his own product suffered.

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2017 gave us another WWE like feud…and it even included microphones being tossed on the floor! Again it was mindless fun like an episode of  Raw or Smackdown but for some reason many of us thought there was a legitimate threat of  a real altercation. No Such luck, just more comedic fodder to create memes and music.

In Ending, there is much to love about about both mediums. Both have their merits and adversely both are not without flaw. The gangsters are hyper gangsters while the more gentle rappers are damn near priests on the mic. As the veil of mystery and secrecy has all but dissolved between artist and consumer, it seems to me that the Rap Kayfabe machine has gone into overdrive. We create hashtags out of catchphrases, we walk around in our favorite wrestlers (there I go again) rappers merch, and throw up their gang signs in our pictures. To be clear there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a good time connecting with our favorite artist but we must always remember to take a step back and see it for what it truly is…..Music Entertainment.




The 18 For 2018: The Antcipated


2018 is looking like it’s shaping up to be another one for the record books. 2017 was an awesome year musically, but it felt like something was missing. I can’t fully place my finger on it but when compared to years like 2015 or 2012, there was a significant dip. 2018 to me feels like there will be much more of a balance and we’ll get stellar releases from Vets and Rookies alike…Below are 18 of the drops I’m looking forward to. Here’s to a most fire 2018!!!


1. Nipsey Hussle-Victory Lap


Finalllllly!…..Nipsey is dropping arguably his most anticipated album of his career. I say arguably because this is literally HIS FIRST ALBUM of his career. Although he has given us a slew of stellar mixtapes and projects…This looks like it will shape up to be a most fitting end to the marathon.


2. Lupe Fiasco- DROGAS Wave


2017’s Drogas Light  yielded mixed reviews from the supremely talented lyricist.  Admittedly he said that the release was purposefully “light” and that the follow up would be a lot more dense and would be what Lupe stalwarts have grown accustomed to. Either way you look at, I viewed Drogas Light as the warm-up and I’m expecting Drogas Wave to exceed expectations…Possible album of the year.


3.  Maxo Kream- Punken



If  I was Dr. Jeykll, Maxo Kream would without a doubt be Mr. Hyde. I have often referred to him as my Rap Doppelganger.  Since 2013’s QuiccStrikes I’ve been down with the Kream Klicc so to speak and each release has gotten better.  Expect this album to rattle trunks sooner than later.


4. Black Panther: The Album 


Marvel’s Black Panther has already been forecast as 2018’s First Blockbuster, making well over $100 Million dollars opening weekend. In Recent news, Kendrick Lamar and TDE have been pegged to curate/helm the soundtrack. Based on the sound of the first single “All The Stars” Black Panther will be a moment…An Epic Moment…I  Cannot Wait!





DJ Premier and Royce Da 5’9 are PRHYME. When their eponymous debut came out in 2014, It literally took the year by storm and it was highly ranked in many year end lists. Its been a long 4 years since then so hopefully we’ll get this project sooner than later.


6. Travis Scott-Astroworld



I am here for anything La Flame decides to give…Even the Huncho Jack offering with Quavo has grown on me. So with that being said…Astroworld is the place where The Birds in the trap sing McKnight.


7. Drake-TBD


On Drake’s Playlist “More Life” he said “he’d be back in 2018 to give us the summary”.  Welp, who knows how far into 2018 we will get until we get a proper Drake album…Here’s hoping he comes back with and drops a classic.


8.  Judas Priest- Firepower


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I must admit I cackled when I saw this purposed cover art for the the forthcoming Judas Priest album…It does give me that feel of 80’s hair metal and that’s something I’m definitely here for. Don’t be surprised if you see me around town in full air guitar mode. It’s bound to happen so you’ve been warned.


9. BrockHampton- Team Effort



After their breakout monster year, Hip-Hop’s first(?) boy band BrockHampton will drop their 4th album in a years time. Team Effort will look to further solidify the group as a true force in Music and satiate their ever growing rabid fan base.


10.  Jack White-Boarding House Reach

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Whew its been Four years since Jack White released Lazoretto…but I’m proud to say that the wait is now over. I’m honestly not sure what to expect from this upcoming album so that by itself has me intrigued.


11. Elzhi/Khrysis- Jericho Jackson

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2018 will also see the continuing trend of One MC/One Producer led projects. Khrysis who is fresh off his Grammy Nods for his work on Laila’s Wisdom will jump back behind the boards to give underrated wordsmith Elzhi some top notch beats to lace time and time again…Another early contender for Album of the Year.


12. Gucci Mane- Evil Genius


There is no slowing down for La Flare. Fresh off of a normal year which saw 3 releases, Gucci Mane has already announced another album for 2018. I know I’m speaking for myself but I really enjoyed El Gato and I would not mind getting another offering from Guwop without any features.


13.  Kid Cudi-TBD

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Hey!, Mr. Raaager, Mr.Rager
Tell me where you’re going, tell us where you’re headed”

The rumor mills are churning with speculation that Kid Cudi and Kanye West are working on a album together. I don’t know about you but an entire project with Cudder and Kanye is going to be a must listen whenever it drops.


14. Lil Wayne-Dedication 6: Reloaded


Dedication 6 showed flashes of the brilliance that still exist within Wayne and still gives me hope that his title of Greatest Rapper Alive remains. “Family Feud”  only further bolstered that notion for me and only brought up my anticipation factor to astronomical levels. If I get at least 10 “freestyles” like Family Feud, I’ll be more than comfortable saying Weezy is back.


15.  Cardi B-TBD


2017 brought Cardi B her first number one song in the country. That momentum should carry her into 2018 with her Debut album that will probably drop late in the first quarter. I’m excited hear the growth and the content to see if she will be a mainstay in the mainstream for years to come.


16.  Key!-777DS5Rrv6VMAAbkjI


Fatman is back with some new material on the horizon. 2017 saw the release of  Two-9’s album along with frequent collaborations with the A$AP affiliate “AWGE”. It’s great to see Key! get much deserved shine and as of yet, He has not dropped one bad song.


17.  A$AP Rocky-TBD



A$AP Rocky is primed and ready for another solo release.  Its been 3 years since his last solo outing and while it may be have been deemed too artistic for some. It was still lauded as a brilliant addition to his catalog. Look for something epic to drop soon.


18. Pusha T- King Push

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This is one of my main question marks for 2018. Along with Tha Carter V, King Push is the now long awaited 2nd LP from Pusha T. If this year comes and goes without this album dropping…I will officially cast it away to DetoxLand…Never to be spoke of again.


The Year In Nerd 2017: The Playlists


What would you do without your playlist? The literal soundtrack to your life, the drum pattern that mirrors your own heart beat, the sequential order in which you tell time, the energy you need that replaces caffeine or java or breakfast altogether. Oh wait….that’s just me, that’s how I go about my daily routine. I normally cant move from my seat unless my phone and heads phone are fully charged so I can go about my day without worry or care. I’m not sure what I would do without my playlists or music general, but whatever it is, i’m sure it would be boring.  Below are three links to playlists that I made for my listening pleasure as well as yours….CLICK AND ENJOY…Oh and Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you all that you want and need and so much more.



Apple Music:




RapNerd Leeb’s Honorable Mentions of 2017


2017 was quite the year musically I must say. So much so that I found this year to be extremely difficult when deciding which albums would make the final cut.  Was it the rust of me being on hiatus or was it the sheer volume of QUALITY material that dropped during the calendar year? Either way I know it was fun going through all of these albums. It literally took me about a month and a half to bring you all the final product that you are seeing now. Not to mention I’m also dropping a playlist on New Year’s Eve so be on the lookout for that…Okay now I’m starting to ramble….Here are the Honorable Mentions for 2017.(In no particular order).


1.  Gucci Mane- El Gato: The Human Glacier

2. Travis Scott and Quavo(Huncho Jack)- Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho

3. Scarface- Deeply Rooted: The Lost Files

4. BrockHampton-Saturation 1,2,3

5. Tyler The Creator-Flower Boy

6. Jeezy- Pressure

7. N.E.R.D.-No One Ever Really Dies

8. Tanya Morgan-YGWY$4 (You Get What You Pay 4)

9. Currensy & Lex Luger-The Motivational Speech

10.  Juicy J- Rubba Band Business

11. Big Sean and Metro Boomin-Double Or Nothing

12. Marqus Clae- P.T.S.D.

13. Jacin Trill-Happyland

14. CyHi The Prynce-No Dope On Sundays

15. Fabolous and Jadakiss- Friday on Elm Street

16. Nav & Metro Boomin-Perfect Timing

17.  Cam’Ron-The Progam

18. Yo Gotti- I Still Am

19.  OverDoz-2008

20. Meek Mill- Wins and Losses

21. Bjork-Utopia

22. Miguel- War and Leisure

23. Talib Kweli-Radio Silence

24. J.I.D.-The Never Story

25. Lil Uzi Vert- Luv Is Rage 2

RapNerd Leeb’s Top 25 of 2017



Welcome back to RapNerdLeeb.Com! I know its been a longggg time since we last spoke, but time had to be taken, things had to be done and frankly, I needed to reboot and replenish. Now that the hiatus is over I’m here to present to you all my list for the top 25 albums of  2017!  Read On and Enjoy!!!



25.  Two-9-FRVR

Release Date-February 9th, 2017


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Ceej and Jace(Retro Sushi) , Cartier Dave and Lightskin Mac11(FatkidsBrotha), Curtis Williams and Key! form the Atlanta-based collective known as Two-9. When they dropped their “B4 Frvr” mixtape back in 2015 I knew this crew was something special. A full two years later you could hear the growth from all the artist leading up to their debut album. Mike Will has a few gems on his roster and these are a few of them.


24.   Dave-Game Over

Release Date-November 3rd, 2017


Ever since Drake and A$AP Rocky crossed the pond to the UK, I started opening my ears to the music scene even more so than I already had before. I knew of Skepta and Stormzy but once I heard Dave and Drake on “Wanna Know” I knew this kid was special. This EP is brash, inventive and I look forward to hearing what more he has in store for 2018 and beyond.


23. Sean Price-Imperius Rex

Release Date- August 8th, 2017


“First things first Rest In Peace Sean Price…He’s nice.”  This album was a much more fitting tribute to one of the last Bar-barians to grace the mic. A low key sequel to “Monkey Barz” , Imperius showcased P’s at his most savage lyrically and reminded the rap world of a true fallen giant that will be missed until the end of time…Rest On P!!!


22. G Herbo- Humble Beast

Release Date- September 22nd


G-Herbo (fka Lil Herb) finally gave the streets what it has been asking for since at least 2012. One of Chicago’s youngest phenoms, Herbo raps with such presence and poise you would think that he was a grizzled veteran on his 12th project, but in actuality this is his debut album. A great introduction to the rap fans that may not have been aware of his talent.


21. Amir Obe-None Of The Clocks Work

Release Date- March 30th, 2017


The curious case of  Amir Obe. Ever since I heard “Detrooklyn” back in 2014, I’ve been waiting for his debut album. A few EPs and flirtations with OVO later, I’ve been met with yet another EP. It’s not a bad release by any means as it’s what I’ve come to expect from his sound, this material makes me long for a full length project that will make him accessible to the masses.


20.  Thundercat- Drunk

Release Date-February 24th, 2017

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If you were to go on an expedition through the deep recesses of my mind, this would undoubtedly be the album that the tour guide would plug into the aux cord. This is such a fun album from top to bottom. Jazz fusion never sounded so good. Do yourself a favor and really sit down with this record. Do whatever you do to get you in that mood and just press play…Thank Me Later, You Are Very Welcome.


19. GoldLink- At What Cost 

Release Date-March 24th, 2017


On the way back from my mind to the safety of your home, this debut album from GoldLink would be that soundtrack. a very ambitious project that combined different sounds and provided a very palatable canvas for your ears and mind. Dope project from One of the DMV’s brightest stars.


18. Karriem Riggins- Headnod Suite

Release Date-February 24th, 2017


How many superlatives can I lay down on this gem of a project in a short amount of time? I’m not sure but i’ll tell you this, if you enjoy instrumental albums, look no further. Coming from the man who literally put the finishing touches on the J Dilla classic  “The Shining”, I knew I was in a for something special. I affectionately called this album “More Donuts” and “Still Shining”. It is a such a worthy successor to the legacy of James Yancey and all that he has given us. You would be hard pressed to find a better instrumental album to drop within the last 10 years.


17. 2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music 

Release Date- June 16th, 2017


This is without a doubt 2 Chainz’ best album to date. He has truly hit his stride musically  and I am absolutely looking forward to hearing where he takes his content as a elder statesman in the trap….I’ll be there for it 100%.


16.  Willow Smith- The 1st.

Release Date-October 31st, 2017


The GROWTH of this young woman is astounding. Listening to her craft this album in all its organic rawness was a very pleasurable if not damn near spiritual experience. There was something highly ethereal about this project. I absolutely love the direction in which she is taking her music. There is something truly grounding about this future person and it made this listen that much more enjoyable.


15. Drake-More Life

Release Date- March 18th. 2017


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Drake’s “follow-up” to his mixed reviewed but commercially successful “Views” put him on the precipice of over saturation and thereby diluting his brand. So what does he do? puts together a compilation/mixtape/playlist/album featuring many of his world music peers and collaborators. I wont lie, I like this project more than Views and wish he would have released this instead of Views, but that’s just me being selfish.


14.  Logic- Everybody

Release Date- May 5th ,2017


Logic has finally found his voice….that was always my biggest criticism of him but on his third album, he seems to have found his stride and plucked all of the highlights from his previous efforts and what we have here is his best project to date. Here’s hoping he stays on this trajectory and doesn’t fall back into emulating his contemporaries and continues to make music that is unique to him.


13. Princess Nokia- 1992 Deluxe

Release Date-September 6th, 2017


This album is as unapologetic as it comes, a supremely solid effort from One of the New York’s underground rising stars. Each song paints a vivid picture of  her imagination and stark realities of her upbringing. Albeit disguised as trap bangers, once you bust down her lines, you’ll see she is a true force and will change the world.


12. Sampha-Process

Release Date-February 3rd, 2017

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I’m going to say this one time and one time only, Sampha’s “Process” is his introduction to the world. Sure you made have heard his collaborating with various artists, but it’s an entirely different animal when you get a full length project from an artist whose voice and tone are unmistakable when you hear it. If this album didn’t wake up the rest of the music world then I don’t know what else to tell you all.


11. Rick Ross- Rather You Than Me

Release Date-March 17th, 2017

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On Rozay’s 9th offering , we find William Roberts at his most expressive and most honest I think we’ve ever heard him. It was a great departure from the normal braggadocio that he displayed on past efforts. This album was truly deeper than rap and is a welcome addition to his already solid discography.


10. Big Boi-Boomiverse  

Release Date- June 16th, 2017


Big Boi is one of the greatest to ever do it, Solo or Duo period. As one half of the almighty Outkast, there seemed to be a growing consensus that Andre 3000 was the better MC of the group. As a youngster I too considered Big Boi to be the lesser of the two, but boy was I sorely mistaken. While I continued to study rhyme patterns, flows and cadences, I began to realize that Big Boi is truly in a class by himself and I don’t know or understand how we as a hip-hop community ever allowed that narrative to begin with.


9.  Lupe Fiasco-DROGAS Light

Release Date-February 10th, 2017

downloadThe title of the album if pretty straight forward. This project whilst it is an album and should be treated as such, it merely serves as a precusor to whats to come. Drogas: Waves and Drogas: Skulls. This album is best described as pizza, even when pizza is bad , it’s still good. Now while this album no where near bad, its still good when compared to the crop of  bland mainstreams that came out this year.


8. Oddisee-The Iceberg

Release Date-February 24th, 2017


The tip of an iceberg is only a small, often unrepresentative portion of something much larger or more complex that cannot yet be seen or understood. That idiom perfectly describes the jewels that are hidden just beneath the surface of this album. Please do yourself favor and press play and get some of this game for free 99.


7.Jaden Smith-SYRE

Release Date-November 17th


To sit and watch both Jaden and Willow grow into the future people that you may or may not have heard me speak about has been an joy and pleasure. To listen to them conceptualize their ideas and share them with the world is a true gift. We truly do not deserve Jaden and Willow Smith.


6. Gucci Mane-DroptopWop

Release Date-May 26th, 2017


Wizopppp….Has not looked back since “Everybody Looking” and has continued his prolific output, with each release becoming more concerted, its clear to see that Gucci Mane La Flare has no plans on slowing down anytime soon.


5.  Smino- BlkSwn

Release Date- March 14th, 2017



I found this album by accident, I was looking for music by Via Rosa and saw she was featured on one of his songs (Long Run) from his full length debut project “BlkSwn”. This album is too good…TOO GOOD! Every song is like listening to maple syrup on lush production throughout the entirety of the project. What I initially perceived as a accident turned out to be stroke of good luck.


4.  Big K.R.I.T.- 4 Eva Is A Mighty Long Time

Release Date-October 27th, 2017


The third time is indeed the charm for Big Krit. Due to label frustrations, his first two studio albums were met with lukewarm responses while his mixtapes were critically acclaimed gems. Since his release from Def Jam and fully embracing his independence, KRIT unleashed this double album that brought the fire of his mixtapes with the sequencing of his studio albums and it made this his most cohesive and awesome sounding project of his career.


3. Jay-Z 4:44

Release Date-June 30th


Sean Carter metaphorically killed Jay-Z on what would be considered by many to be his most important album of his career. The album finds Jay at his most honest, his most vulnerable, his most accountable. It was a mature album for the mature rap fan that had the ability to appeal to the younger generation without coming off as preachy or pretentious. Admittedly I am not a Jay Stan, but when its all said and done Jay-Z is one of our culture’s GOATS and this album further solidified that fact.


2. Rapsody- Laila’s Wisdom

Release Date-September 22nd 2017


Ms. Marianna Evans is bar none one of the best MC’s currently in game. No she isn’t just nice for woman rapper, she is nice Period. Her couplets, flows, cadences, breath control, are unmatched. She woke the world up when she made Kendrick get in his K.Dot bag and really try to out rap her on “Power”. If that isn’t a testament to her lyrical prowess, I’m not sure what more I can tell you. Laila’s Wisdom is a modern day classic.




1.Kendrick Lamar-DAMN

Release Date-April 14th,  2017


Kendrick Lamar Duckworth has officially completed the Rap Trifecta. Three straight classic studio albums in a 5 year span. DAMN took the awesomeness of Good Kid, Maad City, mixed it with the angst and urgency of  To Pimp a Butterfly and you have a clear cut ALBUM…a time capsule if you will. We as a community are witnessing one of the last Rap Superstars of the modern era. When it’s all said and done Kendrick Lamar will ascend to the God Tier of Hip-Hop.

RapNerdLeeb’s-Top 25 of 2016

The Year 2016 was a year that will undoubtedly go down as one of the most trying times in recent human history. Social unrest and complete upheaval were the norm for the past 365 and a unusually high number of celebrity deaths accented a year that was full of personal lows for many people, myself included. The  music that came out in 2016 offered a mixed range of emotions. While some gave off jubilant vibes, others took on a more somber, darker tone and it created a unique listening experience. Without further delay, here are the Top 25 Albums of 2016.


25.   Anonymuz- Vice City

This project was the first time I had ever heard of Anonymuz but I was pleasantly surprised. His unrelenting flow and lyrical ability coupled with superb production made this a very enjoyable listen and I implore you all to give “Vice City” a spin.

24.  Drake-Views

2016 saw Drake catapult into the “Hip-Pop” stratosphere  with is most commercially successful album to date. I do find it a bit ironic that this has to be my least favorite of his projects, but hey 4 million+ love this album so what do I really know right?

23.  Gucci Mane- The Return of the East Atlanta Santa

2016 also saw the return of Radric Davis otherwise known as Gucci Mane or The East Atlanta Santa. When he was released from prison he hit the ground running and dropped three separate albums with this being my favorite of the three…Here’s hoping that Guwop stays with this trend of improving with the music so we can get the ultimate Gucci album that we’ve all been waiting for.

22. Kanye West- The Life of Pablo

Kanye is a genius for better or worse. He’s also one of the most polarizing figures in the culture. Although this album was an improvement over “Yeezus” ,it’s still hit or miss with a lot of people…I for one will continue to support and I hope he’ll find his way back to the music soon.

21.  The Lox- Filthy America….It’s Beautiful

After years of waiting, Hip-Hop heads were finally treated to a proper Lox album. To say it was worth the wait might be a bit of an overstatement as many expectations were not met. But the album served its purpose as it held down long time fans of the group and introduced younger fans to a trio that stood the test of time.

21. Bj the Chicago Kid- In My Mind

Bj is a very talented singer and songwriter. I was more than pleased listening to this album as he displayed all of his talents and brought them to the forefront.  This project is a slow burn but will age very well if you give it a chance.

20. Rapsody- CROWN

Rapsody took absolutely no prisoners on this EP. Every song was lyrical and thought-provoking. To me this was a declarative statement that if ANY rapper, man or woman wants the proverbial “crown” they are going to have to run it by her first.

19.  James Blake- The Colour In Anything

Every one that I ran this album by..left me scratching their heads…I know it’s not for everybody but this is poetry. The melodies, the lyrics, the vocal inflections, all make for a very enjoyable listen if you’re into the more nuanced side of R&B .

18.  De La Soul- and the Anonymous Nobody

De La Soul are underground heroes…I say that because they have consistently dropped stellar material for years and have managed to remain relevant organically…and this album is a testament to their endurance.

17. Elzhi- Lead Poison

Elzhi has to be one of the most underrated  lyricist in Hip-Hop today. The way he crafts his bars and uses them to create sonic masterpieces is truly remarkable..And I haven’t heard it done quite like him. Go listen to this album NOW!

16. Common Black America Again

Black America Again saw a return to form for the “Conscious MC” known as Common. I personally favored “Nobody’s Smiling” and its grim/bleak tone but this album felt like the rainbow after the storm. And that is where it’s brilliance lies.

15. Beyonce- LEMONADE

Truth be told, Lemonade made me a Beyonce fan. This project could have been easily a series of Top 40 anthems and no one would have been mad because she is a brilliant entertainer. I feel that she made a conscious effort to go against the grain and make music that resonated with all women of color.

14.  Kid Cudi- Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin’

Kid Cudi was at a crossroads in his career. With the less than favorable reviews of his previous effort “Speeding Bullet to Heaven”, Cudi realized that his core was alienated and he had to return to a sound and feeling that was more familiar. He achieved that with this record, a sound scape that can only be described as a kaleidoscope of emotions. I love it.

13.  Isaiah Rashad-The Sun’s Tirade

Isaiah Rashad continued the trend of stellar releases under the T.D.E. umbrella with The Sun’s Tirade. Not relying on the star power of the label’s “stars” Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q, Rashad was able to carve out his individual sound and simultaneously gained traction among the Top Dawg faithful that were solely fans of the other artists on the roster.

12.  Pete Rock & Smoke Dza-Don’t Smoke Rock

Pete Rock is without question on the short list for greatest producers of all time. Once he decided to team up with underground stalwart Smoke Dza, the response was universally positive. The pairing is surprisingly organic and it gave me some of Smoke Dza’s strongest lyrical performances to date.

11.  J Dilla- The Diary

Everyone that knows me knows J Dilla is the G.O.A.T. The steady output of posthumous releases in the 10+ years since his death only solidifies his status as the greatest producer to ever live.

10. Chance The Rapper- Coloring Book

If 2013’s “Acid Rap” was a benchmark for the new generation, then 2016’s “Coloring Book” was the preface of whats to come in the future. Although there  was a slight departure in actual “raps” he more than made up for it with songs that resonated deeply within the culture.

9. Travis Scott- Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight

Travis Scott was quoted as saying “I wanted to get straight to the point with this album”. Did he ever…Every track blended together seamlessly  and this ended up being his most complete project thus far.


8.  Ab-Soul- Do What Thou Wilt

Soul Brother No. 2 returned to the fray with a bold statement to make. That he is a lyrical tyrant that’s not to be messed with. As a wordsmith he’s easily top 10 in the game period. You can tell he actually listened to his fans  and gave them what they wanted, which was supreme lyricism.

7. Maxo Kream- The Persona Tape

Maxo Kream is a talented MC. Even with his content being less than desirable to the purist out there,  they would be hard pressed to say that he is not a force to be reckoned with. His rapid fire flow and the unrepentant lyrics heard on this album prove that there is such a thing as lyrical “Trap Music” and he’s probably best out at the current moment.

6.  Anderson .Paak- Malibu

I’ll admit I was late to the Anderson .Paak train as I only just started hearing him on Dr. Dre and Game’s previous projects. Once I got hip and delved into his solo work, what I discovered was a talent that is so raw but yet so progressive that it would be hard to not feel his music on a subconscious level..This album is THAT good.

5. Solange- A Seat at the Table


Every Solange project has been something special. The perfect blend of love, power, grace, and just all around magic. So it serves as no surprise that ” A Seat at the Table” would be a culmination of all her trials and triumphs. This is literally  2016’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and the world is better for it.

4. Childish Gambino- Awaken My Love!

Childish Gambino came from left field with this album, but I mean that in the  best way possible. I totally wasn’t expecting this record to be pure funk and soul influenced. Every track oozed with so much saccharin nastiness that you might get an ear infection if you’re not careful. Gambino made George Clinton proud.

3. Game-1992

I’ve been a long time Game fan so I always knew that at his most focused, Game is Top 5 in the current era of Hip-Hop. People spent a lot of time  lamenting over his constant Name-dropping and his chameleon like abilities to rap like whoever was featured on his records. Game put an end to the nonsense and gave his fans and detractors 12 tracks of pure lyrical mayhem with NO features..1992 is hands down my favorite Game album in his entire catalog.

2.  ScHoolboy Q- Blank Face LP


1. A Tribe Called Quest- We Got From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service

A Tribe Called Quest has a very special place in my heart. Growing up listening to the entire Native Tongue collective taught me individuality. Walking around my house with my hand over my eye mimicking Dave from De La Soul on the “Award Tour” song. Telling my  mom I wanted to be a “Dungeon Dragon”  for Halloween. Getting into trouble playing on the roof wearing a Seton Hall Jersey. Being so hype to watch The Wayan’s Bros. opening sequence in the later seasons just to hear the chords of “Electric Relaxation”.  Losing Phife Dawg this year definitely hurt because for me, Tribe music was the soundtrack of my formative years. Even in early adulthood, hearing the music they created with J Dilla was something that I will cherish forever. This current album was a fitting tribute to brotherhood and overall harmony. It’s bittersweet because in the end, Phife passed on giving us his heart and soul and leaving it all in the booth. Phife…you’re a legend, I want to thank you, Q-tip, Ali Shaheed, Jairobi and everyone who contributed to the sound and shaped my childhood and the childhood of millions of others the world over…..Album Of The Year.

RapNerd Leeb 2016-The Playlist

Welcome to RapNerdLeeb.Com!  To all the new followers thank you for your time and willingness to explore my perspective and to ALL my folks that have been rocking with me since Day One…Thank You for your unwavering support on this arduous journey…This is the end of the beginning…….

Without Further Ado…I bring to you My personal playlist of 2016…these are the songs that kept me going for the past 365 and I’m sure I’ll carry them into 2017…Get prepared to press play!.

1.  Common-Pyramids 

With Common dropping his much anticipated follow-up to  2014’s  “Nobody’s Smiling”, 2016’s “Black America Again”  was a welcomed return to form for the Chicago MC…This track showcases Common at his lyrical apex and proves that he’s as cold as ever.

2.   6lack-Rules 

Now I’ll be the first to admit I was put on to his man’s music earlier in the year with his single “PRBLMS”. I found that single to be catchy and moody and I eagerly anticipated the release of a full length project. Once “Free 6lack” was released in November… I was able to stumble upon this gem of  a song. Don’t sleep ya’ll this is this years Bryson Tiller.

3.  ScHoolboy Q-Tookie Knows II

Now what would my playlist be without some T x D x E Representation!?  2016 saw the return of ScHoolboy Q. Every single and subsequent visual to this masterpiece of an album was truly a work of art. I don’t want to flood the playlist with all his music so just take this entry on my list as a sample size of what his album had to offer.

4. Anderson .Paak- The Season/Carry Me/ The Waters

Bruhhhhh….I don’t have enough superlatives to describe how great “Malibu” is. For lack of better terms I’ll just say that this album pure fire! If you haven’t heard it yet…PLEASE do yourself a favor and go handle that…Thank Me Later.

5.  Pusha T Ft. JAY Z- Drugs Dealers’s Anonymous

Even though Push did the pump fake with his is anticipated “King Push” LP he still managed to bless us with a summer time BANGER…ANDDD he even enlisted the help of The God MC H-O-V….Who arguably dropped the best verse of the year. This song is ridiculous.

6. Drake- Child’s Play

“Views” is Drake most commercially successfu albuml of his career and for good reason…His formula and his ability to craft songs that cater to every genre with ease. Although Views is not my personal favorite when it comes to Drake albums, I have to give credit where its due. Here’s hoping his next album he’ll get back to bars or somewhat close to them.

7.  Meek Mill-Pray  For Em

In the year following one of 2015’s most epic  “beefs”  Many of the Meek Mill faithful wondered would he be able to recover  from the  “World’s Tour, Girl’s Tour” fiasco…Short answer…He did…Not as hard as I would have liked him to..But his lane is solidified after being battled tested.

8.  Bj The Chicago Kid- Love Inside

Bj is one of my personal favorites. His music resonates with me deeply and above that…its just damn good…Another slow groove banger for you to get right with your significant other. Trust Me.

9. French Montana  ft. Kodak Black- Lockjaw

Man I really wish French was able to have proper roll out for MC4…his singles for the project are monstrous and definitely would have had a successful run on the charts. This single is proof of that. Even the casual hip-hop listeners enjoy this song…. And Even with such a polarizing young rapper Kodak Black having such a prominent feature.

10. Beyonce-Sorry

ALL.HAIL.QUEEN.BEY!  “Lemonade” is arguably Album of the year and for very good reason…this album is amazing..Track for track  pure awesomeness..I even tolerated the country song…AND I HATEEE COUNTRY with a passion. But if anyone could make me listen and appreciate that genre, it would be Beyonce.

11. Childish Gambino- Me and Your Mama

Donald Glover you are indeed a wizard sir. This song much like the album is Pure..Unadulterated..Cosmic Funk! My goodness this will be in heavy rotation for much of my 2017 and I’m sure for years to come.

12.  Drama Duo Ft. Via Rosa-Hopes Up

If this song doesn’t get you moving and shaking, snapping and trapping, spitting  and skitting in your cubicle or while you’re commuting to and from work..Frankly you have no soul and I do not wish to ever come in contact with you a day in my life. Period

13.   Isaiah Rashad-Park

Another TDE entry on my playlist is Isaiah Rashad..and underrated and often-times slept on MC in the camp..He delivered a well-crafted, well executed follow-up to his criminally slept on “Cilvia Demo Ep”…You guys have no more excuses..his music is legit, consider yourself formally reintroduced…

14. Gucci Mane-First Day Out The Feds

G-U-C-C-I  M-A-N-E ..Guwop, The East Atlanta Santa, The OddFather, The BurrPrint, Mr. Zone 6…Hit the ground running since being released from prison and hasn’t looked back since. Now he has much better songs than this but considering this is the first song  he dropped since coming home, this was a great launching pad.

15. Nipsey Hussle-Stressed Out

Even though Im STILL waiting for the Victory Lap to drop…I used Nipsey’s “Slauson Boy” Mixtape to tide me over until that day happens. This song was one of my standout tracks on the tape and it rides to this day.

16. Kid Cudi-Surfin

After the year that was 2016…Probably the most challenging of  my adult life thus far, This song served as my personal anthem and as a beacon of hope and I’m sure it did the same for millions of listeners throughout the world..The positive vibes that flow from this record are undeniable and serve as a testament to true creative power.

17.  Solange- Cranes In The Sky

A Seat at the Table is an important album. Critical and commercial acclaim aside, this album is beaming with songs of reality and and triumph. Everything about it is stellar. The clean, melodic grooves and the overall flow of the record make for a groundbreaking listen and deserves to be mentioned alongside albums like “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and “Acoustic Soul” by India Arie…This album is true artistry.

18. The Game-What Your Life Like

I’m not ashamed to say that I am a Game fan. Dude is arguably one the best lyricist on the west coast and probraly in the entire rap game..when hes not drowning his albums with features and just going for dolo with the bars and rapping like himself…He’s in the top 10 of current MCs…Easily

19. Travis Scott ft. Young Thug- Yeah Yeah

If I was counting unfinished songs as real complete ideas…then this would more than likely  be a top 5 song of the year…But I AM counting unfinished songs so therefore..This track rides without a doubt.

20. Kendrick Lamar-Untitled 07 (Levitate)

I’m not sure where this would have fit on To Pimp A Butterfly but since it was included on “Untitled.Unmastered” it was an absolute standout track with tons of replay value..I love this song.

…..And  there you have it good folks of the internet, RapNerd Leeb’s Playlist of 2016! Hope you all enjoyed reading and possibly heard some gems that resonate with you.. Peace til next time…….