Best Rap Albums of 2023…So Far | Top Rap Albums of the Year
2023 has started with a bang. We’ve already had great releases from 03 Greedo, Skyzoo, Boldy James and more. And the year has been continuing to rev up with choice projects from Talib Kweli and Madlib and Logic. HipHopDX will continue narrowing down the endless amount of music released during the course of this year to the essentials, providing readers with a list of the must-listen projects.
Struggling to find a list of the Hip Hop Albums that have been shifting the culture? Take a look at our lists for Rap and R&B to get a complete survey of the projects that are dictating the conversation around Hip Hop culture.
- The Best Rap Albums of 2023 …(so far)
- The Best R&B Albums of 2023 …(so far)
Need some new songs to throw in the rotation but Spotify and user-created playlists are way too long? We kept it simple and added only the best of the best songs from each month to make sure you get the songs you need without a hassle. Peep the lists below.
- The Best Rap Songs of 2023 …(so far)
- The Best R&B Songs of 2023 …(so far)
Looking for some up-and-coming rappers and underground gems? We’ve done the work for you and highlighted the short EPs, mixtapes and projects to check out if you’re tired of the mainstream album cycle.
- The Best Mixtapes & EPs of 2023 …(so far)
Editor’s note: Albums from this list were released between May 2, 2021 – April 30, 2023.
MAPS – billy woods & Kenny Segal
billy woods describes Maps, his exceptional new album and second collaboration with producer Kenny Segal, as a “post-pandemic” record, an interesting shift from the quarantine-album narrative that dominated the past couple of years. And Maps is exactly that, chronicling woods’ return to touring as the general population hesitantly removed their masks and walked back inside. He wrote a lot of the record on the road, documenting the mundanities and curiosities of life as a touring artist, especially one with a larger, more international audience than before. “Soundcheck” describes his need to escape the tedium of its titular activity, opting instead to find the nearest Szechuan restaurant. He fights jet lag on “Bad Dreams Are Only Dreams” and smokes weed in a hotel room during “Facetime,” listening to festival goers chase oblivion after a Playboi Carti set.
THE COURSE OF THE INEVITABLE 3 – Lloyd Banks
Since 2021, The Course of the Inevitable series has been a shining example of Lloyd Banks’ continued relevance. His longevity in Hip Hop is credited to the different variations of Banks that have bubbled over 20-plus years; starting with mixtapes and albums with G-Unit, peaking in the mainstream with his platinum-selling debut Hunger for More, and becoming a go-to download on Datpiff and LiveMixtapes as a solo artist with frequent mixtape releases. Now entering his 40s, Banks still holds the crown as the punchline king and metaphor messiah, earning respect from the New York OGs and the new generation who are inspired by the Rotten Apple era. It allows Banks to share his lane with COTI collaborators Freddie Gibbs, Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, Roc Marciano, Dave East, and The Lox members, who all match his wits, delivering street knowledge while keeping the style fresh.
FROM WHENCE IT CAME – Yungmorpheus
On From Whence It Came, YUNG contrasts humble beginnings with the success he now finds in doing him: “Y’all can be chameleons, call me mister Himself” (“Hold Tighter // Don’t Mention It”). He does this over an array of sounds from low-rider tunes to drum and bass. “For The Evening,” an infectious track that meets the criteria for an easy-going West-Coast hit, despite coming from a floridian. Even his friends laugh in disbelief on the outro. “For The Evening” and “Top Dog // Under Dog” showcases YUNG’s influences living in L.A. thanks to Al Dali and Fitz Ambro$e’s choice of thumping 808s, synths and the rejuvenation of A & B-side tracks. Outlier “Heavy Bags,” a subtle jungle anthem speckled with eerie pianos will keep crowds bubbling with energy. It’s a grounding refresher from other tracks like the musing “So It Goes” and his self-produced dreamscape “Creme Brûlée” that sound like floating in the clouds.
WON’T HE DO IT – Conway The Machine
While the metrics for what constitutes a great MC may not be as universal as they once were — as seen from the endless debates and comparisons on Hip Hop Twitter — it’s difficult not to consider Conway The Machine as one of the better lyricists of the day. Rightfully, that has been a bottom-line takeaway for everything he’s dropped since his 2020 debut studio album, From King To A GOD. Though his penchant for darker vibes may have once led some listeners and critics to attempt to confine and categorize his style, Won’t He Do It is his best example yet of why that’s impossible.
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: THE ESTATE SALE – Tyler, The Creator
Since Tyler, The Creator’s commitment to artistry prevents him from throwing out an unassociated deluxe version to one of his most beloved albums, he took nearly two years to add these eight tracks, which only provide extra ammo to the original release. Ignoring the trend in Hip Hop of releasing a deluxe that’s essentially an entirely different project of its own in the confines of the streaming era, Tyler plays and raps to his own drum, tearing down norms and his own self-inflicted pressure to prove himself as an elite rapper in the process.
MY VISION – Luh Tyler
An immersive, often serene debut project, My Vision asserts Luh Tyler’s status as an outlier in rap’s current landscape. His music’s too downtempo to fall in with the post-Detroit crowd, even when he hops on beats with vaguely Midwestern drum patterns, but it’s not experimental enough to lump in with the new wave of underground artists pushing plugg into alien territory. It’s more like comfort food for those who pine for a time when Kodak Black, Rich the Kid and Wiz Khalifa could hop on any beat—easy listening with 808s. Luh Tyler doesn’t push himself or his influences hard enough to transcend these comparisons, but in 2023, you’d be hard pressed to find a better mixtape to unwind to.
GLORIOUS GAME – Black Thought & El Michels Affair
Coming off the critically acclaimed Cheat Codes — a runner-up for the DX Best Hip Hop Album Of 2022 award — Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, once again asserts his Zeus-level pen with Glorious Game, a collaborative LP with El Michels Affair (headed by one of his fave producers, Leon Michels). Playing out as a stage-worthy one-person show, Thought remains endearingly personal throughout the tightly curated 31-minute project, walking us through the sights, sounds, smells and sensibilities instilled coming up in the Point Breeze neighborhood of South Philadelphia.
GENERATIONAL CURSE – ICECOLDBISHOP
GENERATIONAL CURSE is a unique project from performance to production, especially regarding debuts in 2023. The music sounds fresh; it’s layered and anchored by its willingness to be heard. While Icecoldbishop adds plenty of social commentary throughout the songs, it never feels corny or shoved down your throat. Bishop’s storytelling is exceptional, learning from generations of west coast emcees who created the blueprint. GENERATIONAL CURSE excites the future, and for Bishop, the future couldn’t be brighter.
College Park – Logic
Logic isn’t nearly as bad as people say. Social media clowns him for his rapping skill, copying flows, possessing a catalog with way more hits than misses and only rapping about being bi-racial. Let the internet tell the tale and Logic has never been good. Obviously, this argument can be put to rest within two minutes of listening to any of his seven major label projects or countless mixtapes. Though his credibility and durability as a rapper is true in the streets, Twitter believes Logic hasn’t been able to shake this try-hard, culture vulture persona for much of his career. So how does a recently record label-free Bobby Tarantino deal with the years of Internet slander? By going back to his Maryland roots and releasing one of his best projects in years, College Park. It’s the the most free, fun and formidable Logic has sounded in years. It would be safe to assume the Internet has already made up its mind on the album and unfortunately Logic’s perceived corniness can’t be shaken with one solid outing. But with bars, beats and a positive belief system as strong as Logic’s its hard to deny the joy ride.
Gumbo – Young Nudy
Young Nudy operates in the realm of neon distortion. Since 2016, the 30-year-old stylist has blended his sticky rasp and macabre gunplay with beats that could soundtrack Zelda, creating songs that are jarring and immersive. With its vibrantly sinister sounds, pristine sequencing and spurts of Nudy’s underrated humor and flow versatility, Gumbo is just more evidence of his status as one of Atlanta’s most unique artists. Maintaining its cohesion while avoiding monotony, Nudy’s latest is at once chill and animated — an extravagant adventure that’s as controlled as it is fun. Released seven months after last year’s excellent EA Monster, the effort continues Nudy’s stream of strong projects. The LP plays out the way its title suggests. Murderous quips, onomatopoeias and agile flows get steeped deep into eclectic beats. The varied sounds begin to blend with the flavors next to it, and like the best Nudy projects, Gumbo highlights the contrasting ingredients while creating a flavor all its own.
Liberation 2 – Talib Kweli & Madlib
Seventeen years removed from their first collaborative effort, the elusive crate-digging Zeus Madlib and Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli–the Libs–return with Liberation 2, a Luminary-only album a decade in the making. It’s easy to imagine why the album took so long; they have been swamped since their first Liberation project. Talib (among other things) dropped a cumulative 12 projects in that time span–Madlib had closer to 20, including respective AOTY contenders Piñata and Bandana with Freddie Gibbs. But, as Kweli himself notes in the project’s press release, “Never has there been a better time for such honest, message-driven music that pays tribute to the sounds that came before us. ” Appropriately timed to Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary, the album is not only a cry for unity–something that won’t surprise Kweli fans at all–but also a great reminder of what a well-thought-out, unrushed creative process can produce. Devoid of toxicity and rap-isms, this is an album built to age; in a landscape that thrives off of microwave LPs and feverish release cycles, that’s a particularly alluring approach.
Glockoma 2 – Key Glock
The first Glockoma was one of the best mixtapes of 2018 alongside Future’s Beast Mode 2 and Lil Baby and Gunna’s Drip Harder. Five years later, Glockoma 2 arrives when Key Glock is an established Memphis trap specialist, continuing to show promise with elevated slick talk and better punchlines. If you haven’t listened to a Key Glock album yet, it’s like riding down Elvis Presley Blvd in a foreign dripped in designer. Each song represents strolling down the street with a pimp coat and cane energy. Beat-wise, some of the same producers from Glockoma return such as Tay Keith, King Ceeo, and BandPlay to create a Memphis trap that’s minimalist, rattling with bass hits and hi-hat ticks. Packed with flex raps, pimp energy and Memphis rap signatures, there’s plenty of energy to get Huey’s and Gus’s jumping.
Even God Has A Sense Of Humor – Maxo
The California-based Maxo raps to tell deeply personal stories – not to flex flashy rhymes. Over atmospheric droning or dreamy jazz-fueled production, the 28-year-old grapples with the painful parts of human existence: depression, self-doubt, shaken faith. Maxo is in a more positive headspace these days, but debut LP Even God Has a Sense of Humor is billed as a tribute to and a final rehash of the troubled days leading up to his present at the precipice of mainstream success. Socially conscious and artistically daring, Maxo creates some magical moments on Even God Has a Sense of Humor.
Free 03 – 03 Greedo
From the GTL line, 03, formerly known as 03 Greedo, stated that when he gets out of prison he would “speak on the pain.” His new project, Free 03, doubles down on that promise, thumbing through his rolodex of styles to remind us all what he’s capable of, and how he’s the true pioneer of the melodic rap dominating the sound today. Considering he reportedly recorded around 3,000 songs before starting his sentence, Free 03’s grab bag mentality makes sense. The three new songs (“Today,” “Hype,” “If I Die”), all of which 03 recorded while behind bars, make the case that his technical proficiency and preternatural songwriting chops remain intact, if not sharper than ever. The tracks recorded prior to his bid move effortlessly from syncopated Southern California slink to manic Atlanta-inspired trap to silken sex jams. But no matter the subject, it always feels as though Greedy’s shoulders are up by his ears, eyes darting to keep every exit in sight.
I Rest My Case – NBA YoungBoy
The key to YoungBoy’s workaholic overload is consistency — he’s developed a dependable sound, not quite country rap, but aching with a bluesy soulfulness and frequently accompanied by classical guitar. It’s a style he does well, but his voice encompasses a wider spectrum of timbres and emotions. When YoungBoy veers from the formula in favor of something more unpredictable — like the old school Southern sound he channeled on last year’s 3800 Degrees — he’s easily one of the most exciting rappers out. I Rest My Case splits the difference between these two tendencies: about half the songs are YoungBoy as usual, while the rest go in over futuristic rage beats.
Mind Of A Saint – Skyzoo
Fully thematic albums can be a mixed bag. If an artist’s concept is too complicated or obscure, listeners will lose interest. Conversely, if it’s too loose, artists open themselves up to criticism for poor execution. Brooklyn MC and ATL restaurant owner Skyzoo’s latest release, The Mind Of A Saint: A Soliloquy by Skyzoo, is a master class in pulling off a conceptual album without breaking character or losing steam (no easy feat). The album is told from the point of view of drug kingpin Franklin Saint, a character in Snowfall, a drama co-created by the late John Singleton, set in 1980s Los Angeles at the start of the crack cocaine epidemic. Throughout the 10-song affair, Skyzoo’s penchant for crafting lyrically rich, rewind-worthy Hip Hop loaded with easter eggs shines as brightly as ever, with an almost mind-boggling level of attention to detail. Whether it’s telling the engineer that he’s not used to the studio as he’s from a “different life” on the song “100 to One” or describing Franklin telling his friend Leon about working on an album on the intro to “Brick by Brick” (“Yo Saint, I know you’re going to get all poetic”), he fully commits to his character.
Indiana Jones – Boldy James & RichGains
Just a few weeks after it was reported that rapper Boldy James had been in a car accident in the Detroit area that left him with broken vertebrae in his neck and other injuries, the MC (who has since moved to a rehab center) released a sobering collaborative project with Rich Gains, Indiana Jones. Boldy’s non-assuming delivery and melancholy aura seem almost elastic when applied to the sonic signatures of different producers—which makes, for example, his Nicholas Craven-helmed Fair Exchange No Robbery sound so different from his work with Futurewave (Mr. Ten08), Alchemist or Real Bad Man. In this case, Rich Gains, half of the production duo Blended Babies (with partner JP), has given the Detroit MC an eclectic vibe that pushes him in ambitious new directions. As a result, Boldy delivers incredibly intriguing tracks balanced against some of his bleakest bars in recent memory.
Ab-Soul – Herbert
It’s been six years since Ab-Soul’s last project, Do What Thou Wilt. A lot can change for man in that time, but at times, with change comes struggle. Herbert is the result of an individual looking to find inner peace, escaping the desire to give in to suicidal thoughts, and emerge reformed, ready for the next chapter. For his fans, it’s a bittersweet yet satisfying return for one of TDE’s greatest acts.
Heroes & Villians – Metro Boomin
Metro Boomin has assembled The Avengers of the Hip Hop universe to help him save the rap world as we know it with his triumphant Heroes & Villians album. Complete with a Marvel and DC Comics-rivaling rollout featuring theatrical video trailers and mock comic book covers that double as guest feature announcements, Metro Boomin has pulled out all of the stops for his first full-length solo release since 2018’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Seemingly building on the courageous efforts he and 21 Savage brought forth on their 2020 Savage Mode II collaborative project, Metro Boomin has recruited Young Thug, Gunna, Travis Scott, The Weeknd, Future, A$AP Rocky, Don Toliver, Young Nudy, John Legend and more for assistance on Heroes & Villians.
This Is What I Meant – Stormzy
The title of Stormzy’s latest project is fitting because the UK chart-topper says a lot on the 12-song album. Stormzy’s personal life is inherently tied into the storyline of the album and with minimalist production, his heartfelt lyrical poetry is able to shine through. Songs like “Fire + Water” & “Bad Blood” will leave even the most emotionless listener feeling teary-eyed. But This Is What I Meant isn’t simply an ode to the love of his life; songs like “Holy Spirit” and “I Got My Smile Back” are triumphant self-love anthems. Overall, Stormzy proves with this album that he is following his creative flow wherever it takes him and his artistry will win out over everything else.
King’s Disease 3 – Nas & Hit-Boy
Nas fans love to debate which producer works best with him. He’s collaborated with some of the greatest on the boards in an illustrious 25 year career that spans 15 solo albums. But in the 2020s, maybe Hit-Boy is his best fit for keeping him relevant in a changing rap landscape. Nas and Hit-Boy have compared their creative output to Shaq and Penny and Michael and Quincy, paying homage to duos with undeniable success and chemistry. While the Grammy-winning super producer has synced up with artists before, there’s something special about Hit-Boy modernizing Nas’ sound, heightening his stories with subtle, elegant beats. Continuing where the Grammy-nominated predecessor left off, King’s Disease 3 shows Nas has more to say about career longevity, legal hustling, the Queens borough that raised him, and the wealth he’s accumulated as a rap mogul. The song ideas and themes are coherent, showing Nas is improving as he approaches 50. It keeps Nas in the relevancy conversation because his voice is still impactful, calling to action when some might say he doesn’t need to do this anymore. It’s a lesson in purposeful storytelling and aging with grace.
Only Built For Infinity Links – Quavo & Takeoff
With dynamic production, anthemic hooks, and raps that are as personal as they are agile, Infinity Links delivers most of the exhilarating highs of Migos’ best work while cutting the fat that plagued Culture II and Culture III. Like the best Migos projects, Infinity Links plays out like a stylish joy ride. Featuring production from Buddah Bless, Murda Beatz, Mustard, DJ Durel and more, it’s a soundtrack for a trap spaceship. Over the course of 18 tracks, they lace their triple-time flows over everything from dazed trap (“Hotel Lobby”) to ratchet music courtesy of Mustard (“See Bout It”) as they alternate between flows and structural approaches that keep sounds from getting stale.
$$$ – Freddie Gibbs
While Freddie Gibbs’ Alchemist-produced Alfredo earned him his first Grammy nomination in 2020, it became clear he isn’t willing to sacrifice his gritty lyrical integrity in the hopes of adding coveted hardware to his trophy cabinet. Two years later, $oul $old $eperately ($$$) — Gangsta Gibbs’ fifth solo album — has real-world implications while also reaching new heights worthy of his own Hip Hop ‘hood Grammy. Opening with the hard-nosed bars of the Kelly Price-assisted intro “Couldn’t Be Done,” $$$ maneuvers in and out of countless rhythmic rabbit holes with ease. The Indiana native also elevates the caliber of his collaborations by commissioning verses from Pusha T, Rick Ross, Offset and Moneybagg Yo, as well as producers like Boi-1da, DJ Paul and DJ Dahi. In the same way the cover art for the project personifies his “Big Rabbit” persona, $$$ affirms Freddie Gibbs’ ascent from underground mainstay to mainstream contender.
2000 – Joey Bada$$
Whether it was fair or not, at one point, the weight of New York was on Joey Bada$$. He’s reached major highs during his career, and low lows, but throughout it all his technical skills on the mic were unquestioned. 2000 reminds listeners what Joey is capable of when expectations are shed from his shoulders. Paying homage to the titular year, Joey and his producers bridge between crate digging dusty jazz samples and the polished sheen of the jiggy era, allowing Joey to work with a plush palette. The beats across 2000 are breezy and opulent, billowing in the space between the smooth marble floors and high ceilings of an expensive penthouse. Pianos and glassy keyboards weave around sweeping string samples, snares diffuse into long tails of reverb. Joey seems right at home in this more silken vibe, gliding effortlessly across each expensive-sounding drum pattern. He’s a joy to listen to — there are few rappers that sound as natural on the mic as Joey Bada$$. He’s not angling to be a momentary King of New York, he’s more interested in building a legacy and — perhaps more than anything – enjoying rap.
The Elephant Man’s Bones – Alchemist & Roc Marciano
New York rapper Roc Marciano has been a mythic figure in Hip Hop since his 2010 debut Marcberg and has continued to release grimy, dusty projects such as Marci Beaucoup, Reloaded and now his latest, The Elephant Man’s Bones. Working with longtime collaborator and legend in his own right, superproducer The Alchemist, Marciano’s most recent effort is a testament to consistency, a rap project which finds him spitting at his highest level more than 10 years since he broke onto the scene. Spanning 14-tracks split between two sides, The Elephant Man’s Bones also includes verses and appearances from artists ranging from Action Bronson and Boldy James to Ice-T and Knowledge The Pirate.
The Course Of The Inevitable 2 – Lloyd Banks
To Banks, The Course of the Inevitable means “to go backwards and remember what you’re doing it for.” So, The Course of the Inevitable 2 comes a year later and arrives at a time when the former G-Unit member’s sword is the sharpest. He’s dropped plenty of sequels for his album and mixtape franchises before, but COTI 2 proves that time has only made Banks more productive and consistent. COTI 2 is tighter than the initial installment and made for the same ‘real rap’ heads who listen to Griselda, Roc Marciano, Stone God Cooks, Boldy James, and the like, resulting in an album that leans heavy into documenting street lessons learned and shows that Banks’ main concern is making the music he desires, trends be damned.
You Still Here, Ho? – Flo Milli
Flo Milli does what she wants. Upending all marketing plans and conventional rollout energy, the Alabama rapper dropped her debut studio album, You Still Here, Ho?, two days before its release date, maintaining her persona as a disrupter who does as she pleases. Featuring guest appearances from Rico Nasty, BabyFace Ray, and Tiffany “New York” Pollard, You Still Here, Ho? is a self-aware manifesto from the “princess of this rap shit.” Flaunting cockiness and flexing staccato flows the Alabama rapper grows her presence on tracks such as “Conceited” and “Hottie,” remaining true to her mastery of self-empowering mantras. You Still Here, Ho? isn’t shy about only being interested in the hedonism of the early 2000’s. Obsessed with money, sex and having a good time, “Big Steppa” and “PBC” sport an impressive exploration of electronic dance music for Flo Milli; while the punk-esque “Pretty Girls” boasts a lyrical riff of Cyndi Lauper’s, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. ” Despite being creatively based on nostalgia, the pop rap album doesn’t get bogged down by reflection – with deliberate one-liners and experimental instrumentals, Flo Milli always finds a way to talk her shit and keep it moving.
DRILL MUSIC IN ZION – Lupe Fiasco
Four years removed from his previous release Drogas Wave — aside from some loosies and two EPs — Lupe is back with a project he dubbed his Illmatic. While it remains to be seen whether he can match that classic’s cultural influence and inspire a new generation, DRILL MUSIC IN ZION is arguably his most accessible album in years, with Lupe showing himself to be in impeccable lyrical shape. Produced entirely by Soundtrakk — the beatmaker behind highly acclaimed singles such as “Kick, Push” and “Superstar” and his recent Tape Tape EP— and recorded in mere days late last summer, the album has an incredibly cohesive and, at times, jazzy feel, with Lupe staying in his pocket throughout. While unabashed in its sometimes subtle, sometimes heavy-handed criticism of the culture, there’s something so alluring and easy-going about DRILL MUSIC IN ZION. With no filler or fluff, this album is bound to satisfy those who like their bars bountiful and Lupe Fiasco in peak form.
REFLEXIONS – Tony Shhnow
Reflexions is a reminder that over the past two years very few rappers, if any, have been as consistently excellent as Shhnow — plugg music’s Curren$y. He was already established as an underground prodigy, but his new output suggests his ceiling is far higher. In an industry ravaged by the desire to make a quick buck at any and all costs, Tony Shhnow is a black sheep, an artist who raps for himself first and everyone else second. There’s nothing cheap about Reflexions: no flashy trends, hit-hungry A&Rs or marketing gimmicks in sight. It’s a project which can be looped and repeated without ever sounding stale. But Shhnow doesn’t care about any of that: he’s already focused on the next one.
In this article
Boldy James |
Dave East |
harry fraud |
Isaiah Rashad |
Maxo Kream |
Pink Siifu |
Vince Staples |
The Top 15 Greatest Rap Record Labels of All Time
Ever since Sugar Hill Records, one of the greatest rap record labels founded by Joe and Sylvia Robinson, put out “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang in 1979, hip hop has evolved to become a commercial force in the music industry.
Over the years, a new crop of record labels, all focused on dope hip hop music, would emerge, many of them founded by the very artists they were putting out. As hip hop culture has transformed over the decades to become the dominant force in pop culture, many of these rap record labels have grown in important, becoming institutions in their own regard.
From Death Row to Bad Boy, Def Jam to No Limit, Cash Money to Top Dawg, here are the top 15 greatest rap record labels of all time.
15. GOOD Music
Years active: 2004 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Kanye West, Pusha T, Common, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Consequence.
Founded in 2004 by Kanye West shortly after he dropped The College Dropout, GOOD Music has long been a shining beacon for artists outside of your usual gangsta rap tropes. Boasting an eclectic roster of lyricists, hit-makers, singers, and trappers, GOOD has always had a little something for all rap fans.
- Common – Be (2005)
- Consequence – Don’t Quit Your Day Job! (2007)
- Common – Finding Forever (2007)
- Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009)
- Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
- Big Sean – Finally Famous (2011)
- GOOD Music – Cruel Summer (2012)
- Kid Cudi – Indicud (2013)
- Big Sean – Hall of Fame (2013)
- Pusha T – My Name Is My Name (2013)
- Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise (2015)
- Kanye West – The Life of Pablo (2016)
- Big Sean – I Decided (2017)
- Pusha T – Daytona (2018)
- Kanye West – Ye (2018)
- Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts (2018)
- Teyana Taylor – K. T.S.E. (2018)
- Kanye West – Jesus Is King (2019)
- Big Sean – Detroit 2 (2020)
- Kanye West – Donda (2021)
- Pusha T – It’s Almost Dry (2022)
14. Strange Music
Years active: 1999 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Tech N9ne, Big Scoob, Brotha Lynch Hung, MURS, Stevie Stone, Krizz Kaliko.
An independent record label based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Strange Music has been the primary platform for artists who may not naturally fit in anywhere else. Founded by Tech N9ne and Travis O’Guin in 1999, the label has released countless Tech albums, as well as projects from rappers like Jay Rock (in a joint venture deal with Top Dawg Entertainment), Murs, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, and many others.
- Tech N9ne – Anghellic (2001)
- Tech N9ne – Absolute Power (2001)
- Krizz Kaliko – Vitiligo (2008)
- Big Scoob – Monsterifik (2009)
- Brother Lynch Hung – Dinner and a Movie (2010)
- Jay Rock – Follow Me Home (2011)
- Tech N9ne – All 6’s and 7’s (2011)
- Tech N9ne – Welcome to Strangeland (2011)
- ¡Mayday! – Take Me to Your Leader (2012)
- Stevie Stone – Rollin’ Stone (2012)
- Tech N9ne – Asin9ne (2021)
Ruff Ryders Entertainment
Years active: 1988 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): DMX, Swizz Beatz, The LOX, Eve, Cassidy.
Home to legendary Yonkers artists like DMX and The LOX, Ruff Ryders has been around putting out hardcore street music since the late ’80s. While Puffy was out on luxury yachts pouring champagne by the bucket, the Ruff Ryders crew was keeping it grimy all the way. In one of the greatest years for hip hop, the label put out two DMX albums that went number one and sold over 7 million copies collectively.
- DMX – It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998)
- DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)
- Ruff Ryders – Ryde or Die Vol. 1 (1999)
- Eve – Let There Be Eve…Ruff Ryders’ First Lady (1999)
- DMX – .. And Then There Was X (1999)
- The LOX – We Are the Streets (2000)
- Ruff Ryders – Ryde or Die Vol. 2 (2000)
- Jadakiss – Kiss tha Game Goodbye (2001)
- DMX – The Great Depression (2001)
- Styles P – A Gangster and a Gentleman (2002)
- DMX – Grand Champ (2003)
- Jadakiss – Kiss of Death (2004)
- DMX – Year of the Dog… Again (2006)
- Jadakiss – The Last Kiss (2009)
12. Top Dawg Entertainment
Years active: 2004 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, SZA, Isaiah Rashad.
The greatest rap record label of the 2010s, Top Dawg Entertainment dropped a number of legendary albums that have all gone down as classics today. From Kendrick to Schoolboy Q to Isaiah Rashad, it felt like every year of the 2010s included a new masterpiece from TDE.
Founded in 2004, by CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, boasts a murderers row of MCs, even with the departure of Kendrick, including Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Isaiah Rashad, SZA, Lance Skiiiwalker, SiR, Reason, Zacari, Ray Vaughn, and Doechii.
- Kendrick Lamar – Section.80 (2011)
- Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions (2012)
- Ab-Soul – Control System (2012)
- Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
- Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron (2014)
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
- Jay Rock – 90059 (2015)
- Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP (2016)
- Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade (2016)
- Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (2017)
- SZA – Ctrl (2017)
- Jay Rock – Redemption (2018)
- Schoolboy Q – Crash Talk (2019)
- Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning (2021)
- Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)
11. Rap-A-Lot Records
Years active: 1986 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Geto Boys, Scarface, Big Mike, Bushwick Bill, Willie D, CJ Mac, Devin the Dude, Bun B, DMG, Z-Ro.
Launched in 1986 by James Prince, Rap-A-Lot Records is widely regarded as the preeminent Southern rap record label, with a strong roster of some of the best Texas rappers ever like Geto Boys, Bun B and Z-Ro. While the label hasn’t dropped anything notable since the 2010s, there’s no forgetting the countless classics it has dropped over the decades.
- Geto Boys – Grip It! On That Other Level (1989)
- Geto Boys – The Geto Boys (1990)
- Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped (1991)
- Scarface – Mr. Scarface Is Back (1991)
- Big Mello – Bone Hard Zaggin’ (1992)
- Scarface – The World Is Yours (1993)
- 5th Ward Boyz – Gangsta Funk (1994)
- Scarface – The Diary (1994)
- Scarface – The Untouchable (1997)
- Pimp C – Sweet James Jones Stories (2005)
- Bun B – Trill (2005)
- Devin the Dude – Waitin’ to Inhale (2007)
- Z-Ro – Power (2007)
Cold Chillin’ Records
Years active: 1986 – 1998
Key artists on the roster (past and present): MC Shan, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Marley Marl, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Roxanne Shante, Masta Ace, Grand Daddy I.U.
One of the very first rap-based record labels, Cold Chillin’ was centred around GOAT producer Marley Marl and his merry band of Juice Crew MCs. From Biz Markie to Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap to MC Shan, Cold Chillin’ represented the peak of golden age hip hop with countless classics from the aforementioned artists dropped within a relatively short timespan. One of the label’s greatest moments would come in 1988 when Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Craig G and Big Daddy Kane would all come together on a Marley Marl production to create “The Symphony” – one of the greatest rap posse cuts of all time.
- MC Shan – Down by Law (1987)
- Biz Markie – Goin’ Off (1988)
- Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane (1988)
- Marley Marl – In Control, Volume 1 (1988)
- Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Road to the Riches (1989)
- Big Daddy Kane – It’s a Big Daddy Thing (1989)
- Biz Markie – The Biz Never Sleeps (1989)
- Master Ace – Take a Look Around (1990)
- Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990)
- Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Live and Let Die (1992)
Years active: 1995 – 2007
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek, Company Flow, Pharoahe Monch, Da Beatminerz, Kool G Rap.
One of the weirdest backstories in hip hop, Rawkus Records was actually launched in the ’90s by Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, who received financial backing from their schoolfriend James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. For a record label founded on such capitalist roots, Rawkus went on to become the most notable underground hip hop brand ever. Known for their releases with Mos Def and Talib Kweli, as well as Company Flow, Rawkus also worked closely with underground rappers like Reflection Eternal, Common, Pharoahe Monch, Skillz, and Eminem (way back in the day).
- Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997)
- Black Star – Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star (1998)
- Mos Def – Black on Both Sides (1999)
- Pharoahe Monch – Internal Affairs (1999)
- Big L – The Big Picture (2000)
- Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek – Train of Thought (2000)
- Hi-Tek – Hi-Teknology (2001)
- Talib Kweli – Quality (2002)
- Kool G Rap – The Giancana Story (2002)
- Talib Kweli – The Beautiful Struggle (2004)
Years active: 1994 – 2013
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Dipset, Kanye West, Jadakiss.
At its peak during the 2000s, there was no other record label touching Roc-A-Fella, besides maybe the Aftermath, Shady and G-Unit juggernaut. From the label’s early independent days in the ’90s to topping the Billboard charts on a regular basis, to finally shutting down in 2013, Roc-A-Fella was known for its hard-hitting yet soulful sound courtesy of production wizards like The Heatmakerz, Kanye West, Just Blaze and Bink.
- Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt (1996)
- Jay-Z – Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
- Jay-Z – Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
- Beanie Sigel – The Truth (2000)
- Cam’ron – Come Home with Me (2002)
- Freeway – Philadelphia Freeway (2003)
- The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity (2003)
- Jay-Z – The Black Album (2003)
- Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)
- Cam’ron – Purple Haze (2004)
- Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)
- Kanye West – Graduation (2007)
- Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
- Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne (2011)
- Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)
No Limit Records
Years active: 1991 – 2003
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Master P, Snoop Dogg, Mercedes, Silkk the Shocker, Mystikal, Mia X, Mac, C-Murder, Magic, Romeo Miller, Fiend, Kane & Abel, Soulja Slim.
Here’s a fun fact for all you hip hop heads: No Limit Records actually founded by Master P as a record store called No Limit Record Shop in Richmond, California. After spending years learning how to hustle in the music business and opening up for acts like 2Pac and Spice 1, the New Orleans rapper-turned-mogul relocated the label back to his hometown in 1995.
Within a few years, No Limit would become the number one record label in the South with multiplatinum albums dropping seemingly every other week. Master P built up so much sway in the industry that he was able to finesse Snoop Dogg from within Death Row and onto his own label.
- Master P – Ice Cream Man (1996)
- Silkk – The Shocker (1996)
- TRU – Tru 2 da Game (1997)
- Young Bleed – My Balls and My Word (1998)
- Silkk the Shocker – Charge It 2 da Game (1998)
- C-Murder – Life or Death (1998)
- Soulja Slim – Give It 2 ‘Em Raw (1998)
- Master P – MP da Last Don (1998)
- Snoop Dogg – Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (1998)
- Mystikal – Ghetto Fabulous (1998)
- Silkk the Shocker – Made Man (1999)
- Snoop Dogg – No Limit Top Dogg (1999)
- Snoop Dogg – Tha Last Meal (2000)
Bad Boy Records
Years active: 1993 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Craig Mack, The Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, 112, Total, The LOX, Ma$e, Shyne and Carl Thomas
One of the top rap record labels of the ’90s, Bad Boy was responsible for some of the biggest hip hop hits of the decade. After being fired from his A&R role at Uptown Records, Puffy went on to launch Bad Boy with the backing of Clive Davis in 1994, dropping their first release, Craig Mack’s “Flava in Ya Ear” which became a top 10 Billboard hit. But it was The Notorious B.I.G., who came shortly after Mack that took the label to a whole other level. Over the next few years, Bad Boy’s roster which also included Mase, The LOX, Shyne, Black Rob, and Puffy himself, would release a dozen more albums, most of which quickly went platinum or multiplatinum.
- The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994)
- Craig Mack – Project: Funk da World (1994)
- The Notorious B. I.G. – Life After Death (1997)
- Puff Daddy & the Family – No Way Out (1997)
- Mase – Harlem World (1997)
- The LOX – Money, Power & Respect (1998)
- Puff Daddy – Forever (1999)
- The Notorious B.I.G. – Born Again (1999)
- Black Rob – Life Story (2000)
- Shyne – Shyne (2000)
- P. Diddy & the Bad Boy Family – The Saga Continues… (2001)
- The Notorious B.I.G. – Duets: The Final Chapter (2005)
- Diddy – Press Play (2006)
5. Loud Records
Years active: 1991 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Wu-Tang Clan, Big Pun, Mobb Deep, Krayzie Bone, The Beatnuts, M.O.P., Tha Alkaholiks, Pete Rock, Lil’ Flip, Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat, Xzibit, Twista, Dead Prez, The Dwellas, and The X-Ecutioners
Founded in 1991 by Steve Rifkind and Rich Isaacson, Loud Records was a label that wasn’t afraid to take chances on rap acts. Boasting an eclectic roster of artists over the years that spanned from coast to coast, Loud was home to some of the most legendary releases of the ’90s. Whether it was Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep or Xzibit and Three 6 Mafia, Steve Rifkind’s only bias to music was that it had to be dope.
- Twista (credited as Tung Twista) — Runnin’ Off at da Mouth (1992)
- The Alkaholiks — 21 & Over (1993)
- Wu-Tang Clan — Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
- The Alkaholiks — Coast II Coast (1995)
- Funkmaster Flex — The Mix Tape Volume 1 (60 Minutes of Funk) (1995)
- Mobb Deep — The Infamous (1995)
- Raekwon — Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995)
- Mobb Deep — Hell on Earth (1996)
- Xzibit — At the Speed of Life (1996)
- Big Pun — Capital Punishment (1998)
- Pete Rock — Soul Survivor (1998)
- Xzibit — 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz (1998)
- Mobb Deep — Murda Muzik (1999)
- dead prez — Let’s Get Free (2000)
- M. O.P. — Warriorz (2000)
- Prodigy — H.N.I.C. (2000)
- Three 6 Mafia — When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 (2000)
- Wu-Tang Clan — The W (2000)
- Wu-Tang Clan — Iron Flag (2001)
4. Aftermath Entertainment
Years active: 1996 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, 50 Cent, The Game, Busta Rhymes
Dr. Dre’s third record label, after Ruthless Records and Death Row Records, is also his greatest legacy. While he may have dropped game-changing classics with N.W.A. and as part of Death Row, it was with Aftermath that Dre had the biggest impact on the rap game. Aside from dropping the defining West Coast album, 2001, Aftermath was also home to some of the most influential and greatest rappers of all time, from Eminem to 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar to The Game. Almost 30 years since it first launched, Aftermath is still in the mix today with acclaimed albums from Anderson .Paak and Kendrick dropping recently.
- Various Artists – Dr. Dre Presents: The Aftermath (1996)
- The Firm – The Album (1997)
- Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (1999)
- Dr. Dre – 2001 (1999)
- Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
- Eminem – The Eminem Show (2002)
- 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003)
- Eminem – Encore (2004)
- The Game – The Documentary (2005)
- 50 Cent – The Massacre (2005)
- Busta Rhymes – The Big Bang (2006)
- 50 Cent – Curtis (2007)
- Eminem – Relapse (2009)
- Eminem – Recovery (2010)
- Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m. A.A.d city (2012)
- Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
- Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
- Dr. Dre – Compton (2015)
- Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (2017)
- Anderson .Paak – Oxnard (2018)
- Anderson .Paak. – Ventura (2019)
- Silk Sonic – An Evening with Silk Sonic (2021)
- Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)
3. Cash Money Records
Years active: 1991 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Birdman, Tyga, Hot Boys
If you count Cash Money’s hot run from beginning with Juvenile’s 400 Degreez, released in 1998, and you cap it at Drake’s Scorpion, dropped in 2018, that’s two decades of nonstop domination from the New Orleans via Miami record label. The only other rap label that could match Cash Money’s success over that amount of time is Def Jam. During its peak years when it was home to Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj, it felt like there was nothing that could stop the Cash Money / Young Money machine.
- Juvenile – 400 Degreez (1998)
- B.G. – Chopper City In The Ghetto (1999)
- Hot Boys – Guerrilla Warfare (1999)
- Lil Wayne – Tha Block Is Hot (1999)
- Juvenile – Tha G-Code (1999)
- Big Tymers – I Got That Work (2000)
- Lil Wayne – Lights Out (2000)
- Big Tymers – Hood Rich (2002)
- Lil Wayne – 500 Degreez (2002)
- Juvenile – Juve The Great (2003)
- Lil Wayne – Tha Carter (2004)
- Mannie Fresh – The Mind of Mannie Fresh (2004)
- Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II (2005)
- Birdman & Lil Wayne – Like Father, Like Son (2006)
- Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (2008
- Young Money – We Are Young Money (2009)
- Lil Wayne – Rebirth (2010)
- Drake – Thank Me Later (2010)
- Lil Wayne – I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
- Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday (2010)
- DJ Khaled – We the Best Forever (2011)
- Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV (2011)
- Drake – Take Care (2011)
- Tyga – Careless World: Rise of the Last King (2012)
- Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)
- DJ Khaled – Kiss The Ring (2012)
- Drake – Nothing Was the Same (2013)
- Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint (2014)
- Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015)
- Drake & Future – What a Time to Be Alive (2015)
- Drake – Views (2016)
- Drake – More Life (2017)
- Nicki Minaj – Queen (2018)
- Drake – Scorpion (2018)
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2. Def Jam Recordings
Years active: 1984 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Ja Rule, Jadakiss, DMX, Fabolous, Big Sean, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Kanye West, Redman, Rick Ross, Nas, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Public Enemy
When a young Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons decided to launch Def Jam Recordings at their New York University dorm room, they had no idea that they were starting what would later become the most important hip hop record label in history. Ever since dropping their very first releases – T La Rock & Jazzy Jay’s “It’s Yours,” LL Cool J’s “I Need a Beat” and The Beastie Boys’ “Rock Hard” – in 1984, Def Jam has been home to some of the most important hip hop artists of all time. From EPMD, Redman and Onyx to Jay-Z, DMX and Kanye West, the number of notable rappers who have dropped classics with Def Jam is simply monumental.
- LL Cool J – Radio (1984)
- Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)
- LL Cool J – Bigger and Deffer (1987)
- Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
- Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)
- Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
- LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
- EPMD – Business as Usual (1990)
- Redman – Whut? Thee Album (1992)
- Onyx – Bacdafucup (1993)
- Warren G – Regulate… G Funk Era (1994)
- Method Man – Tical (1994)
- Redman – Dare Iz a Darkside (1994)
- LL Cool J – Mr. Smith (1995)
- Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
- DMX – It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998)
- Jay-Z – Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life (1998)
- DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)
- DMX – . . And Then There Was X (1999)
- Jay-Z – Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
- Ja Rule – Rule 3:36 (2000)
- Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)
- Cam’ron – Come Home with Me (2002)
- Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)
- Ludacris – The Red Light District (2004)
- Young Jeezy – Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 (2005)
- Jay-Z – Kingdom Come (2006)
- Rick Ross – Port of Miami (2006)
- Nas – Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
- Jay-Z – American Gangster (2007)
- Kanye West – Graduation (2007)
- 2 Chainz – Based on a T.R.U. Story (2012)
- Pusha T – My Name Is My Name (2013)
Death Row Records
Years active: 1991 – present
Key artists on the roster (past and present): Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Tha Dogg Pound, The Lady of Rage.
Death Row Records’ downfall may have been as rapid as their rise, but during their peak years, there was simply no denying that they were the greatest hip hop record label of all time. Home to some of the greatest West Coast rappers of all time, the label was founded in 1991 by Dr. Dre, following his split from Eazy-E, along with The D.O.C., Suge Knight, and Dick Griffey. Death Row scored big early, with the one-two punch of The Chronic and Doggystyle transforming the hip hop landscape, seemingly overnight.
Between 1992 and 1996, the label would drop 10 releases, 9 of which went platinum, multiplatinum, or in Pac’s case diamond. While Death Row flamed out quickly after the death of 2Pac, the departure of Dre and incarceration of Suge Knight, Snoop Dogg has recently acquired the label with plans to create its own streaming service, so we might be seeing the next chapter of Death Row records in the near future.
- Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)
- Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle (1993)
- Various Artists – Above the Rim (1994)
- Death Row Records – Murder Was the Case (1994)
- Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food (1995)
- 2Pac – All Eyez On Me (1996)
- Makaveli (2Pac) – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)
- Snoop Doggy Dogg – Tha Doggfather (1996)
- Nate Dogg – G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 (1997)
- Lady of Rage – Necessary Roughness (1997)
- 2Pac – Greatest Hits (1998)
Rap Recording in Moscow – ZvookRecords Recording Studio
Home » Rap Recording
If you just want to try yourself in this popular direction or are already creating your own compositions that require professional processing, ZvookRecords recording studio will become your reliable partner.
Rap recording services
Rap recording in our studio is a joint work of experienced sound engineers and direct performers. You can order the following types of services from us:
- recitative recording;
- vocal recording;
- translation of the song;
- studio rental;
- professional recording processing, including arrangement, selection of chord structure, mastering, mixing, backing track, adding sound effects.
If you have been recording rap at home without using professional equipment, you may need services such as cleaning the track from extraneous noise or transferring the composition to a new medium. You can use the full range of services or choose only those that you need. For the convenience of our customers, we have specially developed comprehensive service packages with different price ranges. Each of the packages gives its owner a number of advantages. More detailed information about these offers can be found in the “Services and prices” section.
Price list for rap recording
|Rap recording||from 1000 ₽/hour|
Order a service
The advantages of our studio .
Where to start
If you decide to use the services of recording rap in our studio, you just need to leave an online application on the site. Our specialists will contact you as soon as possible, answer any questions, set a time for a meeting. You can also contact us at the phone numbers listed on the site or come directly to the studio. After the entry is made and processed, you can pick it up in person, or receive the entry by e-mail.
ZvookRecords Studio is quality, professionalism, reliability, creative and creative atmosphere, desire and opportunity to help beginners and experienced musicians.
Examples of our Rap/Hip-Hop studio work
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Home recording studio for rap music | How to record rap at home?
How to organize a home recording studio at home?
About 20 years ago, to record a demo, it was necessary to rent a specialized recording studio and a qualified engineer. And today you can record a single for the radio in your bedroom. In many ways, the development of technology has narrowed the gap between professional musicians and the rest of the majority.
The computer is the most important part of setting up a digital recording studio and the key to all these new technologies. With the help of a computer, you can record rap, make a mix, send your rap records to clubs for testing, and even create a community of your rap fans.
Home recording studio
In general, you have a friend who writes downhole rap minus , or you found a suitable minus on the Internet and you want to record vocals on it. If you can’t afford to pay $100/hour in a big studio, that’s not a problem. You can organize a quite decent home recording studio without any special expenses. Every home studio needs 6 basic components.
4. Sound interface
In professional recording studios, there is always an isolated room for recording vocals. It is essentially a soundproofed room, which is needed to prevent background noise from being recorded on the track – the sound of cars, air conditioners, the voices of other people. These soundproof rooms typically cost thousands of dollars because they use expensive soundproofing materials. The good news is that you don’t need to build one. You can achieve sufficient soundproofing with the help of improvised household products – pillows, blankets, old mattresses, etc. Ideally, the computer should be placed in the quietest room in the apartment. Ask your relatives not to distract you for a while, close the door, shove a few towels into the windows, and curtain the walls with blankets. Now a suitable room is ready, you can move on.
As mentioned above, the computer is the basis for digital recording and distribution of contemporary music. There are just tons of computer programs that can record and mix music (we’ll get to that), but you need a fairly powerful computer to use these programs.
Here are some specifications:
- Requires a fairly fast processor (at least 2.0 khz)
- You need a hard disk that is large enough because sound files take up a lot of space (the disk is approximately 50 GB)
- At least 512 MB RAM because audio programs usually require a lot of memory.
- Everything else is a decoration, you can add it as you wish. We advise you to carefully study the characteristics of computers in computer stores. In general, you can pick up a quality laptop or desktop computer for about $500.
The second important element of the studio after the computer is the microphone, since it is this device that transfers the sound from your vocal cords to the track. Simply put, a microphone translates sound into electrical signals in a format that can be recorded. Of course, I would like to have such a microphone that would retain all the advantages of the voice and smooth out the shortcomings. Professionals invest most of their money in microphones to get a “great”, “live” voice sound. There are two main types of microphones: condenser and dynamic. Within these types, microphones differ in their frequency response and polar pattern (omni, uni, cardioid).
Basically, all you need to know is which microphone to use in the studio and which one to use on stage. For most vocal recordings, a studio condenser microphone (also called a capacitor microphone) is better suited. Condenser microphones are very sensitive and fragile, making them well suited for vocal recording in quiet environments. Most condenser microphones have a flat frequency distribution, which means the microphone’s ability to accurately pick up the full range of human voice texture. Note that most condenser microphones are powered by the 48-volt supply provided by many audio interfaces.
A dynamic microphone is more suitable for live performances. You yourself have probably often seen this type of microphone – a spherical grid on a conical handle. These microphones are long lasting, durable, and well suited for challenging stage conditions. Their disadvantage is that a loud signal is required for accurate sound perception, and in addition, they are worse at picking up low and high frequencies. In other words, dynamic microphones are not very suitable for studio work, where we are trying to achieve beautiful, balanced sound vocals . Shure SM-58 is one of the most popular dynamic microphones. When working in the studio, it is worth switching to a condenser microphone.
Studio Mic Recommendations
Very Cheap – Beginners
Marshall Electronics MXL V57M $60 – $70
Samson C01U USB Condenser $80
Marshall Electronics MXL770 $90
AKG Perception 200 $160
Shure KSM 27 $300 Rode NT1000 $300
Neumann TLM 103 $1,000
Neumann U87Ai $2,500
Insane (Dr. Dre’s mic)
Sony C800-G $7,350
Any of these microphones allows you to record clear professional sound.
4. Audio interface (link)
In order to read the signal coming from the microphone, the computer must understand this signal. This can be done in three ways.
A. USB/Firewire interface: freestanding box with microphone input and signal to computer. This standalone interface is the best solution because it has multiple microphone inputs, a microphone amplifier to give it extra power, and a low voltage power supply that most condenser microphones need. Recommended generic interfaces.
B. USB microphone: If the budget is too tight and there is not enough money for an external interface, then some manufacturers now make microphones that connect directly to the computer via a USB port (for example, the Samson C01U USB Condenser mentioned above). These microphones are powered by a USB cable and are programmed through a computer recording program.
B. Computer microphone input: The computer has a small microphone input (1/8″ input) that can be used for microphone recording. This is the cheapest option (you can use any microphone), but this method has several problems, including poor sound and unnecessary load on the sound card / processor. In addition, most condenser microphones will require an external power supply. And yet, if you go this way, then you need an adapter to change the microphone output from 1/4″ to 1/8″.
To make music on your computer, you need a simple program to record sound from a microphone and play it back. Over the past few years, dozens of programs have been developed for this purpose, so now it’s just a matter of your budget and your goals.
There are a number of programs that allow you to import and present sound in waveform, which allows you to edit the sound. If you want to use more advanced features, you will have to pay a little more.
Well, now you’re making music on your computer and you need to hear the sound while recording and editing. Most professional engineers use speakers, called monitors, to play music, but headphones can be used for a short time. Headphones will allow you to hear the soundtrack while recording, as well as listen to the recording while mixing.
Note: Be careful with volume. When mixing, be careful not to damage your hearing with too loud sound.
Comfort and attenuation are important for headphones. Comfort – because you have to wear them for a long time. Muting – because the headphones must cover the sound well so that when recording rap , the soundtrack does not fall into the microphone. Here are some recommendations for microphones.
In general, this is the case with the organization home recording studio . You need a computer, a microphone, an audio interface, a program, headphones, and a quiet room.