5 best hip-hop albums of 2023 so far

JPEGMAFIA / Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun
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A truly underrated conscious hip-hop project from the first half of 2023 belongs to Los Angeles, CA, native rapper ICECOLDBISHOP. Bishop's first album GENERATIONAL CURSE gives fans a gripping taste of his life experience and mission to become one of the best in the game.

This album paints vivid pictures of Bishop's hardships growing up in Southern California, along with the injustices seen in America's broken political system that has disadvantaged many socioeconomically.

Bishop mixes different vocal styles that sound like a blend of Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, and JID to form one of the more interesting deliveries in the rap genre today. He compliments a unique and refreshing delivery style with a compelling selection of hard-hitting west-coast and trap-inspired hip-hop beats.

Some of the grand instrumentals on this project highlight the poignant messages Bishop is trying to convey in the conscious cuts on the tracklist. "FULL FLEDGE", "THE GOV'T GAVE US GUNS", and "D.A.R.E" cut straight through the B.S. with a wide variety of chilling instrumentals and evocative bars illustrating Bishop's past struggles.

"I think I wanna dabble with this cocaine
I think I wanna dabble with this heroin
My cousin did it first, now she got no veins
I love the biproduct of the dope game
I-I-I seen the poison comе through and terrorize
I-I-I seen a lotta shit with my pair of eyеs"

Verse 1 from "D.A.R.E" by ICECOLDBISHOP

Meanwhile, there are still some mellower cuts on the project, such as "FOCUSED," which infuses west-coast rap delivery with some wavy synths and slower drum patterns to create a solid track that feels like it has elements straight out of 80s and 90s hip hop.

Bishop does a tremendous job combining tight attention to detail with unique delivery and production choices to create one of the most memorable listening experiences from a conscious hip-hop album in the first half of 2023.