5 best hip-hop albums of 2023 so far

JPEGMAFIA / Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun
6 of 6


The biggest underground hip-hop project of the year so far is a collaborative effort between the Detroit, MI, native singer, songwriter, and rapper Danny Brown and Baltimore, MD, rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer JPEGMAFIA. Brown and Peggy collabed for their first project together on the experimental 14-track LP SCARING THE HOES.

Two of the biggest artists to come out of hip-hop's underground since the 2010s were able to put together a punchy and creative project that even wound up charting on Billboard earlier this year. SCARING THE HOES debuted at No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 200 charts, the highest that Peggy has ever charted and the highest-charting position for Danny since 2019.

Charting on Billboard obviously isn't why this project is such a standout.

The way that Peggy continues to push the boundaries of experimental hip-hop production while complimenting Danny's unique high-pitched and screechy vocal delivery makes this one of the most exceptionally-quirky yet masterful collabs to come out in the 2020s.

Peggy's orchestrated chaos-style production has more chemistry with Danny's unmistakable flow and delivery than most underground fans could've expected. Danny floats over a wide variety of drum loops, crazy instrumental patterns, and random creative samples throughout the tracklist.

Some of the most iconic tracks from this record are the lead single "Lean Beaf Patty", title track "Scaring The Hoes", and the eerie "Burfict!". But there isn't a boring part of the tracklist, as each of the 14 songs brings something unique to the table compared to the rest.

What's even crazier about the production on this project is the fact that JPEG produced all the beats on SCARING THE HOES on the Roland SP 404, a nearly two-decade-old sampling machine that was first utilized by musicians in the early-to-mid 2000s.

It wouldn't be surprising if we look back on this album in 10 years and see multiple different ways that it has impacted beat-making, vocal styles and deliveries, and hip-hop sampling all throughout the genre.