It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this New Music Friday is one of the most stacked of the year. With just one week to go ’til Christmas and most of the music industry shutting down after Friday’s flurry of releases, it might be the best time to clear out the hard drives after a year in which all anyone could do was record instead of touring.
With that said, this isn’t just a content dump; some projects, like E-40 and Too Short’s collaboration, have been carefully cultivated to maximize the moment. Others are timed to ensure exposure through search engine optimization, while still others are setting the foundation for a cadence of content like music videos to take advantage of the slow months at the beginning of 2021. In any case, with two holiday weeks coming up, there will be plenty of time to catch up with the glut of releases from the rest of the year; you can review those in our former Best Hip-Hop Albums Coming Out This Week and Best New Rap Music To Have On Your Radar columns here.
Dee Watkins — As I Am [EP]
Macclenny, Florida rapper Watkins is having a prolific year, dropping two well-received projects and preparing for his third. As I Am kicks off with a strong feature from fellow rising star Hotboii, who dropped his own Double O Baby project last week.
E-40 & Too Short — Ain’t Gone Do It / Terms and Conditions
The two Bay Area legends and rap pioneers are set to close out the inaugural year of Verzuz this weekend, but they were already working on this collab project highlighting their shared 30-year legacy.
Jackboy — Love Me While I’m Here
Picking up the torch for his Sniper Gang captain Kodak Black, Florida’s Jackboy is on his third project of the year. This one features collabs with 42 Dugg, Dej Loaf, Denzel Curry, Dreezy, Fredo Bang, Lil Mosey, Rylo Rodriguez, Sada Baby, Tokyo Jetz, and more.
J.I. The Prince Of NY — Hood Life Krisis, Vol. 3 [EP]
Best known for his stint on the Lifetime show The Rap Game, J.I. has been following the path laid by fellow alum Mulatto, independently grinding his way into a loyal grassroots following.
Michael Christmas — Hiding
Boston rapper Michael Christmas has quietly been one of hip-hop’s most consistent talents for some time. Don’t be fooled by his album’s title; he hasn’t been hiding at all, just overlooked. The coincidental timing of his latest release might just garner him some extra attention if the feature from breakout star Kota The Friend doesn’t.
Saucy Santana — It’s A Vibe
With a face beat for the gawds and an unapologetic posture regarding his sexuality and love for heels, nails, and twerking, Saucy has made a name for himself as one of ratchet rap’s most fun-loving newcomers. The rap game as a whole may not be ready for him, but he isn’t waiting for anyone to make space.
Sheff G — Proud Of Me Now
The Brooklyn drill movement shows no signs of slowing down, even after the loss of its strongest soldier. Sheff’s third project of the year features fellow scene stalwart Sleepy Hallow, who’s been in the midst of his own stunning breakout year.
Smoove’L — Ice Cups & Shoot Outs
Smoove’L’s second release of 2020 makes this one of the biggest release weeks for New York hip-hop of the year, as well as putting him in a prime position for a strong start to the next. Teaming up with breakout North Carolina melodic rap star Toosii just as he’s blowing up ensures at least one potential hit from the project.
Kevin Gates & Dermot Kennedy — “Power”
Gates returns with a trademark anthem examining the spoils of success — and the stress that comes with it.
Lil Eazzyy — “Feeling Different”
Lil Eazzyy hails from the Windy City, making him heir to a legacy that can be heard in the pounding beat and gut-wrenching lyrics of “Feeling Different.”
Lil Gotit — “Dead Walkin”
His brother Lil Keed broke out as an XXL Freshman this year, and now Lil Gotit looks to follow in his footsteps.
Lil Zay Osama — “Ride 4 Me” feat. Jackboy
Chicago native Zay links up with Florida’s Jackboy for a singsong ode to a loyal lover.
MoneyMarr — “War”
DC rapper MoneyMarr is just 18 years old, but he’s already stirring up a buzz, assisted by drill mainstay Rah Swish.
Quelle Chris & Chris Keys “Sacred Safe” Music Video feat. Merrill Garbus, Cavalier and Homeboy Sandman
An introspective posse cut from the Chrises’ April 2020 collaborative project, “Sacred Safe” sees the three rappers addressing their internal tumult.
Ric Wilson — “Trunk Music”
Emerging Chicago rapper Ric Wilson pays nostalgic homage to his youth with this upbeat park jam.
Shoreline Mafia — “All The Time”
Ohgeesy takes the wheel for yet another West Coast party rap anthem.
YBN Almighty Jay — “Bring Out The Hoochies”
The YBN crew may be effectively defunct, but the Texas arm keeps bringing his own spin on the turnt-up dynamic that once united them.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.