As streaming becomes more important than ever, the length of albums has followed suit. If there are more songs on a project, it’s more streams, plaques and accolades to come. All of this is made even worse by the delayed release dates due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the artists really want to feed the fans and leave their mark. After Kanye West Donda and that of Drake Boy in love certified albums released last summer that far exceed an hour’s worth of music, it can be intimidating to listen to modern rap projects. Just for you, XXL has compiled a few hip-hop albums that go under the hour mark, making the tracks more digestible.
Even though the rap landscape is teeming with long albums, some rappers have gone in a completely opposite direction, abandoning very short and straightforward projects. Vince Staples released an eponymous album last July, which comes in at 22 minutes, ending as fast as it started. Vince staples mixes the light and the heavy, as the production is luxuriant. He details the many traps of survival in the streets of Long Beach, California. Duckwrth’s SG8 * is just a minute longer, an album that embodies the feeling of navigating the loosening of COVID protocols and trying to come back to oneself. Both albums are well put together and worth listening to.
There have also been shorter albums released by rap legends this year. Nas’ King’s disease II, executive product by Hit-Boy, released last August and lasts 50 minutes. As an MC, Nas is sharper than ever and now has the wisdom of a rapper who’s seen it all, as well as the freshness of Hit-Boy beats. J. Cole’s highly anticipated album, Off-season, dropped in May and comes in at 39 elegant minutes. On the LP, Cole’s sense of urgency is palpable, as he rhymes like he’s trying to prove something. He remains at the top of his lyrics lyric after so many years of chart domination and rap superstar.
Check out the rest of this year’s hip-hop albums that won’t take you more than an hour to listen to in the gallery below.