Ask any rapper which artists have created their favorite hip-hop albums and they’ll likely mull over the answer. The decision to narrow down every bit of inspiration and lyrical skill into just a few slots takes careful consideration. Give a response that the internet doesn’t like and the roasting on social media will ensue. Fail to pick an artist that has a dedicated fan base and those same fans will likely criticize every choice thereafter. When it comes to Rubi Rose‘s top five favorite hip-hop albums, she stays true to herself, picking five rappers’ projects that she personally connects with. The 23-year-old 2021 XXL Freshman has solid reasons for why each album from the five artists, who are also among her top five favorite rappers, makes her list.
First up, Rubi shows love to an Atlanta rapper whose melodic delivery and sing-song rhymes have inspired countless artists over the years. “Young Thug, the Barter 6,” she says. “I know every song off that bitch. I moved to Atlanta the year it came out, so it was just, it gives me nostalgia.” Rubi, who was raised in Lexington, Ky., moved to Atlanta to attend Georgia State University in 2015, the same year Thugger’s Barter 6 dropped. The project brings her back to a time when she was focused on her academics.
Another artist who’s made a multiplatinum-selling career off his gift of rapping and singing effortlessly makes it on to this rap neophyte’s top five list. “No. 2, Drake‘s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” she says of Drizzy’s 2015 project, which is actually a mixtape. “Love every song off that bitch, too. Gives me nostalgia, college days.” While attending GSU a few years ago, Rubi was a poli-sci major.
The “Queen of Rap,” according to Rubi, crafted an album that deserves a spot on her favorites. “No. 3, Nicki Minaj‘s Pink Friday, I love,” Rubi maintains of the 2010 LP. “The queen snapped. But really she paved the way for other female artists like myself to just show that we can do what she’s doing as well so I really fuck with that.” In addition to Nicki’s influence, Rubi also respects the artistry of women rappers Missy Elliott, Foxy Brown and Cardi B.
A more recent album from a Chicago rapper that has long been known as the “Voice of the Streets” follows. “No. 4 would have to be Lil Durk‘s The Voice. When I get lonely, I feel that right here,” Rubi shares as she pounds on her chest. “I take drugs when I get lonely, too, Durk.” Fans of Durkio know those are lyrics from “When I’m Lonely,” a song on his 2020 deluxe album, The Voice.
Lastly, her list wouldn’t be complete without another album from an ATL rapper who also serves up bangers for the streets. “No. 5 would have to be [Future‘s] DS2,” Rubi adds. “I was in Atlanta when it dropped, so the culture and everybody fucking with it and vibing with it really made me like it. And It’s really just a soundtrack for the streets so.” Songs like “F*ck Up Some Commas,” “Stick Talk” and “Where Ya At” featuring Drake on the 2015 LP were ringing off at the time.
Watch Rubi Rose share her connection to her favorite hip-hop albums below.
See the 2021 XXL Freshman Class
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