5 Best Rap Albums of October 2023

So much rap music comes out all the time, and especially with frequent surprise releases, it can be hard to keep track of it all. So, as a way to help keep up with all of it, here’s a roundup of the 5 rap albums from October 2023 that stood out to us most. We also probably still missed or haven’t spent enough time with some great October rap albums that aren’t on this list. What were some of your favorites of last month? Let us know in the comments, and read on for the list (unranked, in no particular order).

MIKE – Burning Desire

Less than a month ago, MIKE, Wiki, and The Alchemist released an album together. Then Wiki announced a new album this week and now MIKE has surprise-released one. It’s called Burning Desire, and it’s a lengthy, 24-song reminder that MIKE’s hazy, abstract rap never goes out of style. In classic MIKE fashion, he brings stream-of-consciousness screeds to sun-kissed jazz and soul samples, and it all swirls together into one mind-bending concoction. Guests include Earl Sweatshirt, Larry June, Liv.e, Niontay, El Cousteau, Lila Ramani of Brooklyn psych-rock band Crumb, UK singer/songwriter mark william lewis, and more.

Bad Bunny - Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Manana

Bad Bunny – Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana

Bad Bunny released his biggest album yet with last year’s Un Verano Sin Ti, which found the Latin trapper going in a brighter, more overtly reggaeton direction and also experimenting with everything from mambo to dembow to reggae to indie pop. But if you missed the darker, harder trap that Bad Bunny initially built his career off of, you’re in for a treat. His new 22-song album Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana opens up with the brooding, dramatic “Nadie Sabe,” and it only gets more intense from there. El Conejo dives head first into trap all throughout this album, and he brings in more of the club vibes of recent single “Where She Goes” too. It’s a totally different side of him than Un Verano Sin Ti, and it reminds you that he can still go as hard as ever. Guests include Young Miko, Mora, Bryant Myers, Luar La L, YONGCHIMI, Eladio Carrión, Feid, Arcángel, Ñengo Flow, and De La Ghetto.

Shabazz Palaces Robed

Shabazz Palaces – Robed In Rareness
Sub Pop

More than ever, it feels like Ishmael Butler is orbiting in his own galaxy, and not just because his music as Shabazz Palaces sounds beamed in from outer space. His ’90s-era pioneering jazz-rap group Digable Planets remain influential, not just on jazz-rap but also on the current experimental rap surge that artists like Armand Hammer and MIKE are involved with, and Shabazz Palaces would fit right in with that stuff too but Ishmael seems more interested in keeping it in the family–figuratively and literally. Guests on his new seven-song mini album Robed In Rareness range from very longtime collaborator Geechi Suede of Camp Lo to Ishamel’s twin Lavarr the Starr to his son, emo-rapper Lil Tracy, who successfully collides with his father’s wildly different style on “Woke Up In A Dream.” Like everything Shabazz touches, it’s a zoned-out head-trip.

R.A.P. Ferreira

Ruby Yacht

In early October, experimental rapper R.A.P. Ferreira surprise-released ASIATIQUE BLACK WIZARD LILY FUNK, an eight-song, 19-minute, one-track album that was recorded in seven days less than a month ago, and which may not even be the final version of the album. A vinyl release is on the way, and R.A.P. Ferreira says the record “may undergo an update” before that happens. If you download the current digital version, you’ll automatically get the updated digital files emailed to you if and when they exist. It’s exciting to get something so instantly after it was recorded, something that might even technically be unfinished, and the record as it currently stands is great. Production largely came from either Bullies of the Boulevard (aka vast.ness, brainweight and R.A.P. Ferreira himself under his scallops hotel guise) or vast.ness himself, except for “jayve steers the night shift,” which features and was produced by Abstract Black. (The album’s only two other guests are Pink Navel and ELDON.) The production varies between roaming jazz passages, abstract soundscapes, and a little head-nod-inducing boom bap, and the rapping is just as mind-bending as the musical backdrop. Releasing it as one continuous track suits it well; this is music to immerse yourself in.

Maiya the Don

Maiya the Don – Hot Commodity

Brooklyn rapper Maiya the Don took off with her breakthrough single “Telfy,” then Flo Milli took her under her wing for a remix and ongoing tour, and then Maiya kept the momentum going with her first full-length project, Hot Commodity. It includes “Telfy,” a nod towards the Flo Milli remix (on “Into Myself”), and a song that borrows both a Lil’ Kim sample and an Ice Spice lyric (“Dusties”). You can probably get a feel from those references where Maiya’s head is at, and she does justice to her peers and forebears, with a solid, lean debut that makes her presence known and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Honorable Mentions
City Girls – RAW
Drake – For All the Dogs
Jay Worthy, Kamaiyah, & Harry Fraud – The Am3rican Dream
Ken Carson – A Great Chaos
Pink Siifu & Turich Benjy – It’s Too Quiet..’!!
Pink Navel & Kenny Segal – How To Capture Playful
Westside Gunn – And Then You Pray For Me

Browse Best Rap Albums for past months.