2012 was a great year for hip-hop and birthed many albums that are still widely respected today. From Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city , and debut projects from rappers like Future and 2 Chainz who still make hits till this day, take a look at some of the albums that helped change the sound of rap.
'good kid, m.A.A.d city,' released on October 22, 2012, is the second studio album by the Compton rapper following his debut album 'Section.80' which dropped in 2011. The album contains several hits including "Money Trees," "Backstreet Freestyle," "B---- Don't Kill My Vibe," "Poetic Justice," and more. The project features appearances from Drake, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Jay Rock, Anna Wise, and MC Eiht. 'good kid, m.A.A.d city' was nominated for "Album Of The Year" and "Best Rap Album" at the 2013 Grammys and is considered to be one of the best hip-hop albums of 2012.
'Life Is Good' is the eleventh studio album by Nas and was released on July 13, 2012. The album features appearances by Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton, Victoria Monét, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz, Miguel, Large Professor, and the late Amy Winehouse. 'Life Is Good' was nominated for "Best Rap Album" for the 2012 Grammy Awards.
'R.A.P. Music' is the fifth studio album by Killer Mike and was released on May 15, 2012. The acronym "R.A.P." stands for "Rebellious African People." The album didn't get mainstream success but songs such as "Reagan" and the El-P-produced track "Big Beast" are some of Killer Mike's best songs in his discography.
'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded' by Nicki Minaj is the Queens native's second studio album released on April 2, 2012. The album featured the hits "Starships," "Beez in the Trap," "Right By My Side" and more. Nicki tapped in guest appearances from her Young Money labelmates Drake and Lil Wayne as well as Cam'ron Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Nas, Chris Brown, and more.
2012 was the year that Future dropped his first studio album 'Pluto,' which was released on April 17, 2012. Hits such as "Tony Montana," "Turn on the Lights," "Same D--- Time" derives from the project that put the Atlanta rapper on the map. The album featured guest appearances from Drake, R. Kelly, T.I., Trae tha Truth, and Snoop Dogg. Future released a reissue of the album later titled 'Pluto 3D' with an alternate tracklist in November of 2012.
'God Forgives, I Don't' is the fifth studio album by Rick Ross which was released on July 30, 2012. Rick Ross tapped in Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Ne-Yo, Usher, Wale, John Legend, Drake, and more on the project. The Drake-assisted "Diced Pineapples" track is one of Ross' and Drake's best songs in their respective discographies. 'God Forgives, I Don't' was nominated for "Best Rap Album" at the 2012 Grammys.
'Habits & Contradictions' is the second studio album by ScHoolboy Q. It was released on January 14, 2012. The album featured guest appearances from ASAP Rocky, Jhené Aiko, Dom Kennedy, Currensy, Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Rock. The 17 track project debuted at number 16 on the US Billboard Rap Albums chart and 111 on the US Billboard 200.
'Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1' is the fourth studio album by Lupe Fiasco and was released on September 25, 2012. Production for the album took about three years and was originally set to be released in 2009 but was pushed back due to Lupe's third studio album 'Lasers.' 'Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1' was nominated for "Best Rap Album" at the 2012 Grammys.
'Control System' is the second studio album by Ab-Soul and was released on May 11, 2012. The 17-track album features guest appearances from Jhené Aiko, BJ The Chicago Kid, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, the late Alori Joh, and more. Alori Joh was the rapper's long-time girlfriend who passed in February of that year whose vocals were crucial to the project. On the back cover, the rapper honors her writing, "Dedicated to the beautiful soul of Loriana Angel Johnson aka Alori Joh."
'The Heist' is the debut studio album from the hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis which was released on October 9, 2012. The album featured guest appearances by ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Ray Dalton, and more. Their lead single "Thrift Shop" which later would go on to take home the "Best Rap Song" at the 2012 Grammys peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single "Can't Hold Us" followed with peaking at number one as well on the Billboard Hot 100. Macklemore and Lewis also took home "Best Rap Album" for 'The Heist' and the award of 'Best New Artist' at the 2012 Grammys.
'Based on a T.R.U. Story" is the debut album for 2 Chainz which was released on August 14, 2012. The Georgia native tapped in Young Money superstars Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne for his debut solo album along with features from Kanye, John Legend, The-Dream, Mike Posner, and more. Hits such as "No Lie," "Birthday Song," and "I'm Different" paved 2 Chainz's road to rap stardom. His debut effort also landed him with a "Best Rap Album" Grammy nod at the 2012 awards.