Best Instrumental Hip-Hop Album

Secret Recipe by Kidsmeal

The long-awaited debut from local hip-hop mainstay DJ Kidsmeal finally dropped this year, and it was worth the wait. The sinewy bass line and reverb-drenched snare of “She’s an Artist” and the slow-riding funk of “TN Hit” were on every mix we made this summer, and for good reason—Kidsmeal’s strong melodies and technical prowess with the cuts and scratches are perfect for the hazy dog days. Never veering into turntablist wankery, Kidsmeal keeps songcraft at the core of his music while exploring the outer reaches of sonic space on tracks like the electro-flavored “Down to the Wire” and the Southern-struttin’ “Funky Farm.” SEAN L. MALONEY
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