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January 16th, 2024

Top 25 Albums del 2023 & Most Anticipated pa’ 2024

Last year’s music cycle brought us tons of new jams, including a slew of cross-genre collaborations and multilingual tracks that made us perrear and/or reflect on some meaningful political commentary. Before the new musical wave of 2024 gets into full swing, we want to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the 2023 heavy hitters.

For the first half of the albums selected below, we include a brief review of the artist’s body of work which for different reasons stood out from the musical landscape of 2023. From independent to commercial and from chill to bold, defiant, visionary or political, from Latin to pop to hip-hop, these albums or EPs are memorable, worthwhile, and works of art that you should consider checking out. At the end, we share a sneak peak on some of the artists we’re most excited to hear in 2024, and their highly-anticipated projects scheduled or rumored to be released this year.

The Must-Listen To Albums of 2023

1. J Noa, ‘Autodidacta’

Afro-Dominican rapper, nicknamed “la hija del rap” blessed us with a must-listen-to album for any serious followers of Latin-American rap, bars and flows. J Noa is only 18 years-old and is on the rise, ready for a battle, holds no punches and dominates the beat with such lyrical prowess and precision. Her skillful flow changes on “Autodidactica”, “Paranoia”, and “No Me Pueden Parar” at lightning-speed will leave you dizzy or with your mouth wide open. Her storytelling is poignant and truthful and her race, class, and gender analysis is as on-point as it is refreshing. If she continues steadily growing her discography and fanbase in the years to come, she has the potential of surpassing the likes of lyricist icons like Residente or Ana Tijoux. 

2. Mon Laferte, ‘Autopoiética’

Autopoiésis is a term coined by Chilean biologists Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana in the 1970s, to describe the cyclical self-maintenance of cells; Laferte turns science to poetic album themes of endless self transformation. From cumbia, bossa nova, trip hop, dance-electronica, to reggaeton, salsa and boleros, Mon Laferte delivers a cohesive, mature, and dynamic body of work that is wholeheartedly and unapologetically feminist. Standout tracks include, “Tenochtitlán”, “Te juro que volveré”, “NO+SAD”, “Autopoiética”, and “40 y MM”.

3. Becky G, ‘ESQUINAS’

There is a direct throughline between Linda Rondstadt’s 1987 classic album “Canciones de mi Padre” and Becky G’s release that is her most vulnerable, emotional, and deeply personal. This album is a labor of love and an ode to the songs and style of music that her parents and grandparents listened to. Becky ends the album with a beautiful, melancholic, and nostalgic love letter to her now-deceased grandfather titled, “Querido Abuelo”. The way this album ends may move you to watery eyes (maybe even a tear or two!).

4. Nicki Minaj, ‘Pink Friday 2’

The Queen of Rap has returned! And this time she has fed us a Billboard 200 #1 fire album that only she could deliver. “Pink Friday 2” is the rapper’s long-anticipated fifth studio album and Nicki Minaj is as hungry and ferocious as when she first started with her mixtape releases. In tracks like “Barbie Dangerous”, “Big Difference”, “Falling 4 U”, and “Bahm Bahm” she reminds us why and how she is lyrically a GOAT. She opens the album with vulnerability on “Are You Gone Already” lamenting how her father passed away just days before he was supposed to meet her newborn son, on “Blessings” she gets spiritual, and on commercial records like “Cowgirl” with up-and-coming Latina singer Lourdiz, “Everybody” with Lil Uzi Vert, and “Needle” with Drake, she once again gives us the nostalgic pop versatility that catapulted her to the global superstardom that she still enjoys til this day.

5. Noname, ‘Sundial’

Noname’s album is a classic, such a deep and profound labor of love. It is revealing that this album is not commercialized, because it is so visionary, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist by nature. But not in a holier-than-thou-kind of way. Noname makes important social commentaries where she reflects on the contradictions and ironies, including how she herself has fallen into that. She isn’t pretentious or arrogant and the album is the most bare and authentic. “Hold me down” is an indictment of identity politics and capitalism. “Balloons” has such a great chorus and she mixes sci-fi and cosmic imagery. She has standout features from Ayoni, Jay Electronica and Common and on “Potentially the interlude” she repeatedly warns us, “people say they love you, but they really love potential / not the person that’s in front of them, the person you’ll grow into.”

6. Stephen Sánchez, ‘Angel Face’

If you enjoy oldies, you absolutely must listen to this emerging 21 year-old singer-songwriter with an old soul who truly has a classic album on his hands. A descendant of the doo-wop of Rosie and the Originals, following his breakout hit “Until I Found You”, Stephen has not looked back and has delivered a no-skip album that contains beautifully poetic and heartbreaking tracks like “Evangeline”, “Be More”, and “Something About Her”. I saw him live in Austin, Texas and rarely does an artist sound even better in-person. His album and live performances are nostalgic, moving, grief-stricken, and hopelessly romantic. *insert teardrop*

7. Karol G, ‘Mañana Será Bonito’

From breaking records on Spotify, Billboard and a US and world tour, Karol G cannot be stopped. She gives us banger after banger, so Karol G truly knows how to make catchy and memorable songs that work well on radio and Tik-Tok. Her versatility across genres from reggaeton, to pop, to Mexican regional music is cute to listen to, particularly the songs that speak about the good-for-nothing men of our past in songs like “TGQ” with Shakira and “Gucci Los Paños”–the Paquita la del Barrio of this generation, lol.

8. Doja Cat, ‘Scarlet’

It seems like Doja had something to prove or get off her chest on this album as she delivers a defiant, cohesive, and mature body of work. Previously criticized for being more pop than hip hop, Doja created a solid rap album with standout songs like “WYM Freestyle”, “Paint the Town Red”, “Ouchies”, “Agora Hills” and “Demons”–which the latter has a fire beat that should make anyone blast it through their car speakers. I attended her Scarlet Tour in Las Vegas and she truly knows how to put on a show. Through her shaved head and eyebrows, rebellious spirit, and punk-rock aesthetic, she truly provides representation for the weird girls (and boys) that don’t neatly fit into one mainstream box, and we are here for it.

9. Travis Scott, ‘UTOPIA’

I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this album as much as I did. It has a steady and chill vibe. It is an album you can play right through without needing to skip songs and no particular songs stood out because everything is thoroughly and equally enjoyed from top to bottom. He also has a few notable guests like Bad Bunny, Beyoncé, Kid Cudi, SZA, and the Weeknd, among others. Overall, it is a great album with a praise-worthy production.

10. Bad Bunny, ‘Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana’

Is there anyone Bad Bunny didn’t throw shots at in this trap-dominated album? From J. Balvin to Karol G to his fake fans, Bad Bunny was not holding back and he had a lot to flaunt, provoke, reflect, and vent. As the most-streamed artist on the planet, Bad Bunny was expected to again break records, as he undoubtedly did with this album being his third Spanish-language album landing No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The orchestral opening track is an intense, emotional and defiant monologue, the “Monaco” beat is way too memorable, the guest features by Young Miko, Luar La L, and Eladio Carrión are standouts, and the dramatic Madonna “Vogue” sample he used on “VOU 787” is queerly stellar.  

11. Ice Spice, ‘Like…?’

Up-and-coming 23 year-old rapper Ice Spice had such a breakout year with songs with the likes of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. The Bronx rapper of Dominican and African-American parents definitely knows how to make good bops like “Deli”, “Princess Diana”, “Munch” and on “Bikini Bottom” she raises the important and existential question of our time: “Like… How can I lose if I’m already chose?”

12. DannyLux, ‘DLUX’

This is another cohesive, no-skip vibe of an album. DannyLux mixes emo-pop and R&B into Mexican Regional music in ways that sound so unique, refreshing, and distinctive. There is a tender, romantic, softness to him and his voice that almost makes the album feel ethereal throughout. Stand out tracks are “Atrapado”, “Te Fallé”, “¿Cómo te lo Explico?”, “Me Cambiaste” with Eslabón Armado, and the outro song “House of Lux” is a short-lived fun, catchy, queer house anthem. *heart emoji here*

13. ¡Los Indios!, ‘Born Again Savage’

This Tucson-based, indigenous rap duo shines through on an album that is all hip-hop in its purest form – refreshing, real, and unapologetically political. From the political poetry reminiscent of early 2pac to the hip-hop beats that hint nods to Wu-Tang Clan, The Coup or KRS-One, stand out tracks are the aptly opener “Enter My Light” with the theme of everything on earth is kin, “Piece of Love” for its loving tenderness, “35th and 10th” for the intersectional issues of indigenous identity and misguided/erroneous immigration policies, and “Red Menace” which condems genocide and utters words notably and cowardly absent in every other album: “Free Palestine! Free Palestine!”

Other very notable albums of 2023 include:

  1. Janelle Monáe, ‘The Age of Pleasure’
  2. Lauren Jaurengui, ‘In Between’ 
  3. Humbe, ‘ESENCIA’
  4. Rauw Alejandro, ‘PLAYA SATURNO’
  5. Y La Bamba, ‘Lucha’
  6. Victoria Monét, ‘Jaguar II’
  7. Bellakath, ‘Kittyponeo’
  8. Myke Towers, ‘LVEU: VIVE LA TUYA NO LA MÍA’
  9. Grupo Frontera, ’El Comienzo’ 
  10. Alemán, ‘Haciéndolo Fino’
  11. Peso Pluma, ‘Genesis’
  12. Chiquis, ‘BEE SIDE’

Some of Our Most Anticipated albums for 2024

  • Ana Tijoux, ‘Vida’
  • Megan Thee Stallion, TBA
  • Doechii, TBA
  • Kid Cudi, ‘Insano’
  • Residente, TBA
  • Young Miko, TBA
  • Kali Uchis, Orquídeas
  • Miguel, ‘Visera’
  • Peso Pluma, TBA
  • Kehlani, TBA
  • Flo Milli, ‘Fine Ho, Stay’
  • Caloncho, ‘Tofu’
  • Brittany Howard, ‘What Now’
  • Jhené Aiko, TBA
  • Danna Paola, TBA
  • Latin MAFIA, TBA
  • Tokischa, TBA
  • Snow Tha Product, TBA
  • Tems, TBA
  • Anitta, TBA
  • Tyla, TBA
  • Omar Apollo, TBA
  • Cardi B, TBA


Osmani R. Alcaraz-Ochoa is a writer, poet, and organizer living in San Antonio, Tejas.

Paid for in part by Mijente PAC, 734 W Polk St., Phoenix, AZ 85007, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.