I'm refusing to confine myself to strictly new shit for this one, because half the stuff I'm listening to right now is either years old or hasn't been released yet (shh, don't tell). Regardless of my bad example, you should buy these anyway.
Blue Scholars - Blue Scholars (2005)
You can go ahead and pull my hip hop card on this one, because I am just catching up with the Blue Scholars' catalogue. And it is quite a collection of work, let me tell you. If you somehow haven't heard this album, go pick it up posthaste because it is consistently well-produced, thoughtful, and intelligent in a clear-eyed neo-Marxist fashion. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but aside from all that gibberish, Geologic drops hella one-liners all over the place. "DJ, bless the crowd with the sign of the cross-fader." Indeed.
Oddisee - Mental Liberation (2009)
You really can't go wrong with anything by Oddisee, but since this is his latest and his first proper solo release that I can find, you might as well go with this one. If you're not familiar with him, he's an MC/producer from D.C. who has been percolating in the underground with a bunch of side projects for a while now. He's worked with J-Live, De La, and tons of others I can't remember off the top of my head, and he's even managed to hold his own on the mic next to such luminaries. He reminds me of Black Milk in the sense that he's a talented producer who can also spit a verse to rival any regular rapper. Plus his flow blows Kanye's out the water. You get the picture.
Method Man & Redman - Blackout! 2 (2009)
Okay, so this one isn't officially "out" yet, but it deserves mention because it's fucking hot. The whole world and I have been waiting for this one since the first "Blackout!" came out ten years ago, and Red and Meth finally decided to bless us with a sequel. The album hasn't officially dropped, but I can officially announce that it's as good as the first go-round, at least on first listen, which is admittedly very preliminary and liable to change. Whereas the first album's track list felt a little bloated at times, this one feels stripped down to its strongest components, even though it's just two tracks shorter. When it hits shelves, or iTunes columns, it's worth your money.
Tash - Rap Life (1999)
Hip hop blog hat-tip time: I copped this one on a recommendation from the review at Hip Hop Isn't Dead. The fact that I had some leftover iTunes gift cards from Christmas (I know, right??) also helped in the decision-making process. For a ten year old album, it has aged surprisingly well, although it does bear that signature '90s Alkaholiks vibe. But that's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned, and I've always been a fan of Tash's flow so it was a no-brainer really. This one may be more for West Coast heads like myself, but I think with an open mind anyone would enjoy it. By the way, did you know that if you type "hip hop isn't" into Google, its only suggestion is, "Hip Hop Isn't Music"??? Two thousand fucking nine, folks.
Abstract Rude - Rejuvenation
I won't deny it. I'm a huge Project Blowed stan. And it's not just because I feel like I know a lot of these guys from my days researching down there. It's because their music is so damn good, so damn often. You almost NEVER hear anything whack come out of this crew, and that is a rare endorsement in this day and age. It isn't just Aceyalone, either. Of late, many of his current and former label-mates have surpassed him in terms of sheer hunger, which has propelled them to the head of the pack. Abstract Rude is one who has been deserving of the shine for a while now, and hopefully, with Rhymesayers picking him up for his latest, he will finally get some well-earned recognition. Everything that needs to be said about has already gotten aired in my review of "Rejuvenation" over at RapReviews.com. Read if you must, but buy it for sure.