That halfway mark of 2023 has passed, and hip-hop has already delivered some fantastic albums from burgeoning artists, rap veterans and established acts who have endured some tough times. So, XXL salutes some of the best hip-hop projects released this year up until July 21.

Ice Spice kicked off 2023 with her debut EP, Like..?, which was produced primarily by producer RiotUSA. The project features the Bronx baddie delivering saucy, girl-power rhymes over bouncy drill beats and pop-friendly fare. Songs like "In Ha Mood," "Princess Diana" and "Bikini Bottom" prove that she's no one-hit wonder. Spice also dropped her Like..? (Deluxe) album with three new tracks including the Jersey Club-inspired banger "Deli" this month.

A highly-anticipated album this year was Lil Uzi Vert's The Pink Tape. The Philadelphia rapper expanded his musical palette to include rock vibes, pop tracks and trap flavor. His boisterous tune "Amped" and flossy head-nodder "Flooded the Face" are among the highlights on his LP in addition to the NickI Minaj-assisted "Endless Fashion."

Despite harrowing legal situations, Gunna and Young Thug released their own albums this summer. Gunna dropped his new project, A Gift & a Curse, amid accusations that he snitched on Thug and his YSL crew, who are currently on trial for RICO charges. Thugger, on the other hand, surprisingly released his album, Business Is Business, given his circumstances. The Metro Boomin version of Thug's album is the better listen, with the boastful track "Money" featuring the late Juice Wrld and Nicki Minaj.

Overall, hip-hop came through with some solid albums for the first half of the year, including Killer Mike's Michael, Key Glock's Glockoma 2, Nas' Magic 2, Luh Tyler's My Vision and many more. Take a look at the best hip-hop projects of 2023 so far below.

See the Best Hip-Hop Projects of 2023 So Far