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Like yourself I haven't kept up with new releases or artists for ages but somehow over the years I have come across a few gems.
To start with British ones:
Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me (2001).
Maybe you know the tune 'Witness (1 Hope)' it was pretty popular on the radio & tv iirc, the album as a whole is top notch as well. Check 'Swords in the Dirt.' He's released at least 2 more albums since this one as well.
The Streets - Original Pirate Material (2002).
Half UK Garage half Hip-Hop, I'm sure you know it already since this should be in the top 10 out of any genre of the noughties.
Plan B - Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (2006).
From what I've seen on telly Plan B is now more of a singer these days but this album is exceptional, too many good tracks to mention.
JME - Poomplex (2006).
Grime can hardly be lumped in with Hip-Hop, but at a stretch you could call it Rap I suppose. JME's second Boy Better Know release is full of sick productions and lyrics (sorry, bars) that aren't the standard beefs with da mandems in da ends.
Stig of the Dump - The Homeless Microphonist EP (2006).
Toon Hip-Hop, vibe can get agro on this one but that's not a bad thing.
Lowkey - Dear Listener (2008).
Check 'Alphabet Assassin', who can match that? Lowkey shows up on this board from time to time, his album 'Soundtrack to the Struggle' from 2011 is excellent as well. Curiously he no longer makes music. EXTREMIST
Akala - DoubleThink (2010).
Akala released a couple of mixtapes and an album before DoubleThink, which I consider his finest work. Check 'Find No Enemy.'
Fliptrix - Theory of Rhyme (2010).
'Graffiti Won't Die' is jokes, quality productions throughout.
This post has gone on for far too long already so now I will just list albums, these aren't from the UK though.
Dead Prez - Lets Get Free (2000).
Immortal Technique - Revolutionary (2001).
Ludacris - Word of Mouf (2001).
Cunninlynguists - Will Rap for Food (2001).
Talib Kewli - Quality (2002).
Cyne - Time Being (2003).
Cyne - Evolution Flight (2005). This is my favourite album.
Rehab - Graffiti the World (2005, re-issued 2008).
Dälek - Gutter Tactics (2009).
Hopefully we can get a thread full of good stuff, I never heard Aesop Rock before so that's a start.