Despite the bad wrap 2018 has gotten, I think it was a fairly decent year for Hip-Hop. Here are my Top 5 Hip-Hop/Rap Albums of 2018. Keep in mind, this is my opinion, you don’t have to agree with me.
5. KOD by J. Cole
KOD is J. Cole’s highly anticipated fifth studio album - following up his personal, thoughtful, and well produced project, For Your Eyes Only (2016).
KOD is, in my opinion, the strongest album of the year from a conceptual standpoint. While this project doesn’t have as much of a personal feel as For Your Eyes Only, Cole points out all the different ways in which he views society coping with their stresses and problems. Furthermore, he does so in a way that is metaphorical; using aliases like his alter ego, “Kill Edward”.
From my listening experience, KOD’s best track is Photograph, because it is so incredibly relevant from my point of view - it highlights a world full of lust that is enabled by humanity’s social media obsession.
Favorite Tracks: Photograph, ATM.
Least Favorite Tracks: Motiv8
4. Bobby Tarantino II by Logic
BT2 is yet another project from the "mixtape Logic" that “1-800 fans” seem to adore. While my personal taste prefers the lyrical Logic that we see in Under Pressure(2014) and The Incredible True Story(2015), I can not stress enough how pleasantly surprised I was by this project.
BT2, in my mind, far surpasses its predecessor, Bobby Tarantino (2016), and furthermore, introduces a Logic that is both hype rap and lyrical rap in one great, blended mix.
Favorite Tracks: Midnight, Contra
Least Favorite Tracks: Everyday, Overnight
3. Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt’s long awaited return comes in the form of a 24 minute, experimental project consisting solely of one minute and thirty second songs?
Nothing had been released by Earl since his critically acclaimed project I Don’t Like S**t I Don’t Go Outside (2015), and so, naturally, I expected some grand reveal after a 3 and a half year hiatus. However, upon first glance at the mere duration of the project, I was pretty discouraged.
'No matter', I thought, 'I’ll just listen attentively anyway'. So that’s what I did.
Earl has had a difficult year in the form of his distant father dying just months before he would be reunited with him, and one of his best friends and collaborators passing away from accidental overdose; Mac Miller.
Some Rap Songs is a project unlike any I’ve heard before. I tend to not like odd, experimental, and distorted beats paired with overtly melancholic lyrics - especially after such a long break from someone who hasn’t always been that way. But, there is just something about the change I see in Earl through Some Rap Songs that sticks with me. I find myself replaying it over and over.
I may need more time to let this one sink in fully - there is a lot to digest.
Favorite Tracks: The Mint, The Bends, December 24, Cold Summers, Azucar.
Least Favorite Tracks: Nowhere2go. (I still enjoy it to an extent).
2. DAYTONA by Pusha-T (Prod. Kanye West)
I think DAYTONA is on here due in part to the fact that I had never really listened to Pusha-T before I heard this 7 track project.
Kanye, once again, produces great instrumentals, while "King Push" delivered great lyrics and sparked beef with Drake, who’s 2018 project, Scorpion, did not even register in my mind as a top 10 for this year.
Overall, this album is just motivating, well-produced, and I simply have no problems with it. It registers above Earl Sweatshirt’s return only because of the impact it has had among the Hip-Hop community: (Drake beef).
It’s a great listen, and, most of all; it got me to like listening to Rick Ross a little bit.
Favorite Tracks: ALL
Least Favorite Tracks: None.
1. Iridescence by BROCKHAMPTON
This may very well be disagreed with. I don’t really care.
BROCKHAMPTON, America’s favorite boy band, came out with their fourth studio album this year: Iridescence. This release bridged a gap between their Saturation trilogy, and the present - a time without former member and co-founder, Ameer Vann.
The groups fourth album, Puppy, was supposed to release in May of 2018, but following sexual assault allegations against Ameer, BROCKHAMPTON decided to take time to think and process next steps.
To be honest, I am so glad they released this project over Puppy.
Iridescence slaps. I didn’t expect it, but EVERY song makes me feel something. I realize this may be heavily skewed, but it’s strictly my opinion.
I love this project. It impacts me and my emotions heavily, and that’s something that songs generally don’t do for me.
BUT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE ENTIRE ALBUM! I mean.. sheesh. Every song brings new emotions to the forefront both lyrically and production wise.
I see this new chapter for BROCKHAMPTON as a hopeful one. I see a group of innovators looking to redefine hip-hop, what it means to be a boy band, and to make people feel waves of emotion through their projects.
THAT is why this album is 2018’s best rap album. Fight me. (Not really, I love you).
Favorite Tracks: ALL
Least Favorite Tracks: None
By: Frank Helmstetter