My favorite albums of 2018.
2018 is definitely one of my favorite years of hip-hop! I didn’t listen to every hip-hop album out there during that year, but I listened to a lot.
Some of these albums I would rate higher than others, but they could be lower on the list. The order is mainly based on my enjoyment of these albums, and not their overall quality.
Here are my honorable mentions:
Definitely not enough R&B in 2018. This album is one of the better ones.
Standouts: Lost & Found, Teenage Fantasy, Blue Lights, Goodbyes.
This was my first Earl album and it was a surprisingly refreshing, eccentric, intense, yet brief, project. The MF Doom influences are strong with this one.
This would be higher, but I am not a huge fan of Earl’s style of music. Not yet, at least.
Standouts: The Mint, The Bends, Azucar, Riot!
Sometimes I don’t understand what Carti is saying, but he just makes it work somehow. His voice, flow, and the beat selection are all electrifying.
Standouts: RIP, Lean 4 Real, RIP Fredo.
Kodak’s most personal album yet. For better or for worse. The beat selection is close to perfection and Kodak sounds as confident as ever on the mic.
Standouts: Testimony, Gnarly, Malcolm X.X.X., If I’m Lyin, I’m Flyin, Could Of Been Different.
I am a huge Bobby Biceps fan, and let me tell you. This album is the best album of the year if you want to turn up or if you’re at the gym.
Braggadocio, trap, and lyrical hip-hop are all here. I still prefer mix-tape logic, but those days are gone.
Standouts: Midnight, Indica Badu, Warm It Up, Wassup, 44 More.
Awe-inspiring beat switches, perfectly-curated features, and a surprise-filled ride through psychedelia.
Reason this did not make it to my top five is because I think Rodeo is still overall a better album.
And because they messed up Nav’s verse. Jk.
Standouts: Stargazing, Carousel, Stop Trying To Be God, Yosemite, Can’t Say.
Best rap rock album of 2018? Cudi and Ye’s chemistry here is perfect.
Standouts: Feel The Love, Freeee, Reborn.
Brief, yet as sharp as a knife. I would agree that this is Pusha T’s best album to date, but I found his 2012 effort, My Name Is My Name, to be overall more enjoyable. Listen to Numbers On The Board.
Standouts: The Games We Play, Santeria, Infrared.
I wouldn’t call this a comeback for Meek because Wins and Losses, Meek’s last effort, was just as good as this one (Listen to 1942 Flows).
But now Meek is the champion of the people, and the album is doing much better commercially. Well deserved!
Standouts: Intro, Trauma, Respect The Game, Tic Tac Toe, Oodles O Noodles Babies
Even though I didn’t listen much to this album about a month after it was released, listening to it again recently made me realize how good this album actually is.
There’s not many other rappers that can put meaning into their music and still be successful in the mainstream.
I have been a fan of J. Cole since 2010, and while this doesn’t top his Premeditated Murder days, it’s still a very solid album.
Standouts: KOD, Photograph, The Cut Off, Kevin’s Heart, Once an Addict, 1985 — Intro to “The Fall Off”.
I think this is Rocky’s best album yet. His previous album, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, was very solid, and this one is just as good.
The experimental, unfinished sound was intentional, and Rocky’s various flows worked on every song. The features were also very well selected (French and Frank, in partiular).
Standouts: A$AP Forever REMIX, Fukk Sleep, Praise The Lord, CALLDROPS, Gunz N Butter, Brotha Man, Purity.
And here’s my official list.
J.I.D’s previous album, The Never Story, did not click with me that much. But DiCaprio 2 sure did. Soulful and the flow is on point. Love the features, too.
Standouts: 151 Rum, Workin’ Out, Skrawberries, Despacito Too.
MAN, THIS ALBUM IS STRAIGHT FLAMES.
Denzel switched up his slightly monotonous voice that he carried on Imperial.
The emotions are through the roof. Braggadocio, depression, suicide, oppression, and drugs, are all topics that Denzel cover with style and precision on this album.
Listening to this sometimes gets me some extra strength at the gym, too.
Standouts: BLACK BALLOONS, SUMO, SWITCH IT UP, SIRENS, PERCZ, VENGEANCE, BLACK METAL TERRORIST.
This album means a lot to me. It is probably my most played album this year. While it didn’t bring me back (fully) to mixtape Logic, it is still a very commendable effort by Logic in a huge year for hip-hop.
Standouts: Thank You, Everybody Dies, The Return, YSIV, Street Dreams II, Legacy, ICONIC, Last Call.
Damn. This one is emotional. You just gotta listen to it. Shout out to Chicago!
Standouts: BUSY / SIRENS, CALLIGRAPHY, PROM / KING, HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME
This one, to me, is a classic.
Lupe’s lyricism is at the top of his game, and the more I listen to this album, the more concepts and hidden meanings I find. So yes, this album, or much of Lupe’s music, isn’t for everyone.
But if you are interested, please listen to it. Just set down some time for it because the album is 98 minutes long.
And when you’re done with this album, go listen to Food & Liquor and Tetsuo & Youth. Both are also classics to me.
Standouts: Drogas, Manilla, WAV Files, Haile Selassie, Alan Forever, Stronger, Imagine, Stack That Cheese, Cripple, King Nas, Quotations from Chairman Fred, Happy Timbuck2 Day, Mural Jr.