There have been plenty of good music that dropped in 2018 already from the Migos to Drake (this week) to Kanye hip-hop has been on a roll this year and we’re only halfway though it.
Seemingly, every week there has been a new highly anticipated album released by major names in the game. While numerous albums, these days, are loaded with skip-able tracks with only a few good songs, the albums on this list have been fire from start to finish in my opinion.
Here are my top five album in 2018, so far:
1. KOD – J. Cole
Fayetteville’s finest, J. Cole dropped KOD (Kids on Drugs, Kind Overdose, or Kill our Demons) in April and the album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard’s 200.
This is a complete album by Cole as he incorporates trap bangers with tracks “KOD”, “Motiv8”, and “Photograph” with more subtle thought inducing tracks like “BRACKETS”, “FRIENDS”, and “The Cut Off”.
Cole shows off his lyrical prowess on “Window Pain” where he reflects on his successes and understanding how blessed he is. He concluded the album with “1985”, which could be seen as a motivating diss track to a plethora of new rappers, most specifically Lil Pump.
Outside of Kendrick Lamar, Cole is one of the best hip-hop artists in the game today and this album showcases why.
2. Victory Lap – Nipsey Hussle
After releasing several mixtapes over the course of the last 10+ years, Nip finally released his debut album in March. Victory Lap was highly anticipated and it delivered.
The 16-track album showed that Nipsey isn’t just a “gangster rapper”, but more of a polished veteran in the game. Throughout the album Nipsey raps about generational wealth, investment money wisely, and what we all love Nispey for the most, LA gang references.
The most impressive track on the album is “Dedication” featuring Kendrick Lamar. While Kendrick killed his verse like he does on any song he’s on, Nispey lyrically was able to stand toe-to-toe with Kendrick and prove he can rap with the elites in the game.
3. Redemption – Jay Rock
While casual hip-hop fans probably haven’t heard of Jay Rock, the rest of us know Rock has been a staple in TDE since 2005.
Redemption is Rock’s third studio album and first since 2015. Personally, this is his best project to date. On every song, he raps like it’s his last one. His aggressive style is different from most artist today and it’s evident in tracks like “The Bloodiest” and “Win” and it’s a welcomed change.
While “King’s Dead” debuted as the single that hyped up the album tracks such as “Troopers”, “Rotation 112th”, and “OSOM” solidified how great the album really is. If this album is any indication of what Jay Rock has in store for us, through the duration of his career, then we’ll be in for something special.
4. Daytona – Pusha T
If you know you know!
Daytona was Pusha T’s third studio album and first fully produced by G.O.O.D Music label-mate Kanye West. Unbeknownst to most, Push has been one of the best lyricists in hip-hop for a long time and it was on full display on this album.
For those who know Push, we know what we are getting with him on his albums and it’s mostly drug talk and the casual Ric Flair reference, but his wordplay is always masterful.
The seven-track album is short, but was completed with precision.
This album also set up one of the better rap beefs in the modern hip-hop era, Pusha T versus Drake. On the track “Infrared”, Push takes a shot at Drake stemming from a long back and forth between the two.
Drake in turned came back with “Duppy Freestyle” in response which then caused King Push to unleash ultimate hell on Drake with “The Story of Adidon” diss track. He killed not just Drake but his mom, dad, and best friend all the while mentioning a “unknown” child Drake fathered. Ouch!
5. Harder Than Ever – Lil Baby
Lil Baby is a relatively new artist in hip-hop, but he is already making waves. The 23-year-old is the next big artist from Atlanta following in the footsteps of Future, Young Thug, Migos, 2 Chainz, T.I, Gucci Mane, 21 Savage, Lil Yatchy, Gunna, and seemingly everybody else.
Unlike most new rappers, Baby isn’t a gimmicky rapper who relies on trap beats, dances, and social media fame, this dude is actually talented.
Harder Than Ever illustrates his talents. Not only does he have great production throughout the album, but he displays a level of lyricism that isn’t like the typical mumble rap many of us are accustomed to from ATL rappers. He also raps with a mature nature that most of his peers don’t have.
Tracks such as “Leaked”, “Fit In”, “Bank”, and “First Class” highlight Baby’s maturity. Not many 23-year-olds are rapping about being fiscally responsible in their music, but that’s what separates Baby from the rest of the new generation rappers.
Best of the Rest:
Ye – Kanye West
Nasir – Nas
TESTING – ASAP Rocky
Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B
Gangin – SOB x RBE