It was much harder than I thought trying to narrow down the list because there were a lot of good albums this year. I watch Everyday Struggle, music videos on Youtube, State of the Culture, all the Genius interviews, lyric breakdowns, etc. I’m sure the marketing and the presence of the artist affect this list as well but on a subconscious level. Hip-Hop is the soundtrack for my life and has inspired me to write poetry. The hard copy of my first poetry book, D.A.Z.E., is dropping soon but anyway back to the albums of the year. Cop the old ebook version here.
Nipsey Hussle’s long-awaited debut studio album is my top album of the year for a few reasons. It’s like a Ted talk on how to build a business from the ground up. It’s so motivational I still listen to it at least once a week. On the mixtape scene for 13 years, Nipsey knew how to craft the perfect Grammy-nominated album to represent what he stands for. Black Capitalism weaves its way through his effortless flow as he tells his story of hustling to making music to entrepreneurship. The message was planted in his Marathon series, the mindset was apparent with the $100 mixtape Crenshaw, and it all came full circle with Victory Lap.
February 16, 2018
Keyz 2 the City 2
Blue Laces 2
Million While Your Young
“Last Time That I Checc’d”
“Hussle and Motivate”
Any other year this would have been my number #1 album. J.Cole’s surprise on 4/20 proved to be a perfect project for the climate of hip-hop in 2018. He touches on so many issues in the black community, and all of American I would have to write an entire article devoted to that. His wise words for young rappers and his honesty about his mother’s pain were examples of why Cole is a top-tier lyrical legend of music. The addiction-themed flows start from the inside but end up with almost an outsider’s view of today popular styles of hip-hop.
April 20, 2018
Pusha T’s album was the only one I enjoyed from the Good Music roll out and probably would have been my favorite album of the year if it was more than 7 tracks. That’s way too short for my taste but the quality of each song is so high the impact was priceless. Pusha T’s sharp lines flow over Ye’s best work of the year (to me)! The verse from Rick Ross blends well with the album and is one of the most memorable verses of the year. Fans of King Push were waiting for the album for a while but once it dropped it was full of lyrical gems.
May 25, 2018
If You Know You Know
“If You Know You Know”
Kevin Gates continued the Luca Brasi chapter detailing every part of his life in his unique fashion. His style is storyteller mixed with a master of the “flex” flow. I like the album being as comprehensive as a novel. Song after song adds layers to the story while detailing dealing with inmates, the law, family, and the streets. Obviously, this was his first release after getting out of jail so he focused on crafting a message to kids and his struggles. Overall the project was insightful yet has a lot of trap material.
September 27, 2018
A collaborative effort from Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, and producer Alchemist, the album is soulful beats, lyrically exercising, and potent. A lot of people say Freddie Gibbs outshines Curren$y but I don’t hear it. Their contrasting styles are evident, as Freddie’s aggressive flow tugs on your eardrums, while the Spitta’s flow is super smooth and steady. The tape is like a gift that you forgot about but when you opened it forgot about everything else. Gangsta Gibbs lyrical ability is severely underrated as his witty wordplay about crime, woman, weed, and guns never fail to impress me. Curren$y vivid verses about his lifestyle at always on point. Alchemist’s production needs an article of its own it was ridiculous.
October 31st, 2018
Saturday Night Special
Jay Rock killed this album detailing gangbanging, his struggles, overcoming everything, and his street life storytelling ability is the key to that. With each hard-hitting verse, he embodies someone who perfected their craft with a delivery and lyrics that are dynamic. Each song serves its purpose to give the album a well-rounded feel as Jay Rock raps about the projects he grew up in and the crimes he committed but he also talks about the negative realities of these choices. He also celebrates life and his accomplishment throughout the album. His survival of the motorbike accident in 2016 seems to be the foundation of the music and from there Jay Rock touches ever mood one would feel on the road to redemption.
June 15, 2018
Dave East touches bases with everybody in Hip-Hop with this project. Although there is plenty of modern production, the project reminds me of the ’90s with his lyrical ability mixed with star power. 19 tracks with verses from Fabolous to Gunna, BlocBoy JB, Lil Durk, Trouble, and Don Q, the tape is New York influenced storytelling paired with new age trap lingo and sounds. Clearly, this music is for the underground scene as the Harlem native says in his comfort zone. I don’t enjoy every song on the project, so I think it could have been a little more comprehensive. However, when East and the beat mesh it almost an instant classic in today’s hip-hop and on this project he has 5 songs that could be on his debut album.
July 27th, 2018
“I Don’t Understand”
“I Don’t Understand”
YG captures LA’s culture and his growth with this album but it has a lot of subpar lyrics. To me, this album flew under the radar because it was released the same week as Travis Scott’s Astroworld. I was in L.A. when this album dropped so that may have to do with the position of this album. YG dominates his lane with good music but his album has no overall focus. It seems like certain songs were at the YG standard while a few tracks were just thrown on the album. His energy is unmatched and his style is unique enough to always have an impact.
August 3, 2018
Young Dolph got a lot of attention when he said, “Fuck the 22 million,” and the album details why he made that decision. The South Memphis Kingpin is a role model for every entrepreneur. He is not signed to a label yet generates the same amount of attention as someone plugged in with industry insiders. While lyrically there’s not much there but trap talk and flexing, the album still has a touch of substance to inspire. Since the music is for hustle minded people I can see why a lot of people would bypass this project but based off of Dolph’s position in the game I thought it captured the moment perfectly.
September 21st, 2018
My Top Tracks:
Break The Bank
Playin Wit a Check
“Playin Wit a Check”
“Break the Bank”
“Still Smell Like It”
Playboi Carti has a lane, a sound, and he killed it with his album. While it may not be quite counted as a Hip-Hop album it is still one of the best projects that came out this year. I’m not a huge fun of Playboi but this project is perfect for its cause. Die Lit is new age hip-hop where there is just as much singing as there is rapping but for some reason, I enjoyed his style of doing it while most of the time I can’t stand it from other artists. I can’t quote any of the lyrics to you but I use to have all the melodies in my head whenever I listened to Playboi Carti debut.
May 11, 2018
Fell in Love (Ft. Bryson Tiller)
Long Time (Intro)
The World is Yours – Rich the Kid
The Book of Ryan – Royce da 5’9”
Gangland Landlord – Mozzy
Beloved – Dave East & Styles P
Freddie – Freddie Gibbs
Dicarpio 2 – J.I.D.
Not All Superheros Wear Capes – Metro Boomin
More Details About Daze (EBook)
The Depicted Abstractions of a Zoned Ebony (D.A.Z.E.) is a collection of 25 poems focusing on the psychology established constructs of motivation, pride, love, intelligence, and conformity. Readers are brought into the mind of Rudy the Stupendous Writer, through his poetic persona, as his honest and intimate thoughts are organized in cynical and conscious poetry.
My writing persona conveys the attitude, heart, experience, and spirit of African-Americans and Hip-Hop culture into poetry.
………there’s much more.
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