They always say not to be overly personal or biased when writing, but here we are. These are my top ten albums of 2018. I chose these albums based on the ones I enjoyed the most, had the most replay value, and affected me the closest. Before we dive in, let’s list a few honorable mentions that couldn’t make the list but I felt deserved some shine. First is T-Rova, a rapper out of Tampa, FL. Rova came through with his best project yet on Without Further Ado. Showing a lot of growth musically, setting him up for a big 2019. I loved the new album from Mythos titled Dreamgirl, some beautiful pop music that just sounds like butter. I know people will attack me for this but Testing from A$AP Rocky I actually really liked as well, it had some low points but a lot of the songs ended up sticking for me.
10. Cardi B- Invasion of Privacy
When Cardi first jumped out last year with Bodak Yellow, I really doubted her. I was completely wrong. Invasion of Privacy is a great album. “I like it” and “Birkenhead” are two of the most fun songs I’ve heard all year. Cardi fully proved me wrong by following her first smash hit with an album of smash hits, showing us she’ll probably be here for a while.
Favorites: I like it, Bodak Yellow, Bickenhead
9. Vince Staples- FM!
Vince finally dropped a proper follow up to Summertime 06’. His last few projects had been let downs to me and I was getting worried for Vince. FM! comes through fully with strong west coast beats and Vince rapping his ass off. It sits at 11 songs, and 22 minutes and he uses every second well. Only real gripe is I want more.
Favorites: Run the Bands, Relay, Don’t’ Get Chipped
8. Various Artists- Black Panther Soundtrack
This is probably the closest thing to a Kendrick album were getting for the next few years and I’m ok with that. This album, despite being for a movie soundtrack, is very diverse and the new faces showing up on every track keep your interest peaked. It switches sounds and styles without trying to force anything, except that one SZA and Kendrick song. Let’s scratch that one.
Favorites: Kings Dead, Paramedic!, Big Shot
7. Playboi Carti- Die Lit
Can this man do wrong? He’s one of the only artist who can rap about shooting 100 shots at everybody and make it sound like Mario Party on molly. Forget everything about bars and real rap and just let the ad libs take over. Carti keeps having fun and not giving a fuck and can you blame him?
Favorites: Foreign, Choppa Won’t Miss, Flatbed freestyle
6. Travis Scott- AstroWorld
Travis Scott won 2018. He dropped his biggest album to date, had his first child, headlined a sold out stadium tour, and had the biggest song of the year in Sicko Mode. Astroworld had been teased for a few years now and it didn’t disappoint. He does a great job of using his sound and energy to take you up and down the roller coaster that is this album. Tons of great collaborative efforts without it feeling like the features were carrying the album. Travis really made the exact album he wanted to and it was awesome.
Favorite: Sicko Mode, Coffee Bean, Can’t Say
5. Earl Sweatshirt- Some Rap Songs
This album is sad, it sits on loops on loops, and is Earls diary. He speaks openly on this album on death, his addictions, his mental issues, and for me it relates heavily. Earl isn’t looking for a shoulder to cry on or your sympathy, he just needs to get this shit off his chest and these songs were how he decided to do it.
Favorites: Shattered Dreams, The Bends, Riot!
4. Flowertruck– Mostly Sunny
I know almost nothing about this band, took me a while to even find a Twitter for them and I can’t even remember who pointed me in the direction of this project, but it is an amazing body of work. An alternative rock album with British punk vibes. It’s the first rock album I’ve loved in a long time.
Favorites: Falling Away, All My girlfriends Are Zeppelins, Comfort
3. Kali Uchis– Isolation
This album had it all, Kali stunts, struts, and stuns, like the stone cold killer she is, while still giving us emotion. As cliché as it is to say it really does remind me of a young Amy Winehouse, in the sense of command of sound and attention. The features on here are all stand out, from Tyler The Creator, Steve Lacy, and Jorja Smith. Kali is headed to pop star status and this album is first of many for her.
Favorites: Miami, Tomorrow, Feel Like a Fool
2. Kanye West, Kid Cudi– Kids See Ghost
There’s a lot of controversy that surrounds this album and by a lot I mean Kanye West. He had himself a wild year, sadly his Twitter made more headlines than the music for most of the year. But that doesn’t change how amazing this album is. Coming in at only 7 songs, all produced by Kanye, with pristine sounds and some of the best beats he’s made from this decade. Kid Cudi humming his soul away and rapping from what feels like a more mature perspective than we’ve come to expect from Mr. Cudder. The both of them are at the top of their game and made a cohesive album that makes you forget all about that red hat.
Favorites: Feel the Love, Reborn, 4th Dimension
1. Mac Miller- Swimming
Surprise, surprise right. What more can I say about this album that I haven’t. Mac’s final piece of art is his best. Musically he took his biggest steps forward, he was always growing and changing. Songs like Perfecto and 2009 showed that even though he was getting better, he still wasn’t fully there. A place I feel a lot of us are trapped in, life on paper being good and dandy, but the sense of lacking and not feeling complete tends to loom over in a fight for ‘am I doing enough?’ I hope Malcom has his peace, slowly I think the rest of the world will find peace in his loss while never forgetting the man and artist he was. Only thing I wonder now is who is he making music with up there?
Favorites: Self Care, Jet Fuel, What’s the Use?