Kennedy London, Staff Writer
Around the end of every year, we as appreciators of music like to compile our favorite albums that came out. However, in the mainstream we tend to see the same few albums being circulated like they are the holy grail. On one hand, some of the albums do deserve the recognition, and on the other hand we understand the universal co-signing albums get by popular entities.
In 2018, albums like Invasion of Privacy, Daytona, Victory Lap, Astroworld, Beerbongs & Bentleys, Everything is Love, and Scorpion were the ones that were shuffled around in conversation from big publications to casual circles. Now, there are plenty of artists and music missing from these discussions that not only deserve the recognition, but are often purposefully left out because they might not fit a certain casual quota. The following 7 albums are albums I feel deserve as much credit and just as much shine as the big industry darlings.
Ta13oo by Denzel Curry
Versatile and energetic Florida rapper Denzel Curry delivers a complex, thoughtful, and frenetic album with Ta13oo. Curry barrels through issues such as suicide, depression, manipulation of artists from the music industry, and the ignorance of the United States. Curry also flexes his rapping ability with incredible flows and well-structured verses. The production and features also adds to the rollercoaster of emotions and hype that is spread throughout the album. Songs like “Sirens”, “SUMO”, “Switch It Up”, and “Clout Cobain” illustrate the anger and confidence that Curry possess. This was my favorite rap album of 2018 and definitely deserves more credit.
Care for Me by Saba
Care For Me contains some of the most emotional storytelling and music of any album in 2018. Dedicated to his late cousin Walter “John Walt” Long Jr., Saba beautifully crafts an album full of meaningful commentary and heart-wrenching honesty. Tracks such as “Life”, “Logout”, and “Calligraphy” portray Saba’s thoughts and emotions as genuine and deeply reflective. Also, the tag team of the track “Prom/King” followed by “Heaven All Around Me” is absolutely gut-punching to listen to. I have to be honest, I almost cried listening to this album.
Fetti by Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, & The Alchemist
Rappers Freddie Gibbs & Curren$y and legendary producer The Alchemist team up to deliver an album full of grit, smoothness, and charisma. Clocking in at a brisk 23 minutes, Gibbs and Curren$y tag team the flavorful beats created by Alchemist with wonderful chemistry. The rhymes are crisp, the flows are flawless, and the space created in the beats are well-crafted. At times, Alchemist overshadows both rappers with the production; it just seems like he’s flexing his guns to let listeners know he is just as important to this project. Fetti is definitely a great project that Hip-Hop listeners should have in their library.
No News is Good News by Phonte
Little Brother alum Phonte finds a mature and soulful corner in Hip-Hop with his second album No News is Good News. Phonte’s slick rhyming and thoughtful lyrics fuse perfectly with the layered production. Phonte’s perspective as an older presence in Hip-Hop is honest and raw in songs like “Such is Life” and “Cry No More” in addition to his more aggressive and braggadocious songs like “So Help Me God”. Not one moment is wasted on the album as Phonte gets into an older phase in his life.
Pieces of a Man by Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins crafts a incredibly polished, introspective, and sleek album with Pieces of a Man. Jenkins’ slick rhymes, versatile flows, and grounded lyrics give his perspective strong legs to stand on. The outstanding production from producers like Kaytranada, Black Milk, and THEMpeople support Jenkins’ strong rapping. His themes including love, trust, relationships, honesty, and other are well-explored. This album is proof that Mick Jenkins is here to stay.
Supreme Blientele by Westside Gunn
Buffalo rapper and Griselda member Westside Gunn delivers a grimy, dirty, and tonally dark rap album that has an incredibly cutthroat delivery. The wrestling theme and references are staples in Gunn’s music and is understandably present here. Gunn’s distinctive voice and rapping style are dominate all across the album as his tales of riches, violence, and drugs never get old. The album also has an all-star roster of featured rappers and producers including Benny The Butcher, Conway, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, The Alchemist, 9th Wonder, Daringer, and Statik Selektah. This is underground gritty rap done right.
Tana Talk 3 by Benny The Butcher
Buffalo rapper and Griselda member like Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher knows what he his and lays out his ruthless persona with his phenomenal album Tana Talk 3. Benny’s gritty rhymes and tales of drug dealing paint a vivid and visceral picture. With production handled by Griselda producer Daringer and The Alchemist, an eerie atmosphere is undeniable and Benny expertly takes advantage of it. The album has a simple concept, but has exceptional execution in its’ themes, rapping, and storytelling. Griselda is on the rise and there are no signs of Benny and the other members slowing down.