The year is coming to a close, and like pretty much every other music related site on the entire internet, I’m doing a top 10 albums list.
2018 has been one of the more memorable years in music for a while. It’s certainly had its ups and downs, and the landscape continues to evolve in a rapid and seemingly uncontrollable way. From the unfortunate scenarios surrounding the meteoric rise and catastrophic fall of characters like 6ix9ine and XXXTentacion, to genuine tragedies, such as the loss of young talent like Mac Miller and Avicii. We’ve also had to say goodbye to such legends as Aretha Franklin, Pete Shelley, Mark E. Smith and Vinnie Paul.
It’s not all been doom and gloom of course, there have been significant advancements in the genres we all know and love. The continued diversity of modern taste has been demonstrated, with artists from all over the world breaching mainstream audiences (shoutout K-Pop and Latin trap). Bedroom pop is unsurprisingly still on the rise, and a new wave of young artists continue to push the boundaries of creativity (Lets Eat Grandma, Kali Uchis).
In a year where Hip hop officially overtook rock as the most popular genre on the planet, and pop music was weirder than ever, here are my personal top 10 albums of 2018.
Cardi B is a divisive figure in the pop/hip hop realm at the moment. True, she may come out with a few annoying chirping noises and her distinctively South Bronx, ‘larger than life’ personality can sometimes come across as obnoxious, but you can’t knock her on her impressively genuine rise to fame and success within mainstream music in the last year. This isn’t a fluke either, Cardi may be a personality, but Invasion Of Privacy is pretty much back to back fun, with truly catchy club bangers.
Favourite Track: I Like It
Travis Scott returned this year with his third full length studio album, to great praise from fans and critics alike. The album shows the king of atmospheric trap solidifying his top tier role in the hip hop game, with astronomical (pun intended) catchy hits like Sicko Mode. While Scotts lyrics still rarely deviate from modern hip hop tropes, Astroworld is the most diverse entry in his discography both lyrically and musically. With an all star cast of features from Drake to Stevie Wonder, the album does exactly what you want a Travis Scott album to do, create a sense of wavy atmosphere combined with catchy hooks and seamless beat transitions that can accompany any situation.
Favourite Track: WAKE UP
Janelle Monáe does it all, a musician, an actress and a keen spokesperson for modern day civil rights, you can’t help but like her wholesomeness. Dirty Computer is Monáe’s third studio album, fantastically produced, dripping with style and sleekness. If Prince’s soul lives on, it’s within Janelle.
Favourite Track: I Got The Juice
My first album love of this year, Inglewood’s own SiR is probably my favourite contemporary RnB artist. This silky smooth set of songs is bound to make anyone fall in love and/or have the best sex of their lives.
Favourite Track: Something New
Bristolian punk band Idles returned to fantastically tackle various British issues for the second year in a row. Joy as an Act of Resistance is a high-powered shot into topics such as toxic masculinity, self love, class, immigration and Brexit. Unrelenting in aggression, but beautifully refined.
Favourite Track: Never Fight a Man With a Perm
City Morgue (and member Zillakami in-particular), have been on my watch list for ‘up next’ most of the year. Hell Or High Water is the most refined project in the whole ‘trap metal’ genre, combining both with ridiculous aggression but still retaining catchy choruses and memorable lyrics. Check out my full review here.
Favourite Track: Shinners13
My opinion on Vince Staples music has left me conflicted over the years. I enjoyed, but didn’t love, his 2014 debut, along with it’s follow up Summertime ’06. But his last album, The Big Fish Theory, did nothing for me, despite being critically acclaimed. FM is Staples at his finest. Perfectly flowing from start to finish and with a clear and concise theme, fantastic production and great features.
Favourite Track: No Bleedin
Daytona shows Pusha T on top form. With some of the best Kanye production in recent years, this album stands tall amongst it’s hip hop contemporaries. Clocking in at only 21 minutes, every track hits the nail on the head. This project is hard and quick, but the production really reeks of stylistic class and ‘drug dealer chic’.
Favourite Track: If You Know You Know
Chicago’s Noname is one of the most interesting artists of our time. Simultaneously combining sleek, beautiful production with thought provoking raps about everything from love to inequality. Noname excels in almost every aspect to deliver a follow up to her 2016 classic Telefone.
Favourite Track: Window
Denzel Curry has impressively overcome the widely parodied 2015 ‘meme single’ Ultimate to become one of the most regarded under-rated rappers in all of hip hop. This album confirms that Curry has the creative outlook to deliver a truly exhilarating full length project, with 3 distinctive ‘parts’ that encompass every aspect of his style. From the upbeat, funky first part, to the more melancholic, lyrical second, and the aggressive ‘hyped’ final chapter, TA13OO has something for everyone, and strives to encapsulate all that’s popular in contemporary hip hop in the best possible way.
Favourite Track: Vengeance
You can always keep up with what I’m listening to at: Last.fm
Playlist of Favourite Tracks: