With 2018 having wrapped up, I figured that I would pick some of my favorite albums from this year and give a little bit about why they were my favorites. They may not actually be the top 5 to many other people, but they meant a lot to me. Presented in no particular order, here they are…
I WANT TO DIE IN NEW ORLEANS by $UICIDEBOY$
$UICIDEBOY$, a hip group from New Orleans composed of $crim and Ruby, dropped their debut commercial album I WANT TO DIE IN NEW ORLEANS in September of 2018. The anticipation for this album had been building up because snippets of songs and beats were featured on Instagram. In my own personal opinion, the album itself is impressive in execution, taking everything great about the group and cultivating it to perfection. It pays tribute to hip-hop groups like Three Six Mafia, whom the boys have often sampled in the past. Songs like “CARROLLTON,” “COMA,” and “PHANTOM MENACE” were some of the best from the album and gritty and hard-hitting. I would recommend this album if you have an interest in metal and rap or just happen to wonder what it would sound like if the two had a baby.
Isolation by Kali Uchis
Colombian-American singer-songwriter Karly-Marina Loaiza, also known as Kali Uchis, dropped her debut studio album, Isolation, back in April of 2018. Now, normally, I don’t prefer this genre of music, but I decided to give it a listen because of her many popular features with Tyler the Creator. I can honestly say it was unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time. The features alone from people like Steve Lacy from The Internet and Tyler the Creator are impressive. Songs like “After the Storm” and “Just a Stranger” were the centerpiece of this funk-tastic album. Kali’s voice carries like the slight breeze of a summer’s day and is the focal point of the album.
Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt
Thebe Neruda Kgositsile AKA Earl Sweatshirt is someone that I’ve paid respect to in a previous review. Earl Sweatshirt is by far the most lyrically talented artist on the rap scene today. Earl’s third studio album, Some Rap Songs,is emotionally and artistically a masterpiece. This album reveals the line between jazz and hip-hop. Earl’s feelings of the past were revealed through the lyrics from songs like “Red Water”:
“Blood in the water, I was walkin’ in my sleep
Blood on my father, I forgot another dream”
As a whole, the album’s experimental tone and lyricism are what make it memorable. Its brevity adds to the album’s appeal. This trait is unlike previous albums where I felt the instrumental pieces were carried out for too long. Having heard this, one can only wonder what else is in store for Earl.
TA1300 by Denzel Curry
Denzel Curry, native south Florida rapper, dropped his third studio album, TA13OO, in the summer of 2018, bringing to the scene a truly impressive work. Denzel Curry is a part of what some people would define as “Soundcloud Rap.” Soundcloud is a popular streaming service where anyone can upload their music for others to enjoy. The album itself is his statement about his own pain and youth. Songs like “BLACK BALLOONS | 13LACK 13ALLOONZ” show the lighter side of Curry’s painful emotional statement. In contrast, songs like “VENGEANCE | VENGEANCE” are brash and sporadic with a catchy chorus and morbid verses from artists JPEGMAFIA and Zillakami. As a whole, this album is an impressive statement from the artist as he explores himself.
FM! by Vince Staples
Vince Staples, west-coast rapper, drops his third studio album, FM!, a rather short but sweet album that only continually exemplifies his ability as an artist. The interesting aspects of this are the interludes, which have these twenty-second snippets with artists like Earl Sweatshirt and Tyga. As the title of the album would suggest, this feels radio-esque. They are also abruptly cut off, emulating the way radio stations play music clips from popular artists. I think Vince is consciously aware of this because he is teasing audiences with artists that he appreciates greatly. This album ultimately is the embodiment of west-coast rap and everything that Vince Staples loves about it. Tracks like “Feels like Summer” and “Outside!” read as happy and upbeat, encompassing Staples own feelings about his home.