2018 was a year of record breaking releases in rap music. Cardi B continued making money moves as she became the first female rapper with 2 Billboard Hot 100 Number 1s with songs from Invasion of Privacy. There were even rappers who crushed other rappers’ records as Drake’s Scorpion broke J. Cole’s KOD single-day streaming record.
Numerous big names in hip-hop received huge notoriety including Travis Scott for his album AstroWorld and Future’s Beastmode2. However, with all of these superstars in the spotlight, many have forgotten about other albums that arrived this year that deserve to shine as well.
If you were snoozing, Hola Manito is here to wake you up with 3 albums you shouldn’t have slept on this year. Check them out below.
Keeping that traditional NYC sound strong STILL is Jim Jones’ in his sixth solo studio album, Wasted Talent. Capo’s corner stories are what turned him into the chart-topping star we know him to be today, as he reflects on them in his raps with this release. Now a veteran in the hip-hop game, The Diplomat delivers distinctly as he shares his history with Harlem streets. Using soul samples and snippets from the movie, A Bronx Tale, which inspired the title, listeners get a classic sense as one of rap’s OGs spits game on how gangsta meets gentleman all while showing his growth. Diving deeper into the nostalgia, Jimmy joins force with The Heatmakerz who helped hone Dipset’s signature sound. Additionally, he recruits the soldiers he went to war with as The Diplomats, Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and Jones, are reunited on tracks together throughout the album. Although feeling nostalgic, Jim Jones gives a few nods to several newcomers with features from Mozzy, Ball Greezy, and YFN Lucci, just to name a few. Overall, the OG gave an outstanding performance with an album that was prolific, poignant, and profound. Wasted Talent should be standout in Capo’s catalog as well as one in 2018.
Getting a second chance at life and in the rap game was depicted in Jay Rock’s Redemption. After suffering from a motorcycle accident that left him with several broken bones in 2016, Jay Rock channeled his moment in cheating death into his latest studio album. That same winning attitude went into a body of work that’s in talks for rap Album of the Year. Since receiving super single success from “King’s Dead” earlier this year, he’s back and better than ever. Rock revisited hard times that turned into triumphs and told them on recent album. Tracks such as “WIN” and the album titled track, “Redemption,” are all about overcoming obstacles. Exploring various aspects of life in these songs, Jay Rock contemplates his personal conflicts brought on by growing up as a young black man in Watts, California. “For What It’s Worth,” “ES Tales,” and “OSOM” might tap into them the most. Other underlying themes on the album include identity, self-medication, paranoia, and financial struggle. Redemption was Jay Rock’s return to music following a 3 year hiatus. He showed he hadn’t missed a step and pushed to progress his skillset utilizing various flows and uncovering another side of himself.
Black Panther: The Album
With Black Panther being a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s only fitting the soundtrack is just as star studded as the film. Director Ryan Coogler called on Kendrick Lamar to curate an album that aligned with his artistic vision of the film and explained “what it meant to be African.” Lamar enlisted an army of artists that carried out aspects and elements culturally appropriate for the Marvel movie. Much like the film, Lamar created a harmonious blend of Pan-Africanism and West Coast music made to sound futuristic. Heavy hitters from Top Dawg’s roster made appearances as Ab-Soul, SZA, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock were big features on the film soundtrack. Mozzy, SOB x RBE, Anderson .Paak, and Vince Staples were brought on board to show some California Love as well. Along with a significant West Coast presence, Africa was accurately depicted. Traditional sounds utilizing drums, flutes, and tribal language were incorporated for the soundtrack. In addition, the ensemble cast captured the energy and essence of the main character’s in Black Panther. Killmonger’s complexities were covered in “King’s Dead,” while T’Challa’s feelings were focused on “I Am.” The spirit of the Black Panther was certainly captured by King Kendrick and friends for an album that executed depth, duality and dope ass raps.
What are some albums that you think were slept on this year? Say something in a comment below.