This year is shaping up to be another great year for music, so here are 10 of my favorite releases so far. Mixtapes and EP’s are included.
Culture II – Migos
After last year’s Culture, the Migos had a lot to live up to with Culture II. Their unique use of the triplet flow would need to carry them to different heights in 2018, however, Culture II had some trouble finding its footing. With 24 songs and a lot of repetition, the Migos couldn’t necessarily top last years work. Regardless, Culture II does stand on its own when not being compared to the group’s previous work. With a majority of the songs being nothing but pure hype and top-notch features, the Migos deliver an above average album. With songs like “White Sand”, “Walk It Talk It”, and “Top Down On Da NAWF” being some of the better songs on this album, the Migos can once again dominate the charts and prove once again that they are one of the greatest musical trios of all time.
Amen – Rich Brian
Debut albums are imperative in modern music. The debut of an artist can be the make or break for their career now more than ever before. Rich Brian needed Amen to work so he can fully transition from music video star to respectable artist in the rap genre. Amen did an exceptional job at introducing the world to Rich Brian, however, this is greatly attributed to his style. The look, style, and sound of Rich Brian scream eccentricity. This unusualness greatly benefits Amen. Rich Brian created some of my favorite songs on Amen such as “Trespass” and “See Me” which each deliver a satisfactory level of hype and appreciation towards Rich Brian’s work. While this album does has some flaws and may not be for everyone, I believe that for a debut release Rich Brian is on the right path.
Black Panther (The Album) – Kendrick Lamar
With movie soundtracks on the rise, it only makes sense that Kendrick Lamar would be the one to bring the best lyrics, production, and guests to Black Panther. Kendrick’s connections are what really make this album a high-caliber release in 2018. Kendrick Lamar’s voice echoes all over this album as he puts several guests on the spot and allows them to voice their own interpretation of what the Black Panther is about. Songs like “Paramedic”, “X”, and “Pray for Me” are just a few of the prodigious songs that can accurately portray the trials and tribulations that Black Panther faces in his billion dollar grossing movie. Hopefully, this soundtrack can be the spark that lights the way for more outstanding movie soundtracks in the future.
2 Heartless – Moneybagg Yo
Moneybagg Yo’s 13th mixtape 2 Heartless is an exhilarating way to start the year for the Memphis rapper. After a solid string of releases in 2017, Moneybagg was destined for greatness this year, and thankfully he delivered. 2 Heartless proves a point in its 18 songs. Moneybagg is here to stay, and his greatness will stretch for years to come. With 14 solo songs and four features, Moneybagg is able to drive this mixtape in the right direction with his heartfelt storytelling about his quest for money, fame, and love. This album is a great listen in one sitting, however, a few songs can be enjoyed outside of the project. Surely, this is not the last we’ll hear from Moneybagg this year and any future releases have a lot to live up to with 2 Heartless being a great way to start his year.
Victory Lap – Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle blew open the gates this year with his explosive release: Victory Lap. In 16 songs Nipsey Hussle invigorates the iconic West Coast sound in 2018. Nipsey Hussle seriously delivered on his debut album as he paints a vivid picture of gangs, money, and music in California. Although being named Victory Lap, Nipsey Hussle details his troubles from gangs and violence that eventually propelled him to stardom and success. After almost a six-year grind, Victory Lap is Nipsey Hussle’s trials and tribulations finally come to fruition on this debut album. I can confidently say that this album is going to be a staple of West Coast rap and a huge victory for Nipsey Hussle as he continues to follow his ambitions for success.
If There Is Light, It Will Find You – Senses Fail
Senses Fail took a rather softer approach this year on their seventh album, If There Is Light, It Will Find You. The harsh and abrasive sound from 2015’s Pull the Thorns from Your Heart is dropped in favor of a more melodic and cordial concept. This style works wonders on this album as it shows a style reminiscent of the middle 2000s. This revitalization of their older sound is pulled off very well and also greatly benefits from having the lead singer Buddy Nielsen writing all of the lyrics for this album. Senses Fail have proven time after time again that they are one of the few dominant emo bands to stand the test of time, and this album only adds to that statement. Hopefully, their next release can build upon and improve this older sound and breathe new life into the genre. Until then, If There Is Light, It Will Find You is an essential album for 2018 and vital for the resurgence of the emo genre.
Gangin – SOB X RXE
After a huge success on the Black Panther album, SOB X RBE once again delivers their second album in two years. Gangin once again displays the talent that this quartet has to offer. With loud beats and quick lyrics SOB X RBE continue the unique sound that they displayed to their fullest potential on “Paramedic” from the Black Panther album. With two impressive releases in two years, SOB X RBE simply cannot do wrong it seems. Their outlandish sound is refreshing in such an oversaturated genre. Songs like “Once Upon a Time” and “Carpoolin'” are some of my favorites off this album, and I cannot wait to see what else this quartet has to offer in the near future.
Planet – Tech N9ne
Planet is a huge landmark for Tech N9ne’s career as it’s his 20th album release. Since his debut in 1999, Tech N9ne has released at least one album almost every year since. With this incredible track record, a few of his releases have had their problems. With last year’s Storm being one of his weaker albums, Tech N9ne had to reinvent himself to get back on track to crush his 20th album. Planet is worthy of taking this 20th slot as it shows Tech N9ne displaying almost 20 years of technical ability. Tech N9ne is a master of his craft and Planet is a reassurance to this claim. Planet is considerably a slower paced albums which is great for Tech N9ne as he’s allowed to demonstrate his rhyming skill to the fullest extent. After 20 albums, and numerous features and collaborations Tech N9ne continues to show the world the power of Strange Music and more importantly the power of words. If Planet is any indication, Tech N9ne unquestionably has another 20 albums left in him to deliver to the fans.
? – XXXTentacion
XXXTentacion delivers his heart and soul on his second album, ?. This album is a great way to start off the year for XXXTentacion and continues to solidify his authenticity for being one of the more influential artists of this modern age. ? benefits from the range and versatility that XXXTentacion has to offer. Songs like “I Don’t Even Speak Spanish Lol” wouldn’t normally be seen in this context nor would it even be good, however, XXXTentacion has cracked this formula on ?. With 17 and ? under his belt, XXXTentacion has had an impressive run over the past two years and I doubt we will be seeing him slow down anytime soon.
Corinthiax – Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
Wicca Phase Springs Eternal has become quite the favorite of mine recently, especially with his collaborations with former GothBoiClique member Lil Peep. After his work with Tigers Jaw, Wicca Phase has been a solo artist for a few years now as he continues to explore himself through music. Corinthiax is another strong release from Wicca Phase as he continues his reflection of love and happiness. With this short EP only having five songs, the emotion conveyed is visible in every second of each song. With songs like “Corinthiax” and “High Strangeness”, Corinthiax has something to offer for everyone. With this being his first release of 2018, I believe we will be seeing some more quality releases from Wicca Phase Springs Eternal this year as he continues to excel at mastering his distinctive sound.