As the year comes to a close, the 789 team started discussing their favorite albums of the year.
Enjoy, discuss, comment, argue. Lets have at it:
Danny’s Top 5
5. Tha Carter V- Lil Wayne
One of the most anticipated albums of the year for a Lil Wayne fan. I’ve heard multiple mixed reviews of this album. It’s obviously not one of his best pieces of work, but I personally was not disappointed. It showed a little old Wayne (which we all love, don’t lie), fused with a little new Wayne. For me, I listen to every album I like twice, first for the beats and bangers and second for the lyrics and meanings.
Must Listen: Mona Lisa (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
4. Young Sintara IV- Logic
This guy man…this guy is going to go down as one of the most inspirational hip-hop artist of our time. His albums are amazing, his flow is one of a kind and this is just adding to his list and cementing his name in as a GOAT in a different way. The way he changes people’s lives and even acknowledges that in his music is so powerful. In his very first song on the album “Thank You,” he actually has recordings of people/fans from all over the world thanking him for what he’s done and how he has changed their lives. That’s pretty cool and it shows that he cares about his fan base.
Must Listen: Wu-Tang Forever
3. P2 (Paranoia 2)- Dave East
Anything that has to do with Nas, I’m going to be open to it and knowing that he was Dave East’s mentor made me want to give this guy a listen. So I did, and he is slowly becoming one of my top rappers to listen to right now. For me, I love that old school, hard flow type of music (Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Mobb Deep), and this is a perfect example of that mixed with his unique ability of story telling through his music. One track in particular, “Corey,” paints a picture about friendships he has lost due to different lifestyles they live. I highly recommend this up-and-coming rapper if you are into that style of hip-hop. Even if you aren’t, you should do it anyway… broaden you horizons.
Must Listen: Corey or Annoying (ft. T.I.)
2. Scorpion- Drake
I mean if you’re a big Drake fan, this album is obviously going to be going on your top 5. There is a lot to say about this album and also a lot was said about this album in general. Rumors say Drake stopped the original release date just so he could record “Side B” after beef with Kanye and Pusha T came out.
This album also addresses the long awaited question of “Does Drake have a kid that he isn’t telling us about?” The answer is all throughout the album, so take a listen.
After you listen to that, listen to “Drake – Scorpion Review” on The Joe Budden Podcast and he will break it all down for you, from diss tracks to diss tracks about Kim to tracks about his kid. Enjoy.
Must Listen: Everything in order
1. KOD- J. Cole
The GOAT. No one will ever change my mind on that statement. In no way am I saying this is his best work ever, but I personally have never heard a bad J. Cole song in my life. He is an absolute lyrical genius in the way he tells his story through his music. I can sit here and dissect this entire album by every song, but that would take up this whole article. We’ll start with the title K.O.D. which has 3 meanings in itself and he puts it on you to decide what title it is, which in turn makes you interpret the album whatever way you want; Kill Our Demons, Kids On Drugs, and King OverDosed. It is said that the only feature on the album, kiLL Edward, is actually J. Cole’s alter ego (aka J. Cole using a deeper voice) that represents his demons that he’s trying to kill, hence the name of the album. Which also means this is another J. Cole album that went platinum without any features. Without giving too much away, this album is great because he talks about real world problems in every song and not just about his own life like he has in the past. Great listen and highly recommended.
Must Listen: KOD, Motiv8 or 1985 (Intro to ” the Fall Off”)
Bobby Tarantino – Logic
Andy’s Top 5
5. San Holo
This album dropped in late September, right when I needed it the most. Although maybe not as main stream as the predominately rap albums on this list, I think I needed to show this album some respect. This album shone its light during a dark time for me and its perfectly produced tracks express positivity and hope. EDM artists usually stick to singles or small scale EPs, but San Holo’s first 12-track album is outright beautiful and will carry you through the cold days ahead into the festival season of summer 2019.
Must listen: Lift Me From the Ground ft. Sofie Winterson
4. Aura – Ozuna
If you think Bad Bunny or J Balvin are hot, Ozuna should be next artist on your list. This man, in my opinion, single handily brought back reggeaton to life. I wish I could say I was surprised by the quality of his album. After 3 years of diligent work, Ozuna’s been on the rise with hit single after hit single.
To all the white girls who vibe with the likes of Daddy Yankee and Cardi B, I highly recommend this album. Did I mention he JUST dropped an 16-track album last year? Ever since 2016’s “Dile Que Tu Me Qieres” single, Ozuna never looked back. The new wave of Latin Trap is here.
Must Listen: Comentale Ft. Akon
3. Goodbye & Good Riddance – Juice WRLD
The first time I heard “Lucid Dreams” was early in the summer of 2018. The windows were down, I was in the car with some friends in my hometown and we were coming back from a great day at the lake. As soon as the chorus hit I was immediately taken into a modern Kid Cudi-esque state of mind.
The first couple of tracks from the Chicago native really suck you in and your then stuck with hypnotic choruses in your head throughout the 16-track album.
While other soundcloud rappers such as Lil Skies and Lil Pump dominated 2017 and introduced themselves as the new wave in the industry, you can make sure to write in Juice Wrld for 2018.
Must Listen: Black & White, Long Gone, End of the Road, Lucid Dreams
2. Belmont (Self-Titled) – Belmont
I’m going to be blunt. I hated this album. 2016’s Between You & Me EP was unlike anything I’ve heard, incorporating fast paced riffs and heavy breakdowns while staying true to their unique pop punk sound. I was anticipating this project for so long and at first, wasn’t completely disappointed with the singles they dropped, but something was missing. What made them sound so unique simply was absent. Maybe it was the fact heartbreak was no longer interwoven in their lyrics. Maybe I just wasn’t a heartbroken little sad boy?
I gave it a good two months and here we are. Sometimes it just takes another listen.
Drummer Brian Lada says, “We are very excited to finally release our debut album to the world. This record puts together a perfect representation of what we are as a band. We’ve grown a lot since our past material, and it will show in the new music. People can expect a new direction taking influence from hip-hop, fusion, and progressive music mixed in with the original Belmont sound. It’s amazing that we have the opportunity to have a record release tour with Such Gold which is a band that we have collectively loved and taken influence from for a long time.”
If you’re looking for a new band and a The Story So Far-esque sound, you found your winner.
Must Listen: Empty, Recluse, Write Me Off
1. Scorpion – Drake
The greatest artist of all time (yea, I said it) continues his journey with his latest release, Scorpion. As if releasing a regular album wasn’t enough, the king of Toronto blessed us with two sides, each containing enough bars and smooth Take Care vibes for another two years. And if the release itself wasn’t big enough, the story behind this album is out of this world. Kanye and Pusha T’s apparent betrayal came to light as the rap drama took over social media for several weeks. If you live under a rock, you should check out the Joe Budden Podcast episode Danny mentioned earlier. It’s craaaaazy.
Some say Drake took the final L, but… did he really? He’s Drake.
Amid the gossip and drama edging over the actual release of this project, it’s a solid addition to his discography.
Must Listen: everythinnggggggggg
KOD – J. Cole
Cale’s Top 5
5. Tha Carter V – Lil Wayne
Weezy F Baby is my favorite rapper but my expectations for Tha Carter V were not met. Of course, after seven years, I expected this album to be incredible. However, it was just decent, with only a couple notable tracks. I was hoping for more classic Wayne, but it appears that he is gone.
Must Listen: Mona Lisa (feat. Kendrick Lamar) [until Wayne’s ending], Famous (feat. Reginae Carter), Let It All Work Out
4. Scorpion – Drake
Another highly anticipated Drake album did well in 2018. While it was not my favorite album of the Canadian rapper, it had a number of top hits that are still being played despite the album being released in the first half of 2018. Another album with 25 tracks makes me skeptical of the overall quality of the album, but of course, Drake provides the bangers to keep the project in rotation.
Must Listen: God’s Plan, Nonstop, Emotionless, I’m Upset, Sandra’s Rose, Nice For What, In My Feelings
3. Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone
The highly anticipated second album of Post Malone dropped in early 2018, and similar to Drake’s Scorpion, Beerbongs & Bentleys has kept in rotation all year long. The album contains a number of tracks that have lived on the Billboard charts in 2018, showing off Malone’s various vocal talents.
Must Listen: Rockstar (feat. 21 savage), Better Now, Psycho (feat. Ty Dolla $ign), Ball for Me (feat. Nicki Minaj), Candy Paint, Over Now
2. ASTROWORLD – Travis $cott
Bangers, Bangers, BANGERS! Travis $cott continued to crank out the hits with ASTROWORLD. Some tracks, such as SICKOMODE, have such a crazy beat switch that it’s almost like two tracks in one. In one of the most playable albums of the year, $cott delivered a record with a number of great features that will be in rotation even in 2019.
Must Listen: SICKO MODE, STARGAZING, WAKE UP
1. Love Me Now – Tory Lanez
Overall, Tory Lanez shocked with his big drop of 2018. Love Me Now can be played from start to end, with a streak of tracks that flow and keep you bumpin’ throughout. I am a huge fan of Tory’s vocals, and he is able to showcase everything he can do from spittin’ on the track to hitting you with that auto-tuned high notes.
Must Listen: DrIP DrIp Drip (feat. Meek Mill), TAlk tO Me (with Rich the Kid), FlEXiBle (feat. Chris Brown & Lil Baby), YoU ThouGht WrONg, MiAMi (feat. Gunna), CuT me oFF (feat. Nav), KeeP IN tOUch (feat. Bryson Tiller)
Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B
Black Panther the Album – Kendrick Lamar
Matt’s Top 5
5. FM!- Vince Staples
This album is pretty fire. The whole thing sounds like one big Dj set on a radio station and just flows really well as a whole. With some power packed features, ranging from Jay Rock, to Kehlani, this album has a strong summer beach vibe that makes you forget about the imminent cold that will be upon us soon. This album follows his Big Fish Theory which was released in 2017, peaking at number 7 on the US Rap charts. I have a feeling this album will be topping that in the months to come.
Must Listen: Outside!
4. LoVE me NOw – Torey Lanez
While I have always thought that the majority of Torey Lanez songs sound pretty much the same, I did enjoy this album. I still think that a lot of these songs have a very similar sound, but I think that that sound is still pretty good. The list of features on this album definitely picks this album up in a major way as well, giving the album the support I think it desperately needed. The production in the album also does a great job of picking up a party or a drive home from work.
Must Listen: DucK my Ex (Feat. Chris Brown & 2 Chainz)
3. Belmont (Self-Titled) – Belmont
I personally don’t see why Mr. Moran would put this album on his list at number 2 if he hated it but that’s just me. I love this album. I understand what Andy is saying about their Between You & Me EP, considering that is one of my favorite pop punk albums of all time, but I think this album does a good job of setting Belmont’s place in the pop punk scene. With heavy drums and very fast paced guitar breaks, this definitely gets me going when this album starts to play.
Must Listen: Albert followed by Hollowed Out (they sort of flow into each other very well)
2. YSIV- Logic
Wow, this album honestly blew my mind. This is the Logic that I have always loved and knew that was out there. Logic for me has really been lackluster when it comes to his albums. Which really upset me because as a huge fan of his earlier mixtapes, the albums always just fell short of what I knew he was capable of. But this album really sounded like the old logic and I don’t know if it’s because he is single and smoking weed again or what, but whatever it is he should continue on this wave and never look back.
Must Listen: Wu Tang Forever
1. ASTROWORLD- Travis Scott
I feel like this is a given because this album, in my opinion, is universally just so well received. But I had high expectations for this album, due to how well put together Birds in the Trap was back in 2016, and I say Mr. Scott did not disappoint. This album has killer production from John Mayer to Hit Boy, and has a long list of powerful features from the Weeknd to Stevie Wonder. If you haven’t listened to this album, I honestly don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life and I would sit down and really start to do some re-evaluating.
Must Listen: Who? What? (ft. Migos)
Redemption- Jay Rock
Mih-Ty – Jeremih and Ty Dolla Sign
Glory Sound Prep- Jon Bellion
Tyler’s Top 5
5. Redemption – Jay Rock
My TDE phase from high school has been going on a cool 10 years and counting and it is not slowing down. Jay Rock, coming off his horrible injury, came out firing from the jump. It came out on the same day as Nasir did, and in my mind completely overshadowed it. There are hardly any misses on this one, and at 13 tracks, it leaves you wanting more, which is exactly how it should be.
Must Listen: ES Tales, Broke +-, Wow Freestyle (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
4. A Star is Born Soundtrack – Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
I was dragged into seeing the movie. DRAGGED. I wanted zero parts of it. 20 minutes in and I didn’t want it to end ever. The album produces heat after heat. It, as the kids will say, slaps. Bradley Cooper can do just about anything at this point and Gaga is great as usual. The songs never get old, and I have a feeling they are going to be played for a loooong time.
Must Listen: Shallow, I’ll Never Love Again
3. LoVE me Now – Tory Lanez
The second of Tory Lanez album’s this year and he saved his best for last in 2018. There is hardly a skippable track on the album. From start to finish, it’s incredibly strong. Whether your’e sitting at your desk in the middle of the week needing that extra push or on the way home on a Friday ready for the weekend, put this on the aux and it’s guaranteed to make the day better. This will getting played by me for the next few months.
Must Listen: Why DON’T you LOVE me?, IF iT Ain’T rIGHt (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie), KeeP IN tOUcH (feat. Bryson Tiller)
2. YSIV – Logic
It’s something different with Logic. From the moment I first listened to him sophomore year of high school, something clicked and I never looked back. He has always been my go to no matter the situation, happy, sad, excited, nervous. You name it, he’s got music for it. YSIV contains all of it, it’s a story of gratitude from track 1 to track 14. A personal journey that feels personal for everybody who’s been along for the ride. If you’re a Logic fan, this is a MUST listen. If you aren’t, you will be.
Must Listen: From start to finish
1. ASTROWORLD – Travis Scott
I mean…was there any doubt? It’s perfectly produced. From start to finish, there are no misses, no hiccups, nothing. It is perfect for every single situation in life. You throw any track on from Astroworld at the party and you immediately crank it up to max volume. The replay-ability is STILL ridiculous, and that isn’t going to change, maybe ever. Astroworld is the best album of 2018, and maybe 2019. Rollin rollin rollin…
Must Listen: The whole album…twice.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS – KIDS SEE GHOSTS
Testing – A$AP Rocky
beerbongs and bentleys – Post Malone
Bobby Tarantino – Logic
Black Panther – Kendrick Lamar
Nicole’s Top 5
5. Scorpion – Drake
Drake’s fifth studio album, Scorpion, dropped with a whopping 25 tracks in the shell of a double album. With one side R&B and the other Rap, Drake addressed some very personal details of his life such as the reveal of his son along with his shots at others in the industry, as many artists do. With some of the hottest tracks of 2018, “Nice for What,” “God’s Plan” and “In My Feelings,” Drake has people listening.
Scorpion has gotten some heat from music critics but it doesn’t change the fact that Drake is still Drake. As unfortunate as it is, this industry tends to thrive on controversy. Throw some solid beats and dance mixes around it, people will buy that song and listen.
Must Listen: I’m Upset
4. Camila – Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello has already had her taste of the music industry as a part of girl group Fifth Harmony. Toward the end of 2016, it was announced that she decided to leave the group to pursue her own solo venture; and she did just that. Cabello’s much anticipated debut solo album, Camila, took charts by storm with hit such as “Never Be the Same” and her 2017 smash single “Havana.”
With vibes stemming from her Cuban-Mexican heritage and very thin on collaborations, Cabello used this album to showcase her voice and her independence as a solo artist. With a mixture of dance beats and emotional lyrics, Camila checks all the boxes of a strong debut album. As far as her future, there is no doubt there are still big things to come.
Must Listen: Consequences
3. Sweetener – Ariana Grande
This woman just does not stop. After a tumultuous year, Ariana Grande released her fourth studio album Sweetener. This is the album she defines herself as an artist and a force to be reckoned with. With billboard hits such as “No Tears Left to Cry” and “God is a Woman,” Grande is making serious moves in her career.
Empowerment, love and strength are portrayed with Grande’s unmatched vocals. There is no doubt that this is the pop star’s best album to date. Sweetener is a mix of emotional ballads like “Breathin” and some strong collaborations with artists like Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj. Artists use their music as an outlet for what they go through in their life and Grande overcame leaps and bounds with this one.
Must Listen: Breathin
2. Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B
It is no secret that the debut album of Rap superstar Cardi B was going to be a banger. Her quick rise in the music scene with her number one single “Bodak Yellow,” wasn’t even close to the beginning for this Bronx-born rapper. Cardi B is the first female rapper in to attain multiple number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Invasion of Privacy was everything and more that fans expected.
Cardi B‘s album is vulnerable, fierce as well as cleverly written. The artist stands up to her skeptics with “Get Up 10,” clapping back at anyone who underestimates her talent. She ventures into the Latin music scene with “I Like it” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin. A fire burns within Cardi B to chase what she is after and if making history with her music is it, she’s doing something right.
Must Listen: Be Careful
1. Zoo – Russ
Russ is quietly, but quickly, on the rise. However, there is no denying the controversy surrounding this rapper. Known to take a stand for his beliefs about hip hop and society and releases that in his music. He released he second studio album Zoo where he is pushing boundaries and being completely open. From the engineering to production to the writing of lyrics, Russ did it all and cannot be overlooked.
Russ is an artist who writes about real life struggles with his fans in mind. He is versatile in his lyrics and approach to a song’s persona. Hits such as “Serious” and “Missin You Crazy” have solid melodies and take focus on love. “Outlaw” showcases Russ’s confidence in himself and everything he does. Zoo was just the beginning for his rise on the Hip Hop ladder.
Pray for the Wicked – Panic! At the Disco
Did we miss one of your favorite albums of the year? Think we have terrible taste in music? Let us know! Tweet us at @789mediaco!