Tag Archives: 2018


Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2018. Check the following playlists, albums, music videos, cyphers, and rap battles for my personal run-down of the year.

The Latest Playlist: 2018

*Track listing at bottom of post

Notable Albums of 2018

Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club


New Zealand based rapper Tom Scott is backed by a full live band for this collaborative hip-hop jazz-fusion project. The sound is raw, high-energy, and feels completely improvisational. The tracks are very long and have multiple jazzy instrumental sections that transition from one sound to the next, making 8 tracks sound like at least a dozen songs. Scott’s ability to keep up with the band while maintaining clear vocal projection is one of his most impressive qualities. With each musical transition, Scott manages to adapt the style of his flow to the band. His lyrics are not especially complex, but they come off as commendably honest and personal. Scott raps primarily about his own personal experiences and memories, which are often accompanied by vivid descriptions. He also raps about friends, relationships, and other aspects of his life, at times progressing into unorganized contemplative tangents.

Black Thought – Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2


In his first major solo project, 47-year-old veteran MC and The Roots front man, Black Thought blessed 2018 with a 2-part project that made clear he is still in his prime. Thought plays the role of an elder instructor with every bit of vigor from his youth. Commanding attention with his powerful cadence, every line is delivered like it’s for a packed stadium. Vol. 1 was a June release primarily produced by 9th Wonder that served as an explosive re-introduction of who Black Thought is and what he’s about. Black Thought is uncompromisingly conscious and ultra-political, frequently referencing history, spirituality, and current events from local to global levels. Vol. 2 was a late November release produced by Salaam Remi, and debatably album of the year. With the same energy and intentions in Vol. 1, Vol. 2 was a platform for Thought to get into more specific issues, such as the pharmaceutical industry, industrial prison complex, school shootings, and gang violence to name a few. This is classic hip-hop with clean production. For any old heads in 2018, Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2 are true gems.

Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs


Only 3 years after his last release, Earl Sweatshirt sounds like he has aged a decade. Despite the album title, this is Earl’s most stylistically and conceptually cohesive project to date. The entire album carries a lethargic dystopian energy as Earl raps with a low muffled tone over mostly uplifting, dusty lo-fi samples. Over 15 very short songs, Earl offers admirably genuine pictures of his life and psychological condition. Despite the undertones of depression, he presents himself as sarcastically optimistic or at least apathetic. Most of his expressive content is not direct, but layered in metaphor and wordplay.

Jericho Jackson – Khrysis & Elzhi are Jericho Jackson


This project is another gem for classic heads. Renowned independent rapper Elzhi flexes clever east cost lyricism over headnodic beats that feel like the cold winter streets of New York City. Throughout the project Elzhi delivers an onslaught of continuous wordplay, creative punch lines and metaphors. Despite the lyrical density, his message is crystal clear, which is in a word, ‘struggle’. He makes clear that his life has been dangerous and difficult, that he has little trust for anyone, that he is “Self Made” and as an underground veteran, has worked for everything he’s earned. Elzhi is often known for his proudly Nas-influenced style, which is expectedly evident in this project. In a way Jericho Jackson feels a bit like a classic Nas album.

Check out other Notable Albums from: Armand Hammer, Jay Rock, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, JID, Mick Jenkins, Milo, and Noname.

Notable Videos of 2018

Childish Gambino – This Is America

Jay Rock – The Bloodiest

JID – Working Out

Earthgang – Up

Mick Jenkins – What Am I To Do

Iron Solomon vs Rum Nitty 

Chris Webby on Sway

The Latest Playlist 2018

Black Milk – Could It Be

Saba – LIFE

Michael Christmas feat. Tobi Lou – Not the Only One

Mick Jenkins – Gwendolynn’s Apprehension

JID – 151 Rum

JPEGMAFIA – 1539 N. Calvert

Roc Marciano – Power

Mayhem Lauren feat. Conway – Venetian Loafers

Action Bronson – Prince Charming

The Skull Eclipses, Botany & Lushlife – Take My

Avantdale Bowling Club – F(r)iends

Earl Sweatshirt – Azucar

Royce da 5’9” feat. Ashley Sorrell – God Speed

Marlowe – Lost Arts

Bishop Nehru – Driftin’

Jericho Jackson – Self Made

Black Thought – 9th vs. Thought

The Lioness – Great Things

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris feat. Dane Orr – Peacock

Masta Ace & Marco Polo feat. Pearl Gates – Still Love Her

Milo – Mid Answer Trying To Remember What the Question Is

Open Mike Eagle – Southside Eagle

Hermit and the Recluse – Golden Fleece

Evidence feat. Jonwayne – To Make a Long Story Longer

Pete Flux & Parental – Burgermeister

Gavlyn & DJ Hoppa – Note to Self

Chester Watson – Floating

Iojii – Spook Who Sat By Da Floor

Busdriver feat. Dntel & Lorde Fredd33 – The year I became a mutherfuckin’ G

The Alchemist feat. Earl Sweatshirt – E. Coli

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