Hip-hop, also known as rap, has been in its Golden Age for more than a decade since Kanye West released his debut album, The College Dropout. However, as of last year many music critics and fans of this genre have claimed this “Golden Age” is nearing its end if 2018 hadn’t already nailed the coffin shut.
Yet this does not mean hip-hop has stopped putting out fantastic music: in fact, far from it. This past summer saw numerous artists showcasing their amazing talents. This article will take a look at the top three hip-hop albums that came out this summer, as well as a few honorable mentions.
#3: Swimming by Mac Miller
Miller’s 2018 seemed to be unfortunate when he and his girlfriend of two years, Ariana Grande, broke up and Grande became engaged to comedian Pete Davidson a month later. Miller was also involved in a DUI accident and vanished from the public eye. When he announced the release of a new album later in the year, many fans speculated the tone would take a 180 from his previous project, The Divine Feminine, which was more or less a love album.
However, Miller surprised many when Swimming showcased his calmness and optimism at his current point in life. Self-reflecting and easy, Miller’s fifth album tells his fans to never drown but tread water until you can start swimming again.
#2: Redemption by Jay Rock
Taking the silver medal is the third album from Jay Rock, Redemption. This album, like many of Jay Rock’s works, went relatively unnoticed by rap fans. This may be due to him being part of Top Dawg Entertainment, a record label which also includes Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and SZA, whose works often overshadow Rock’s.
In Redemption, Jay Rock makes it clear he has a story to tell. Featuring artists such as J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Future, Jay Rock encapsulates a powerful message through a tragically beautiful story; an album that many missed but should tune into if they ever have a chance.
Goodbye & Good Riddance by Juice WRLD:
The debut album by Juice WRLD is as beautiful in sound as it is clever in lyrics. This album is full of teenage angst but in all the right ways. Whether your heart has been broken recently or in the past, it is a wonderful album to have a few drinks to, smash some mirrors and shed a few tears.
Kids See Ghosts by Kid Cudi and Kanye West:
Somewhat of a sequel to West’s album, Ye, this work is more of a Kid Cudi album than anything else — and what a job he did. From the opening track “Feel the Love,” Cudi wants to remind his fans he has not forgotten them during his times of struggle. When the track “Reborn” arrives, every fan realizes this is the album we’ve been waiting for Cudi to drop since his very first endeavor, Man on the Moon: The End of Day.
Die Lit by Playboi Carti:
Playboi Carti really came onto the scene last year with his self-titled mixtape. Playboi Carti was more or less a sampling of great beats over forgetful repetitious lyrics. However, in his debut album, Carti shows us he is evolving as an artist. While not at the top of his game yet, he is climbing there.
#1: Harlan & Alondra by Buddy
With astounding beats thanks to its notorious producers including A$AP Ferg, Ty Dolla $ign, Snoop Dogg, Khalid and Buddy’s own beautifully crafted, well-timed lyrics, he puts himself quickly on the map of hip-hop artists.
Buddy gives his listeners a different look at the cities of Compton and L.A., which any rap listener has already heard so much about. Furthermore, he freshly opens listeners’ eyes to the struggles of a young man trying to make it in the world when all the cards seem to be against him.