So as of today, we are officially 1/3rd into the year, and I don’t know how. It seems like it was January literally last week, but here we find ourselves, approaching summer. In terms of music, 2018 has been a decent year so far, and most of our favourite artists have dropped some sort of project or album, so I’ve comprised a list of my top 10 favourite albums to drop this year so far. This will be the 1st part of this series; I’ll do the next part on September 1 (for albums from May-Sept), and the last one at the end of the year (for my top 10 albums for the whole year). Some may come as surprises, some may not, but it’s a list I think is accurate. Check it out below.
10. MIGOS – CULTURE 2
I did a review of Culture 2 a couple months back, and despite what a lot of people think, I still think it was a very good album. Yes, it was too long, and yes, perhaps it didn’t live up to its predecessor, but that doesn’t take away from the hits that are on this album. Comparatively, it was definitely not the best album of the year, but it was still an album I enjoyed nonetheless.
9. NESSLY – WILDFLOWER
I’d been waiting for this album for over a year, and it finally dropped 2 months back, and it did not disappoint. It showed an artist who is evolving constantly, and getting better and better with each release. It made me happy seeing Nessly XXL’s pitch, but I knew he was never going to make it on it, because he doesn’t fit the ‘mould’. He hasn’t got 100 tattoos all over his body and face, he doesn’t mumble/slur his words, and he doesn’t have the cosign from people like DJ Akademiks. But this album was deserving of propelling him straight onto that XXL cover and so much more, because he really gave us his all here. A great album; hopefully, one day, he’ll get the props his art deserves.
8. FLATBUSH ZOMBIES – VACATION IN HELL
Flatbush Zombies used to be my favourite group back in like 2012/13, but I fell out of touch with their music around 2014. I don’t even remember why, but I just wasn’t really rocking with their music much anymore, but this album may have just made me a fan again. I listened to their debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, last year, and it was ok. It was certainly nothing on their previous mixtapes, D.R.U.G.S and Better Off Dead, and it didn’t even have one or two hit songs that left me like, ‘wow’. But this album had about 7 songs which left me in awe. The features, the production, everything about the album was pure gold, and I loved every minute of it.
7. RICH THE KID – THE WORLD IS YOURS
I was shocked at how good this album was. I knew Rich the Kid was a good artist, and he knows how to make hits, but I wasn’t sure about how he would sound over an album. I was worried the songs would be repetitive/similar, but boy, was I wrong. This album showed a Rich the Kid I’ve never heard before, and showed him becoming more and more of a superstar. I was surprised not to hear Famous Dex on it, but the features he got were perfect; Made It, featuring Rick Ross and Jay Critch, was one of the glossiest and smoothest songs I’ve heard this year. Each song was different, and it’s good to see him getting the recognition he deserves.
6. ARIN RAY – PLATINUM FIRE
If you don’t know about Arin Ray yet, get to know, and listen to this album. Despite the R&B scene being so strong right now, there are a lot of artists whose singing voices aren’t actually that great, and they rely on melodies/beats to make good songs. Arin Ray can do all of the above. For somebody who competed on X Factor, and didn’t even win it, you wouldn’t have expected his career to take off in the way it has, but his career has undergone a complete turnaround, and he has produced one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. I definitely recommend everyone to give this album a listen.
5. SANGO – IN THE COMFORT OF
Sango has been making waves in the scene for years now, and it is so good to see him getting wider recognition for it. This album was the result of 3 and half years work, and when you listen to it, you can tell that this is something that he put his all into. Most people know Sango for his Brazilian funk remixes, but he does so much more here. I regret not going to his London show a couple months ago, because I would have had the chance to hear him perform the album live. I can’t even describe what sound he was going for here, so you need to listen and make your own judgement, but it’s truly masterful.
4. DOJA CAT – AMALA
Being a Nigerian, seeing the name of this album confused me greatly. I was thinking, why’s she naming her debut album after the worst food to grace the Nigerian cuisine? This was until I found out her name is actually Amala, and I was left proverbially red-faced.
But back to the album; Doja Cat has been making hits since So High, but I never took an active interest in her career. I appreciated she was a talented artist, but I hadn’t heard more than 5 of her songs, so when I listened to Amala, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t even know how to describe her sound; it’s not traditional R&B, it’s not soul, it’s literally like a mix of so many genres. This album encompassed almost every contemporary genre you can think of, and whilst other artists who have tried to do this have horribly failed, Doja Cat executed it with an ease and finesse that really impressed me. She can sing, she can flow, she can actually do it all, and considering her album dropped the same day as Lil Durk’s, The Weeknd and DJ Esco’s, and hers is the only on this list, will tell you that this is a truly fantastic album. Definitely worth a listen.
3. J COLE – KOD
I’ve been a big J Cole critic for years now. I dispelled his music as boring and corny, and to this day, I still maintain that sentiment about some of his old music. But this album has made me consider changing my mind about him. Maybe I was too harsh. Maybe I didn’t listen to his music with as open an mind as I should have. KOD was a side of J Cole I personally haven’t heard before, because some of the beats he was using were nuts. That KOD beat? Crazy. Photograph? Taking the piss. I feel sick writing this, because I was a firm member of the ‘we hate J Cole’ club, but I may have to terminate my membership now. But the song that stuck out to me more than anything was BRACKETS. He was saying some stuff on that track. Stuff that makes you think. Music is meant to stimulate your mind, and this album definitely did that. 1985 was hilarious too.
2. POST MALONE – BEERBONGS & BENTLEYS
Post Malone is becoming more and more of a global superstar by the day, and I think this is the album that will have him rubbing shoulders with the elite. He puts his foot in his mouth quite a lot, so I think from now, he should just let his music do the talking. He is one of the most versatile artists about right now, and Beerbongs & Bentleys shows that he really can do it all. He’s got folk on this album, hip hop, redneck music; the whole lot. And when you see what the album is expected to chart after its first week (450k+), you can see why the hype for this album was so great. He did not let us down with this one.
1. GUNNA – DRIP SEASON 3
Special mention to:
- The Weeknd – My Dear Melancholy
- Kali Uchis – Isolation
- Lil Durk – Just Cause Y’all Waited
- Alina Baraz – The Color of You
- Lil Duke – Reality Checc