Yooo!! What’s up guys it’s Yaki. This is my first official blog post. I’ve never done anything like this before so bear with me. I’m gonna review what I think were the best, worst, most surprising & most underwhelming hip hop albums of Summer 2018. It’s hard for me to pinpoint a certain ‘beginning’ to the season when we're talking new album drops... and trust I haven’t heard every album that's dropped but I have heard a lot, so with that said let’s get it!
The best is still J. Cole 'KOD'. I know that seems like an ‘easy’ or ‘quick’ response but let me explain. The album dropped on 4/20 (cough cough) and it’s when the weather finally started warming up and people came home from school, from extended trips etc. I catch myself playing this album the most which is no surprise because Hollywood Cole will always been in my top 5 dead or alive. The only song that I might skip on that album would be "Brackets". Not necessarily saying the song is bad, but poor placement on the album if nothing else. The content isn’t what I always want to hear even though it is very real.
I also gotta give a nod to A$VP Rocky for 'Testing'. That guy was really testing my patience with the set backs and release changes. After first listen I knew it was different but I didn’t really know how I felt about it. Now I hear that he was actually testing new sounds and I’m deff here for it. I’m not gonna lie the only song that I skip is "A$AP Forever" because I’m not feeling the weird Moby sample. Simply put, it’s not for everybody but if you like Rocky or was interested in him this is a versatile project to check out.
So now let’s talk about 'Astroworld'. If you didn’t know that Travis $cott was dropping you were probably under a rock but that’s why I got your back! That man the king of auto tune right now. He’s not the most lyrical guy you’ll ever hear but definitely solid party jams and really dope production.
In terms of underrated west coast gangsta rap I'd be dead wrong to not give YG & Nipsey Hussle credit for 'Stay Dangerous' and 'Victory Lap', respectively. They do an amazing job of capturing the old school west coast sound that the likes of NWA and Snoop Dogg created in the late 80s, early 90s. If you haven't checked them out, those albums are worth a listen.
Ok I started with the good but now here’s the bad: you can put every single, seven song, Kanye produced album in the garbage. Ye. 'Kids See Ghosts' (Kid Cudi).... 'Daytona' (Pusha T)....'K.T.S.E' (Teyana Taylor).... 'Nasir' (Nas)....
Garbage, all of em. IDGAF about Yandi either, please don’t get me started. It’s sinful to say but the man even made Nas sound wack. NAS! On top of the fact he’s out here wearing MAGA hats & designing trash sneakers. So for most underwhelming I gotta stick with Ye. The 2008 version of me wanted to be so excited for 'Kids See Ghosts'. I'm a huge Kid Cudi fan and Ye was at his peak back then. Aaaaaand just like I suspected it completely bricked.
In a different context another underwhelming album was Lil Wayne’s 'Tha Carter V'. Remember a time when you couldn’t have a single and not have Wayne jack your beat and body you on your own record?? C5 couldn’t have been farther from that to me. I knew we weren’t gonna get 'Tha Carter II' but I expected more. I’m not talking in terms of quantity cuz I personally think 23 tracks is too much. But it’s still the best Weezy project since IANAHB2. I’m not even a huge Drake fan as you can tell by his omission from this list so far, but Wayne- we can’t even get a Drake verse or even a hook??? Since we talking bout Drake, I was very surprised that he gave us two full length albums and completely separated them too. I thought for years "why doesn’t he just drop a two part LP?" Question answered. This way the dudes get what we want & the ladies are happy too. I wasn’t completely mad at 'Scorpion', it's a horrible name for his album though.
Lastly, the most surprising album of Summer 18 was hands down Jay Rock's 'Redemption'. Not to say that he’s a bad artist but he wasn’t a rapper I was checking for because being on TDE he’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, especially when Kung Fu Kenny and Schoolboy Q are your label mates. I never could’ve been so wrong. Jay Rock does an amazing job of capturing the vibe of California, mixing it with hype features and still giving you a raw, authentic album of his struggle and his redemption. Front to back it was solid listen and will stay in my rotation for a long time to come. On a much more somber note though, the sound of the new Mac Miller album was dope as he showed a bunch of range with different vocals and beats that we had not heard before from him. His untimely passing was a big loss to not only the hip hop/music industry but to the world as a whole. Dude had a crazy a gift and is easily the best white MC since the Beastie Boys or Eminem. RIP Easy Mac Meezy.
That was a mouthful but if you’re still with me I gotta say thanks for your time!
I’d love to hear your feedback & criticism....what were some of your favorite albums from the Summer? Did any of these make your list?
Here they are again in order of rating:
J.Cole, KOD - 5 stars
A$AP Rocky, TESTING - 5 stars
Jay Rock, Redemption - 4.5 stars
Travis $cott, Astroworld - 4.5 stars
Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap - 4 stars
YG, Stay Dangerous - 4 stars
Lil Wayne, Carter V - 3.5 stars
Drake, Scorpion - 3.5 stars
Kanye, Ye - 1
Kid Cudi, Kids See Ghosts - 1
Nas, Nasir - 1
Pusha T, Daytona - 1
Peace out, hit the comments and let me know your thoughts!