2018: Another Golden Year In Hip Hop

2018: Another Golden Year In Hip Hop

1520 Sedgwick Ave Bronx, New York has been etched into musical history as the birthplace of the culture of hip-hop. From the early house parties, hosted by the genre’s founding father DJ Kool Herc back in 1973, where the DJ laid the groundwork for the tone, attitude, and influence that we associate with the world’s most popular musical medium, 45 years later Hip-Hop has now rendered another Golden Year of music.

Removed from the days of digging through crates, turntable battles, and early rap cyphers, hip-hop has transformed the movement of culture and has established itself as the most influential performance category. Throwing it back to the the mid 90’s where artists like 2Pac, Jay – Z, The Notorious B.I.G, The Fugees, Nas and more dropped projects that pushed many to deem the ‘94 and ‘96 years as the first Golden Ages of hip-hop, the new breed of major artists including Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Drake, Cardi B, Travis Scott, as well as industry veterans like Lil Wayne, Eminem, T.I. and many more have contributed to this new 2018 era.

This year we have witnessed over 100 hip-hop projects drop that have all made major noise whether it be on a mainstream platform or underground come-up. 2018 has not only emerged as a new Golden Year for hip-hop with non-stop musical releases, but it has also left its mark on the year with controversial rap beefs, notable collabs, statements on mental health, politics, drug addiction, social justice issues and much more.

At the top of 2018, the R&B/Hip-Hop genre officially surpassed Rock music as the most consumed category of music. According to Neilsen Music, eight of the ten most listened to artists of the 2017 calendar year came from the R&B/Hip-hop genre, which was led by Scorpion rapper, Drake, having sold nearly 4.8 album equivalent units, with Compton King Kendrick Lamar following up with 3.7 million units sold. There is no doubt that the rap culture has penetrated through social divides and age demographics that crosses over many generations. With the assistance and ready availability of social media at everyone’s fingertips these days, many hip-hop acts have direct interaction with their core fans and greater audiences that are reached through their viral musical moments, surprise cross-genre collaborations, limited tour dates, must-have design merch items, and underground street artists gaining sign-offs from major artists alike.

This new Golden Year of hip-hop has not only delivered new complete projects from leading artists but it also bared witness to the vets linking up with much of the new generation’s rappers who are steadily making a name for themselves in their own right. Further leading to more blurred lines of defining the hip-hop sound and culture, 2018 saw the likes of Kanye West pairing up with Lil Pump, Snoop Dogg hopped on Russ’ ‘Zoo’ album and was featured on controversial teenage rapper Bhad Bhabie’s “Gucci Flip Flops” remix, Young Money chief Lil Wayne saluted the late XXXTentacion on his Carter V “Don’t Cry” record, Juicy J recruited Travis Scott for the infectious “Neighbor” track and the list continues to move the genre forward.

So why was 2018 such a monumental year for every major artist and new commer? The plethora of music releases continues to demonstrate a shift in artist influence and relevance. Yes, we can all agree that we are currently living in a climate that continues to attempt to divide but it is obvious that hip-hop music is a constant impact for us all. Many artists are not only reflecting the state of the culture within in their music but they are also beginning to restructure the standards of traditional hip-hop projects.

Controversial and outspoken rapper Kanye West not only made headlines this year for his stark political differences but the Chicago emcee issued a new wave of marketing and production with his G.O.O.D. Music crew June 2018 takeover. Spearheading production on a total of five albums for Nas, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, a collab effort with Kid Cudi, and a solo project, West delivered a new theme of seven-featured tracks for each project. The success of each album could be due to the shortened length of each lp or the social conversation surrounding the risque rapper, but the marketing roll out featured elaborate and exclusive listening experiences where fans and media outlets divulged in secret locations across the U.S., including Los Angeles, New York, and Wyoming, to be a part of a fresh take on releasing music.

2018 also witnessed hip-hop in a more creative space than ever with the impact of full concept albums. Dreamville captain J. Cole dropped his fifth studio album KOD, which not only heightened the topic of addiction awareness, bringing the critical issue to the forefront of his lyrical content, the matter is the basis for his entire album. Even the KOD title takes on multiple meanings including Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed, and Kill Our Demons. Down to the project’s artwork, which depicts children under the influence of various substances, as Cole is pictured as a King shielding the kids under his robe.

Texas native Travis Scott paid tribute to his childhood upbringing with the release of his third studio album ASTROWORLD which is a nod to the now defunct Houston Six Flags Astroworld theme park. The album’s amusement park theme has footprints in La Flame’s merch and sound as the rapper has described much of the album as psychedelic trap music.

Other rappers who utilized this concept album feature include TDE’s Jay Rock’s reintroduction with the release of his Redemption concept album, Nipsey Hussle ran a long course with his finally released debut studio album Victory Lap, and the late Mac Miller delivered the now Grammy-nominated Swimming which shares consistent themes of self-love, healing, and psychological growth.

This new era has also ushered in a moment in hip hop that we haven’t seen in quite some time with the rise of prominent female rappers. It’s no secret that Cardi B had a breakout year with the release of her debut studio album, and Nicki Minaj broke major Billboard records as well, but the influx of female rappers in 2018 will definitely predict a strong 2019 for even more female voices in the genre. Rappers like Cupakke, City Girls, Rico Nasty, have all had an outstanding and successful year and will be a bigger part of the hip hop conversation next year.

Hip hop will continue to lead the culture in the coming 2019 year but 2018 will go down as a turning point for the genre of rap and the influence that hip hop has on music and lifestyle. What were some of your most played 2018 hip hop albums?

Peep the extensive list, in no particular order, of releases below.

  1. KOD – J Cole
  2. Invasion of Privacy – Cardi
  3. Scorpion – Drake
  4. Black Panther: The Album – Various Artists
  5. Everything is Love – The Carters
  6. Astroworld – Travis Scott
  7. Tha Carter V – Lil Wayne
  8. Ye – Kanye West
  9. Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone
  10. Kids See Ghost – Kid Cudi & Kanye West
  11. Victory Lap – Nipsey Hussle
  12. Ta1300 – Denzel Curry
  13. Kamikaze – Eminem
  14. SR3MM – Rae Sremmurd
  15. Moosebumps – Kool Keith
  16. No News is Good News – Phonte
  17. Dime Trap – TI
  18. Redemption – Jay Rock
  19. Queen – Nicki Minaj
  20. Ephorize – Cupcakke
  21. Return of Trill – Bun B
  22. Until Death Call My Name – YoungBoy Never Broke Again
  23. Memories Don’t Die – Tory Lanez
  24. Lil Boat 2 – Lil Yachty
  25. Bobby Tarantino – Logic
  26. The World is Yours – Rich the kid
  27. OnePointFive – Amine
  28. G-Host – Styles P
  29. Effected – Cozz
  30. ? – XXXtentacion
  31. Daytona – Pusha T
  32. Streams of Thought vol 1. – Black Thought & 9th Wonder
  33. Weather or Not – Evidence
  34. The Book of Ryan – Royce 5’9”
  35. Nasir – Nas
  36. August Greene – Common, Karriem Riggins, Robert Glasper
  37. Czarface Meets Metal Face – Czarface & MF DOOM
  38. Elevators: Scene I & II – Bishop Nehru
  39. 1999 – Joey Bada$$
  40. YSIV – Logic
  41. Drogas Wave – Lupe Fiasco
  42. Day69: Graduation Day – 6ix9ine
  43. Life’s A Trip – Trippie Redd
  44. Bless Yo Trap – Smokepurpp & Murda Beatz
  45. Die Lit – Playboi Carti
  46. Era – PRhyme
  47. Culture II – Migos
  48. Testing – A$AP Rocky
  49. Swimming – Mac Miller
  50. International Artist – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  51. Planet – Tech N9ne
  52. Amen – Rich Brian
  53. Paranoia 2 – Dave East
  54. Rolling Papers – Wiz Khalifa
  55. Dex Meets Dexter – Famous Dex
  56. Slime Language – Young Thug
  57. Drip Harder – Lil Baby & Gunna
  58. Not All Heroes Wear Capes – Metro Boomin
  59. Light Of Mine – Kyle
  60. Rich As In Spirit – Rich Homie Quan
  61. Quavo Huncho – Quavo
  62. Mudboy – Sheck Wes
  63. Freddie – Freddie
  64. Kyoto – Tyga
  65. Care For Me – Saba
  66. Punken – Maxo Kream
  67. Activated – Tee Grizzley
  68. Stay Dangerous – YG
  69. Vacation In Hell – Flatbush Zombies
  70. Goodbye & Good Riddance – Juice WRLD
  71. Life Of A Dark Rose – Lil Skies
  72. Fever – Black Milk
  73. Venom – U-God
  74. Edgewood – Trouble, Mike Will Made It
  75. Bounce Backs Over Setbacks – Paul Wall
  76. I Want To Die In New Orleans – Suicide Boys
  77. Swervo – G Herbo
  78. Drogas Wave – Lupe Fiasco
  79. FM! – Vince Staples
  80. Wizville – Ocean Wisdom
  81. Room 25 – Noname
  82. N/O/I/S/E – Ghostemane
  83. After The Verdict – Retch
  84. Dummy Boy – 6ix9ine
  85. Championships – Meek Mill
  86. Street Gossip – Lil Baby
  87. Skins – XXXTentacion
  88. Evil Genius – Gucci Mane
  89. Dying To Live – Kodak Black
  90. Everythnag’s Corrupt – Ice Cube
  91. I Am > I Was – 21 Savage
  92. Be Safe – Lil Xan
  93. Some Rap Songs – Earl Sweatshirt
  94. Hooedie Szn – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  95. Iridescence – Brockhampton
  96. Gangin – SOB x RBE
  97. Survive The Summer
  98. Nasty – Rico Nasty
  99. Period – City Girls
  100. DiCaprio 2 – J.I.D
  101. Harder Than Ever – Lil Baby
  102. Nasty – Rico Nasty

Peep our 2018 Year-End Articles Below:

L.A. Leakers Top Freestyle Moments of 2018 Feat. Young M.A, Belly, Tyga + MORE

10 Of Our Fav Collabs Of 2018—Drake, Post Malone, Cardi B + MORE

The Top Ten Video Releases Of 2018


Concert Calendar

No events are currently scheduled.