LordTreeSap’s Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2018

Back in the Mix. It’s become a yearly tradition that I make this list, so I figured to keep it rolling over here. Even though I feel like we say this every year, 2018 was an epic 365 days in hip-hop, as fans received an array of albums from some of the best the industry has to offer. If you can’t find a style of rap within the genre by this point, you’re just not searching hard enough.

When we look back on this year in rap, I think it will be able to go head-to-head with just about any other campaign since hip-hop’s conception. From Cardi B to Travis Scott and the long-awaited joint album from Kanye West and Kid Cudi, here are my official top 10 albums of the year.

10. Drake – Scorpion 

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Even in a year he gets embarrassed in a scathing rap battle with Pusha T, Drake still comes out victorious. Drizzy owned the headlines and the charts (35 Hot 100 Entries) all throughout 2018 with a pop star-esque rollout for Scorpion. The double album went on to produce three No. 1 hits on the Hot 100, as well as one of the best songs in his catalog with “Emotionless.” After an exhausting year, I think the 6 God has earned some time away from the spotlight to hang with his now-exposed son, Adonis. Scorpion will compete at the 2019 Grammys for Album of the Year.

9. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V 

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Following a treacherous legal battle against Birdman and Cash Money Records, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V was finally freed this summer. The long-awaited project lived up to the hype, boasting a decorated guest list and woozy punch lines from Weezy that probably could’ve existed in any of the last few years. Flashing glimpses of the Wayne we fell in love with throughout the oversaturated project, I’m totally fine with this being the last installment of the historic Carter series, if he chooses.

8. Black Panther The Album 

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Kendrick Lamar was tabbed with the hefty responsibility of curating the Black Panther soundtrack. Hopefully K. Dot serves as a trailblazer in having more rappers involved with putting together soundtracks because he definitely exceeded expectations, properly aligning with the tidal wave of hype behind the acclaimed Marvel blockbuster.

7. Vince Staples – FM!

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Vince Staples goes back-to-back after landing the futuristic Big Fish Theory on this very list in 2017. The shrewd Long Beach native returns with more ingenuity, crafting his third LP in the style of a radio show with none other than Big Boy’s Neighborhood at the helm to make the effort a total West Coast affair.

6. The Carters – EVERYTHING IS LOVE

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The long-awaited Jay-Z and Beyonce joint album seemingly dropped out of the sky this summer, in the midst of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music five-project run. Looking back, the effort didn’t get the proper acknowledgment as fans were quickly onto digesting the next flurry of albums in the coming weeks. Built around a Migos’ reference track, “APESHIT” serves as the project standout and hit record. Jay takes aim at his detractors like the Grammys and the NFL, while Bey shows that she can probably out rhyme your favorite MC on any given night.

5. Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap

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Nipsey Hussle delivered his highly anticipated debut album with Victory Lap at the start of 2018. I was worried that his magnum opus would be buried by 2018’s end, but Nip stood the test of time as the cream of the crop in street rap. VL will be well-represented at the Grammys in the stacked Rap Album of the Year category. If you haven’t yet, make sure to give the West Coast project a listen, you’ll even pick up a few gems along the way.

4. Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy 

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Many wondered how Cardi B would follow-up her prolific 2017 campaign with her debut album. The Bronx native showed that she could take her artistry to the next level on Invasion of Privacy, usurping the throne as the queen of rap from Nicki Minaj. Producing a strong debut effort in the midst of a turbulent high profile relationship with Offset and having her first child, just solidifies Bardi’s status as an authentic global star and a force to be reckoned with in the future.

3. Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts 

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If Yeezy’s Ye album from the week prior was a microwaved meal, Kids See Ghosts was slow-cooked and seared to perfection. Even with the sky-high expectations I had going in, CudYe surpassed what I could’ve imagined with their seven-track genre-bending collab. It’s a shame the project has been overlooked on many year-end lists, which may have something to do with critics being turned off by West’s “antics,” but that’s the media for you in 2018. I hope there’s more music (or a tour) to come from the pair in the future.

2. Travis Scott – Astroworld

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This right here is astronomical. Scott completed the vision of bringing his childhood theme park to life through his experimental art with Astroworld, which completed his gradual rise from underground darling to mainstream global superstar. At its core, La Flame proved to be the ultimate collaborator with his third LP, precisely unleashing a prolific lineup of guests in prime opportunities for success, all of while remaining the star attraction.

1. Pusha T – DAYTONA

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DAYTONA, album of the motherfuckin’ year,” Pusha T claims on the outro of his eviscerating “The Story of Adidon” Drake diss. King Push continued to use that slogan on merchandise and across social media platforms to make sure he talked the future accolades into existence. At 41-years-old, Pusha cashed in the best year of his solo career, where his drug-laced raps sounded as fresh as ever over Kanye West production. The Virginia native didn’t waste a breath across the 21-minute effort, featuring hard-hitting guest verses from frequent collaborators in Rick Ross and Yeezy. Nobody did more with less than Pusha T, and he deserves to be rewarded for it here.

Honorable Mention: Kanye West – Ye, Lil Baby & Gunna – Drip Harder, Migos – Culture II, Jay Rock – Redemption, 6ix9ine – Dummy Boy, Nas – Nasir, XXXTentacion – ?, Meek Mill – Championships, A$AP Rocky – Testing 

Song of the Year: Travis Scott Feat. Drake & Swae Lee – “SICKO MODE”

Kanye West Sets the Stage for Epic Summer of G.O.O.D. Music

Yesterday started off as your usual Thursday, but I was just happy to have more motivational tweets from Kanye, which I thought would be adding on to his Break The Simulation philosophy book.

My world was flipped upside down when Kanye’s afternoon string of tweets became public. “My album is 7 songs,” followed up by “June 1st.” At that point, I lost my mind. I’ve been yearning for some new Kanye West music in my life. I also had a feeling something was up when Charlamagne Tha God visited Kanye’s office Wednesday, where he was reportedly played cuts from the album.

The next tweet sent me into a state of euphoria, thinking this couldn’t be real life. We’re actually going to get that elusive Kanye West and Kid Cudi joint album that fans had been calling for since the duo crafted 808s & Heartbreak and later linked up on a number of bangers throughout their careers. If you know me, 808s is my favorite Kanye West album and that project led me toward the Yeezianity stan I am today.

With over a month until Kanye and the Kids See Ghost album, I’m still hesitant to believe it’s happening because with Ye being the perfectionist he is, anything is possible until those projects show up on Apple Music.

I’m also excited to just be able to work in the music industry during the release of a Kanye West album, documenting this process is going to be a special time in hip-hop history. Hopefully, Ye and Cudi do some media, host a listening party in the city and drop some merch along with the projects to amplify the experience and make it last forever. Dare I say go on tour at the end of the year together?!?

The G.O.O.D. Music takeover didn’t stop as the 40-year-old West also unveiled that his pair of albums would be sandwiched between highly anticipated efforts from G.O.O.D. Music President Pusha T (May 25) and Teyana Taylor (June 22) executive produced by the Chicago native himself.

Either way, I haven’t been this excited leading into a project in years as you never know what the next Kanye West album is going to sound like.

Yeezy Season is most definitely approaching! It’s going to be a G.O.O.D. Summer (Sorry Drake) my fellow hip-hop fanatics. Maybe it’s finally time to get my 808s & Heartbreak tattoo.

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Hip-Hop Takeover: Cardi B and Post Malone Leap-Frog Taylor Swift On Billboard Charts

First off congrats to Cardi B! The Bronx native’s meteoric rise has been a joy to watch, and it’s great to see the rest of the country embrace her glowing spirit. The 24-year-old became the first solo female artist to notch a number one record since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop” in November of 1998. “Bodak Yellow” surged to become the late summer anthem, and now overtakes the machine known as Taylor Swift in its 12th week on the chart jumping from number two to one.

This restores some of my faith in the charting system, as this track deserves the number one spot because of its organic growth within the hip-hop community. Consumers should always be priority one in determining what is considered poppin’ in the culture. Where, in this case, Bardi held off T-Swift as “Bodak Yellow” streams were up 14% for the week with just over 46 million, as well as seeing an 85% increase in sales with 56,000 for the week ending September 21st, according to Billboard. This could be due to the track seeing a 69-cent discount on the iTunes store, which Taylor Swift also tried with her single, “Look What You Made Me Do” to keep its number one status, but that couldn’t even stop “Bodak Yellow’s” inevitable rise to the top.

From the strip clubs to Love & Hip-Hop, Cardi B now has the number one record in the country, showing everyone coming up that anything is possible when the proper steps are taken and the work is put in.

I’ve been waiting to see where Post Malone’s next single “Rockstar,” featuring 21 Savage would land on the charts, as I began to see it popping up everywhere a major record needed to (Apple + Spotify Curated Playlists) for maximum reach and exposure. I figured it would chart somewhere in the middle of the Billboard Hot 100, as the track has accumulated 1.2 million views on YouTube in four days, but is still without a legit music video. The duo’s hit saw over 44 million streams for the week and was purchased by fans a whooping 80,000 times, according to Billboard. Very high numbers in those departments, but it only saw 5 million spins (compared to Cardi’s 62 mil) on the radio, and I am yet to hear it on Hot97 and Power 105.1 in NYC.

In my opinion, this is too much too soon so I look at both artists being signed to major record labels. Republic Records had a huge hand in pushing this song to debut at #2 on the charts sandwiched between Cardi and Swift. I like to call this the label stimulus package, which boosts records to places they wouldn’t be yet without major label backing. I also could be underestimating Post Malone’s fanbase, as my brother pointed out to me today that between “White Iverson” and “Congratulations,” Malone has accumulated over a billion views on YouTube between the two bangers. Expect to hear a lot more of “Rockstar” the rest of the year, and this may very well be the next hip-hop anthem, taking the torch from “Bodak Yellow.”

I also don’t want to come off as a hater, this song is actually a great record about the industry’s lifestyle and could possibly be Malone’s best single in his career, so more power to him. I just want to inform people of the logistical items going on behind closed doors of record companies. Either way, hip-hop is here for the long haul and is seeping further into mainstream consumption before our very eyes. Earlier this year, the genre overtook Rock as the most popular in the United States.  The fight continues, but more history will be made.

“Rap is the new Rock and Roll. We the new Rock Stars.” – Kanye West

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The DAMN Tour Invades Barclays Center With Some Help From 2 Chainz

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Nearly 19,000 fans packed out the hazy Barclays Center, as K. Dot and La Flame brought the DAMN Tour back to NYC for the second time in less than 72 hours. The show began with D.R.A.M opening up shortly after 7:30 and lasted all the way until nearly 11 P.M. after a Kendrick Lamar encore and a special guest appearance leaving the fans feeling like they got their money’s worth. This will be an experience I remember for a long time, as three all-time greats graced the Brooklyn stage at once.

After missing Friday’s Washington D.C. stop of the DAMN Tour, Travis Scott returned and brought his signature frenetic energy that is unmatched in the performance category. I’ve been dying to see the Houston rapper on tour since missing his Birds Eye View NYC tour stop in April. An untraditional show that had fans jumping from the upper level of the Terminal 5 venue.

Since my brother put La Flame on my radar circa 2013, Travis has quickly shot up my favorite artist list since getting the Kanye West G.O.O.D. Music cosign in 2012. Only two studio albums in, Scott is well on his way to superstardom. The auto-tune king will soon be headlining his own stadium tours so I’m happy the fans appreciated Trav and didn’t treat the him as an ordinary opener. To be honest I was more pumped to see him than Kenny since I had already seen Lamar twice prior, at school and opening for Kanye on the Yeezus Tour.

The 25-year-old began his 45-minute set shortly after 8 P.M. on the ground before making his way to perform while flying in the air on a mechanical bird. I’ve never seen anything like that before and it gives you a look into Scott’s eccentric creativity. Travis lived up to the videos gone viral sending the crowd into a frenzy with an array of tracks from “Upper Echelon,” to SZA’s “Love Galore” and all of my favorites off Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight before finishing with his most commercial song to date “Antidote,” which peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. I will say this, I thought Travis audio could’ve been better. I’m not sure if that’s on him or the Barclays Center. Either way, tour life is good for the boyfriend of Kylie Jenner.

It took about a half hour to come down from the high that came in the form of a La Flame performance before the stadium went black and fans rose to their feet. Kendrick Lamar literally rose from under the stage platform around 9:30 P.M. and got the party re-started with “DNA” a personal anthem off his latest offering DAMN, which is now certified double platinum. K. Dot has to have some of the best breath control in hip-hop. His stage command has come a long way since I last saw him at MSG in 2013. Now, a 30-year-old seasoned vet who is at the peak of his powers and the leader of the “new school.”

The Compton native was in his bag Sunday night, giving the hyped up crowd a little bit of everything ranging from some Section 80, to DAMN. I could go on for days about the nearly 90-minute experience but will focus on the highlights. The visuals were unbelievable, as K.Dot seems to be really honing in on this Kung Fu Kenny alter-ego. He even brought out ninjas to perform beside in his yellow jumpsuit. At one point he vanished and rose once again on a small platform in the middle of the floor seats.

One moment that stood out to me was when Kendrick admitted he didn’t do this all alone and it’s amazing to see how far he has come in NYC, who always showed him love early in his career. Just six years ago he was playing in front of just hundreds of people at the locally known SOB’s and now he stares at thousands of fans filling sold-out stadiums every night. K. Dot had all 19,000 fans on their feet with their phone lights on swaying back and forth as he rapped the melodic “LOVE,” which was a sight to behold, bringing everyone together in unison.

Before wrapping up his set, Lamar brought out Travis to perform “Goosebumps,” which recently made a push in radio peaking at 32 on the Billboard charts, dropping an accompanying visual this year. This was the beginning of taking the crowd to the next level. 2 Chainz then somehow showed up in Brooklyn, getting a huge pop from the fans as he hit the stage to perform “4 AM” featuring Travis with Kendrick serving as the hype man for the banger.

As Chains and Scott exited stage right, Kendrick took back control of the stage as the show headed to its conclusion. Fans knew what was coming when the “Humble” beat dropped, as the first chorus approached the sound stopped and the crowd rapped in unison back at Kendrick, making for a tuneful scene. As the stage went dark, fans began chanting for an unlikely encore, which I thought was a waste of time. That was until I heard that soft voice and the lights came back on as Kendrick waved his arms to get the crowd so loud it felt like I was at Metlife Stadium and the Jets defense needed to make a huge 3rd down stop.

Kung Fu Kenny closed out the second Brooklyn stop with “GOD” before exiting the stage thanking the fans for another sold-out show. This was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve been to the last couple years. Totally worth the price of admission, left Barclays Center more than satisfied. DAMN has the top spot as the #1 album of the year, and Travis’ star is going to continue to grow with Astro World on the way. The east coast swing of The DAMN Tour is over as they cross the border tonight into Toronto, Canada.

All hope is not lost though, an August 25th date has been added to the second leg of the tour at Prudential Center in New Jersey with YG instead of Travis Scott.

JAY Z Ages Like Fine Wine On 4:44 Album

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On his 13th studio album, Shawn Carter gets as personal as ever before at the age of 47. Mr. Carter is one of the few that has the power to have the world stop and listen to one of your projects, as Jay enters the third decade of an illustrious career. We’ve never seen Hov this vulnerable, letting us in on his relationship struggles by responding to Bey’s LEMONADE, having to kill his ego, admitting his mother Gloria is a lesbian and even checking little brother Kanye West.

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What he exuded is the realities of black excellence, showing the positive as well as the negatives of being a hip-hop mogul, spokesman and trailblazer all contained within the ingenious 10-track project, which is now available across all major streaming platforms. Jay raps “I’m trying to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99,” which is the over-arching theme of the project in my opinion.

Jay passed along gems that he learned in business throughout his journey. Explaining in the interlude of the powerful “The Story of O.J.” Hov dismisses people throwing money away while flaunting at the strip club instead of investing in themselves for good credit because that is a way to help break through America’s systematic oppression. Comparing that to the Jews who have generational wealth passed on through owning real estate.

Black capitalism related lyrics dominate the project as Jay expresses his commitment to generational wealth and using entrepreneurship to “rinse” the black communities. To continue with “The Story of O.J.” Hov explains his plans of passing on wealth through owning property, using examples of how the value of a DUMBO building property in Brooklyn is now worth 10x more than when he was growing up.

“Financial freedom my only hope Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke I bought some artwork for 1 million 2 years later, that shit worth 2 million Few years later, that shit worth 8 million I can’t wait to give this shit to my children”

The Brooklyn MC called on the legendary Kanye West mentor, No I.D. who handled the production side for the entire project, crafting tuneful beats incorporated with an old-school soulful sound that soothes your well-being. The Chicago producer sampled the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Donny Hathaway. It’s refreshing that the culture could still enjoy a modern hip-hop album that doesn’t include any trap beats. Jay only exercises the use of Damian Marley and Frank Ocean as features on two tracks throughout 4:44.

Hearing HOV this honest on an album shows that vulnerability still makes for the best art. This is how an artist progresses throughout his career, especially someone who has accomplished as much as Jay has at the age of 47. It may be his 13th album, but Shawn Carter is still finding innovative ways to release his music 21 years after his debut album, where as almost all of the colleagues that joined the game with him in the ’90s are well out of the relevant hip-hop picture.

JAY Z added a footnotes video to explain the deeper meaning of his heartfelt confessional “4:44” to open the album, where he apologizes to his wife Beyonce saying she “matured faster” than him even though he is 12 years her elder. Carter admits his relationship “wasn’t built on 100% truth” and rebuilding the “beautiful mansion” of their marriage was “the hardest thing he’s ever done.” Hov chops it up with other celebrities including Chris Paul, Meek Mill, Will Smith, Michael B. Jordan, Aziz Ansari, Anthony Anderson for some barber shop talk about love and relationships. Check it all out on TIDAL.

Hovi will be coming home to perform at the Barclays Center at the Brooklyn stop of his 4:44 Tour on November 26th. The pricey tickets already sold-out within a few hours for the entire tour, which kicks off in Anaheim, CA on October 27th.

R.I.P. JAY Z 

Top NBA Draft Prospects Reveal What’s On Their Pre-game Playlist

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The NBA Draft is upon us, a day where kids dreams become reality and it’s really a joy to be a fan of a team with a top pick hoping you are selecting the piece that finally turns your franchise around. This draft class is supposed to be one of the most stacked in recent history and definitely has a chance to be really special.

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With trade rumors flying left and right the NBA has really become a sport that’s in the news cycle 11 months out of the year. Tonight could get really fun if a rumored blockbuster we’ve been hearing about is pulled off. Other than picks one and two being a sure thing, the rest of the draft is really up in the air and could go a multitude of directions so make sure to tune in 7 PM on ESPN when it all gets going with Markelle Fultz hearing his name called and becomes an official member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The NBA held their media availability and LordTreeSap was on the scene and caught up with almost all of the top picks to see what they’re listening to before games and we got some pretty diverse answers from Luther Vandross to J-Cole and Kendrick. Most of the prospects were happy to chop it up about their music preferences rather than the rhetorical questions most older journalists were bombarding them with.

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De’Aaron Fox: “I’m not the type to get hyped. I usually listen to classical music before games, a lot of hip-hop. Nothing constantly, but Big Sean is one of my favorites. He’s been one of my favorites since middle-school then Logic came along. I still like J-Cole, Kendrick and guys like that.”

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Jonathan Isaac: “I listen to everything. I’m a big music fan, I listen to new music and old music. I’m a big Luther Vandross fan, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne. I’m a huge Drake fan. I get into singing too, I like Bruno Mars.”

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Jayson Tatum: “Hip-hop mostly. Drake and Yo Gotti are probably my two favorites.”

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Josh Jackson: “I’ll listen to some Kodak Black, Future, J-Cole and Kendrick usually.”

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Markelle Fultz: “J-Cole and Lil Wayne. I listen to a lot of old school songs too, Sam Cooke and Anthony Hamilton.”

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Dennis Smith Jr.: “Before games I listen to R&B. I’m all over the place ’90s, 2000’s I’m everywhere. Keyshia Cole and Beyonce for sure and a lot of Monica though.”

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Malik Monk: “I only listen to one person before games and that’s The Weeknd.”

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Zach Collins: “Drake, Big Sean, Logic, Green Day and Metallica. A little bit of everything.”

Declaring Big Sean’s ‘Dark Sky Paradise’ A Modern Day Hip-Hop Classic

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I’ve been plotting on saying this for a while. As we’ve passed the two-year mark since Big Sean released Dark Sky Paradise in February of 2015, enough time has transpired to objectively look at the Detroit native’s third studio album as a modern classic in rap.

Sean knew he had to perform, as his social status and impact was larger than ever. The 26-year-old saw his name with the likes of his contemporaries such as Wale, J Cole, and Kendrick who blemished his last album Hall Of Fame, with his controversial and viral verse on “Control,” which dominated headlines leading to the song being taken off of the project for “sampling” reasons.

Anderson took it upon himself to produce the best product with no label heads in his ear. This was to be executed through Sean’s vision playing the role of artist and A&R. To maximize creativity, the G.O.O.D Music artist built a state-of-the-art studio inside his Detroit mansion, where he handpicked the beats organically that filled inspirational voids that would develop into reference tracks.

Sean Don orchestrated his masterpiece enlisting an ensemble of superstar collaborators from some of the top artists and producers in the game today. This list is seriously crazy: Kanye West (executive producer), Drake, E-40, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, Chris Brown, Jhene Aiko, Lil Wayne, John Legend, PartyNextDoor, Ariana Grande. On the production side: Mike WiLL Made-It, Boi-1da, Mike Dean, Key Wane, DJ Mustard, DJ Dahi, Vinylz and more.

This list of features and genius minds having their hand in a project is eerily reminiscent of Kanye West’s masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as you can see the similar title even setting off the energy in Dark Sky Paradise. In an interview with Hot97 Big Sean admitted to listening to Dark Twisted Fantasy and using it as inspiration in his own project, “Before I made any songs for this album I was with ‘Ye and we played Dark Twisted Fantasy.  It’s not that the title had anything to do with it, but soon as I heard that I knew that was the feeling I wanted to go for. Not necessarily the feeling but the vibe of being a little darker than the usual me and that definitely sparked the idea that I’m going to go in.”

Sean definitely climbed out of a creative hole after the nasty break-up with Naya Rivera and the recent passing of his grandma on December 20th, 2014 whom he was very close with and was one of the first female black captains in WWII. Track 11, “One Man Can Change The World” was made in her honor as the Detroit native called on John Legend and Kanye for the assist on the tuneful piano-laden song.

Before the February 2015 release the Roc Nation artist rolled out three singles, two which will be culture flaring bangers for the rest of the decade. “I Don’t Fuck With You” was actually supposed to be a Justin Bieber song, but DJ Mustard decided to give it to Big Sean who then got Bay area legend E-40 to complete the track and roll the tune out on September 19th, 2014. The anthem caught on with mainstream radio, peaking at number 11 on Billboard Hot 100 charts and currently boasts a cool 233 million views on YouTube.

The Kanye West and Drizzy assisted “Blessings” followed up as the final single prior to the release of the project, and Sean went toe-to-toe with his hip-hop Hall-of-Fame compadres. The collaboration king did it again, setting hype for the project at an all-time high for him personally on the Vinylz produced record. Somehow Yeezy was cut off the album version of the track but still made an appearance for the video, which has 202 million YouTube hits and is certified double platinum by the RIAA.

In the Hot 97 listening session/interview referenced above Sean admitted he recorded the 2088 (group name for Big Sean and Jhene) “I Know”, “IDFWY” and “Deep” which calls on Lil Wayne all in the same studio session. That bugs me out that artists can record multiple huge records in the same night. “Deep” definitely has a special meaning to Sean as Weezy big ups him on the track rapping, “I feel like Sean don’t get enough shine. Is it because he ain’t got the tattoos? He ain’t throwing up signs? Well, let me throw up mine.” The 29-year-old actually posted a photo together with Wayne this week to Instagram showing his appreciation for Wayne captioned, “Man I’ll never forget what u said bout me on my song “Deep” bro on some real shit. U changed rap 4ever, God bless you! #C5″

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Fast forward to the night before the album drops, Sean gifts the fans with his own cover of Beyonce’s “Me, Myself and I” and this had me wide-eyed with the bars he was spitting on a night where he should be celebrating or resting after being in three cities within 24 hours. The grind doesn’t stop. Please listen to this track, and I’m including it as a bonus track on the project, whether you like it or not.

Even though Dark Sky Paradise leaked days in advance of release, which I admittedly listened to, Anderson notched his first number one album, while racking up a combined 173,000 sales in the first week. The 50-minute project has since gone platinum, and is still my favorite work of his to date.

All I ask if you listen to the 15-track album one more time through and come back to me. I hear the argument that it’s tough to call something a classic with as many features as Sean employed but the quality of music doesn’t lie, in addition to aging very well two years since the February 24th, 2015 release day.

Big Sean doesn’t get the credit he deserves, with every passing year his rapping ability improves in addition to his tricky word play and ad-libs. Sean’s decorated discography can go against almost any other modern hip-hop artist’s first four albums.

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What inspired me even more to pen this article was the end of the year lists for 2015 from outlets like SPIN and Stereogum, as they somehow disrespectfully ranked Dark Sky Paradise #35 and #37 for albums of the year. Blasphemy.

Dark Sky Paradise joins 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Good Kid Maad City, Yeezus and To Pimp A Butterfly on my classic list within the last 4 years.

Did I lose you?

The Top 10 Kanye West Features Of All-Time

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With the release of Tyga’s Kanye West assisted “Feel Me” track last week, it got me thinking about all the classic features Yeezy has given throughout his career. So after deciphering over a decade of guest verses, I did my best to come up with the top 10 Kanye West features of all-time. Let me know which classic Ye verses I missed out on.

Without further ado, the top 10.

10. Lil Wayne Featuring Kanye West – Lollipop (Remix)

It’s a shame Lil Wayne and Kanye West never combined for a true banger in Weezy’s prime. This is probably the closest thing to it, as Ye hops on Wayne’s lead Tha Carter III single for one of his best verses.

9. Lloyd Banks Featuring Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Fabolous & Ryan Leslie – Start It Up

After Kanye West said Lloyd Banks was “underrated,” the track quickly expanded from just Banks and Fab. Start It Up went from a duet to featuring Kanye, Ryan Leslie and Swizz Beatz, who were all in NYC at the time.

8. T.I. Featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z – Swagger Like Us

On impact alone, this song has to make the list strictly based on the names collaborating. Today, you would never see the biggest names in the game at the height of their careers getting together to absolutely murder a track.

7. Rick Ross Featuring Kanye West – Live Fast, Die Young

Probably the most underrated Kanye feature on this list. This song has Ye’s hands all over it. You can just tell this is from the MBDTF era and West decided to give the track to his good buddy Rozay after he gave the verse of a lifetime on Devil In A New Dress.

6. Rihanna Featuring Kanye West – Diamonds Remix

This is probably the most recent Kanye feature that I genuinely enjoyed. During the midst of the Yeezus era, Kanye let us know that he hasn’t lost a step in the rap department.

5. Estelle Featuring Kanye West – American Boy

Kanye West did John Legend and Estelle a huge favor when the two linked up for the hottest single in her pop career.

4. The Game Featuring Kanye West – Wouldn’t Get Far

The Game and Ye combined for an epic track as the duo traded fire verses as they gave the industry a reality check and kept it real when it came to the video vixen era rising up in hip-hop.

3. Drake Featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem – Forever

Yeezy gives the best verse on a track among all-stars, as three legends help boost the career of a young Drake back in 2009.

2. Jay-Z Featuring Kanye West and Rihanna – Run This Town

Jay-Z should’ve known better when he got murked on here even before getting to Watch The Throne. The tune reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammy awards.

1. Young Jeezy Featuring Kanye West – Put On

THE MOST ICONIC FEATURE OF KANYE WEST’S CAREER. Yeezy returned to let out the sadness built up since his mother’s passing, and how lonely it can be at the top.

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Honorable Mention:

Big Sean Featuring Kanye West – Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay 

Ne-Yo Featuring Kanye West – Because Of You Remix

Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

Mr. Hudson Featuring Kanye West – Supernova

Katy Perry Featuring Kanye West – E.T.