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”

Hip-Hop/R&B Dominate 2018 Grammy Award Nominations

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The 60th GRAMMY Award nominations were released today, sending social media into a frenzy about who got too much love and how their favorite artist was once again snubbed. I’m not going to get too much into that, but speaking more in generality that looking at the noms, hip-hop and R&B are the big winners here.

The genres have been wildly underrepresented in the past and now with hip-hop at music’s forefront, it can no longer be denied as it has become the most popular genre of music to be consumed on the open marketplace. A 48-year-old JAY-Z leads all artists with 8 nominations, including having 4:44 up for Album of The Year.

Check out the complete list of nominees here.

Album of the Year:

• “Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino

4:44 – JAY-Z

DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

Melodrama – Lorde

24K Magic – Bruno Mars

What’s amazing here? This will be the first time since 1999 that there are no white males represented in the major category. Have no problem with the Academy’s choices, but I believe The Weeknd’s Starboy should have gotten more recognition. Early prediction: Going to ride with Kendrick Lamar, he absolutely dominated 2017, showing he’s one of the all-time greats, while offering up a masterpiece with DAMN.

Record Of The Year:

• “Redbone” – Childish Gambino

• “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber

• “The Story Of O.J.” – JAY-Z

• “HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar

• “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars

More urban music domination in 2017, and it’s only going to be more powerful as the years go on. I’m honestly surprised to see “The Story Of O.J.” in this category, not even the best record off of 4:44. Talking it over with DG, I guess “Despacito” will have to get some nominations because of just how huge of a record it was this year. Where is Ed Sheeran?!?!?! “Shape Of You” has to get a nomination here. Love the other three choices, would have no problem with them winning too. “Redbone”‘s organic rise was one of the special events to witness in music in 2017.

Best New Artist: (My Favorite Category)

• Alessia Cara

• Khalid

• Lil Uzi Vert

• Julia Michaels

• SZA

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This category has birthed so many superstars over the years, even though most years I disagree with who is really considered a “New Artist” by the Academy. Any of these talented artists could win and I’d think it was fair. This may be the most talented “New Artist” field I’ve seen in a long time. Kehlani should be in the conversation with these artists as well, let’s not forget about her ability. Recent winners of the category include: Chance The Rapper, Adele, John Legend, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Maroon 5.

Outside of SZA (28) the others mentioned are just 24 or younger with Khalid still a teenager. Alessia Cara has shown she can dominate the pop charts, Khalid’s American Teen impressed critics, Lil Uzi Vert is hip-hops’s biggest rockstar, Julia Michaels is one of the most talented writers in music, SZA is the next R&B star to carry the torch for strong-minded women after her CTRL debut. The future is bright.

Best Rap Album:

4:44 – JAY-Z

DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar

Culture – Migos

Laila’s Wisdom – Rapsody

Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator

Expected to see the top three on this list with Jay, Kenny and Migos. The bottom two is where I have somewhat of an issue. I don’t believe Rapsody’s project was strong enough to make this list in my opinion. Flower Boy, is another story. Definitely needs to be recognized for it’s artistic creativity as Tyler produced all of the 14-track album. I’m cool with him getting his first nomination here, well deserved Ty. If it was up to me I would’ve liked to see Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory, Big Sean’s I Decided or Logic’s Everybody up there.

Before I sign off I just want to highlight some of the younger artist’s in hip-hop/R&B to get nominations because that should be celebrated. Congrats to Khalid, Cardi B, 6lack, GoldLink, Rapsody, and Daniel Caesar on notching their first nominations. This is a life-long labor of love coming to fruition. The future of the genre is brighter than ever. See everyone at the 60th GRAMMY’s on January 28th. Good luck to the nominees.

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Daily Mix Report Podcast Episode 33 – Baked Zidi

Baked Zidi is back in the house with a new name and a new game.

We sat down with Baked Zidi, who was formerly known as the French Prince, for another interview to talk about the name change, his new Tape Up Tour, and he even spit some fire at the end. We also discussed what the best playoffs in sports are and Zidi shared a story of how he met Tiger Woods. Yes, the real golfer. Check out the first episode of the Tape Up Tour below.

Here’s Baked Zidi free-styling at the end. Give him a follow @bakedzidi on Instgram

Cheat Sheet – The boys are once again joined by Baked Zidi, formerly known as The French Prince. Topics include recapping the Yankees (2:30 – 3:50), the best playoffs in sports (3:50 – 12:00), NBA story lines (12:00 – 16:00), Tidal Concert (16:00 – 18:00), and how Zidi met Tiger Woods (18:00 -23:00). For the second half, we interviewed Baked Zidi about the name change, the Tape Up tour, what’s next for his rap career, and he gave a freestyle at the end.

iTunes link – Subscribe, comment, and rate!

Soundcloud

Chance The Rapper Concert: The Blessings Were Real

Welcome to the first rap / hip hop article from someone not named LordTreeSap. Yes, it is I, DG. Yes, the same man who is coming off of a great (HB) This Is Us article. Yes, the same man who loves to listen to Top 40 radio. If you can believe it, this man was the guy to go to the Chance The Rapper concert. Although when I tell you who was there, it actually might make sense.

I had way to much swag as a 7th grader!!! Dripping SWAGUUUUUUUUU.

So last night, I went to the Chance The Rapper concert at Forrest Hills Stadium in Queens with Producer Jim. This was my first time at the venue. It’s a solid place to see a show. It kind’ve has this high school bleachers feel to it, like you’re about to watch a big football game on Friday night. We had GA Bowl, which meant you could sit anywhere besides the floor. Big Jim and I elected to go up top to the last row since it was deathly hot and you could get a breeze from up there. It was not even that far away and when had a perfect view of the stage. So far so good.

I’m not kidding when I say this. I think the common age group at the show was teenagers and to be more specific, girls. It was Snapchat heaven for these crews despite having the WORST phone service possible. Everywhere Jim and I looked, we would see a light flash for a picture. The girls would look at the pic, say take it again, and repeat the whole process. It’s unreal how long it takes girls to take pictures. I’m a big one and done type of guy. Not that it’s a hardo thing, but I just don’t want to be standing there for minutes as I try to fake smile. Ladies, my guess is you have hundreds of followers. You could put a picture of your big toe and I guarantee your friends will get you over 100 likes and comment things like “BEAUTIFUL” and “UGGHHH WHY ARE YOU SO HOT?” Also, there were four 12 year old boys that walked by me wearing Chance shirts and eating happy meals. To say I was intimidated was an understatement. That was an automatic “head down and walk away” moment. I did not want my lunch money to be stolen.

Oh yeah, the concert! Chance came out on a mini dirt bike to a huge ovation so right off the bat, I knew this man controlled the crowd from the get-go. I’ve been to a few big concerts before (another HB) like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. These concerts have diehard fans who have been to their shows over 50 times. I can honestly say that in terms of the crowd singing the words to the songs, Chance’s show might take the cake. He could put down his mic for the whole show and the whole crowd would scream every single word. It did not matter if it was a new or old song. Chance actually did a song from his first album “Surf” and it arguably could’ve had the largest reaction. Although I think his rendition of Waves / Father Stretch My Hands / Ultralight Beam combo probably took the cake. Shoutout to friend of the site, Kanye West.

I know some people have described Chance as “preachy” before, but I didn’t get that vibe. Yes, he talked to the crowd for a bit but it wasn’t like he was trying to instill religious beliefs in you. He just wanted to show his appreciation for the fans and to his band for sticking around. It’s truly amazing what this man is doing as an independent artist who only puts out streaming mixtapes. It just shows that if you are talented and can build a following, you can make it big. What his mixtape, Coloring Book, did to the streaming world will be a monumental moment in music history. It was the first streaming album to ever win a Grammy. It also helps that Coloring Book was one of the best mixtapes of the year. Chance for mayor.

My favorite song from Coloring Book if anyone wanted to know.

So there we have it. Chance The Rapper put on a good, entertaining show. Well worth the price of admission. Now if you excuse me, I have to go watch This Is Us.

12 Years Ago Kanye West Released His Second Studio Album, ‘Late Registration’

After Riding the wave of his rebellious debut album, Kanye put his money where his mouth was on Late Registration investing two million dollars into the project. Critics pondered how Kanye West would follow up The College Dropout. Fresh off of Usher’s 2004 tour, Yeezy went back to work on his sophomore record.

Kanye had “Gold Digger” verses recorded before some of the records that made his freshman LP. Originally, the song was written from a woman’s perspective for Shawnna, who somehow ended up passing on the record, so Mr. West took things into his own hands. It wasn’t until Ye met British film composer Jon Brion that everything changed going forward. West took his profits and invested in lush orchestras and strings after being inspired by the trip-hop band, Portishead.

Jamis Foxx didn’t get involved with the future anthem “Gold Digger,” until Kanye saw him play Ray Charles in the film Ray. Initially Foxx was skeptical of West’s R&B aspirations, but was obviously proven wrong. You never question the vision of a creative genius. The track which was recorded at Ludacris’ home studio went to be West’s introduction to the world, as it topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts, giving the Chicago native his first number one hit.

Before cross-genre collaborating was popular, the ambitious musician enlisted Maroon 5’s Adam Levine for the tuneful opener “Heard ‘Em Say.” Levine would later use his lyrics on the band’s “Nothing Lasts Forever” record. If you’ve never seen the animated visual for this song you’re missing out.

“Hey Mama” is one of the most powerful tracks that will end up defining Kanye’s career, especially with what ended transpiring with Donda after he penned the record. It’s such an emotional song that he can’t even perform it on tour, and we all can understand why with the bond he had with his mother. His 2008 Grammy’s performance was one of the signature moments in hip-hop.

I could go on for days breaking down the 69-minutes of classic content provided by Kanye and an all-star lineup of features that included Chicago natives Common, Lupe Fiasco, Jay Z and Nas on back to back tracks at the peak of their beef, Cam’ron and The Game. Ye has a way of expressing himself in a funny way, but always keeping it real and that’s exuded in the four skits. I always enjoy coming back to the vintage Kanye that cemented himself in the hip-hop hall-of-fame. Give the 21-tracks a spin on the 12th year anniversary. Late Registration took home a Grammy for best rap album at the 2006 awards and is now certified triple platinum.

P.S. – Only Ye would go to Abbey Road Studios in London to perform and record a live 12-track compilation album in front of 300 people with a suit jacket on.