TOP 3 ALBUMS OF 2018
To top this list is no other than Nipsey Hussle's 'Victory Lap' which was released on February 16, 2018 with All Money In and Atlantic Records and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album. A timeless masterpiece, narrating utter truth expressed in music form of his life with mastery of storytelling and production, 'Victory Lap' is a complete album in every sense of the art form.
'Victory Lap' is a cherished gift given to the world before his untimely death. It is a blueprint for anyone from struggle to overcome the odds at every turn. His life exemplified his music in community service, leadership, technology, and entrepreneurship. I mean, he literally created a movement. I'm in Atlanta and I see "The Marathon Continues" spray painted in blue letters on the concrete wall as I ride the blue line train heading west from the east side.
By now you you've heard the album and meditated on it, so we don't need to discuss the tracks and features etc. Just listen again and vibe to it. You got to feel it.
From one of my most personal favorite albums and artists is 'Kids See Ghosts' by Kids See Ghosts, composed of Kanye West and Kid Cudi, which was released on June 8, 2018 and was nominated for a Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.
This is by far my greatest duo in Hip-Hop, these two together transcend music into a higher realm, spiritual, pure in abstract, unique artistic form that cannot be duplicated. They have created their own genre which will be studied 100 years from now.
“We had to beat the streets, beat the system, beat racism, beat poverty, and now we made it through all that. We at the championship.” Championships, the fourth studio album, by Meek Mill showed longtime fans an evolution of the hip hop artist’s mindset. While earlier albums like Dreams and Nightmares and Dreams Worth More Than Money reflected much of the materialism associated with contemporary hip hop, the Philadelphia native (re)introduced himself on Championships as an advocate of social justice while still using his signature spirited sound. No matter the album, Meek Mill has never failed engaging listeners from the beginning with classic introductory songs like “Dreams and Nightmares,” “Lord Knows,” and “Wins & Losses.” Championships was no exception, beginning with “Intro,” which sampled one of the biggest hits from Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight.” The album’s leading single, “Going Bad,” which featured Drake served as an ending to the long time feud with the Canadian MC. Cardi B, Kodak Black, and 21 Savage are some of the other artists featured on this star-studded roster.
The most talked about track from the album, perhaps, was “What’s Free” which featured hip hop mogul, Jay-Z, and Meek Mill’s longtime Maybach Music Group (MMG) comrade, Rick Ross. In his book, It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation, M.K. Asante (2008) writes, “the artivist (artist + activist) uses her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression – by any means necessary.” Sampling “What’s Beef?” by the Notorious B.I.G., this song personified artivism as Meek Mill rapped about criminal justice reform and life in the urban United States of America.
Since the release of Championships, Meek Mill has joined forces with others, including the likes of Robert Kraft and Van Jones to launch the Reform Alliance. According to the Twitter page, the alliance aims to reform the criminal justice system by changing laws and policies “while changing hearts and minds.” Bono, lead vocalist of the rock band U2, was quoted saying music can change the world because it can change people. As Meek Mill aims to change the world and others, Championships deserves recognition as one of the top hip hop albums of 2018 simply because it has changed Meek Mill himself.
-Written by, Courtney RaShad Allen