HipHopDX's Best Rap Albums of 2018

HipHopDX's Best Rap Albums of 2018

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1. J. Cole - KOD

J. Cole - KOD
April 20, 2018
Critic Score
14 reviews

J. Cole has a gift in turning tears into teaching tools and KOD is a concise, leather-bound audiobook of invaluable life direction goals.

2. The Carters - Everything Is Love

The Carters - Everything Is Love
June 16, 2018
Critic Score
23 reviews

While their marriage may have its flaws, EVERYTHING IS LOVE frankly doesn’t. It’s a storybook ending for two people crazy in love who never gave up on each other — or their craft.

3. Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD

Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD
August 3, 2018
Critic Score
20 reviews
As an overall product, it’s a brilliant tapestry of subtle elements that position the 26-year-old virtuoso as the closest thing his generation has to Kanye West-level album curation.

4. Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap

Nipsey Hussle - Victory Lap
February 16, 2018
Critic Score
6 reviews

Victory Lap’s aspiration to be validated as a classic Hip Hop album never sways and it checks off a ton of boxes.

5. Various Artists - Black Panther: The Album

Various Artists - Black Panther: The Album
February 9, 2018
Critic Score
15 reviews
This is an album that speaks to the times. It’s something you would include in a time capsule for people 100 years from now who are curious about how we lived in the late 2010s.

6. Pusha T - Daytona

Pusha T - Daytona
May 25, 2018
Critic Score
21 reviews
The seven-track album goes the distance to add further refinement and distillation to the steely, luxurious drug raps that earned him rap relevance.

7. Jay Rock - Redemption

Jay Rock - Redemption
June 15, 2018
Critic Score
10 reviews

As a staff, record label and muthafuckin’ crew, TDE has become a standard for excellence in Hip Hop and Redemption certainly clears the bar when it’s all said and done. Sure there are missteps, but there’s also growth. It’s not like Jay Rock needed to do anything else to prove his place in Hip Hop but it’s always a treat to watch the established rappers give it their all in the studio.

8. Royce da 5'9'' - Book of Ryan

Royce da 5'9'' - Book of Ryan
May 4, 2018
Critic Score
5 reviews

Book Of Ryan continues a four-year, six-album streak of top-tier lyricism, with noted personal and artistic growth in the process.

9. Phonte - No News Is Good News

Phonte - No News Is Good News
March 2, 2018
Critic Score
2 reviews

10. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
April 6, 2018
Critic Score
20 reviews

With an album title in Invasion Of Privacy, it would have been remarkable for Cardi to flip the openness of her Instagram page into an audiobook and not succumb to the invincibility cloak that comes along with a rap star title. Still, when you combine this decent first outing and relentless work ethic, there’s no question Cardi is here to stay.

11. Denzel Curry - TA13OO

Denzel Curry - TA13OO
July 27, 2018
Critic Score
7 reviews

Curry has constructed a project that plays to the sonic structures of the era without sacrificing meaningful content in doing so. TA13OO is the culmination of his promise and talent, resulting in Curry’s magnum opus.

12. Saba - Care for Me

Saba - Care for Me
April 5, 2018
Critic Score
9 reviews

With Care For Me, Saba accomplished his objective by making an album that can endure for years to come. His higher aspirations won’t afford him the visibility of the rappers acting out for attention, but projects like Care For Me should put him into the discussions of his generation’s best Hip Hop artists.

13. Kids See Ghosts - KIDS SEE GHOSTS

Kids See Ghosts - KIDS SEE GHOSTS
June 8, 2018
Critic Score
21 reviews
The chemistry between Cudi and Ye feels battle tested. With Cudi playing the role once occupied by his own ego, Kanye’s music sounds freer than ever before. Together, these two studio wzrds have managed to produce something that is equal parts raw, honest, touching, spooky and ethereal.

14. CZARFACE & MF DOOM - Czarface Meets Metal Face

CZARFACE & MF DOOM - Czarface Meets Metal Face
March 30, 2018
Critic Score
9 reviews

Coupled with DOOM’s dark, abstract aesthetics, Czarface Meets MetalFace brings the comic book underworld to the surface while unintentionally schooling the emerging rap generation at the same time.

15. 21 Savage - i am > i was

21 Savage - i am > i was
December 21, 2018
Critic Score
8 reviews
21 Savage’s maxim of “I Am Greater Than I Was” is growth, understanding that as an artist and a public figure, you must push yourself to make some changes within.

16. Metro Boomin - Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Metro Boomin - Not All Heroes Wear Capes
November 2, 2018
Critic Score
6 reviews

The beats Metro cooked up for this one were top notch throughout, adding some refreshing sounds to the current trap landscape. With retirement in the rearview mirror and a 21 Savage album on the horizon, Not All Heroes Wear Capes solidifies the return of one of this era’s most trusted producers.

17. Mac Miller - Swimming

Mac Miller - Swimming
August 3, 2018
Critic Score
19 reviews

Though the subject matter is enticing, Swimming does occasionally tread boring lulls. At its best, however, Miller’s latest project succeeds at being cathartic and is more lyrically mature than his previous work.

18. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter V

Lil Wayne - Tha Carter V
September 28, 2018
Critic Score
17 reviews

Like all of its previous installments, Tha Carter V is a mile-long, bloated package of unpredictable zest that’s light on introspection ... Yet its allurement lies in the fact that “Mixtape Weezy” and “Carter Wayne” are able to co-exist with ease.

19. Eminem - Kamikaze

Eminem - Kamikaze
August 31, 2018
Critic Score
20 reviews

Eminem has returned with a very solid body of work after being longed counted out as a venerable threat.

20. Drake - Scorpion

Drake - Scorpion
June 29, 2018
Critic Score
28 reviews

Scorpion solidifies his universal relatability while yet again supplying fans with an overload of tracks to willingly keep or ditch.

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