• Lou James

My Top 10 Favourite Albums of 2018

Here is a list compiling my favourite albums of 2018, judging by the joy I had listening to them, the effect they had on me and the general quality. Also, this list is not of the best albums to come out this year, just my personal favourites.

10. TESTING - A$AP Rocky

Although this album has mixed reviews and is not high on too many lists, TESTING is one of my favourite albums this year, from one of my favourite artists. In this album Rocky shows that he is definitely willing to experiment with his music, creating much different sounds from a lot of his previous work. Tracks such as 'Fukk Sleep' show perfectly how willing he is to go against the grain, with the track showing how easily he can switch styles making the song soothing and devastating. The tracks on the album are not always performed or organised too well, but overall this album is a great experimental piece of rap.

Score: 8/10 - Favourite Songs - Fukk Sleep, Praise The Lord, Tony Tone

9. Redemption - Jay Rock

After almost passing away from a motorcycle crash, it seemed like Redemption may not have happened at all. Thankfully, Jay Rock recovered, dropping this amazing album 16 months later. The album displays his storytelling abilities, powerful deliveries and great production from Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free. The success of the album is well deserved, reaching greater audiences with more accessible and modern sounds. Before this album Jay Rock was not one of my favourite hip hop artists, but he certainly is now after this dynamic performance.

Score: 8/10 - Favourite Songs: King's Dead, Wow Freestyle, WIN

8. Black Panther Soundtrack - Kendrick Lamar/ Various Artists

To go along with a groundbreaking new movie in Black Panther, the soundtrack is just as impressive. The album has an impressive array of artists, from Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Jay Rock, Future and many more, creating this amazing African-inspired sound. Songs such as 'All The Stars' became incredibly successful hits, with songs such as 'Pray For Me' taking a much darker yet mesmerising narrative. This album shows that soundtracks that capture what their film means are definitely the way to go forward, especially when they are as impressive as this one.

Score: 8/10 - Favourite Songs: All The Stars, Pray For Me, The Ways

7. Some Rap Songs - Earl Sweatshirt

Although only 24 minutes long with most songs be less than two minutes in length, 'Some Rap Songs' is an album that pushes boundaries, creating a jaw dropping body of work. Earl is dealing with mental health issues and the death of his father, with the album reflecting some of the struggles he has recently been faced with. The lo-fi sounds in this album is what makes it so special, as it is done to an almost perfect effect, being distinctly rough around the edges. The album is a mix of avant-garde jazz and hip-hop and is something which has kept in my mind since listening to it.

Score: 8.5/10 - Favourite Songs: The Mint, The Bends, Shattered Dreams

6. Iridescence - Brockhampton

After the 'Saturation' trilogy and Ameer being kicked out of the band, Brockhampton released their latest album 'Iridescence', after recording it for over 10 days at Abbey Road Studios. The album confronts the 9 months prior to its release, emphatically making a statement on how the band has to move forward. The album is incredibly experimental, having a couple of flaws, but ultimately, creates a great representation and platform for the band to build on. It tells various different stories, most notably Kevin Abstracts emotional verse on 'WEIGHT', which grabbed my attention more than most songs do.

Score: 8.5/10 - Favourite Songs: WEIGHT, BERLIN, J'OUVERT

5. KOD - J. Cole

Following on from '4 Your Eyez Only', J. Cole released his new and improved project 'KOD', tackling themes such as addiction and drug abuse and how they have affected him personally. The narrative of this album is always kept well, with his own guidance being placed on songs such as '1985', offering advice to artists such as Lil Pump. The album proves that Cole is an important voice in this generation, with his incredible rap ability and techniques illustrating all of his points to a great effect. It is my favourite album from Cole, as I feel like the message of the album is highlighted well, with the lyrics and sounds complimenting each other well.

Score: 8.5/10 - Favourite Songs: ATM, 1985, Window Pain

4. Isolation - Kali Uchis

Wow, where to start. I had not heard any of Kali Uchis' music apart from her work with Tyler, the Creator on songs such as 'See You Again' and 'Perfect', but after reading the positive reviews this record got, I had to give it a listen, and I did not regret it at all. Her music is not what I would normally listen to, but the 15 tracks all caught my attention, with the mesmerising vocals and the inspiring instrumentals. Each song on the album sounds different from the last, showing her versatility, pulling strings in all the right places, being a joy to listen to. There was no way that I would have thought an album by her would have been been one of my favourites at the start of the year, but it more than deserves its place.

Score: 9/10 - Favourite Songs: After The Storm, Tyrant, Just A Stranger

3. ASTROWORLD - Travis Scott

After waiting for what seemed like forever for ASTROWORLD to drop, Travis Scott finally released the project, and it was well worth the wait. The production on this album is extraordinary, creating a vibrant and thrilling feel. Beats rarely stayed the same throughout a song on the album, most notably on 'SICKO MODE', which was Travis' first No.1 Billboard top 100 hit, with him and Drake going off on one of the records of the year, if not the best. The vocals on songs such as 'STOP TRYING TO BE GOD' and 'NO BYSTANDERS' are also remarkable, complimenting Travis' raps and the instrumentals perfectly. ASTROWORLD is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year, and my favourite Travis Scott project.

Score: 9/10 - Favourite Songs: SICKO MODE, CAROUSEL, STOP TRYING TO BE GOD

2. Daytona - Pusha T

Being the first album of the 7 song G.O.O.D Music album rollout back in June, Pusha-T impresses from start to finish in Daytona, creating an unforgettable album, even in it's 21 minute length. The album is near flawless from start to finish, showing incredible production from Kanye West, and some of the best Pusha raps I have ever heard. Since Pusha took down Drake with 'The Story of Adidon', Daytona became even more perfect as we got to listen to Pusha go off. Starting off with 'If You Know You Know', we are instantly dropped into the confident, extravagant raps and production this album has to offer.

Score: 9.5/10 - Favourite Songs: If You Know You Know, The Games We Play, Infared

1. Kids See Ghosts - Kids See Ghosts (Kanye West & Kid Cudi)

Kids See Ghosts and Daytona are undeniably the two standout albums from the G.O.O.D Music rollout, being my favourite two albums of the year, with this one only just being my favourite. Ever since 808s and Heartbreak dropped, Kid Cudi has worked with Kanye West on numerous songs from both of their discographies, with fans always wanting a collaborative project. This year we finally got it, and it did not disappoint. The song blends rock and hip-hop perfectly throughout, at times creating a vibe that sends chills down your spine. It lets Cudi and Kanye both open up about their mental health struggles creating, for me, what is a beautiful masterpiece. Song such as 'Freee' show the extravavagant rock/hip-hop blend with fantastic vocals from both artists, and songs such as 'Cudi Montage' and 'Reborn' letting us see even more into the artists mental health struggles, with a more toned down sound, which resonates with the entire audience. Ultimately, Kids See Ghosts is a beautiful album, showing the brightest and darkest corners of Cudi and Kanye's psyches.

Score: 9.7/10 - Favourite Songs: All of Them

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