Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2018 (Battle 2): Jay Rock vs. Nipsey Hussle

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home, but we need your help to make it great. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

We have our opinions on the best releases of 2018, but rather than simply tell you our pick for #1, we thought it would be more interesting to hear what you, the readers, believe is the Best Rap Album of 2018. With that in mind, we decided to make our Best Rap Albums Of 2018 list a living breathing conversation, that would ultimately lead to you, the readers, choosing which album is the best of the year. Throughout December, we will pit albums against one another, battle style, and your votes will determine the winners.

We’ve chosen 15 albums that we think represented the best Hip-Hop of 2018. Inevitably, we left off some LPs that you believe should be included, so, we held a wildcard round (with a write-in option) where readers picked the album they feel most deserved a spot on the list.

The bracket-style competition among the final 16 albums has begun. Each weekday, albums will face off against one another. In each case, voting will close after 24 hours. We will go from the Sweet 16 to the Elite 8 to the Final 4 to the Championship Finals, with one album emerging as the victor. The second battle is between Jay Rock’s Redemption versus Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap. Make sure your opinion is heard and gets counted (click on your album’s artwork in the box below, then click “vote”).

Jay Rock – Redemption

Kendrick Lamar is the superstar in the TDE camp, but Jay Rock is the label’s MVP of 2018. His third studio album, Redemption, contends as his best effort yet, delivering a well-rounded 45 minutes that appeases the core base and piques new interests. With a variety of flows and cadences, Jay Rock sounds perfectly in his element whether he’s delivering an underdog’s anthem in “WIN,” a thumping tour of the Watts courtesy of “ES Tales,” or grooving to a party track like “Tap Out.” He also works effortlessly with his guest features, going back to his humble beginnings on “Wow Freestyle” with Kendrick Lamar, and giving a great contrast in vocals on the J. Cole-assisted “OSOM.” Between verses of hood tales, underground success, and overcoming obstacles, the LP is filled with memorable hooks that make this Eastside Johnny’s most accessible album, while authentic to his mixtapes from a decade ago. After putting his career on hold to recover from a motorcycle accident, Jay Rock stunts on the mic with a release that shows he is a keystone in one of Rap’s most driving forces of all-time. – Sypher

Released: June 15, 2018
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope Records
Guests: Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, SZA, Future, Jeremih, James Blake, SiR (add’l vocals), Aron Levi (synth)
Producers: Mike WiLL Made It, Sounwave, Top Dawg, Hit-Boy, Boi-1da, Jake One, Terrace Martin, Cardo, Allen Ritter, Crooklin, CT, Cubeatz, D.K. The Punisher, Hykeem Carter, Pops, Rascal, Teddy Walton, Vinylz


Nipsey Hussle — Victory Lap

During some years when West Coast Gangsta Rap seemed ignored in the mainstream, Nipsey Hussle fed the streets with an onslaught of mixtapes that were just as good as many top-tier rapper’s albums. Accompanied by his raw delivery and impeccable work ethic in and out the booth, Nip’ established an ever-growing fan base clamoring for more and treating street art as a status symbol. After 10-plus years of success in that underground, Victory Lap shows Neighborhood Nip’s fullest potential and album-making capability. The LP speaks to the reality of balancing the grind and staying true to oneself to get to the goal. With guest appearances from local contemporaries like YG, Kendrick Lamar, and Buddy to assists from feature-favorites like Puff Daddy and Marsha Ambrosius, this is award tour is a party for the rapper and those around his movement. Hussle made it clear with tracks like “Rap Ni**as” and “Last Time That I Checc’d” that he had no interest in following new Rap trends or switching his style up to push his music any further. The K-Dot assisted “Dedication” shows two rappers from once-opposed sides of the city who have banded together this decade to bring the spotlight back to their region. Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap is a revved-up testament to hard work, dedication and authenticity is the best formula for achieving success. – Max Light

Released: February 16, 2018
Label: All Money In No Money Out/Atlantic Records
Guests: Stacy Barthe, YG, Puff Daddy, Kendrick Lamar, Buddy, Konshens, J. Black, TeeFlii, The-Dream, Marsha Ambrosius, Belly, Dom Kennedy
Producers: self, Blacc Sam, Steve-O, Fatts, Amaire Johnson, Brody Brown, D.O. Speaks, DJ Khalil, IAMNOBODI, Jake One, JustJosh Music Group, Kacey Khalil, Larrance Dopson, Mike & Keys, Mr. Lee, Murda Beatz, MyGuyMars, Rance, Sap, Street Symphony, Teddy Walton

So which is better?

Ambrosia For Heads’ Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Of 2018 List:

Black Milk – Fever
Black Thought – Streams Of Thought, Vol. 2
Buddy – Harlan & Alondra
Evidence – Weather Or Not
J. Cole – K.O.D
Jay Rock – Redemption
Mac Miller – Swimming
Masta Ace & Marco Polo – A Breukelen Story
Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap
Phonte – No News Is Good News
Pusha-T – DAYTONA
Royce 5’9 – Book Of Ryan
Saba – CARE FOR ME
Travis Scott – ASTROWORLD
Westside Gunn – Supreme Blientele