Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2018 (Battle 3): Pusha-T vs. Westside Gunn
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 third match-up is between Pusha-T’s DAYTONA versus Westside Gunn’s Supreme Blientele. Make sure your opinion is heard and gets counted (click on your album’s artwork in the box below, then click “vote”).
Pusha-T – DAYTONA
Amidst a career filled with flare, 2018 saw Pusha-T release his magnum opus, DAYTONA. As unapologetic as it is air-tight, the seven-track album plays out as brief, yet sharp, glimpse into Pusha’s life at the top. With its title partly inspired by a Swiss watch, this G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam affair is about the luxury of time. In the last decade, Push’ transformed from one half of The Clipse dealing with label woes to an artist who drives playlists and headlines at once. All of the beats bleed with equal parts Soul and Miami Vice montage neon, thanks to Kanye West’s sample and drum-heavy production. Meanwhile, no feature feels amiss; Rick Ross, singer 070 Shake and ‘Ye make their appearances without overstaying their welcome. Though a kingpin removed from the grindin’, Push’s cocaine raps somehow seem as fresh as ever. True to the $85,000 cover-photograph from Whitney Houston’s bathroom, the MC seems his best when he’s sinister, relentless, and vengeful. Opener “If You Know You Know” shows Pusha dropping double entendres about how far back his concrete roots go. The Rick Ross-assisted “Hard Piano” sees the two rappers going toe-to-toe over a piano loop and dramatic hook. Closer “Infrared” tries to grab Drake by the jugular before both artists continued their offensives off-album. Daytona sits as his King Push’s most consistent, confident and concise project to date. Yugh. – Kevin Cortez
Released: May 25, 2018
Label: GOOD Music, Def Jam
Guests: Rick Ross, 070 Shake, Kanye West
Producers: Kanye West, Pi’erre Bourne, Andrew Dawson, Mike Dean
Westside Gunn – Supreme Blientele
The Griselda Records movement hit a crescendo in 2018. Conway The Machine’s Everybody Is F.O.O.D., Benny The Butcher’s debut album Tana Talk 3, and of course, one of the most anticipated album in recent years, Westside Gunn’s Supreme Blientele cast a spotlight on something that cult fans have followed for years. On his LP, Gunn manages to balance his three main passions on this 18-track offering: WWE wrestling, fine art, and his foothold in the streets. While this squad had kept a tight circle as far as beats and features up until this point, WSG reached out to legends and up and comers alike to build something special with Blientele. Having Pete Rock produce “The Steiners” with Elzhi as the featured guest is like a gift to Hip-Hop. Not to mention 9th Wonder flipping the guitar loop on “Wrestlemania 20,” while Anderson .Paak belts out a soulful chorus. Meanwhile, Wes’ inclusion of two sadhugold bangers, as well as recruiting a verse from CRIMEAPPLE for “Spanish Jesus” prove he keeps an ear to the ground. This release’s true school sound and unapologetic street raps cement the fact that GxFR are some new leaders in a Hardcore Hip-Hop renaissance. As the title reference suggests, Gunn and his Buffalo cohorts aim to carry on the tradition of cliques like Wu-Tang Clan, The LOX, and Mobb Deep, with a style and attitude fit for the late 2010s. – Jordan Commandeur
Released: June 22, 2018
Label: Griselda Records
Guests: Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Anderson .Paak, Elzhi, Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher, Roc Marciano, CRIMEAPPLE, Bro AA Rashid, Keisha Plum
Producers: Daringer, sadhu gold, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, Alchemist, Harry Fraud, Roc Marciano, Statik Selektah, Hesh
So which is better?
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