Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2018 (Battle 10): Pusha-T vs. Evidence

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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 Round 2 match-up is between Pusha-T’s DAYTONA and Evidence’s Weather Or Not. Only one of these highly-respected albums can reach the Final 4. 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

(defeated Westside Gunn’s Supreme Blientele, 59% to 41%)

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

 

Evidence – Weather Or Not

(defeated Black Milk’s Fever, 80% to 20%)

In a year when many of the year’s splashiest releases were defined by brevity, Evidence delivered a robust, 16-track composition in Weather Or Not. The fourth solo LP from the Los Angeles, California MC marries the gracious with the glib, with themes of perseverance, accomplishment, sadness, integrity and mortality. With guest spots from Styles P, Rapsody and Khrysis on one song (“Love Is A Funny Thing”); heat from Alchemist, who hopped on “Sell Me This Pen” alongside Mach-Hommy; to fellow Dilated Peoples Rakaa and DJ Babu; and one of the year’s best guest verses, courtesy of Jonwayne on “To Make a Long Story Longer,” the album is stellar. Its brightest moments, though, shine through with Evidence performing solo. As he spits on the LP’s opener, “I’m at my best when I’m back into the factory,” he’s both boastful and merciful. On the title track, he’s cheekily self-referential and on the DJ Premier-laced “10,000 Hours,” in prideful stride. “Throw It All Away” may embody Weather Or Not‘s DNA most acutely: “Out the gate a bit late, but the champ is back / I need a third hand to wear my rings and hold plaques.” He saved the true poignancy for the album’s closer, however. On “By My Side Too,” he celebrates his late life partner—as she was battling Stage III breast cancer—as well as his son, who was born during the recording process for Weather Or Not. As he told Ambrosia For Heads earlier this year, “The reward of being an open book is way more tremendous. There’s a bigger purpose to it.” – Bonita

Released: January 26, 2018
Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Guests: Rakaa, Alchemist, Slug, Defari, Rapsody, Styles P, Krondon, Jonwayne, Mach Hommy, Khrysis, Catero
Producers: self, Alchemist, DJ Premier, Nottz, Budgie, Twiz The Beat Pro, Samiyam

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