Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2018 (Battle 6): Black Milk vs. Evidence
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 fifth match-up is between Black Milk’s Fever and Evidence’s Weather Or Not. Make sure your opinion is heard and gets counted (click on your album’s artwork in the box below, then click “vote”).
Black Milk – Fever
Black Milk released an album that captures the zeitgeist in Fever. Four years removed from his previous record, If There’s A Hell Below, this LP is jazzier, more cerebral, and demonstrates this revered producer’s significant growth as an MC. With live instrumentation provided by giants like drummers Chris “Daddy” Dave and Daru Jones plus sparse features (limited to Dwele, Nat Turner Band member Aaron “Ab” Abernathy and Sudie), Fever is a series of compositions tied together through serious lyrical content. The LP was written after Black tore his Achilles playing basketball and stayed sidelined from his 2017 musical plans. Stuck in recovery, he consumed the oft-dismal post-election news cycle and went to work writing this album. The Detroit, Michigan producer and MC addresses the ills of social media on its lead single, “Laugh Now Cry Later”; the failures of American educational systems, on “True Lies”; and humanity’s taste for betrayal, on “Foe Friend.” It’s worth noting the frequency of single-versed songs, too, as a major strength of this album. His orchestration enhances the bold words he says on songs like “2 Would Try,” “Could It Be” and “Drown,” Black Milk says with musical orchestration. Fever features lots of references to heat and pressure, as well as the confines of time and space. Ultimately, it’s a manifesto for revolution, both political and personal. – Bonita
Released: February 23, 2018
Label: Computer Ugly/Mass Appeal Records
Guests: Dwele, Aaron “Ab” Abernathy, Sudie, Kris Johnson (trumpet), Ian Fink (keys), Sasha Kashperko (guitar, bass), Chris “Daddy” Dave (drums, percussion), Daru Jones (drums, percussion), Malik Hunter (bass)
Evidence – Weather Or Not
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?
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