Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2019 (Battle 6): Big K.R.I.T. vs. EarthGang
Over the last couple of years, Ambrosia For Heads has asked our readers to help us determine the Best Rap Album for 2017 and 2018, respectively. In looking at the top music of 2019, we believe that instead of letting the Grammy Awards—a committee who does not know anything about the culture—tell us what the “Best Rap Album” is, Hip-Hop Heads should raise their voices at the exact same time.
We have chosen 15 albums that we think represented the best Hip-Hop of 2019. 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. Every day between January 9 and January 24, albums will face off against one another. The tournament winner will be announced Sunday, January 26, the same night as the 2020 Grammy Awards. In the case of each battle, voting will close after 24 hours. The competition 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 sixth battle of the tourney’ is between Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. IZ HERE and EarthGang’s Mirrorland. This battle ballot is on AFH‘s Facebook page in the video. Make sure your opinion is heard. UPDATE: Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. IZ HERE has defeated EarthGang’s Mirrorland, 70% to 30%.
Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. IZ HERE
Big K.R.I.T. began this decade with a mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, that stood as tall as that era’s best albums. To close out the 2010s, Krizzle finished strong with an LP that traces his growth and evolution in K.R.I.T. IZ HERE. In both cases, King Remembered In Time leads the Rap pack. Rather than taking full control of the production and recording process on this go-round, the acclaimed double-threat focused almost solely on songwriting. Standout track “M.I.S.S.I.S.S.I.P.P.I.” is a dedication to his home state by acknowledging his upbringing while showing the enduring beauty of southern simplicity. Featuring one of his inspirations, Lil Wayne, “Addiction” looks at lust and love in the same light as lean and other vices. “Prove It,” a reunion with J. Cole, shows two cult-lauded MC/producers who have become Hip-Hop front-runners through staying real with their fans. Balancing Funk, Hip-Hop, and old Soul, K.R.I.T IZ Here is about a man that can go to many different places when it comes to music. While handing production duties to Rico Love, DJ Khalil, and former Timbaland partner Danja, 2017’s “Best Album” winner uses his license to experiment with feel. However, he never loses sight of the sound that’s made him meaningful to so many, evident in opener “K.R.I.T. Here” and “Believe.” K.R.I.T. began the decade as an underdog from the third coast underground. He enters 2020 with his own record company, a commitment to growth, and that same DIY spirit on an exponentially bigger stage. – Ms. Benzo
Released: July 12, 2019
Label: Multi Alumni/BMG
Guests: Lil Wayne, Saweetie, Baby Rose, J.Cole, Yella Beezy, Rico Love
Producers: (self), DJ Camper, Danja, Rico Love, Tariq Beats, Don Coleone, WOLFE de MCHLS, DJ Khalil, Musik Major X, Reuel Ethan, Luke Witherspoon, M Millz, Qkaution, Grant Strumwasser, Mike Hector, Wallis Lane, Ervin Garcia, Nabeyin, Uni, Rolynne Anderson, Tae Beast, Mark Byrd
EARTHGANG – Mirrorland
Inspired by Quincy Jones’ score for the Broadway musical, The Wiz, EARTHGANG ushered in their first full-length LP, Mirrorland. The record as a whole captures the ear with a whimsical sound and spirit as felt on cuts including, “LaLa Challenge,” while tracks like the T-Pain-assisted, “Tequila,” transport listeners to other ends of the world. Throughout, Johnny Venus and Doctor Dot’s skills behind the microphone fly uniquely far beyond the art of rapping, elevating their deft musicianship with innovative inflections, crooning, cadences, and tone to harmoniously captivate their expanding audience. In conjunction with the MCs’ inventive stretches in sound, the Atlanta, Georgia artists’ storytelling abilities are equally as potent from beginning to end. The dark and crawling emotion of their single, “Swivel,” lyrically captures the rappers’ past pain and desperation, while singles like the Young Thug-assisted, “Proud Of U,” juxtapose one another with tales bubbling in bliss and vivacity. Following the success of Spillage Village band-mate (and Dreamville label-mate) J.I.D., it is now time for Dot and Johnny to get all the props. Overall, EARTHGANG’s inauguration into the game’s upper echelon is reflective of their passion for their craft and willingness to explore uncharted musical waters. – Jacob “34” Koertge
Released: September 6, 2019
Label: Dreamville / Interscope / Spillage Village
Guests: Young Thug, T-Pain, Kehlani, Arin Ray, Malik
Producers: Lido, Olu, J. Cole, VOU, Edsclusive, Childish Major, Big Korey, Ant Chambers, Natra Average, Bink!, DJ Dahi, Ron Gilmore, Elite, Pete Nebula, Groove, Christo, Elite, Brian Malik Baptiste, DJ Khalil, Rahki, D.K. The Punisher, Dre
So which is better?
Add-2 – Jim Crow The Musical
Benny The Butcher – The Plugs I Met
Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. IZ HERE
Boogie – Everythings For Sale
Dreamville – Revenge Of The Dreamers III
EarthGang – Mirrorland
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana
Gang Starr – One Of The Best Yet
Griselda – WWCD
Little Brother – May The Lord Watch
Murs, 9th Wonder & The Soul Council – The Iliad Is Dead And The Odyssey Is Over
Rapsody – Eve
Skyzoo & Pete Rock – Retropolitan
Smif-n-Wessun – The All
YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy