Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2019 (Battle 5): Dreamville vs. Griselda
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 fifth battle of the tourney’ is between Dreamville’s Revenge Of The Dreamers III and Griselda’s WWCD. This battle ballot is on AFH‘s Facebook page in the video. Make sure your opinion is heard. Vote there, and be counted. UPDATE: Griselda’s WWCD has defeated Dreamville’s Revenge Of The Dreamers III, 70% to 30%.
When the Dreamville squad invited over 300 producers and rappers to attend a 10-day recording session at Tree Sounds Studios in the Atlanta suburbs, it seemed like a Hip-Hop fantasy camp–especially to kick-off 2019. Revenge Of The Dreamers III promised to be a time capsule that showed off the label roster—founder J. Cole, Ari Lennox, Bas, Cozz, Omen, Lute, J.I.D., and EarthGang. That had been the case with the previous two volumes. However, this team, it mixed the ‘Ville talents with a cross-section of hand-picked artists and producers. DaBaby, Smino, Maxo Kream, Key!, Vince Staples, Guapdad 4000, T.I., Young Nudy, Buddy, and so many others joined the party, which eventually yielded to just 18 tracks. The end result is a diverse compilation album deserving of critical praise and multiple playbacks. “Under The Sun” sees three North Carolina natives, J. Cole, Lute, and DaBaby, spit over a Soul-soaked beat and between an uncredited hook by Kendrick Lamar. “Ladies, Ladies, Ladies” pairs the silky-spitter J.I.D. with T.I. for a clever and smooth interpolation of JAY-Z’s “Girls, Girls Girls.” “Sacrifices” gives EARTHGANG, Cole, and Smino a warm and beautifully sweet song that shares an equal range of excitement and bellowing vocals. “Down Bad” sees Bas, J.I.D., and Cole flexing on the competition to a beat that feels like a 2019 take on Bomb Squad production. If label compilations felt like a thing of the 1990s, J. Cole and Dreamville reinvigorated them with creativity, chemistry, and a campaign to crown Hip-Hop’s new reigning imprint – Kevin Cortez
Released: July 5, 2019
Guests: J. Cole, DaBaby, Lute, Vince Staples, Young Nudy, Bas, EarthGang (Olu & Wow Gr8), J.I.D., Childish Major, Cozz, Reason, Zoink Gang, Key!, Maxo Kream, Yung Baby Tate, Guapdad 4000, Buddy, Omen, Mez, DaVionne, Ari Lennox, Baby Rose, T.I., Reese Laflare, Jace, Smokepurpp, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smino, Ty Dolla $ign, Dreezy, Mereba, Deante’ Hitchcock, St. Beauty, Saba
Producers: J. Cole, Ibrahim Hamad, Archer, Bink!, Bizness Boi, Cam O’bi, ChaseTheMoney, Christo, ClickNPress, Cubeatz, Deputy, E. Dan, Elite, Galimatias, Groove Chambers, Henny Tha Bizness, Hollywood JB, Jay Kurzweil, Kenneth Harris, Kal Banx, Keanu Beats, Lil’A, Meez, MD Beatz, Nice Rec, Nxstalgic, OZ, Pluss, Pyrex, Ron Gilmore, Sensei Bueno, T-Minus
Griselda – WWCD (What Would ‘Chine Do)
When Eminem signed Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher to Shady Records two and half years ago, the label collective was already at the forefront of a grimy, hustle-Rap renaissance. However, in recent years, highly-impressive solo work from Wes’, Conway, and Benny propelled them to the forefront of who’s next in Hip-Hop. WWCD, named after their deceased relative and rapper, Machine Gun Black, honors tradition while taking things to the highest level yet. This 13-track offering is a distillation of everything fans love about Griselda: savvy deliveries, hard Daringer beats (alongside Beat Butcha), and raw street content. Despite some of the most coveted backing in Rap, the album sounds like it could’ve been any number of the Griselda releases in the 2010s. However, it finds three Buffalo, New York MCs at the top of their game. Debut single “DR. BIRD’S” is trademark GxFR, as is “Moselle.” For those paying attention, this brick-by-brick movement dates back more than a decade. However, just like Eminem 20 years ago, Griselda represents a new underground dream come true. Without compromise, this brand of Rap carries the torch for so many Hip-Hop luminaries. – Jordan Commandeur
Released: November 29, 2019
Label: Griselda/Shady Records
Guests: Novel, Tiona Denice, Keisha Plum, 50 Cent, AA Rashid, Eminem, Raekwon
Producer: Daringer, Beat Butcha
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