Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2019 (Battle 7): Little Brother vs. Diamond D
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 seventh battle of the tourney’ is between Little Brother’s May The Lord Watch and wildcard-winner Diamond D’s Diam Piece 2. This battle ballot is on AFH‘s Facebook page in the video. Make sure your opinion is heard. UPDATE: Little Brother’s May The Lord Watch has defeated Diamond D’s Diam Piece 2, 66% to 34%.
Little Brother – May The Lord Watch
After more than eight years of separation and giving fans less than 24 hours of notice, Little Brother reunited this year and released one of the best albums in its touted catalog. May The Lord Watch sees Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh reviving the L.B. brand with conscious bars that acknowledge the past, while still keeping tensions comfortably (and maturely) in the rearview. With “Right On Time,” both artists describe the stresses and sacrifices of trying to make it in music. Pooh recalls his time as an Uber driver to supplement his lulls in his indie entertainment career, while Phonte vents on the pressures he faces to balance being a great artist and family provider at once. Video single “Black Magic (Make It Better),” Phonte and Pooh celebrate the power of their skin and L.B.’s all-time knack to be authentic rappers and human beings. Interlaced between each bouncy, snappy beat provided by producers like Nottz, Khrysis, and Focus… are hilarious skits that honor their 2005 classic album, The Minstrel Show. Hip-Hop has changed in 15 years, and so has Little Brother. However, May The Lord Watch finds the thread between then and now. Unconcerned with modernization, but never pandering for nostalgia, Little Brother has created a stellar comeback record full of the humor, self-awareness, and sincerity. This duo seamlessly fills the void they left behind with rhymes, beats, and life. – Kevin Cortez
Released: August 20, 2019
Label: Imagination Nation/For Members Only/EMPIRE
Guests: Peter Rosenberg, Questlove, Darien Brockington, Madison McFerrin, Tamisha Waden, Joe Scudda, Carlitta Durand, Blakk Soul, BeMyFiasco
Producers: Khrysis, Nottz, Focus…, Black Milk, King Michael Coy, Blaaq Gold
Diamond D – The Diam Piece 2
Diamond D’s second volume of The Diam Piece in five years maintains a reputation for exciting guest MCs, including Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Styles P, Twista, Elzhi, Erick Sermon, and Xzibit to name a few. The self-proclaimed “best producer on the mic” orchestrates the affair with thumping beats and some tough verses of his own. The Fat Joe, Rae’, and Fred The Godson-led “Survive Or Die” is motivational music from New York MCs. The D.I.T.C. co-founder supplies a pitched-up Rock vocal, something that he’s done in his work since the early 1990s. “Hold Up” collides two fast-rapping MCs from different generations, as Twista joins A-F-R-O on the video single that also involves Dillon. Diamond has a knack for concept, bringing together E-Double, Havoc, and himself on “3 Kings.” There is mutual respect among Hip-Hop O.G.’s who collect respect for both their beats and the rhymes attached. Monch’s “OMG” and Elzhi’s “I Can’t Lose” show why the wordsmiths seek out the producer who never intentionally outshines his counterparts. “Chivas Blanc” is a solo track and a toast to Diamond’s enduring braggadocious style. In what is the Bronx, New Yorker’s 30th year on wax, he shows that his music is always in fashion. Having already confirmed the third volume to AFH TV for 2020, as well as an upcoming Kweli collabo’ LP, Diamond D closed out the 2010s with finesse and style. This was the voting-fan’s favorite with good reason. – Ms. Benzo
Released: May 10, 2019
Label: Dymond Mine Records LLC
Guests: Snoop Dogg, Pharoahe Monch, Fat Joe, Raekwon, Styles P, Xzibit, Erick Sermon, Talib Kweli, Havoc, General Steele, Buckshot, Rockness, Elzhi, O.C., A-F-R-O, Twista, Termanology, Fred The Godson, David Banner, Kid Capri, Big Rec, Raheem DeVaughn, Wes Felton, Edson Sean, Dillon, Peter Gunz, Lord Tariq, A-Kash, Ashtin Martin, Doo Wop, Tony Touch, Niko Is, Terror Van Pooh, Case, Snooze, Verse, Blake Moses, Adela
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