Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2019 (Battle 4): Rapsody vs. Add-2
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 fourth battle of the tourney’ is between Rapsody’s Eve and Add-2’s Jim Crow The Musical. This battle ballot is on AFH‘s Facebook page in the video. Make sure your opinion is heard. Vote there, and be counted. UPDATE: Rapsody’s Eve has defeated Add-2’s Jim Crow The Musical, 84% to 16%.
Rapsody – Eve
It’s been said many times before, but this year was a tremendous year for women in Hip-Hop. From Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” campaign to Queen Latifah’s Harvard University Award and Missy Elliott’s Video Vanguard performance, women in Rap made history on and off the charts. Rapsody placed herself firmly at the head of the table with the August release of Eve, the follow-up to her Grammy-nominated 2017 album Laila’s Wisdom. The Snow Hill, North Carolina MC is a veteran who got her start rapping as a member of Kooley High back in the 2000s, but for many Eve signaled her overdue acknowledgment as one of the best rappers out today, period. She did it with a serious devotion to Black femininity, choosing to title each track after her heroes, all of whom are women of color. She celebrates financial independence alongside Leikeli47 on “Oprah,” honors her Hip-Hop forefathers and foremothers with GZA and D’Angelo on “Ibtihaj,” and triumphs the women who’ve helped her along the way with Queen Latifah on “Hatshepsut.” Together with her Jamla family including 9th Wonder and Khrysis, Rapsody released a monumental piece of work that coupled discussions about undeniable lyrical talent with love letters to Black women, reminding us with the album’s title that we all come from the same, original Black woman hundreds of thousands of of years ago. And for those who may have missed the unfettered bars she spits all over the album, it only takes one spin of the opening track, “Nina,” to be reminded that Rapsody isn’t hiding behind a high-brow concept album nor satisfied with being known only as the best female rapper: “Know I’m a God MC, ’cause ni**a, I made the devil wait.” – Amanda Mester
Released: August 23, 2019
Label: Jamla/Roc Nation
Guests: Leikeli47, K. Roosevelt, GZA, D’Angelo, Mereba, Elle Varner, SiR, J.I.D, Queen Latifah, J. Cole, PJ Morton
Producers: The Soul Council, (9th Wonder, Eric G, Khrysis & Nottz), Mark Byrd
Chicago, Illinois’ own Add-2 (also known as Andre Daniels) followed up his acclaimed 2015 Jamla Records release Prey For The Poor with a conceptual, timely, and socially-conscious effort, Jim Crow The Musical. The 19-track, 57-minute audio adventure (narrated by A Different World actor Kadeem Hardison) takes listeners up-and-down the Mason-Dixon line with songs that touch on subjects relevant to Black folks in America. The veteran lyricist opens in such a theatrical way, not unlike Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, where listeners have no choice but to lock yourself in and get ready for the ride. Jim Crow offers life lessons that cover topics such as self-determination (“Git Your Hand Out My Pocket”), Black Love (“Jump The Broom,”), how to maneuver the streets (“Young Ni**as”), and staying alive (“Hashtag”). These songs are sprinkled with references to Hip-Hop, literature, and modern pop culture. In an age where we’re reading stories — almost in real-time — about people of color being murdered by the police, vilified in the media, and condemned by politicians, Add-2’s contribution serves as a balm on an open wound. – Kevito Clark
Released: November 25, 2019
Label: Add-2 Productions
Guests: Koku Gonza, Accapella, Andy Allo, Brittney Carter, Oliv Blu, Sam Trump, K. Love, Elisa Latrice, YAW, Point Of Realization, Natalie Oliveri, Kadeem Hardison, Phonte, Sy Messi, Emilio Al Sharief, Cam Be, Calvin Carter, Jeff Gibbs, Johndavid Provitt, Arrington Porter, John Renaissance, Kenneth Leftridge, Teo The Artist, DJ Scend, Jon Content, T.L. Williams, Jacob Thomas
Producers: Jadah Arrington, Sirplus, IIL Meel, Jeff Miller, Neak, Disrupt, Slot-A, INTL MC, J-Rell
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