Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2019 (Battle 10): Rapsody vs. Big K.R.I.T.
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 Elite 8 has begun. It’s a face off between two amazing producer/MC batteries in 2019. Rapsody’s Eve battles Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. IZ HERE. This battle ballot is on AFH‘s Facebook page in the video. UPDATE: Rapsody’s Eve has defeated Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. IZ Here, 70% to 30%.
Rapsody – Eve
(Defeated Add-2’s Jim Crow The Musical 84% to 16% in Round 1)
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
Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. IZ HERE
(Defeated EarthGang’s Mirrorland 70% to 30% in Round 1)
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
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