We’re way past the halfway mark of 2018, and the music just keeps on coming. If you can recall, 2018 had a pretty strong start, with album releases from Kali Uchis and Courtney Barnett, not to mention the various artists featured on the wonderful, inspired Black Panther. Father John Misty and Kanye kept up momentum this past Spring and early Summer with God’s Favorite Customer and the G.O.O.D Music rollout. Now, after huge album drops from Drake, Jorja Smith, and Florence + The Machine, we thought we’d get a list going of what we believe to be the Best Albums of 2018 (So Far).
Wiz Khalifa: Rolling Papers 2
Taylor Gang Boss Wiz Khalifa is back with a bolstered comeback, the follow-up to 2011’s Rolling Papers. Bouncy production, bangers, classic lines, even a feature from the late Philly rapper Jimmy Wopo. Rolling Papers 2 is a not-at-all surprising success from Khalifa, who hasn’t given up on being one of the best rappers of his generation.
Listen to: “Penthouse” and “Blue Hunnids”
Another year, another lengthy release from Drake. This time, Drake’s latest LP Scorpion is an official double album, and includes special nuggets like the Lauryn Hill-sampled “Nice For What”, and even a feature from the late Michael Jackson. Expect to be hearing Scorpion for months to come.
Listen to: “Ratchet Happy Birthday” and “Nice For What”
Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer
2018 will always be a big year for Janelle Monae, but not just because of the arrival of Dirty Computer, an album clearly near and dear to her heart and journey as an artist and human. This is also the first year Janelle Monae seems to have fully realized herself, her style, her music and sexual preferences. And it makes for really good music.
Listen to: “Pynck” and “Make Me Feel”
Father John Misty: God’s Favorite Customer
Openly self-absorbed and undeniably witty, Father John Misty has released yet another LP which points fingers at his listeners, but this time with unmistakable vulnerability and a willingness to admit he doesn’t actually know everything. God’s Favorite Customer is, without a doubt, the crystallization of FJM as seasoned and self-aware.
Listen to: “We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)” and “Mr. Tillman”
Kali Uchis: Isolation
It’s been a quick ascent to fame for Kali Uchis, whose lovely, sultry, and diverse album Isolation has made quite the splash this Summer. Featuring the likes of artists ranging from Bootsy Collins to newcomer Jorja Smith to Tyler, the Creator, Isolation keeps you entertained from start to finish.
Listen to: “Feel Like A Fool” and “Just A Stranger”
Various Artists: Black Panther
When fans found out that Kendrick Lamar and the TDE crew would be producing an accompanying album to the movie Black Panther, the excitement immediately ensued for this seemingly perfect match. And a perfect match it was. While incorporating sounds from Wakanda, soliloquy, and the best in the rap game, Black Panther turned out to be a truly inspired work.
Listen to: “King’s Dead” and “Black Panther”
Rae Sremmurd: Sremm
We were surprised when the pop-friendly, hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd released an LP of such immensity, with Sremm clocking in at 27 tracks. But the duo never fails to renew the excitement of their welcome, rejuvenating listeners throughout Sremm with expert production and pop-trap sensibility.
Listen to: “Guatemala” and “Powerglide”
Florence + The Machine: High As Hope
Stated as being one of her most personal albums to date, Florence Welch’s High As Hope boasts her familiar, far-reaching vocals, along with slow burning melodies that result in huge, anthemic moments. Cathartic, contagious, and thoroughly well written, High As Hope finds Florence in a state of professional liberation.
Listen to: “June” and “Big God”
Pusha T: Daytona
Easily the best of this Summer’s G.O.O.D Music rollout, and the best solo work we’ve seen from Pusha in years, Daytona includes tracks that are hard-hitting, grounded, witty, and expertly produced. Daytona is the first classic rap album we’ve heard in awhile, and is satisfying from start to finish.
Listen to: “If You Know You Know” and “What Would Meek Do?”
Jorja Smith: Lost & Found
At just 20 years old, english singer/songwriter Jorja Smith has dropped an incredible debut, which fuses trip-hop, R&B, and soul. The deeply moving Lost & Found brings us right into the mind of Jorja, who, as indicated by her music, is learning to be patient and compassionate with herself, while falling in love and stumbling through the world.
Listen to: “Where Did I Go” and “Blue Lights”
Courtney Barnett: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Markably noisier, edgier, and more pissed off than her 2015 debut, Tell Me How You Really Feel is Courtney Barnett distilled. From ballads to raving rock, Barnett expresses her trademark sarcasm and observational wit, all while making us jump and shout and cry along with her.
Listen to: “Hopefulessness” and “Need A Little Time”