Micah’s Picks: Best of 2018

TOP 10 ALBUMS

      

01. Earl Sweatshit – Some Rap Songs

Spotify

After a three year hiatus, Earl finally released a new album and it isn’t anything like his previous work. Fifteen songs clocking in at just over 24 minutes total, Some Rap Songs, is a soup of fragmented samples, instrumentation, and thoughts. Earl’s production style has lost all of it’s amateurish qualities and has settled into a murky, cloudy, carefully constructed collage that allows him to weave his stream-of-conscious style into a cohesive whole, with emotionally potent lines emerging from the haze. While it might be Earl’s most difficult project to get into, it’s also his most rewarding.

 

02. Tom Misch – Geography

Spotify

This album isn’t anything complicated. It’s just great danceable grooves, catchy melodies, and a carefree attitude that is tailor made for afternoon drives in summer time. While his J-Dilla-esque beat tapes got me into his work, it’s this bubble-gum for the NPR crowd that keeps me coming back.

 

03. Saba – Care For Me

Spotify

Saba’s latest album is by far his best as he tells well crafted and deeply personal coming of age stories dedicated to his cousin who passed away. Not only are the stories compelling, but the melodies and production make it great on a purely sonic level. In a way the intimate production reminds me of Noname’s Telefone but with a darker edge. I hope Saba continues to make intimate and thought provoking music like this in the future.

 

04. Rhye – Blood

Spotify

After five years, Rhye picked right up where it left off, recapturing the sound of it’s gloomy, somber R&B, pulling new melodies out of it. The new album is as quietly infectious as their 2013 Woman, but somehow feels more full and thought out without being overproduced. On the surface, this may sound like coffee shop fodder, but these songs will stick with you after just a few listens. I will happily wait another five years if we get another installment this good from Rhye.

 

05. Kali Uchis – Isolation

Spotify

Kali Uchis really hit this one out of the park. With a little help from an all-star producing and songwriting team, she put together an album that is sonically diverse, yet grounded in her sleepy, yet entrancing singing style. It’s really great to hear a young artist sound so confident and comfortable on their debut commercial release and with a strong support system, she has a bright future ahead of her.

 

06. Anderson .Paak – Oxnard

Spotify

Now fully under the wing of and endorsed by Dr. Dre, Anderson .Paak had a lot to live up to with his most recent release. Despite a few missteps, the singer-songwriter-rapper-drummer displays his versatility by complimenting his collaborators, playing off of and supporting their strengths. Despite a bigger spotlight and inflated expectations, .Paak is smooth, thoughtful, and delivers one of the most re-listenable albums of the year.

Read our full review of Oxnard here

 

 

07. Noname – Room 25

Spotify

While I don’t think this album will surpass what Noname made on Telefone, I’m thrilled that she’s taking risks on her latest release. She is more creative vocally, experimenting with new cadences and extending her range from whisper quiet to fast and furious. The music behind her is more organic, using a live band much more often, giving the album a sound closer to what her live show sounds like. I’m sure this album will translate much better live than her previous work, and will become an important part of her repertoire.

 

08. Pusha T- Daytona

Spotify

Luxurious beats, gritty lyricism, and a narrow focus made Daytona one of the most compelling rap albums of last year. It’s the kind of album that I wouldn’t hesitate to throw on when fleeing a heist. Kanye and company’s sample-heavy production hits the perfect blend of soulful and forceful, and Pusha T rose to the occasion, bringing the kind of charisma and braggadocia that makes him one of the most dangerous rappers out there.

 

09. Phonte – No News is Good News

Spotify

Phonte’s long-awaited sophomore album is a reintroduction of the rapper as a self-reflective and thoughtful middle aged rapper telling stories accompanied by well crafted, layered production. Hip Hop is still in a transitional period, as established rappers with longevity deal with adapting to their changing mindset as they mature. Songs like “Expensive Genes” are a standout because it finds a way to make health issues and genetic predisposition for disease compelling in the Hip Hop medium. Like Jay-Z’s 4:44, Phonte’s No News is Good News is a landmark album in Hip Hop’s growing up.

 

10. Teyana Taylor – K.T.S.E.

Spotify

Teyana Taylor’s second commercial release might have the best beat selection of any of the G.O.O.D. Music releases this year. This album’s sample-heavy blend of Hip Hop and R&B from Kanye any company is the perfect backdrop for a singer who is determined to show that singers can be just as aggressive and forceful as her testosterone-fueled label-mates.

 

TOP 10 SONGS

           

01. August Greene – Optimistic (featuring Brandy)

Just think ahead and you’ll be inspired / To reach higher and higher

 

02. Travis Scott – RIP Screw (featuring Swae Lee)

Rest in peace to Screw / Tonight we take it slowly

 

03. Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater

I fought the current running just the way you would

 

04. Rhye – Song For You

I make mistakes / I know things break

 

05. Anderson . Paak – 6 Summers

Dear mister President it’s evident that you don’t give a damn

 

06. Childish Gambino – This is America

Woo! Ayy!

 

07. Kendrick Lamar – Big Shot (featuring Travis Scott)

Why you emotional?

 

08. Drake – Nice For What

And you showin’ off, but it’s alright

 

09. Frank Ocean – Moon River

Wherever you’re going / I’m going the same

 

10. Pusha T – The Story of Adidon

You are hiding a child

 

2018 ROTATION

6LACK

Pretty Little Fears (featuring J. Cole)

Switch

Nonchalant

 

A$AP Rocky

A$AP Forever (Remix) (featuring Moby, T.I. & Kid Cudi)

Purity (featuring Frank Ocean)

 

A$AP Rocky & Tyler, The Creator

Potato Salad

 

The Alchemist

E. Coli (featuring Earl Sweatshirt)

 

Anderson .Paak

Bubblin

Tints (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Who R U

6 Summers

Saviers Road

Smile/Petty

Brother’s Keeper (featuring Pusha T)

Anywhere (featuring Snoop Dogg & The Last Artful, Dodgr)

Trippy (featuring J. Cole)

Cheers (featuring Q-Tip)

‘Till Its Over

 

Andre 3000

Me & My (To Bury Your Parents)

 

Angélique Kidjo

Born Under Punches

Crosseyed and Painless

 

Ariana Grande

Thank U, Next

 

August Greene

Black Kennedy (featuring Samora Pinderhughes)

Aya

The Time

Optimistic (featuring Brandy)

 

Big K.R.I.T.

Learned from Texas

Glorious

 

Black Thought

9th vs. Thought

Soundtrack to Confusion

 

BlocBoy JB

Look Alive (featuring Drake)

 

boygenius

Bite The Hand

Souvenir

 

Brockhampton

Thug Life

Tonya

 

Cam O’bi

TenderHeaded (featuring Smino)

 

Camila Cabello

Inside Out

Real Friends

 

Cardi B

Best Life (featuring Chance The Rapper)

I Do (featuring SZA)

 

Chance the Rapper

My Own Thing (featuring Joey Purp)

The Man Who Has Everything

Work Out

 

Chantel Jeffries

Wait (featuring Offset & Vory)

 

Childish Gambino

This is America (featuring Young Thug)

 

Chris Dave & The Drumhedz

Black Hole (featuring Anderson .Paak)

Clear View (featuring Anderson .Paak & SiR)

 

Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

Location Remote

New Thangs

Willie Lloyd

Tapatio

 

Dave Matthews Band

Idea Of You

Virginia In The Rain

 

Drake

Duppy Freestyle

Emotionless

God’s Plan

Sandra’s Rose

Nice For What

Blue Tint (featuring Future)

In My Feelings

 

Earl Sweatshirt

Shattered Dreams

Nowhere2Go

December 24

Ontheway (featuring Standing on the Corner)

The Mint (featuring Navy Blue)

The Bends

Eclipse

Veins

Riot!

 

Frank Ocean

Moon River

 

George Clanton

George Clanton – Make It Forever

 

Henry Blanks

@ Times

 

The Internet

The Internet – Come Over

 

J. Cole

Album of the Year

KOD

ATM

Once and Addict

1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)

 

J.I.D.

Skrawberries (featuring BJ The Chicago Kid)

 

Jacquees

B.E.D.

No Validation

 

Janelle Monáe

Django Jane

 

Jay Rock

OSOM (featuring J. Cole)

Wow Freestyle (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Redemption (featuring SZA)

 

JPEGMAFIA

1539 N. Calvert

 

Juice WRLD

Lucid Dreams

 

JVZEL

Tired AF

 

Kacey Musgraves

Slow Burn

 

Kali Uchis

After the Storm (Pete Rock Remix) (featuring Tyler, the Creator & Bootsy Collins)

Miami (featuring BIA)

Your Teeth In My Neck

In My Dreams

After The Storm (featuring Tyler, The Creator & Bootsy Collins)

 

Kanye West

I Thought About Killing You

Wouldn’t Leave (featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih & Ty Dolla $ign)

No Mistakes (featuring Kid CuDi, Charlie Wilson & Caroline Shaw)

Violent Crimes (featuring 070 Shake & Ty Dolla $ign)

 

Khalid

Better

 

Kids See Ghosts

Reborn

 

Mac Miller

What’s the Use?

2009

 

Maggie Rogers

Fallingwater

Give A Little

Light On

 

Nas

Bonjour

 

Noname

Self

Prayer Song (featuring Adam Ness)

Window (featuring Phoelix)

Don’t Forget About Me

Regal

Ace (featuring Smino & Saba)

Part of Me (featuring Phoelix & Benjamin Earl Turner)

With You

No Name (featuring Yaw & Adam Ness)

 

Paul Simon

Can’t Run But

René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War

Questions for the Angels

 

Phonte

Expensive Genes

Cry No More

Change Of Mind (featuring Freddie Gibbs)

Sweet You

 

PRhyme

Black History

Made Man (featuring Big K.R.I.T. & Denaun Porter)

Everyday Struggle (featuring Chavis Chandler)

 

Pusha T

If You Know You Know

The Games We Play

Hard Piano (featuring Rick Ross)

Come Back Baby

Infrared

The Story of Adidon

 

Rhye

Taste

Song For You

Stay Safe

 

Saba

Life

Logout (featuring Chance the Rapper)

Grey

Prom/King

Heaven All Around Me

 

Smino

Kovert

L.M.F.

 

Teyana Taylor

Gonna Love Me (Remix) (featuring Ghostface Killah, Method Man & Raekwon)

Gonna Love Me

Issues/Hold On

Never Would Have Made It

 

Tierra Whack

Black Nails

 

Tom Misch

Before Paris

Lost in Paris (featuring GoldLink)

South of the River

Disco Yes (featuring Poppy Ajudha)

You’re On My Mind

 

Travis Scott

R.I.P. Screw

5% Tint

Butterfly Effect

 

Tyler, The Creator

Crust in Their Eyes

Gelato (featuring Jacquees)

 

The Weeknd

Wasted Times

 

Young Fathers

In My View

 

Young Thug

High (featuring Elton John)

 

Various Artists

Kendrick Lamar – Black Panther

ScHoolboy Q – X (featuring Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz & Suadi)

Khalid – The Ways (featuring Swae Lee & Kendrick Lamar)

Zacari – Redemption (featuring Babes Wodumo)

Kendrick Lamar – Big Shot (featuring Travis Scott)

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