The top 20 hip hop albums of 2018


photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

Anderson .Paak performing on stage in Sydney, Australia.

Joey Dunphey, Reviews Editor

Last year was a year dominated by hip-hop and 2019 will likely be no different. Here are The Voice‘s selections for albums of the year.

20. Anderson .Paak – Oxnard

Anderson .Paak’s music has a chill, soothing vibe to it that is easy to get reeled in to. This album is a collection of excellently-produced, catchy songs.

19. 21 Savage – I am > I was

Recently released, this album is filled with great songs that contain meaning and passion. You can tell 21 Savage really tried to make this album great, and his work payed off.

18. Kodak Black – Dying to Live

This album was great because it does not sound like the usual Kodak Black; it is full of raw emotion and carefully  chosen lyrics. He includes a lot of slow, melodic songs on the album that are easy to vibe to.

17. Kendrick Lamar – Black Panther the Album

This album was the soundtrack to the Black Panther movie. It featured many popular artists, but was executively produced by rap genius Kendrick Lamar. The production is exceptional and the songs are all great.


This album is a balance of intense, heavy metal-type songs and soft, emotional, slow songs. XXXTENTACION speaks about depression and heartbreak, and his main purpose with his music is to help his fans and listeners with their mental struggles.

15. J.I.D. – Dicaprio 2

J.I.D. is one of the standout new rappers this year, and his first album proved his greatness. His flow and lyricism are magnificent and the concepts he raps about are meaningful and interesting.


Metro Boomin is arguably one of the best producers in the rap game right now, and his 2018 album brought together amazing collaborations. The 13-track collection features many popular artists such as Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, Gunna, 21 Savage, Young Thug, Kodak Black, Swae Lee, Offset, and Drake.

13. Trippie Redd – Love Letter to You 3

Trippie Redd’s emo-sounding rapping and singing is what differentiates him from other new rappers. This 16-track collection is the third mixtape in his excellent Love Letter to You series, and it proved to be his best collection of work so far.

12. 6LACK – East Atlanta Love Love Letter

East Atlanta Love Letter, an R&B album with a hip-hop feel, is filled with melodic tunes where the Atlanta native talks about his new child, love life, and newfound problems as a celebrity.

11. Tory Lanez – LoVE me NOw

This album is simply filled with catchy bangers as Tory Lanez is in his element, and there is not one bad song. However, the many features seem to carry the album to its appealing sound.

10. Kanye West – ye

While it may not be Kanye’s best work, this short 7-track album features Kanye speaking out about his latest battle with mental illness and drug addiction. The album is extremely introspective and contains great production from West and his team.

9. Saba – CARE FOR ME

New artist Saba made a lyrical masterpiece this year. Each song contains meaningful concepts which the up-and-coming Chicago artist raps over soothing, chill beats. He speaks upon a range of subjects from violence in Chicago, social media dependence, and his life struggles.

8. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V

Lil Wayne fills each song in this album with creative, meaningful lyrics. Some songs are slow with heartfelt lyrics, while others are upbeat and hype with strong 808s and intense vocals.

7. Meek Mill – Championships

Meek Mill’s newfound confidence after his recent release from jail is evident in this album. The songs contain meaningful content and heartfelt lyrics. They range from slow, emotional songs to hard, hype songs.

6. Mac Miller – Swimming

Mac Miller’s growth as an artist is immaculate, and this album shows it. The production is near-perfect and the overall sound of the album is fascinating. Mac Miller speaks about depression and drug addiction throughout the album, and he also talks about his growth as a person and his attempts to overcome his obstacles. His death took the world by surprise in Sept. of 2018, and it is a shame that we will not see how the young musician could have evolved further in the coming years.

5. Denzel Curry – TA13OO

This 3-part album features Denzel Curry in his prime: laying meaningful verses on heavy trap beats. The first act of the collection, containing 4 songs, is known as Light, and it contains catchy, chill songs. The second act, Gray, has more of a trap vibe, and Dark contains booming, energetic songs. Curry said he worked on Light when he was working towards his happiness, and Dark while he was in a dark state-of-mind. The album covers a number of topics such as the control of record labels in the music industry and the drug abuse of popular celebrities.


Kanye West and Kid Cudi both have a history of mental health problems including depression, bipolar disorder, and drug addiction. This album features West and Cudi speaking from their hearts and creating extremely motivational and beautiful songs. Part of the G.O.O.D. music, Kanye-produced 7 track album series of the summer, it includes flawless production and a distinct sound.

3. Pusha T – DAYTONA

DAYTONA was the first album released of the 5 Kanye-produced G.O.O.D. music albums. Pusha T’s lyrics are incredible; he speaks about his past life using clever word play and raw emotion. In “Infrared,” he throws shots at rapper Drake, which started the famous Pusha T vs. Drake fued of the 2018 summer. One of the factors that makes this album so great is the perfect production from Kanye West. The samples in the beats are used brilliantly and chopped up to sound phenomenal.

2. J Cole – K.O.D.

What makes this album so great is not only the great production, catchy melodies, and wise lyrics, but the overall meaning of the album. The name stands for three things: “Kids On Drugs,” “Kill Our Demons,” and “King Overdosed.” J Cole talks about the problem of addiction throughout the album, not only with drugs, but with money, fame, and social media. He discusses the problems with kids getting addicted to drugs because of the media and celebrities, he addresses new rappers to stop promoting drugs and to be smart about their money, and he even criticizes the government for its tax program and its failure to improve poor areas. This album also went platinum with zero features, which is an incredible achievement for any artist, and something that J Cole has done two times before this.

1. Travis Scott – ASTROWORLD

ASTROWORLD was no doubt the best album of 2018. The anticipation for the album was immense, and at first listen I knew it would be one of the best albums of the year. The production is fantastic, highlighting Travis Scott’s unique sound. Some songs on the album feature Travis Scott speaking about his life and offering insight, while other songs are hype, typical Travis Scott bangers. The features on the album are placed excellently, and the large amount of features do not steer the listener away from the main performer: Travis Scott.

Named after the now closed ASTROWORLD theme park in Houston, Texas, the album was made to sound like an amusement park. STARGAZING gives off a vibe of entering the park, as the visitor looks around and feels a sense of amazement. CAROUSEL includes a Beastie Boys sample that varies in volume to sound like it is spinning around you like a carousel. SICKO MODE brings the listener on a roller coaster, with surprising beat switches and intriguing lead-ups and drops. Travis Scott also wanted to make the album a true experience, thus creating the ASTROWORLD tour, which includes a roller coaster over the crowd and a loop-di-loop ride on the stage.