DISCUSSION: 2018 Albums You May Have Missed
This is a segment dedicated to discussing some of the albums I haven’t had a chance to formally review, but thoroughly enjoyed this year. Don’t let these gems slip through the cracks!
Janelle Monae: Dirty Computer (official release 4/27/18)
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t very familiar with Janelle’s previous bodies of work prior to this album. If you’re into some soulful R&B, this would be a great listen for you. Throughout this record, Janelle sounds incredibly empowered. It’s a shining moment for women in the hip hop and R&B community, as she confidently sings and raps over 14 tracks. In an era where women are coming forward and speaking out against sexual harassment and being downgraded in workplaces, Dirty Computer couldn’t have dropped at a better time. “Crazy, Classic Life,” “Django Jane,” “Pynk,” and “Americans” are a few of my favorites. Rating: 8/10
Leon Bridges: Good Thing (official release 5/4/18)
Another artist whose previous albums I wasn’t all that familiar with. Good Thing touches on a very positive relationship in his life, as well as overcoming adversity from racial profiling. “Bad Bad News” is an uplifting jazz tune that encompasses the message of the entire record. Leon sings that he was born to lose, but made a good thing out of bad, bad news. I also love the slow guitar jam, “Mrs,” where Leon sings about his experiences with the love of his life. Some major feels on this track! “Beyond,” “Forgive You” and “Shy” are all gems off this record, as well. If you love classic R&B/Soul vibes, give this one a listen. It’s a beautiful album. Rating: 8/10
Arin Ray: Platinum Fire (official release 3/8/18)
And another one! Never heard of Arin Ray prior to this record. This album isn’t anything crazy, but Arin’s great vocal range, coupled with the star-studded feature list makes for an enjoyable listen. The intro track is a solid tone-setter to the album. The highest point comes a few tracks later with “Take,” a collaboration with the cheat code himself, Ty Dolla $ign. If you want to make a hit single, just throw Ty on the hook. Chances are it’ll turn out pretty well. And this one sure doesn’t disappoint! Contrary to the vibe of this song comes in “We Ain’t Homies” featuring YG. As with any song with YG, the song brings some more aggression. And I will say, even though Chris Brown is one of my least favorite people in music, Arin’s voice is practically on par with his. Chris Brown’s a pretty awful person, but I can’t deny he has a good voice, and Arin’s is no different. To wrap the album up, we get my favorite song, “Skeemin.” I love the bouncy vibe to this one, and even reminds me of a beat Frank Ocean would hop on. This was a great recommendation by my boy Correy. Give Arin a listen if you haven’t already. Rating: 8/10
Pusha T: Daytona (official release 5/25/18)
To me, this is Pusha T’s shining moment. If you’ve been a fan of his, that’s wonderful. I personally have found his solo material to be underwhelming for an artist of his talent. But this short and sweet Kanye-produced album is phenomenal. For whatever reason, it seemed like 7 tracks for this album was perfect, as that created very little room for throwaway tracks (I’m looking at you, Culture II). The one negative I will say about this project is the final track, which essentially is a Drake diss track. I think having rap battles is great for the genre, but I just don’t feel it’s necessary to throw a track like that on a studio album. Maybe a mixtape? But who knows the difference between a mixtape and album anymore anyways. But that’s all besides my point here. Daytona is great. “Come Back, Baby” and “The Games We Play” are two of my favorite songs of the year, and really showcase why Pusha T is one of the premier lyricists in the current hip hop game. For any fan of hip hop, absolutely listen to this album. Rating: 8.5/10
The Internet: Hive Mind (official release 7/20/18)
The Internet has improved on all fronts with this new album. While I liked what they brought on their previous record, this one feels more cohesive. It has a great R&B, funk vibe throughout with Syd bringing her unique singing/rapping style, along with the guitar legend on full display, Steve Lacy. If you didn’t already know, The Internet is a R&B/hip hop collective that was first started by members of Odd Future. Clearly, their sound is a lot different than that of Odd Future. With songs like “Come Over,” “Come Together” and “Hold On,” it becomes apparent that The Internet are paving their own path within the hip hop genre. The beauty about this project is the replay value, as I feel I can listen to it in the car, at the gym, at the beach etc. There truly is something for everyone on this album. Rating: 8/10
Until next time!