50 of the Best Hip-Hop Projects of 2018
How did you keep up with music in 2018? That question is not rhetorical. With streaming as artists' primary distribution medium of choice, rappers flooded platforms with more albums, EPs, mixtapes and projects than there was time to sift through, making the lives of music obsessives fulfilling (if not exhausting).
More is more was the motto for artists like Kanye West, who produced and oversaw five G.O.O.D. Music-affiliated seven-song albums through the May and June months. Lil Baby, one of hip-hop's most tenacious young stars, has released four full-length projects since December 2017, including a collaborative project with his partner-in-drip Gunna, Drip Harder. That release was emblematic of a broader trend of artists joining forces over the course of entire projects (Jay-Z and Beyoncé; Freddie Gibbs and Curren$y; Juice Wrld and Future).
And don't sleep on the soundtracks. Movie houses put hip-hop at the helm of quite a few blockbuster flicks. Future curated the soundtrack to Superfly, an update of the classic 1972 blaxploitation film, Super Fly. Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar took the reigns of the Black Panther soundtrack, while Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the basketball comedy Uncle Drew also boast hip-hop heavy companion albums.
In 2018, projects came in different shapes (Tierra Whack's 15-track, 15-minute visual album Whack World) and sizes (Rae Sremmurd's triple album, Sr3mm), making these musical gifts all the more fun to unwrap. XXL looks back on the best full-length hip-hop releases of 2018. Try to keep up.
Words by Peter A. Berry, Georgette Cline, Kairi Coe, C. Vernon Coleman, Luke Fox, Christopher Gibbons, Scott Glaysher, Anna Hopkins, John Kennedy, Roger Krastz, Robby Seabrook III, Lei Takanashi, Bianca Torres
See 50 of the Best Hip-Hop Projects of 2018