2018 had ALOT of projects. Literally too many. While there was a lot of good projects that got their proper dues(777 was AOTY, fucking fight me), a number of very good projects didn’t get the recognition they deserved. If I wanna do anything this year, it’s make sure every good album gets their love.
Baby Keem – The Sound of Bad Habit
Shout out to Sage for sharing this when it dropped. Where did Cardo find this kid? He’s already getting major looks, having background vocals on the Black Panther, and then drops a project full of nonstop hits, all while still in high school. His lyrics are super simplistic but hit you in an extremely relatable way when coupled with his energetic delivery(Bitch I’m Baby Keem, I don’t got no time for these hoes!). CardoGotWingz really snapped on the production, matching Keems energy and projection tightly. Keem is the future and it’s only a matter of time before he’s all over the place.
Benny The Butcher – Tana Talk 3
This shit hits you straight in the chest. I started getting into Griselda artists late 2017, I’m a huge Westside Gunn fan(*machine gun noise*), and when I didn’t know this was a thing until the day it dropped. When I listened, it 100% exceeded any expectations I had. I knew Benny could rap, the whole crew can, but this project largely catapulted my opinion on him to a new dimension. He’s rapping his ass off, about his life, about the drug game, and all the things that shaped his as he grew into the man he is today. Plus, he, along with the rest of Griselda, have a phenomenal ear for production, with the project handled by Griselda In House Daringer as well as a couple tracks from The Alchemist(Top 5 all time producer imo). If the beat transition on 97 Hov doesn’t blow your head off, something might be really wrong with you.
Choker – Honeybloom
Choker has been one of my favorite new artists for a minute now, after his incredible debut Peak, and Honeybloom is just as good. He fills the void Frank Ocean leaves bare, blending indie pop, R&B, and hip hop and his poetic delivery style. He exists under the radar for the most part, has a mysterious aura about, but says so much through his music that you feel as though you’ve known him for a very long time. If you’ve haven’t already, check out both his albums. You will shed a tear.
Pierre Bourne & CardoGotWingz – Pierre and Cardo’s Wild Adventure
While I guess this was something to drop off while his base got excited for TLOP4, I feel like this could’ve had a bigger impact if pushed harder. I wasn’t even a fan of much of Pi’erre’s solo outing before this point, but perhaps it was writing to someone else’s production other than his own that helped show off this melody writing capabilities more. Lowkey, Cardo had a pretty solid year last year with a lot of high profile projects, and fit with Pi’erre’s style surprisingly well. The two share an unexpected chemistry throughout this entire project.
Benny – Different
Funnily enough, the day Benny The Butchers project came out, I stumbled upon this by accident trying to search for it on Apple Music. The lead single, Not Gon Jaws, is an energetic West Coast anthem, through and through. It’s clear this kid is from the Bay from the jump, and his lyrics and presence really show it. He’s from the class of subtle lyricism, so smooth with his bars that you really have to dive in to notice. He catches from the get go with “Hit the road like I’m mad at it, Itchin and you know I keep stick, not a back scratcher. Nigga, you ain’t know nothin, I’m a grand master. Talkin and you ain’t touch shit, you a bad pastor”. The whole project has Bay Area flavor, so if you’re a fan, I definitely recommend it.
ALLBLACK & Kennybeats – 2 Minute Drills
The Bay sound continues with one of the shortest but hardest projects that the year had to offer. ALLBLACKs off kilter delivery and strong points in his lyrics(“This .45 love to say “Bless you”, his name is Gesundheit (Achoo, achoo)” deserves a grammy), and Kenny’s production style work together very nicely. Pair that with a whole lotta football references and you’ve got a super solid project. Kenny’s run has been very impressive to watch, just connecting with artists he likes organically to make something beautiful(cough777cough), but ALLBLACKs standout style is what ties the whole thing together nicely. Also, there’s a phenomenal verse from Rob Vicious on Weigh Ins so I guess I finally have a reason to listen to Shoreline now.