Best Albums of 2018
The NewH2o staff share their top 10 lists looking back on an incredible year of CHH
Zach Lee –
10. In My Weakness by Parris Chariz
Deep cuts over pulsating production interspersed with eye-opening looks into the world that made him cement Chariz as the perfecter of the songs that make you think as hard as they bang.
9. The Gift: A Christmas Compilation by 116
In a year of great projects from Reach, this surprise gift, though unexpected, certainly does not make it any less of a delight.
8. Home by Canon
From progressive beat-switches to unconventional (yet ingenious) usages of his guest artists, Canon’s step out of his comfort zone simultaneously breaks new ground and shows that he is a beast regardless of the tempo.
7. So Many Feelings by Sho Baraka & Vanessa Hill
Funny as it is poignant, the project’s content is the perfect union of caustic reality and sobering truth, preaching that in the highs and lows of marriage, God is sovereign through it all.
6. NINESEVENTHREE by Kaleb Mitchell
Kaleb croons and spits through a kaleidoscope of haunting and eerie tracks. Eight tracks never felt so spooky and picturesque.
5. Sonshine by Swoope
From beginning to end, Sonshine is a celebration of what it’s like to be held in the Father’s hands. Though it is not afraid to show the cloudier moments of life (the poignant “TSNK”) in the end, its reminder Lord’s light always shines through is a lesson I want to take well into 2019.
4. The Trap by Derek Minor
The third installment of Minor’s Up and Away is no easy listen as he raps about systematic injustice over rattling trap beats, but thankfully, he does not leave listeners feeling hopeless. Just as he articulates the pain, Minor captures that there is a hope to be found in Jesus in a way that is decidedly fresh and truly uplifting.
3. Crescendo by Jackie Hill-Perry
Crescendo is the musical equivalent of James Joyce Ulysses; if you’re not listening through this project to unpack what’s inside you might as well delete it off your iPod so it does not become a lyrical paperweight.
2. Chapter 1: The Arrow by Andy Mineo
Across six tracks, Andy’s demons, anxieties, and fears manifest themselves in the form of mental health (“Clarity”) and family trauma (“Family Photo”), but his victories likewise get a similar treatment; if there’s only one song you get to hear this year, make sure it is the he vociferous and chest-pounding “I Ain’t Done”, which is guaranteed to get you through any trial you may face.
1. Solar by nobigdyl.
Solar is one of those albums where reading a review of it is counterproductive because the time spent reading about it could be time spent listening to it.
Zach’s Honorable Mentions –
The Vantes Project 3 by Joey Vantes
Panorama by GAWVI
Via Text by Ruslan and Paul Russell
10. Andy Mineo – Chapter 1: The Arrow
9. Jered Sanders – Hurry Up And Wait
8. NotKlyde – Lil Foil 39
7. Swoope – Sonshine
6. Jon Keith – The Lost Boys
5. Parris Chariz – In My Weakness
4. Mogli The Iceburg – Let’s Talk About Our Feelings
3. Derek Minor – The Trap
2. nobigdyl. – Solar
1. Jackie Hill-Perry – Crescendo
Luc DiMarzio –
10. Jered Sanders – Hurry Up And Wait
My only beef with this album is that there’s some stinking long tracks here. However, it’s full of absolutely professional decisions in writing and creating. It tells a great story, and fits perfectly in the top 10 of the year.
9. Joe Ayinde – Euphoria
I wasn’t lying when I said I was rewriting my top ten list. This project absolutely HITS, and the pacing of the album keeps you on your toes. You can get through the whole thing in 30 minutes, immediately drawing you back in for more.
8. Ruslan – Indie Jones II
I feel like Ruslan has made his way onto a lot of my lists this month. He kicked it all off with this mixtape early in the year that really had staying power for me. Definitely one I’ll return to even as we roll into a new year.
7. Sevin – 4eva Mobn
This is one that grew on me. Sevin really has some crazy bars sprinkled throughout this album, as well as some concepts that he can tap into that not many in CHH can. 4eva MOBN is actually a great send off for the veteran.
6. Swoope – Sonshine
This is Swoope’s best album of his career. The cohesion in the production is always there, but this time I didn’t get stuck in a rut as far as the fluidity of the entire project.
5. Derek Minor – The Trap
A lot of people in CHH try to do trap music. I feel like Derek not only understands the culture, but he’s also understanding of what it takes musically to deliver performances that fit in the trap.
4. DruBex – In God’s Good Time
This album is proof that hip-hop can be original, creative, and musical all at once. DruBex outdid himself on this project. IGGT’s got the full display of hooks that stick with you, and memorable bars mixed with candor.
3. Ozay Moore – In The Wake Of O
Ozay Moore has the complete package on display here. The token west coast vibes, the features, and the creative direction take you on a fantastic trip.
2. Guvna B – Hands Are Made For Working
There’s something for me about an artist who can tap into an emotional concept and carry it throughout an entire project without wearing out the listener. This is exactly what Guvna did and his work here is beautiful.
1. Jackie Hill Perry – Crescendo
Bar for bar this for me was the best lyrical album of 2018. Paired with impeccable production and interpolation of gospel classics, this is the year of Crescendo.
Luc’s Honorable Mentions:
Adriansings – Odyssey
K. Sparks – Note To Self
Sareem & Ess Be – Mind Over Matter
NomiS – Rhodes To Rome
Andy Mineo – The Arrow EP
Joshva – Six Summers
Gill Gatsby – Insert Title Here
Ceej – Heavy
Rigz – The Masterpeace
Vicious Vic – Young But Mighty
Akande Davis –
10. Xavier Sorrow – Coasting
9. Datin – Hell In The Hallway
8. Parris Chariz – In My Weakness
7. Mogli The Iceburg – Let’s Talk About Our Feelings
6. Hyper Fenton & Moflo Music – Zaphenath-Paneah
5. Anthone Ray – Mark My Words
4. Joe Ayinde – Euphoria
3. nobigdyl. – Solar
2. Wordsplayed – LF2
1. Wordsplayed – LF1