Litty Boyz Int’l Shares Their Top 10 Favorite Albums of the Year
This tape was really dark, but I liked it a lot. I don’t live a life like this, but I still got a very clear picture of what he was talking about on every song. From the story telling to the beat selection, this album was easily one of my favorites and made me a Young Nudy fan.
9. Key! & Kenny Beats, “777”
Even though this tape was surprisingly slept-on, it was one of my favorite tapes of the year. This tape got me through a rough breakup and helped me to become a better person. Every song on this album could change your mood in a split second—you could go from being hyped up, to calm, to sad, and back to being hyped up all over again.
8. Joe College, “CIV x SAV Forever”
Again, this was one of my favorite albums of the year. I really enjoyed this tape because the homies and I are currently going through a lot of the shit that was discussed on this album. From the ups and downs, to learning from losses, to celebrating wins but still staying in grind mode. This album gave me that “Bulls vs. Pistons in 1991” vibe. If you don’t know what that means, Google it while you listen to the album.
7. A$ap Ant, “Lil Black Jean Jacket”
This album shocked me, just because I used to think A$ap Ant was the weakest in the group, bars-wise. However, from the beat selection to his flows, it’s clear that he’s improved a lot. This tape is a good listen from top to bottom. If I were a club DJ, I’d have a couple of these tracks in my rotation.
6. Flatbush Zombies, “Vacation In Hell”
Low-key, this album should have been nominated for a Grammy—it was that good to me. This tape exceeded all of my expectations. I wasn’t initially too big of a Jewice fan, but he really showed up on this album. This album had a lot of energy mixed with good raps. Additionally, the videos they shot were all fire.
5. The Internet, “Hive Mind”
I loved this album. It gave me a “what a great day in California would be like” vibe. This album puts me in a trance every time I listen to it. This is the type of music I can’t wait to share with my kids in the future. This album is going to sound even better once the weather gets nice again.
4. Buddy, “Harlan & Alondra”
I enjoyed this album a lot. The overall sound of this album was really relaxing and smooth. This is definitely something I’m going to really enjoy once the weather breaks in the springtime.
3. Payroll Giovanni & Cardo Got Wings, “Big Bossin Vol. 2”
Payroll Giovanni is, to me, what Jay-Z is to the older generation. I enjoyed “Big Bossin Vol.1” a lot, so when Payroll and Cardo got together for this tape (and snapped on it), I became a bigger fan of both parties. This album gave me a lot of financial advice, and you don’t get that with most albums now (or even back in the day), and I appreciated that.
2. Larry June, “Very Peaceful”
Man, I start my day off with this album. The first 5 tracks on this album are so smooth and player-esque, it makes me feel like a “mack” (a confident and successful man who has many sexual partners). That’s probably one of my favorite type of vibes when it comes to music, and Larry June executed that in great fashion.
1. Nipsey Hussle, “Victory Lap”
Nipsey is one of my favorite artists, and I first became a fan when he dropped the “Crenshaw” tape back in 2013. I remember seeing him perform live that same year. He’s part of the reason I started my own business. With that being said, of course this album meant a lot to me when it finally came out. It was monumental for me, and even Ifelt like I was winning at something in life. If you know where Nipsey is from and what it took for him to get to this point, then you’d understand that this album is the epitome of Black Excellence.
DREW BOSOMPEM (IN A PARTICULAR ORDER):
10. Payroll Giovanni & Cardo Got Wings, “Big Bossin Vol. 2”
I’m into music that makes me feel poor but also motivates me to get the bag at the same time (yes, I know that might not make sense). That’s what Payroll’s music does for me, and I’ve always been a big fan of Cardo’s production, so the two of them coming together was only right. “Big Bossin Vol. 1” was so great that I wasn’t sure if a sequel was needed, but they knocked it out of the park again. They have a dynamic similar to that of Shaq & Kobe. Cardo brings the Detroit sound canvas and Payroll paints a picture of the positives & negatives of hustling. “Big Bossin Vol. 2” proved that Vol. 1 wasn’t a fluke and even moreso proved that we need a Vol. 3. Also, the “BYLUG Outro” is one of the greatest outros ever. We can debate verbally (or physically) if you disagree.
9. VanJess, “Silk Canvas”
Contrary to popular belief, there was a big resurgence of R&B this year, in my opinion. However, for some reason, there were many quality R&B albums that slipped through the cracks. “Silk Canvas” is one of them. I remember seeing a few VanJess cover videos on YouTube years ago and since then, they’ve made a smooth transition into dropping one of the best debut projects this year. They found a way to make Dance, House, and Neo-Soul music meet in the middle perfectly, and I’ve often found myself playing it front to back. It’s basically the perfect example of what R&B is in 2018. Even more than that, they’re Nigerian, so I’m rooting for their success off principle (shoutout to all of my Africans out there. We’re going up!).
8. Nipsey Hussle, “Victory Lap”
I’ve been waiting for “Victory Lap” since I was in high school. I’m 23 now. That’s a lot of anticipation and high expectations, but Hussle Man delivered. Nipsey’s always made great music, and his projects showed glimpses of potential, but on “Victory Lap,” he maxed it out. Everything sounds bigger. His flows are better, and his rhyming is a lot sharper. This is the most polished that his music has ever sounded. The album plays out like a South Central TED Talk, and that’s a perspective I’ll always appreciate.
7. Pusha T, “DAYTONA”
Anyone who knows me knows that Terrence Thornton is one of my favorite rappers—he’s actually one of my top 5 favorite rappers. “DAYTONA” is everything that I love about Pusha T’s music packed into 7 songs. People often complain that his content is redundant, but I never really cared about that. Luxury and coke rap is what he does best, and MAGA Ye gave him the perfect landscape to get those bars off at what is probably his highest level since “Hell Hath No Fury.”
6. Jay Rock, “Redemption”
Watching Jay Rock finally have his full-circle moment was my favorite part of 2018. It’s a known fact that TDE built the label on him, but since then, several of the label’s other artists have seen huge successes while Rock stayed in the back and remained patient. After I heard “WIN,” I knew this could be the album that gave him the second wind he needed, and that’s exactly what it did. This album has my favorite 5 track start this year. From “The Bloodiest” to “Rotation 112th,” Rock was on go. The album is great, but the story it tells, within the context of his career made the listening experience even better.
5. Key! & Kenny Beats, “777”
Key! has been Atlanta’s best-kept secret for a while now. Even after separating from Two-9, he dropped one of my favorite albums, “Fathers Are The Curse,” and put out a couple dope EPs and a mixtape. It seems that he perfected his sound on “777.” It was familiar, of course, but it wasn’t the same as all of his other projects. You can tell he was determined to make this project the one that catches people’s attention. Additionally, this project started Kenny Beats’ amazing MVP run. I haven’t heard a bad beat from him all year. Oh, and this is top 5 just off the strength of the Kenny Beats tag alone.
4. Smino, “NØIR”
I’m a fan of anybody who’s able to create their own lane in whatever they do, and Smino’s definitely done that with music. There’s no one that sounds like him or can rap on the beats he chooses as well as he does. An 18-track album is ambitious—you have to hold someone’s attention for over an hour—but I didn’t skip a single song. Monte Booker laced him as always. St. Louis got another one (shoutout to Chingy, Nelly, and Murphy Lee, and check out the J-Kwon documentary on YouTube when you have the chance. Very important to Black History).
3. Mick Jenkins, “Pieces of A Man”
Mick Jenkins always seems to drop music at specific points in my life when I can relate to it and need it the most. Even though I was a fan of his first album, but this particular project said something to me. On this album, he checked off every box. Everything from his lyrical ability to the actual content of this album hit home. It felt like a story about the ups and downs of being a young Black man trying to figure it out—that’s just what I took from it, personally, but you can apply his story to anyone’s life to some degree. We’re all young, trying to see the world, trying to navigate friendships and relationships, trying to bridge the divide between us and the older generation, and trying to be the best version of ourselves. He stuck to the theme and gave us a piece of himself on each song. On top of that, in my opinion, this is his best-produced project (even taking “The Waters,” into consideration).
2. Quadry, “Malik Ruff”
Quadry is my Rookie-of-the-Year. I saw his name floating around the Internet for a while, but didn’t actually check him out until he dropped a full project. I didn’t regret listening. Shoutout to the bro Nyles—he compared it to Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo,” and I couldn’t agree more. It gives me that same feeling: coming-of-age and trying to get away of your surroundings. Those are things I can closely relate to, so I naturally gravitate towards music that highlights that. Outside of that, the production is diverse. None of the songs sound like any of the others, but the project as a whole isn’t all over the place. The producer line-up ranges from DJ Dahi, to Steve Lacy, to his own friends like Tev’n and Boyboy. Most importantly, the line “got deadlines to meet, got mom on line 2” is my favorite line of 2018 because it accurately describes my life at this point.
1. Saba, “CARE FOR ME”
Every year, my favorite album is always the one that hits closer to home than all the other albums I listened to that year. “CARE FOR ME” fits that bill this year. This album made me feel like I was watching someone’s healing process. The passing of his cousin Walt is the main inspiration for the project, and it feels like this is Saba’s way of immortalizing him. As someone who has lost friends, songs like “Life,” “Calligraphy” and “PROM/KING” struck a nerve. The storytelling, level of rapping, and how genuine he sounds is crazy to me. Even outside of him talking about his cousin, I appreciated the fact that there are also songs about dealing with women, dealing with police, chasing your dreams, and the effects of social media (which are all things I think we try to balance every day). Saba wrapped up his year and my past 5 years in 41 minutes. It’s only been a couple months since it dropped, but it already means a lot to me. Albums like these are the ones I know I’m going to listen to years from now—it’s timeless.