Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Pt 2: Top 35 Albums, Top 5 Delayed Vinyl Issues, Most Streamed Artist, Top 10 Top Paid Acts, Top 5 Googled

Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2019 06:23pm | Post a Comment

Ice Cube
, pictured above at his Amoeba Hollywood in-store meet-and-greet in celebration of his new album Everythangs Corrupt, appears in two year in review lists including under in Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Pt 4 in the Top 10 Veteran Hip-Hop Acts category as well as in the Top 35 Albums list below on this Best of Hip-Hop Pt 2 Amoeblog.  Also below is this more commercially popular Best of 2018 are most streamed artist, top five most Googled artists, and the ten top money earning hip-hop artists of the past year. And what a year it was for the genre; one that thrives on different levels. On one end of the hip-hop spectrum there's legions of underground emcees and producers toiling away in near obscurity, while on the other end popular hip-hop artists are omnipresent pop cultural figures. Hence in 2018 when Cardi B and Nicki Minaj got into a fight at Fashion week, or when Mac Miller died of an accidental overdose, or when XXXTentacion was murdered in Miami, these all became mainstream stories reported alongside the political news headlines of the day.    

As a hip-hop fan from day one, looking back at the past year in music, I can honestly say that 2018 was easily the best year in terms of being the most richly prolific and diverse year in hip-hop/rap music; encompassing its many styles and sub-genres. For sheer quantity I heard more talented new artists in 2018 than any previous year. The problem with hip-hop today, versus say in 1988, when you could literally keep up with every artist/release, is that there is simply too much of it to keep up with it all. It’s like a buffet with so much food that one can only sample portions of it here and there.

There’s such an overwhelming wealth of new music being recorded and released physically (Amoeba vinyl/CD/cassettes) and/or uploaded or streamed online in some capacity, from SoundCloud/Bandcamp to Spotify and YouTube etc etc, that it was physically impossible for any one person to keep up with it all. This is why I believe that fans of the now 45 year old genre are divided into countless categorizations/subgenres of hip-hop including generational with younger hip-hop fans drawn to a completely different set of artists than those a decade or two their seniors.  

With that said this four-part Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Amoeblogs, while attempting to incorporate a lot of the music (both popular and underground) made in 2018, in essence just scratches the surface of the vast prolific genre that is hip-hop today.  Best of Hip-Hop in 2018 Pt 1 featured a Top 25 Album Countdown that was a subjective list of favorited 2018 full-length releases, all of which were physically available for sale via Amoeba. Meanwhile Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Part 3 focuses on artists who have been around for a while and includes the aforementioned Top 10 Veteran Hip-Hop Acts which is a subjective countdown of artists who’ve been around for 20 plus years and still making a creative impact. Also included are the Top 15 Essential Vinyl Reissues of the year, and the Top Turntablism Project and more. Find here. Then In the more under-the-radar and forward-looking themed Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Pt 4  includes lists of artists that tended to be under the radar or overlooked somehow. That Amoeblog also includes The Hip-Hop Hater Of The Year Award. But first who and why got Googled the most in 2018?

Top 5 Most Googled Hip-Hop Artists in 2018

#5 Childish Gambino

#4 Travis Scott

#3 Cardi B

#2  Rick Ross

#1 Eminem

Most Googled rap artists, as in the top five above plus the two runners up in the list Machine Gun Kelly and Meek Mill, are more likely to make this list based on been in a Twitter feud or Instagram beef with some other high-profile rapper. Eminem being the number one most Googled artist in 2018 was due in large part to the controversy surrounding the many beefs with artists he unveiled on his album Kamikaze olive green colored vinyl LP (also on CD) such as Lil PumpLil Yachty Lil Xan and aforementioned (former Eminem fan) Machine Gun Kelly

Top 10 Most Paid Hip-Hop Artists in 2018 [Forbes] 

#10 Kanye West
($27.5 million)

#9: Future
($30 million)

#8: Pitbull
($32 million)

#7: Dr. Dre Tie ($35 million each)

#6: Nas 
($35 million each)

#5:  J. Cole ($35.5 million)

#4. Drake ($47 million)

#3: Kendrick Lamar ($58 million)

#2: Diddy ($64 million)

#1: Jay-Z
($76.5 million)

Although it is released every September, Forbes magazine's latest annual top paid artists survey is officially for the year of 2018. And as referenced in the 2013 album cover above, Jay-Z vs Kanye West: Head To Head, among the top ten makers are these two high-profile hip-hop artists / entrepreneurs; one the opening and closing positions of the top ten. Beyond their financial differences,  Jay-Z and Kanye West were also at odds with one another in 2018 politically and personally. Regardless, along with all other eight entrants on this Forbes earners list, they made some serious bank. While album sales no longer generate the most income for artists, it is usually touring, branding and side business ventures capitalizing on celebrity that propel them to such financial heights. This accomplishment is arguably the ultimate goal in a genre known for celebrating materialism in a capitalist society. 

Most Streamed Hip-Hop Artist of 2018

No surprise to most that the seemingly inescapable artist of the past year Drake became the most streamed hip-hop artist in 2018 via Spotify and other services. The longtime reigning pop megastar enjoyed an amazingly successful year thanks to his album Scorpion (also on vinyl/LP) and his countless singles in particular the phenomenally popular hit singles “Nice for What,” “God’s Plan,” and “In My Feelings.” His stunning live show, on tour with Migos etc., earned him more fans and followers in 2018. 

Top 5 2018 Hip-Hop Vinyl/LP Issues of 2017 Album Releases

#1: G-Eazy The Beautiful & Damned LP  (RCA)


Lil Uzi Vert Luv Is Rage 2 LP (Atlantic)

#4 Future HNDRXX LPFuture LP, an

#5 TIE: Mackelmore Gemini [Bonus Tracks] 2LP i+  4eva Is A Mighty Long Time 2LP (BMG)

In addition to all the new 2018 hip-hop vinyl/LP releases that arrived into Amoeba on the same day as their CD or streaming release date counterparts, there was also a grip of 2018 released vinyl versions of albums from 2017 that got delayed releases on vinyl. These included Big K.R.I.T.’s  October 2017 release, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time 2LP. Then there was the 2018 vinyl version of Macklemore's 2017 album Gemini [Bonus Tracks] 2LP in an expanded vinyl version of the Seattle artist's second solo studio album that was  released on CD in September, 2017. Three months following the December 2017 CD release was the March 2018 vinyl release of N.E.R.D 's excellent NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES 2LP. Both of Future's two 2017 albums got vinyl version releases in 2018;  HNDRXX LP  and Future LP. Meanwhile Lil Uzi Vert's 2017 album got a delayed vinyl release, Luv Is Rage 2 LP, along with 2018 vinyl pressings of both his 2015 Luv Is Rage LP and his 2016 The Perfect Luv Tape LP. Finally topping this chart is friend of Amoeba / beloved East Bay rap star G-Eazy whose December 2017 The Beautiful &  Damned CD album release got issued as a double vinyl set five months later; The Beautiful & Damned 2LP  (RCA). Note that the Bay Area rapper/producer's limited edition exclusive Black Friday vinyl release The Vault LP is still available from Amoeba.

2018 Top 35 Hip-Hop Albums 

1: Mac Miller Swimming (also on vinyl/LP) (Warner Bros)

2: J.Cole KOD (also on vinyl/LP) (Interscope)

3: Kendrick Lamar  DAMN. COLLECTORS EDITION. (Aftermath)

4: Various  Black Panther OST (also on LP (Interscope)

5: Kanye West Ye (Def Jam)

6: XXXTentacion ? (Caroline)

7: Drake Scorpion (Republic)
8: Post Malone beerbongs & bentleys (Republic)

9: Cardi B  Invasion Of Privacy 2LP (Atlantic)

10: Travis Scott Astroworld (Epic)

11: Migos Culture II (also vinyl/LP) Quality Control)

12: Khalid American Teen  (vnyl/LP) (RCA)

13: Lil Wayne Tha Carter V (Cash Money)

14: Eminem Kamikaze olive green colored vinyl LP (also on CD) Aftermath)

15: Juice WRLD Goodbye & Good Riddance (Interscope)

16: Pusha T Daytona  (UME)

17: Meek Mill  Championships (Maybach/Atlantic Records)

18: The Carters Everything Is Love (Roc Nation)

19: BROCKHAMPTON iridescence 2LP (RCA Records)

20:  T.I. Dime Trap 2LP (also avail on CD) (Epic)

21: Ice Cube Everythings Corrupt (Interscope)

22: Nicki Minaj Queen (Cash Money)

23:  21 Savage I Am > I Was (Epic)

24: 6ix9ine Day69: Graduation Day (TenThousand Projects)

25:  Lil Baby & Gunna Drip Harder (Capitol)

26: Black Eyed Peas Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 (Interscope)

27: Vince Staples FM (Def Jam)

28: Flatbush Zombies Vacation In Hell CD + Vacation In Hell Clear Vinyl with Black Smoke  2LP (Glorious Dead) 

29: Styles P G Host + Dime Bag (Phantom)

30: Jay Rock Redemption (Top Dawg)

31: SOB X RBE Gangin II (SOB X RBE)

32: Jean Grae & Quelle Chris Everything’s Fine (also on vinyl./LP) (Mello Music)

33: Bas Milky Way LP (also avail on CD) (J Cole Dreamville / Interscope)
34: Z-Ro SäDISM (1 Deep Entertainment)
35: Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz Mona Lisa   (Mello Music)

This 2018 Top 35 hip-hop albums list, that's presented in order from #1 down to #35, is culled from a combination of several sources including Amoeba's 50 Best Selling Albums of 2018 and individual store first week sales, Billboard's Year End Top 200 & Top 25 Rap Albums, Metacritic Users, as well as some streaming year end artist/album lists. The list focuses on physical released album but includes some digital sales.  In the top slot was the top selling hip-hop album at Amoeba in 2018; the late Mac Miller'Swimming (also on vinyl/LP) (Warner Bros) that deserved this placement. Equally deserving to rank high on the list was second place album of 2018 from J.Cole KOD (also on vinyl/LP). Further down the list but noteworthy is the J. Cole curated release from Bas; Milky Way LP (also avail on CD) (J Cole Dreamville / Interscope). The third studio album by the French born / Queens NY artist signed to J. Cole's imprint  it followed his 2014 debut studio album Last Winter and 2016's Too High To Riot. The new album, whose guests included J.Cole and A$AP Fergrefreshingly packed a message of positivity with Bas posting to social media upon its release; "This 
 album is about finding ground. About not poisoning your own well. About finding and tethering yourself to the love that truly fulfills you. Love of self. Love of others."

Kendrick Lamar
may not have released a brand new album since 2017 but his 2018 special edition reissue of that album as DAMN. COLLECTORS EDITION (Aftermath) was such a hot seller in 2018 that it ranked number three on the chart. Coincidentally it is followed in the #4 chart spot by an album that is kinda a Kendrick Lamar album; the various artists soundtrack  Black Panther OST (also on LP (Interscope) that Lamar executive produced and is featured throughout. Included in the top selling chart is the last minute surprise Eminem 2018 release that, despite been critically panned by many reviewers, upon its release became one of the most successful selling albums of the year, selling a total of 400K in just its first week. The album got a colored vinyl issue too; Kamikaze olive green colored vinyl LP (also on CD). Others on the top 35 include tireless popular rap artist 21 Savage, who followed up his 2017 acclaimed album Issa Album (also on vinyl/LP) with 2018's I Am > I Was on which he shared the spotlight with numerous other collaborators including ScHoolboy Q, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, Offset, Post Malone, Lil Baby and  Gunna.

Relevant Tags

Top 5 Delayed Vinyl Issues (1), Mac Miller (7), Eminem (18), Drake (25), G-eazy (6), Top 35 Hip-hop Albums (1), Best Of 2018 Hip-hop (3), Best Of 2018 (11), Most Streamed Artist (1), Top 10 Top Paid Acts (1), Top 5 Googled Hip-hop Artists 2018 (1)