Top 10 Under The Radar Artists of 2018 To Watch in 2019, Top 5 Slept On LPs, Hip-Hop Hater Of The Year + [Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Pt 4]

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2019 06:26pm | Post a Comment
2018 Hip-Hop Hater of The Year

Following Best of 2018 Hip-Hop Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 is this fourth and final year-in-review Amoeblog that includes the Top 10 2018 Artists To Watch For in 2019,  the Top 5 Slept-On LPs (vinyl), Top 5 Slept On Recording Artists, the Most Influential Sociopolitical Music Video, and the Hip-Hop Hater of the Year. As pictured above, the honors for the latter go to Vladimir Putin who recently made it clear that he does not appreciate hip-hop with an anti-establishment message. At the end of 2018 news reports surfaced  of the Russian president cracking taking action against hip-hop music, saying that it needs to be state controlled. 

Reportedly popular Russian hip-hop artist Husky, known for his revolutionary anti-establishment lyrics, irked Putin and others in power and brought about the rap backlash. Following one of his concerts been 
 cancelled at last minute Husky took to the streets to perform atop a parked car to his throngs of fans. Police moved in and arrested and threw him in jail for ten days. In a statement Putin said that rap music was bad for Russian culture due to its promotion of such things as “sex drugs" and "protest.”

But the consensus is that protest is the particular part that Putin wants controlled just as he did several
 years back with Pussy Riot; the Russian feminist punk/performance collective known for their guerrilla protests and their outspoken "Punk Prayer" that attacked the Orthodox Church's support for Putin, In 2012 their protest art resulted in three members being arrested and jailed on charges of "hooliganism" and sentenced to two years in prison. On their imprisonment Putin said that, "they got what they deserved."

Let’s hope that Putin’s buddy here in the US doesn’t try to mimic these actions, especially considering how many hip-hop enemies he’s already made. Speaking of the hater-in-chief, immediately following Mac Miller’s tragic premature passing at age 26 from an accidental overdose back in September 2018, nasty tweets dating back to 2013 that 45 had directed at the hip-hop artist began to surface online. At war with the rapper over the success of his single “Donald Trump” (off the 2011 mixtape Best Day Ever) which 45 insisted he deserved full credit for, the  then 67 year old host of Celebrity Apprentice fired off a series of mean-spirited tweets at the the 21-year-old rising rap star, in one calling Mac Miller an "ungrateful dog".

Most Influential Sociopolitical Music Video 

In contrast to Putin's attempt at stifling free speech, Donald Glover, aka rapper Childish Gambino fully and freely expressed himself in his hugely popular albeit controversial music video "This Is America" (seen above) that upon its release immediately became a cultural moment and influential sociopolitical video. "This Is America" featuring on backing vocals Quavo, Slim Jxmmi,  Young Thug, BlocBoy JB, and 21 Savage, was posted to YouTube in May 2018. By year's end the Hiro Murai directed video had amassed over 455 million views and inspired endless conversations on the state of the nation. With the song Glover succeeded in crafting both a political statement and a major pop hit, addressing such controversial in America topics as gun control/violence and police discrimination against blacks.

Top 5 Slept On Hip-Hop Vinyl/LPs

1: Planet Asia The Golden Buddha LP (also on CD ) (Brick Records)

2: The Alchemist  Paris L.A. Bruxelles Instrumentals LP (ALC Records)

3: Damu The Fudgemunk & Raw Poetic The Reflecting Sea (Welcome To A New Philosophy) LP (Redefinition/Fat Beats)

4: Onra Nobody Has to Know 2LP (All City Records) 
5: TOKIMONSTA Lune Rouge LP (Young Art Records)

A subjective list that could easily be expanded into a Top 40 list of amazing hip-hop albums/LPs that were overlooked by the masses. Traditionally overlooked in favor of rapping, are the instrumental hip-hop LPs on the list including talented longtime producer  The Alchemist  Paris L.A. Bruxelles Instrumentals LP (ALC Records) and French artist on Irish label Onra's  Nobody Has to Know 2LP (All City Records). Known for both solo instrumental work and teaming up with emcees,   Damu The Fudgemunk worked with mic-spitter Raw Poetic for the stellar 2018 LP The Reflecting Sea (Welcome To A New Philosophy) LP(Redefinition/Fat Beats). Semi-instrumental and filed under EDM as well as hip-hop was the 2018 LP release from LA based producer TOKiMONSTA's Lune Rouge LP. Topping the five overlooked album list is longtime Fresno California emcee talent Planet Asia's The Golden Buddha LP which, along with Mansa Musa, was one of the two album projects he released in 2018.

Top 10 Under The Radar Artists of 2018 To Watch in 2019

#10 Darko The Super

Darko The Super is one gifted and prolific mic wrecker who unleashed a series of under-the-radar projects over 2018 including Buzzy Linhart Changed My Life, Doc Heller's Or Do I Eat This Sandwich?! Bogus Poetry In The Dizzy Age, and Stories of a Made Up Year produced by Height Keech on Cold Rhymes Records. On his The Hell Hole Store release "I'll Take What I Can Get" he collaborated with Open Mike Eagle. Another great 2018 collaborative track was "Bike Spokes" with producer The Custodian of Records as part of the Qwuickieleaks Challenge series.
#9 Tie: Wordburgler + Skipp Whitman

In a tie for #9 are Wordburgler and Skipp Whitman; two under the radar emcee talents who typify the high caliber of hip-hop being made these days that tragically gets limited exposure. Wordburgler is a Canadian emcee whose underground released track “Je Ne Care Pas” is delivered via a smooth flow and packed with funny, clever wordplay. Meanwhile Massachusetts emcee Skipp Whitman, who’s been around for over a decade, dropped several great tracks in 2018 including the killer “Nametag” that was released via video as The One Day Project (see above).

#8 Senor Gigio

Underground Bay Area hip-hop artist Senor Gigio’s engaging concept album Heroes of the Gold Rush was akin to a NorCal history audio book. With producer Mister Cleen the emcee told Bay themed stories from the perspective of both the days of the 1849 gold rush and the modern day tech boom era in the Bay. Standout tracks included “Ride (The Fall of Mac'n Cheez)” with scratches by KIDSIXTH, that tells the story of the life of a 1980’s East Bay baller that the emcee encountered on BART where the song’s subject told his tale.  BART coincidentally is among the location shots for the music video to another standout album track “Main Distraction” seen above.
#7 Gurp City
Gurp City is the multi-talented, underground hip-hop collective made up of veteran acts and new artists. Centered in San Francisco but with members all over the country, in 2018 they released the Gurp City The Flood Rap Camp Vol. 1 that showcased such members as DJ Quest and emcees Eddie K (aka 88) and Luke Sick (together on the song “Tribe & Brew”) along with Z-Man, Jake Uno, Big Sammy and others.

#6 Break Bread Posse

Comprised of members Chuuwee, Trizz, Roc$tedy, MoniBeatz and La Cosa Nostra, this young California hip-hop collective get a fair amount of attention but they deserve way more. The crew of rap artists/friends is spearheaded by Chuuwee; the prolific SoCal based Sacramento rap talent (and longtime favorite of Amoeba) who’s been putting it down for several years. In 2018 Chuuwee’s releases included The Tip Of A Tab which was his collaboration with Imaginary Other, as well as with Trizz for the duo’s third part in their long running weed themed series; AmeriKKa's Most Blunted 3 featuring such tracks as “See Today” (see video above). In 2018 Trizz also teamed up with Roc$tedy to record the tight album The Preamp featuring standout tracks like “Double Park The Spaceship.” 
#5 DJ Pnutz
San Diego based DJ/producer DJ Pnutz continued in 2018 to record some of today’s best breakbeat/bboy music. This she did via the seven inch single “Play That Beat Mrs DJ” / “Pretty Good For A Girl.”  That limited edition 7” dropped was released in June and followed up followed a few months later by a download only album of the same name. Not just an endlessly gifted producer but a needed female representation in a male dominated field.
#4 Shad

Born in Kenya of Rwandan parents and raised in London, Ontario, Canada rapper/broadcaster  Shad dropped the finest work of his six album career;  A Short Story About A War (vinyl/LP) (Secret City). While well known in his native Canada outside of there he is generally slept on. Although thanks to the CBC broadcast alumni hosting Netfix's Hip-Hop Evolution more are aware of him than before. However that awareness didn't translate into sales for his excellent A Short Story About A War.  An alternative hip-hop album with spoken word pieces interspersed throughout its equally engaging musical pieces, War is a cohesive album with each track addressing various viewpoints on the topic of war.  Examples include “The Revolution/The Establishment” that in its dual-tempo’d halves examines both sides of war and peace from the masters of war and those who protest against it.  

#3 Bobby Sessions

Dallas TX poet-turned-rapper Bobby Sessions, who dropped his indie debut in 2015, in 2018 got signed to Def Jam who released his two-part no-holds-barred RVLTN EP series. First was the July release RVLTN Chapter 1: The Divided States Of AmeriKKKa. Sessions, who has seen a lot of shit in his life including having his unarmed cousin shot and killed by the Dallas police a few years back, is mad at the current state of this nation. And his 2018 releases provided the perfect platform to express those feelings and, he stated, start dialog. He wanted to grab listeners’ attention to the point of making them uncomfortable enough to revolt against these Divided States Of AmeriKKKa. Incredible as it was, that first of two Def Jam release received only a degree of the attention it deserved. Many checked it out thanks to the Killer Mike featured track/video “Black Neighborhood.” But overall the album and his in your face style proved to be a little too aggressive and honest for the average listener. Some complained about him rapping into a megaphone on one track while others were offended by his music video for the powerful album track/video “Like Me” (seen above) which opens with him rapping while been lynched and then later morphs into him, sporting a “Legalize Being Black” emblazoned shirt beating down a white police officer. Similarly its sequel a few months later, the November Def Jam release RVLTN-Chapter 2: The Art Of Resistance failed to get the level of attention it deserved. However his contributing, along with Keite Young, of the title track to the various artists The Hate U Give OST did get him a good degree of notice. Regardless the artist has no plans to stop making incredible music and is an artist to watch for in 2019.

#2 Your Old Droog

BK NY emcee supertalent Your Old Droog may not have released a full-length album in 2018 (nothing since 2017's Packs on LP) but he made up for it in other ways. He performed live and recorded select tracks, several as guest spots on other artists’ albums including on Jean Grae & Quelle Chris' Everything’s Fine (also on vinyl./LP) (Mello Music) and on Chris Crack’s J-Zone produced full-length project Thanks Uncle Trill. But it was his  killer late March leaked track/video “Live From NYC (Freestyle)” on which, over the 90's Smut Peddlers “One By One” beat, he dropped some of the year’s best rhymes he reminded the world of just how great he is. Some commented that this track by the artist, whose style is distinctly rooted in that of Nas, was even better than any of the tracks that Nas himself recorded on his 2018 LP Nassir. 
#1 RAST/Misterman Cheers

RAST/Misterman Cheers released one of the best hip-hop albums of 2018; I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Dope Folks Records). Unfortunately most never got to hear the limited release (only 500 copies pressed)  but hopefully this will be rectified in 2019 with his upcoming releases. While mostly a solo recording artist RAST has collaborated with a few others over the years including Czarface, Hus Kingpin and Your Old Droog. Formerly known as RAST or Rast RFC, the NYC emcee/singer/musician nows goes by Misterman Cheers. RFC stands for Running From Cops which was the rap/graff crew he ran with as a young guy back in 1990’s New York City. On the powerful, soul-bearing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings his third album for Dope Style following Across West 3rd Street  and Story Of A Legend) the artist recalls and retells incidences from those crazy wild days of his past that included crimes, substance abuse and incarceration.  

Relevant Tags

Hip-hop Hater Of The Year (1), Pussy Riot (4), Best Of 2018 Hip-hop (3), Best Of 2018 (11), Planet Asia (8)