Noah’s Top Five

Noah Hedges, Reporter

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For my taste, rap this year has had a huge impact on me. Aside from the beats from songs like that bop called “SICKO MODE,” I listen to rap is because I can relate to the words and the artists, and I can understand the pain they rap about and the tribute that they give in their songs and albums. This year has been a huge year for music itself, but in my opinion, especially for rap.

? – XXXTentacion 

XXXTentacion released his album entitled ? on March 16 of 2018. This album introduced a new wave of sounds and feelings from XXX. It was clear on his previous album, 17, that he was feeling sad and was expressing his feelings through his music, (which was also shown in ?, even though there was a different style with 17). As opposed to dark music and depressing lyrics from 17, the theme of was happiness and recovery. ? introduced a new and improved style of lyrics and background beats in worldwide hits such as “SAD!”, or “NUMB.” These songs had big impacts because they both showed that XXX was regretful for his past self, and he was trying to change for the better. After releasing ?, XXXTentacion was killed on June 18, which shocked the world and the music industry. The mourning for XXX continues with ?, as the album was his last chance to put his music into the world before his passing.

Astroworld – Travis Scott

Travis Scott took the world on a trip back to Astroworld with this album, which was a theme park in Houston, TX. Travis was born raised in Houston, and Astroworld itself seemed to be a big part of his childhood. This album took the world by storm, as it single-handedly transformed rap music, and gave tribute to the good times in life, with songs such as “STARGAZING” and “SICKO MODE.” Not only was Astroworld a solid album that is currently ranked #4 on Billboard’s Year-End rap albums chart, but Travis proved with it that he can rule the world. If Jalen and I could have agreed on one thing, it would be that Astroworld deserves to be on the top of any top five list.

Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone

With this being Post Malone’s second LP, he proved to the world that he is a musician before being a rapper. He released different types of songs on B&B, with chill songs like “Stay,” while more of his rapper mode came out in the well-known banger, “Better Now.” This album was long awaited ever since he dropped “Rockstar” with 21 Savage in Sept. 2017. After his album Stoney went triple platinum, B&B needed to be a big project for him to show that it wasn’t an accident that it did so well in the industry. Post Malone has released more music since B&B, which makes his fans (like me) much more excited for his next big project, which is yet to be determined.

Goodbye & Good Riddance – Juice WRLD

Juice WRLD released Goodbye & Good Riddance on May 23 of this year. He released two songs earlier in his career on Soundcloud that turned his career around for the better. “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same” both brought in a ton of streams with this album, and gave Juice more fans. This album touched on his sadness, his past relationships and hardships, and with songs like “Lean Wit Me” and “Hurt Me,” he proved that his dynamic can be changed in any song. 

SKINS – XXXTentacion

This album made the cut for my top five of the year, although it was released just recently on Dec. 6 after XXXTentacion died. It is rumored that his core producers, along with his mom, went in and found previously recorded songs to piece together X’s life story for the album. While conspiracies have been created on Twitter about the creation of SKINS, people who loved X and his album have continued to show their support for him and his family over the past few months. A huge deal for the album seemed to be that the song “Guardian Angel,” which featured a familiar, yet foreign beat. After listening to the song a few times, I was reminded of a previous X song, “Jocelyn Flores” from 17, his album that was released in 2017. I came to the conclusion that the beats are the same, though on “Guardian Angel” the beat is backward. This proved that X’s legacy will live on through his mind in music and through his so-called “final statement” as a rapper.

Honorable Mentions: Quavo Huncho (Quavo), Scorpion (Drake), Drip Harder (Lil Baby & Gunna)

These honorable mentions didn’t quite make the cut for my top five, but still had an impact. Quavo Huncho features, coincidentally, Quavo, and he raps about the ups of life. I liked this album because it gave me something to listen to when I needed to remember that you can always be happy. As for Scorpion, Drake had an interesting year. His songs created dance crazes, along with all-around good music. Many have heard about Keke in “In My Feelings,” and know the “I only love my bed and my momma,” line from “God’s Plan.” This album was a bit overplayed, which is why it did not make my top five, but it still deserves recognition as he became Billboard’s Year-End #1 artist in 2018. Lastly, Drip Harder simply went hard throughout the whole entire album. I could, of course, go into detail about Lil Baby & Gunna’s project, but it went hard the whole time. 

As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on all of the ups and downs that music brought to the world. We look forward to new artists, new sounds and new sights in the music industry. 2019 has a lot in store; we will most likely be seeing familiar faces, like Juice WRLD and Travis Scott, and maybe some new faces as well that could show they deserve a spot at the top of the industry.