In the race for our collective musical attention, rap is currently enjoying a victory lap. And with this dominance comes abundance or, more precisely, overabundance. We have surveyed this sprawling landscape for the most innovative, meaningful, and singular rap releases of Listen to selections from this list on our Spotify playlist and Apple Music playlist.
The Best Rap Albums of 2018
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From the start, hip-hop was about storytelling. Male and female rappers alike used wordplay, repetition and extended metaphor to relate experiences that were dark, violent, romantic or hopeful, casting themselves as hero, witness or seer. Braggadocious lyrics about violence, sex, swagger and masculinity reign in a space where women, in most cases, are cast as either conquests or a faceless Greek chorus, their own stories largely ignored. They all had distinct variations in style, flow and lyrical content, but what each woman had in common was a fiercely independent voice and the power to remain consistently and resoundingly herself. She has described the scene in its early days as competitive and skill-based, but not without a gender bias. But none of it affected me to a degree to where it mattered. There may have been setbacks but I never let get to me.
The Best Rap Albums of the '80s
History got all fucked up when everyone thought that the Baby Boomers had the most important story to tell. And of course the white male baby boomers had the loudest voices. And we grew up being told one thing, but knowing something else was true.
Street cred can be attained through various means, but striking fear in others is one of the more prevalent -- and effective -- ways to go about being respected in the streets, as well as in the realm of hip-hop. Going back as early as pioneers like Melle Mel, who was one of the first street-certified MCs in rap, hip-hop had its fair share of imposing figures during the s, including Just-Ice, Eric B. While there were more than a few fearsome figures in rap, much of the music made prior to -- when acts like N. But by the time hip-hop crept into the s, violent overtones were the norm in rap songs, drawing the ire of political pundits and activists who were appalled by the content featured in the culture's songs. That decade would see hip-hop continuously come under fire due to controversial lyrics.