Modern-day rap can feel like a persistent, ever-present storm front, ready to deluge its audience at anytime with a nonstop torrent of new music. It can be overwhelming. Where once upon a time, listeners had time to digest each release before the next, now each project lands seemingly together, all clamoring for attention. It doesn’t help that so many records have begun to adopt extreme measures in length, going one way or the other in an effort to appeal to repeat listens or garner gaudier streaming statistics for their respective creators in the ever-saturated marketplace.
However, even with all the changes to the modern musical and technological landscape that offers up more and more options, one principle will always remain the same: The cream always rises to the top. Some projects will always stand out from the pack, through the care of their creators or the magic inherent to their execution. Bangers will always be bangers, bops will always be bops, great rappers will always shine, and the best beats will stand the test of time and multiple listens. Albums that impress will live long past their initial release, making you return to them even as the onslaught of new music continues.
From Nipsey Hussle to Cardi B and everything in between, here are the best rap albums that have impressed in 2018 so far.