Here Are The 25 Best Reviewed Hip Hop Albums Of 2018 (So Far)

Do you agree with the music pundits' ratings?

(AllHipHop Features) We are halfway through 2018, so it’s the perfect time to look back at some of the Hip Hop projects the public was blessed to experience in the first six months of the year. Instead of ranking albums by popularity or personal preferences, for this list, AllHipHop is going strictly off scores by the people paid to review music.

“The 25 Best Reviewed Hip Hop Albums Of 2018 (So Far)” are based on Metacritic Scores (MS). determines the grades by calculating weighted averages for reviews from leading print and online publications. Bodies of work that earn an MS between 81-100 are labeled as receiving “Universal Acclaim.” Scores in the range of 61-80 are stamped with “Generally Favorable Reviews.”

Like with any list, the entries here will likely kickoff conversations about overrated LPs, potential classics, and snubs. Check out the rankings (from lowest score to highest score) below. Let the debates begin.


Migos -Culture II [MS=69]

“With enough highlights to form a single digestible effort, Migos could have delivered another culture-defining classic with just a little trimming. Instead, they've taken what should have been a potent, big league statement and diluted it.” - AllMusic

SHIRT -Pure Beauty [MS=71]

“The visual [video] gambit falls uneasily between a critique of hip-hop’s relationship with corporate sportswear brands and, once again, a flimsy attempt to muster up attention. Pure Beauty plays out in a similar fashion, committing wholly to neither SHIRT’s appealing raw rap chops nor his grander concepts.” - Pitchfork

Czarface & MF Doom -Czarface Meets Metal Face [MS=72]

“When the MCs are actually on the mic, backed by 7L’s super-rugged boom bap production, there is much to love.” - The Guardian

J. Cole -KOD [MS=73]

“Though it's no surprise that Cole's consciousness leads the album, his unabashed statements regarding the direction of rap music and its current megastars are gutsy.” - Exclaim

PRhyme (Royce da 5'9" & DJ Premier) -PRhyme 2 [MS=74]

“Cohesively, PRhyme 2 serves as a pivotal point in the connection between old school and emerging rappers.” - The 405

Cozz -Effected [MS=76]

Effected confirms that Cozz has more in him than just straight bars. He continues to tell his own story but through new flows, different hooks and an advanced way of making rap songs.” - XXL

Rae Sremmurd -SR3MM [MS=77]

SR3MM delivers quantity and quality by zeroing in on its creators’ charisma, clarifying the appeal that’s been there the whole time. In the strange pantheon of triple LPs, there’s nothing else like it.” - The A.V. Club

Novelist -Novelist Guy [MS=77]

“Grime is now a maturing genre, with room for a multiplicity of voices and subject matters. And in Novelist, grime now has an upstanding and versatile outlier.” - The Observer

Playboi Carti -Die Lit [MS=77]

“A lot of the gratification of this record is in the production, which takes the age-old hip-hop trick of taking a fractional melodic idea, barely a song by itself, and spinning out of it a thick sonic weave.” - Sputnikmusic

Flatbush Zombies -Vacation In Hell [MS=79]

Vacation in Hell is a worthy effort that showcases the individual strengths of each Zombie member, from Arc Elliott’s compelling concoctions to Meechy’s raspy, full-throated raps and Zombie Juice’s sing-songy hooks and spiritual-political leanings.” - HipHopDX

Dr. Octagon -Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation [MS=79]

Moosebumps tries so hard to replicate the debut that it ends up sounding a bit formulaic, even with an expanded budget and a wider sonic scope. It's still an impressive effort, and worth checking out if you're already a fan, but newcomers absolutely need to hear the original first.” - AllMusic

Nipsey Hussle -Victory Lap [MS=80]

“There is no denying how pleasantly digestible Victory Lap, despite the minor idleness. The beats bump, the flows follow suit and the messages of humbly hustling are crystal clear.” - XXL

Black Milk -Fever [MS=80]

“It is a meticulously crafted album that goes down smooth and leaves you with something to think about.” - RapReviews

Kendrick Lamar & Various Artists -Black Panther: The Album [MS=80]

"Generally speaking, where Black Panther succeeds most is in these moments where Kendrick blends South African and American sounds together.” - Pretty Much Amazing

Black Thought -Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 [MS=81]

“His voice sounds gravelly--two decades of constant touring will do that--and substitutes tonal nuance for raw power, like a horn player blowing his lungs out.” - Rolling Stone

The Carters (Beyoncé & Jay-Z) -Everything Is Love [MS=82]

“With their new album as the Carters, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are once again a united force, celebrating their success on every front: artistic, financial, marital, erotic, historic... This is more familiar, less vulnerable and less exploratory territory than the zones where Beyoncé and Jay-Z ventured on Lemonade and 4:44.” - New York Times

Dave East -Paranoia 2 [MS=83]

“His current labelmates include hitmakers like Big Sean and Justin Bieber, but also respected wordsmiths Jadakiss and Jeezy. It’s that latter strata where he belongs, and P2 proves he can hang.” - Consequence of Sound

Royce da 5'9" -Book of Ryan [MS=84]

Book Of Ryan continues a four-year, six-album streak of top-tier lyricism, with noted personal and artistic growth in the process. His 2018 output will not only earn him noted respect as one of the best lyricists of the year but in rap as a whole.” - HipHopDX

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris -Everything’s Fine [MS=84]

“For an album so complex--one that’s simultaneously funny and fearless--it has an uncanny way of simplifying things” - Tiny Mix Tapes

Cardi B -Invasion of Privacy [MS=84]

“Funny, fierce, foul-mouthed and in-your-face, Invasion of Privacy is one of the most powerful debuts of this millennium.” - Variety

Cupcakke -Ephorize [MS=84]

“By balancing on the tightrope between meme and icon, between relatable and aspirational, Ephorize emerges sounding remarkably human.” - Spin

Kids See Ghosts (Kanye West & Kid Cudi) -Kids See Ghosts [MS=84]

“While Kids See Ghosts feels more like a Cudi album than a Kanye one, it is a production showcase for both... The seven-song affair leaves you greedy for more when it’s over in a mere 23 minutes.” - Entertainment Weekly

Pusha T -Daytona [MS=86]

“The record’s simple presentation and briefness make for an engaging change from the epic crossover attempts of his prior LP Darkest Before Dawn.” - NOW Magazine

Young Fathers -Cocoa Sugar [MS=87]

“This is a far more stripped down, stream-lined record that remains just as essential and urgent as all their output so far with little to no compromise.” - Drowned In Sound

Saba -Care For Me [MS=92]

“Each note and phrase on the album is colored to depict this struggle. The instrumentation is bracing, almost as if played live for a crowd, but it has the intimate tenor and tone of Saba recording the entire thing alone in his basement.” - Pitchfork