2018, a year of phenomenal music, sensational breakouts, controversy and vivid experimentation. Below I’ve curated a list, in no particular order, of my favorite Ikons of 2018. Each of these artists are more than just “music-makers” but they are influencers, creatives, CEO’s and true talents. These musicians have revolutionized their genres, created lyrical content geared toward positivity, evolution and realities all amid staying true to themselves in this barbaric industry. Check it out below.
IKONIC FAVORITES OF 2018
Jacob Banks - This Birmingham native singer, songwriter and creative just explodes with talent. His debut album Village hands down, is one of the most beautifully and poetically indited albums of 2018. Listening to Banks encourages other artists to step their pen game all the way up - he’s that sensational.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z - Bey and Jay, no doubt are one dynamically legendary couple and their joint album Everything is Love surfaced this year; a compelling, stunning hip-hop, soul, classical, blues vibe infused body of work laced with nine indisputable lyric laden tracks. Although they were unjustly skipped over for Grammy nominations this is still one ikonic body of work.
Meek Mill - Meek Mill’s Championships album is one of the best albums of 2018 and the perfect way to conclude such a tumultuous year for him. His previous compilations like Wins and Losses, DC4 and Dreams and Nightmares solidified his spot as a rapper but Championships marks the dawn of his evolution as an artist. Be sure to purchase that album and listen to my podcast reaction here.
Devvon Terrell - What a year for Devvon Terrell, one of my favorite voices of our generation and his pen game is phenomenal. He went off in a big way this year from single releases like “You Different” and “Business and Pleasure” to his full length project Weird Nights: The Intermission, it’s been a great year of music for the young G.O.A.T.
Noname - When Noname said, "My P**** teaching ninth grade English,” I knew she would be my new muse. This year she released Room 25 , a conscious compilation that listens like diary like revelations of the world around her, her unwillingness to be ignorant, her relational understandings, political awareness and her maturation as a woman thriving in this tumultuous and bigoted society.
Feel Jas - Feel Jas is one of those unparalleled souls and after a two year hiatus she resurfaced with her solo album Dirty Poetry. From exquisitely written records like “Let It Be” to bouncy tracks like “Homies” the energy shifts amid the content remaining pensively accurate and reflective. One of my favorite projects of the year.
Dream Doll - It’s one thing to be a hot moment and it’s another thing to turn that moment into a career. Dream Doll boomed with success off her popular single “Everything Nice” and this year followed up with the second installment of Life in Plastic. She had an ikonic feature from the one and only Lil Kim and this project reveled in her growth and maturation as a rising MC.
Cardi B - Come on, we all know that this was CARDI’S YEAR - Bardi 2018 - from her debut Grammy nominated album Invasion of Privacy to her countless features, her new baby and her Fashion Nova line to name a few - she’s winning - 2019 will be crazy.
N.R - N.R released his debut album , Before It’s Too Late, which charted on the iTune’s RnB charts amid being a favorited project amongst fans. From amaranthine tracks like “Limited Supply” to faultless duets like “Lost & Found”, this body of work is truly stunning.
Jaylii - Jaylii set 2018 ablaze with the release her popular project Put Yourself On, with the 2.0 version set for pre-order on December 17th and official release on New Years Day, she’s bound to give 2019 a hellish fire. More than an undeniable M.C Jaylii is a true manufacturer of word-bending and creativity.
J.Cole - J.Cole, one of the most talented rappers to touch a mic, dropped another ikonic album in the form of K.O.D and although the Grammy’s didn’t notice the world felt this project reverberate off the culture.
Jessie Reyez - Jessie Reyez is one of my favored musical souls. She reminds me of Billie Holiday with her intrepid lyricism, fearless demeanor and knack for storytelling. This year she released one of her most personal and plainspoken bodies of work with Being Human In Public amid also working alongside the legendary Eminem on his Kamikaze album.
Tierra Whack - There’s nothing whack about this Philly bred musical Einstein. This year she released Whack World, her 15 minute Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Léger directed visual to her 15 minute album full of 15 irrefutable tracks. Doused in nostalgia and freedom, Whack represents everything she's experienced with her lyrical reflection and knack for being unapologetically - her. Meek Mill has also cosigned her talent, can’t wait to see what she’ll do in 2019.
These above artists are timeless and they only get better with it. 2019 will be a big year for each musician, congrats on all your success this year and the years to come!