Updated: Apr 1, 2019
With the Grammy's a month away, one of the biggest questions in pop culture asks, who had the best rap album of the year? Looking back, 2018 gave us some HEAT! Drake kept us dancing to In My Feelings, Jay Rock had us all feeling like champions with his banger, Win and Travis had the world going Sicko! Although the competition was stiff, the artist that I believe outshined them all was Nipsey Hussle. On February 16, 2018, Nipsey Hussle released his debut album Victory Lap. This album was a success for Nipsey for multiple reasons. Before this release, Nipsey had been building his brand for 13 years straight, independent of any major labels. He strategically crafted his All Money In brand his way.
Bigger than Rap
The release of this project represented something more than just a musical debut for an artist. This project represented a culmination of Nipsey's dedication to his craft, never wavering from the script of doing thing his way. Before this release, Nipsey gave us ten mixtapes. He consistently gave his fans free music with no major-label backing and no big marketing machine. His grassroots approach is a message that resounds from the airwaves of hip-hop to the boardrooms of corporate America. Whether your hustling in the street or pitching a business venture, there's a lot of gold in the blueprint that Nipsey created.
The production on Victory Lap could be a stand-alone project in itself. The album was cinematic. Nipsey proved to us that in the world of microwave rap, that quality takes time. I also appreciated the variety of features on this project. Nipsey enlisted an all-star cast of artist including Kendrick, Diddy, Cee-Lo and The Dream. This album is timeless music and definitely a stand out classic from 2018.
Nipsey said it himself, "the amount of life, the narrative and the amount of truth makes Victory Lap the best album of 2018. I thought this album did a great job capturing Nipsey's story from his days of selling mixtapes out the trunk of his car on Crenshaw to current day including his partnership with Atlantic Records. Songs like Make a Million Why You Young, provides a blueprint to success. I played Victory Lap to get me hype for the gym, building my own personal brand and just helping my flip the motivational switch.
While many will debate on which album is the best, these are few quick takes on why I believe Nipsey should be crowned the king of 2018. Hopefully, his momentum spills over into this year, and Grammy's recognize Nipsey for this classic body of art.