Worst Rap Albums of 2018 (Staff Picks)

From Nas' 'NASIR' to 6ix9ine's 'Dummy Boy,' our entire staff shares their picks for the worst rap album of 2018.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Best of 2018: Worst Album

Say what you like, 2018 has been a marked year for music. While critique is very serious business, we are also human and what we like is all the more special than the critical appraisal of an album. For the next month, every day, you will find our staff picks for our favorite facets of music from best features to worst songs and everything in-between, based solely on what strikes us as diehard music fans first, and critics second. It's been an incredible year for hip-hop.

These are our least favorite albums of 2018.

Bawskee — Comethazine

comethazine-bawskee

I’m convinced that Comethazine was put together in a lab. He’s made of the parts of SoundCloud rappers past, a walking algorithm meant to suck up clueless teenage dollars for about as long as it takes Target to find new rappers to make less interesting. Whatever album such a rapper could put together wouldn’t be worth the 0s and 1s it’s displayed on, and Bawskee is all of that and more. Bland, unimaginative, and just plain offensive, Bawskee could only come about in the year that SoundCloud’s relevance began going down the tubes. But hey, let’s forget that album even exists and watch the clip of him admitting to not owning any of the Goyard or Supreme he raps about on “Bands.” Cool? Bet. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green

It isn't possible to give Bawskee more negative press than what Alphonse Pierre delivered in his scalding Pitchfork review, but I’ll give it my best shot nonetheless. Comethazine rose to prominence after taking advantage of a SoundCloud loophole, removing the sound file of YBN Nahmir’s rising track “Bounce Out With That” and replacing it with his own song, “Bands.” That kind of deceitful maneuver perfectly captures the St. Louis artist’s fundamental lack of artistic integrity. On Bawskee, he sounds like a second-rate combination of his SoundCloud contemporaries, a comparatively uninspired Smokepurpp or Lil Pump (who also just so happens to be obsessed with Demi Lovato?). —Stephen Barston

DUMMY BOY — 6ix9ine

6ix9ine-dummy-boy

I listened to 6ix9ine’s DUMMY BOY out of morbid curiosity when it dropped, and to my absolute surprise, it’s as hollow as his lawyer’s defense that he’s actually a sweet guy. Vacuous lyrics, trend-hopping beats, and a grating personality that makes a lot of noise but quickly becomes anonymous anytime a guest shows up; DUMMY BOY is exactly the album you expect from an “artist” who explicitly said that he doesn’t give a shit about his art. I’m not sure what’s more offensive: that statement or this album. —Andy James

Kamikaze — Eminem

eminem-kamikaze

When I think of a year’s worst album, I take into account both the lack of quality and the amount of undeserved attention the album garners. Although Nas’s NASIR was meh, it also didn’t command attention past its first week or so. Of the many mediocre-yet-popular albums from legacy acts this year, Eminem’s Kamikaze was particularly taxing because of the way everyone defended it as if an artist's technical ability alone makes for a great album. We are all aware that Eminem can rap well; what we need is for him to say something fresh instead of engaging in the most uninteresting rap beef, talking about where he is going to stick a Crest Whitestrip simply because it rhymes, and engaging in homophobia because Tyler, The Creator expected more from him. Tyler, Justin Vernon, and all of us deserved better. —Ben Taylor

For the love of all that is good on this earth, grow the fuck up. Insecurity has never been becoming. So people did not like your album? Is that reason to start lobbing homophobic slurs at an artist making listenable music? Perhaps if we took notes on this generation's heroes as opposed to throwing tantrums in our 40s, things would be different for us here in Eminem's raposphere. How someone can be so technically proficient, so in love with something, and still spurn it at every turn is baffling. I do not want to be baffled. —Donna-Claire Chesman

NASIR — Nas

nas-nasir

The return of Nas, after a six-year absence, was an underwhelming ending to what had shaped up to be a spectacle. As one of hip-hop’s greatest wordsmiths, there’s a standard of assumption when a new project is released. The Nas who appears on NASIR, his 11th studio album, has plenty of words, but only a few carry the weight a legend of his stature is expected to deliver. When greats fall short of their greatness, the disappointment is immense. —Yoh

QUAVO HUNCHO — Quavo

quavo-quavo-huncho

A couple years ago, I was so convinced that Quavo was poised to be the breakout star of Migos that I jokingly tweeted that “Quavo is Michael Jackson, [while] Offset and Takeoff are both Tito.” When you’re in the business of writing reactionary takes on the internet, you’re inevitably going to be on the wrong side of history at some point, but of all the takes I’ve written publicly, this is the one that has aged most like an avocado in the Sahara Desert. If Quavo was ever going to be the Michael Jackson to Migos’ Jackson 5, then QUAVO HUNCHO would’ve had to have been his Off the Wall. Instead, it was an album filled with 19 of the most inessential, uninspired, and unambitious songs I’ve heard in recent memory. This album is not art; it’s an indistinguishable smorgasbord of trap mediocrity that could only fairly be described as “content.” —Hershal Pandya

Queen — Nicki Minaj

nicki-minaj-queen

In a year that had Kanye West devolving into a MAGA hat-wearing imbecile, as well as Tyga dropping a Japanese-themed Kylie Jenner tell-all album, props must be given to Nicki Minaj for managing to make something actually worse. Queen isn’t just the worst album of 2018 because the music is bad, but rather, it’s entire lifespan, from the music to its rollout, made a trainwreck seem more appealing. Nicki was once a monstrous force in rap, at least in terms of popularity outside of her insanely loyal following, but Queen felt like an album made by an artist hellbent on aging as disgracefully as possible into the rap history books. Every morsel of Queen’s existence got worse with time, from Queen Radio to the ensuing beef with Cardi B, and found Nicki Minaj, one of rap’s most prominent figures, so uncomfortably unhinged it was almost impossible to stomach. —Matt Wilhite

Reckless — NAV

nav-reckless

Raise your hand if you actually had any expectations for this album to begin with. NAV’s entire catalog is blander than an all-bread sandwich, and his official debut Reckless might be the least ambitious project of the year with its tired retreads and recycled flows. A few snippets from the press release sent out by his label in an attempt to hype up the album:

  • “NAV has quietly arrived as one of rap’s most innovative and infectious voices…”
  • “Driven by hypnotic piano, airy production, and his inimitable flow…”
  • “‘Faith’ [feat. Quavo] has ‘summer smash’ written all over it...”

Negative points for blatantly lying to the press, but what else are they supposed to say when the music is just that bad? —Kenan Draughorne

TOTAL XANARCHY — Lil Xan

lil-xan-total-xanarchy

It's obvious that I'm the only person here that heard Lil Xan's album because it would be everyone's pick for worst album of the year if that weren't the case. In fact, it might be the worst album I've ever heard in my life, and I can safely say that's a field of thousands. In a year filled with Donald Trump, kids eating Tide Pods, the death of Roger the Buff Kangaroo, Lena Dunham, and a climate report that literally spelled out how doomed our planet is, Lil Xan's album might have been the worst part of 2018. —Brendan Varan

Related