Mike A. Bryan, A&E Editor

As a whole, 2018 has not offered a lot of amazing music; rather, listeners have been inundated with the same artists, playing the same type of music as last year. There have been some notable releases, especially the Kanye West-produced albums by Pusha T and Nas, his collaborative album with Kid Cudi, and his long-awaited album, “ye.” None of these albums, however, lived up to the hype. To some, the Jay-Z and Beyonce album was notable, but it didn’t have staying power and left the radio airwaves quickly. The new album by Blood Orange was mediocre at best; it should be noted that it is an improvement over his sophomore release. The Internet and J. Cole both put out decent albums, but again they were a flash in the pan. While Cardi B and Quavo showed up on almost every album, they seem to be running out of steam already. Janelle Monae’s new album was pretty good, as was The Weeknd’s; again, neither of these albums really blew anyone away.

So, here is a list of new artists who released their first or second albums this year, that are worthy of checking out and giving a listen.

  1. pinkcaravan! “2002” – Hailing from the Lou, this up-and-coming female rapper has everything that is missing from Cardi B’s music, presented in a soft-spoken, lo-fi groove with plenty of rhythm and blues laden-hooks.
  2. Anderson .Paak “Oxnard” – His two previous albums “Venice” and “Malibu” should have propelled this sing-songy rapper who sounds remarkably like Kendrick Lamar to fame, but didn’t. His newest outing is backed by Dr. Dre and has radio and club hit written all over it.
  3. Say Sue Me “Where We Were Together” – Probably technically classified as K-pop, this surf-rock inspired pop group hits all the sweet spots with their sunny, lighthearted tunes.
  4. Mick Jenkins “Pieces of a Man” – Mick has a long history of cleverly using jazz samples and jazz-influenced beats to produce modern, interesting hip-hop, which he continues on this newest album. Not to be missed is his collab with Ghostface Killah.
  5. Camp Cope “How to Socialise and Make Friends” – Hailing from Australia, this female three-piece crafts clever folk-punk mixed with lo-fi pop-punk that is super catchy and fun.
  6. Jacob Banks “Village” – With powerful vocals and genre-bending style, this artist may be the most interesting of the group. His music is neo-soul, but incorporates so many other influences that each song will surprise you.
  7. SABA “CARE FOR ME” – An up-and-coming rapper out of Chicago, Saba has guested on albums from Chance the Rapper to Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, and has made quite the name for himself in the Chicago scene.
  8. Phosphorescent “C’est La Vie” – This singer/songwriter has truly evolved from his alt-folk/alt-country background to produce a varied album with a little something for everyone. Fans of Father John Misty would probably enjoy his music.
  9. Kamasi Washington “Heaven and Earth” – Kamasi is well-known in jazz circles, but you may not be aware of his contributions to multiple Kendrick Lamar albums. His latest effort continues his experiments in jazz, and the first track “Fists of Fury” is not to be missed.
  10. BROCKHAMPTON “iridescence” – This music and art collective has been putting out cutting-edge, unique hip-hop for a few years now, and continues breaking new ground with their new album. It is unlike most hip-hop albums, in a good way.

10 new albums for your listening pleasure. All of them can be found on Spotify, and some on other streaming services as well. Enjoy these new tunes over your holiday break!