This month’s ranking, as you’ll notice, is top heavy on hip hop, which is more than fine with me (obviously duh I wrote the list wow), but the top 10 is rounded out with some experimental psych rock, experimental psych rap, some jazz, and a long-celebrated producer who put out a collection of his own to digest (die-gest? you’ll get that one later). Anyway, here are some detailed and derailed descriptions  my top 5 albums of 2018 so far, some videos of songs from said albums, and where everything ranked last month. Bone apple tea…

  1. Black Panther: The Album (last month: #4) This album gets better with every listen. Every song better than the last time you heard it. Best song on the album alternating and switching, changing than switching back again. Gems from top to bottom. This is about as perfect a hip hop collection as one can imagine, curated by the best in the game today. I wasn’t sure if an album by various artists was fair game on a top albums list, but Black Panther: The Album just solidifies itself as a force to be reckoned with on this list, and I can see myself being hard-pressed to hear something that would surpass this on the list this year.

CZARFACE and MF Doom: Czarface Meets Metal Face (last month: n/a) On opening track, Take Your Medicine, samples galore begging the question: “Do you have any medicine? I’ve got something for your mind, body, and soul.” Inspectah Deck comes hard with the one-liners on Forever People:

“Fireman, I throw flames/Like I’m in the arcade with no change, I ain’t playin’ no games.” Or

“Feel it through your spine/I’m the sickest you’ll find/I display more marvelous art than Guggenheim.” Honestly though, if you’re a fan of either Doom or CZARFACE or Wu-Tang Clan or old school hip hop or new wave master lyricism, this piece of art goes in on all angles. Plus, a feature from my new favorite mc, Open Mike Eagle, adds character to the cast of villainous emcees wreakinghaving on the hip hop status quo.

3. Bishop Nehru: Elevators: Act I & II (last month: n/a) Nehru reportedly was listening to a lot of the Beach Boys’ seminal experimental record Pet Sounds while creating Elevators, and that is absolutely perfect for a hip hop album that pushes every envelope the industry has to offer. Joint-produced by Kaytranada and MF Doom (yes, he has been quite busy lately), this album has a futuristic yet old school vibe, perfect for time-traveling with or zoning out in a dark room contemplating the many existential conundrums life has to offer. I imagine that’s exactly what tf Nehru had in mind when he was writing his rhymes.

4. Fischerspooner: Sir (last month: #1) Swapping my #4 and #1 picks makes the most sense after listening to this album in a setting that wasn’t me on dates with my headphones walking through the city for a few days straight. I still find it top 5 worthy this year, but it is a very intimate album full of energies more suited for introspective listens on full volume. See my in-depth review when it was ranked #1 on my list.

5. S L V : Piece of Mind (last month: n/a) Never one to mince words or to be short on such, SLV (Sandra Lilia Velasquez) comes correct on her second solo album combining bilingual, socio-politically conscious lyrics with hip hop, electronica, and experimental world digi-music. These ingredients result in a confirmation of the value of knowing your worth, expressing it, and flexing it. “And if you can’t compromise/What does freedom look like?” I hope I am always such a sucker for empowering, revolutionary lyrics on top of positively contagious audio accompaniment.

Rounding out the rest of my current top 10 of 2018:

6. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris: Everything’s Fine (last month: n/a)

7. Evidence: Weather or Not (last month: #2)

8. MGMT: Little Dark Age (last month: #3)

9. Tune-Yards: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (last month: #5)

10. Sun Ra: Of Abstract Dreams (last month: n/a)

11. Cut Chemist: Die Cuts (last month: n/a)

Join us again next month for another installment of my Five by Twelve, top five for twelve months, and see what albums withstand the test of time as we progress through the year. Here’s a teaser: I am listening to Cardi B’s debut, and I am going to need heavy convincing as to why and how Invasion of Privacy is not an instant classic…

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