Updated: May 6, 2019
Written by Colin Whitten
Originally featured on Cornell University Hip-hop Heads, cuhiphopheads.com. Minor edits made for the article's publication on CornellRadio.com.
CUHHH held a meeting to discuss our individual Top 5 lists of our favorite summer hip-hop albums, and compiled a list of our overall Top 5 as a club. This is a review of our highest ranking albums.
5. (tie) Denzel Curry
Categorized as a Soundcloud rapper, the South Florida artist Denzel Curry expanded on his sound and expanded on high high-energy and manic style, unexpectedly bringing elegance and emotion to this new album. Curry describes his album as being split into three sections: the light, the gray, and the dark side. While there are a lot of heavier themes such as in “Taboo” and “Black Balloons,” he still returns to his brash and battering sound on songs like “Sumo.”
Highlights: “TABOO,” “CLOUT COBAIN”
5. (tie) The Carters
Everything is Love
Continuing on the couple’s extravagant brand, The Carters filmed the music video for “APESHIT” in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The album art contains the Mona Lisa in the background. With themes like being too rich and successful for their old friends, the Carters made it very clear that they wanted extravagance to be the central motif of this album. It completes their three-album arc, providing a testament to the perseverance of their relationship through challenges- the central theme of their prior two albums “4:44” and “Lemonade.”
Highlights: “APESHIT,” “713”
4. Kanye West & Kid Cudi
Kids See Ghosts
The third iteration of Kanye West’s recording sessions produced at West’s studio in Jackson Hole as part of the “Wyoming Sessions,” Kids See Ghosts was met by widespread critical acclaim. KSG’s music has been noted by critics for its flawless incorporation of 1970s-era psychedelic, fusion, and rock elements. Also to note are the prominent features performances from Pusha T, Yasiin Bey, and Ty Dolla Sign.
Beast Mode 2
With Future’s latest release, he persists in what he has excelled in. Zaytoven produces a number of good beats on this album. Future flows over trap production with his expertly crafted autotuned-melodic-and-sometimes-monotoned delivery, which we are all perfectly content with. According to the Pitchfork review, he explores more emotionally charged content, but we're not sure. Beast Mode 2 sounds like the light-hearted Future we know and love.
Highlights: “WIFI LIT,” “31 DAYS”
2. Travis Scott
Released to perhaps the most fanfare, Astroworld was apparently announced years ago and finally came out this summer. The album acts as an amusement park of sorts, and listening to this project may feel like riding a rollercoaster: the ups and downs, dazzling and interesting production, and unexpected turns. For some this rollercoaster results in a pleasurable sense of autotune-induced euphoria, for others it brings them to a less-than-pleasant nausea.
Highlights: “YOSEMITE,” “BUTTERFLY EFFECT,” “COFFEE BEAN”
CUHHH’s overwhelming favorite for album of the summer, Pusha T’s Daytona was the first installment of Kanye West’s summer of 7-track albums. Kanye comes through with some of his most inspired production in recent memory. Pusha T, of course, delivers as we would expect him to with hard hitting bars. Very memorably, he throws shots at Drake in “Infrared,” which led us to a very fun rap beef over the summer. Another personal favorite from the album was in “What Would Meek Do,” where Kanye brings back the woop-de-scoop from “Lift Yourself.” This was overall an excellent album.
Highlights: “Santeria,” “The Games We Play,” “Infrared,” “What Would Meek Do”