2018 is a wrap, and we sold plenty of records in this wild and weird year. We’ll be spending the next few weeks reviewing our best sellers of the recently completed calendar year. First up, counting down our top-ten selling rap records of 2018!
10. WU-TANG CLAN ENTER THE WU-TANG
You might catch a trend on this list right away. Almost everything here is from years past. Well, between the contemporary music industry having cold feet about physical media, the fast-moving nature of the genre and the slowness of manufacturing, and great reissues becoming available left and right, we’ve got a list full of old records out-selling the big contemporary names. That said, the Wu-Tang Clan still ain’t nothing to f*** with.
9. A TRIBE CALLED QUEST MIDNIGHT MARAUDERS
Another straight up classic from the 90s NYC rap boom. The rare record that is a critics favorite and a legitimate party starter. People are still finding out in 2018, or more likely finally upgrading formats.
8. MADVILLAIN MADVILLAINY
How do you all not have this already? This stellar collaboration of MF Doom and Madlib is arguably the high point i both discographies. It’s also steadily been in print on LP for years now. New generations keep finding it I guess, nothing wrong with that!
7. KANYE WEST MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
Is this Kanye’s masterpiece. Many say yes, we’ll grant that, though staff here has had some dissenting opinions over the years. But that argument is for elsewhere. This record is pure ambition, with Kanye unleashed, but still breaking new musical ground on every track.
6. KANYE WEST YE
We’ve got red hat Kanye in the charts too! This was the best selling pure-2018 rap album on this list. (more on that below) Contentious but intriguing, the new Kanye record shows the guy still has some tricks up his sleeve, and the making of this record is at the heart of one of the best rap beefs in a while (Drake v. Kanye/Pusha).
5. LAURYN HILL THE MISEDUCATION OF
And we’re back to the 90s. This is certainly another on a lot of folks all-time best list. Its soulful and honest, and quite frankly has aged really well. Rap has always been too much of a man’s game, and we’re glad there is some female energy in this list.
4. DIGABLE PLANETS REACHIN
We got a fresh vinyl edition of Reachin from Light In The Attic in 2018. A classic in its own right, but we in Seattle have a special love for Digable Planets because it features native son Ishmael Butler, now of Shabazz Palaces. Quite a career.
3. KENDRICK LAMAR GOOD KID: M.A.A.D. CITY
Spoiler: This won’t be Kendrick’s highest entry in this list. And he had another record at number 11, if we would have expanded our scope. Needless to say, he’s the top of the heap for his generation of rappers, and this record was really his coming out. Still sounds great!
2. TYLER THE CREATOR FLOWER BOY
Almost a 2018 record, this came out at the tail end of 2017, and has been finding a bigger and bigger audience throughout. The quintessential outsider has really risen to another level with his latest, a cohesive and thrilling LP from a fascinating artist. He’s come a long way from his Odd-Future roots.
1. KENDRICK LAMAR DAMN
And it wasn’t even close for the number one spot. I think this record topped this same chart last year too, a testament to its greatness. 2018 saw the release of the additional ‘collectors edition’ of Damn which saw the tracks in reverse order. I know you cynics would call that a gimmick, but damn if the concepts of the record aren’t really ACTUALLY richer upon hearing them introduced backwards!!
We mentioned above how warped this list is by the odd (by traditional standards) nature of the music industry in 2018, so we thought we’d break you off a minor list of the top five pure 2018 releases in Sonic Boom record sales. This list is mostly off CD sales, with the notable exception of Kung Foo Grip’s vinyl only release.