The big one. The year has almost come to an end so it’s time to look back at the top album releases. 2013 has been a good year for hip-hop fans, with all the heavyweights dropping studio albums including Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye, Drake and more. We were also treated to a number of dope R&B albums from industry vets and upcoming artists but which LPs made the shortlist? Keep reading to find out Eclectic Relaxation’s best albums of the year.
Eclectic Relaxations’s top 5 hip-hop albums of 2013 (in no particular order) are as follows:
- Pusha T – My Name Is My Name
Pusha T’s studio debut was a long time coming after having released numerous top-notch mixtapes and EPs so the expectations were naturally high. Nevertheless, Pusha Ton did not fail in dropping a quality debut with My Name Is My Name. Heavy beats, strong features (Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Future, Pharrell, The-Dream) but most importantly hard lyrics put MNIMN right at the top of the rankings when it comes to hip-hop albums in 2013.
Highlights: King Push, Numbers on the Boards, Nosetalgia (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
- Drake – Nothing Was The Same
Drake’s third effort was probably the most heavily anticipated album of the year and after the strength of Take Care, expectations were sky high. Where Take Care relied on it’s R&B element, Drizzy has definitely gone more for beats and bars on Nothing Was The Same. The result is a sold hip-hop album but there’s still plenty of R&B on there too.
Highlights: Tuscan Leather, Hold On (We’re Going Home), Too Much, Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2 (ft. Jay-Z), Come Thru
- Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
In a year when a number of high profile rappers dropped underwhelming albums, one artist out of Detroit by the name of Black Milk dropped a gem with No Poison No Paradise. Earning his status as one of the most respected producers out there by putting out countless high quality, well-produced albums, he’s also been stepping his rap game up and it shows on his latest release. See our review here.
Highlights: Sunday’s Best, Monday’s Worst, Dismal, Perfected on Puritan Ave., Deion’s House
- J. Cole – Born Sinner
J. Cole released his sophomore LP this year after seeing major success with his debut album Cole World: The Sideline Story and it’s another solid entry into the North Carolina MC’s discography. Rather than over-experimenting, Cole more or less sticks to what he knows on Born Sinner and we can’t hate. A couple hit singles and Grammy nods (Power Trip), features from Miguel & Kendrick Lamar and the fact that the album is mostly self-produced all add up to earn Born Sinner it’s top 5 spot. Check out our review here.
Highlights: Power Trip (ft. Miguel), She Knows, Chaining Day, Let Nas Down
- Tyler, the Creator – Wolf
Odd Future are always attracting attention for outrageous music videos, crazy live shows and other antics but this shouldn’t distract from the fact that the music they release is consistently of an extremely high standard, and Tyler, The Creator’s latest is no different. Filled with complex and typically controversial lyrics as well as beefy beats, the album shows off Tyler’s strength in both rapping and production (it’s fully self-produced). Appearances by Pharrell, Frank Ocean, Hodgy Beats and Erykah Badu go off well too.
Highlights: Jamba (ft. Hodgy Beats), Awkward, IFHY (ft. Pharrell), TreeHome95 (ft. Erykah Badu & Coco O.)
Honorable mentions: Rapsody – The Idea of Beautiful, Kanye West – Yeezus, Clear Soul Forces – Gold PP7s
And as for the rest (R&B/Soul/Electronic), our top 5 picks were:
- The Internet – Feel Good
Another album that came out of the OFWGKTA camp this year was The Internet’s Feel Good, and it did feel good (sorry). The lead single Dontcha recieved countless replays from us since it’s release throughout the year and the album as a whole has the perfect smooth, laid back vibe.
Highlights: Dontcha, Runnin’, Red Balloon
- The Weeknd – Kiss Land
The name Kiss Land raised some eyebrows but the music definitely did the talking as The Weeknd’s studio debut makes the top 5 of the year. See Eclectic Relaxation’s Kiss Land album review here to read our full verdict.
Highlights: Adaptation, Love In The Sky, Wanderlust, Pretty
- Thundercat – Apocalypse
Cat’s second album as a solo artist is a fusion of jazz, soul and electronic music and co-produced by Flying Lotus – a pretty good formula. Apocalypse demonstrates Thundercat’s abilities as a musician but also a brilliant songwriter and shouldn’t be missed.
Highlights: Heartbreaks & Setbacks, Special Stage, Oh Sheit It’s X
- Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience
JT’s first album in x years, and it was a special one. Top notch prod handled by TImbaland, plenty of new sounds but. Album simply shows of Timerlake’s R&B mastery. Not a bad song on the album (but might’ve lacked a massive single like FSLS’ My Love, or Justified’s Cry Me A River)
Highlights: Suit & Tie, That Girl, Tunnel Vision, Strawberry Bubblegum
- James Blake – Overgrown
An impressive follow-up to his equally impressive debut, Overgrown shows off James Blake’s incredible musical talents and his versatility as an artist.
Highlights: Life Round Here, Retrograde, Digital Lion, Everyday I Ran
Honorable mentions: Jai Paul – Jai Paul, Beyoncé – BEYONCÉ, Justin Bieber – Journals (yes, you read it correctly)
And there we have it, Eclectic Relaxation’s top picks for the best albums of 2013. What are your thoughts, agree or disagree? Did we miss anything? Drop a comment below!