#PressPlay: 8 Under the Radar 2018 Album Releases that are Indefinitely Worth the Listen

As we are transitioning into the 4th quarter of 2018, the time to sort through my music to select favorites for the annual Musical Year in Review is quickly approaching. There have been quite a few mainstream projects on the radar, however, I’m taking this as a chance to to acknowledge the projects that have seemingly gone undetected and lie more in the underground spectrum. Inefinitely worth the listen if you haven’t checked them out already.

East Atlanta Love Letter - 6lack

Last night, I was presented with an opportunity to attend an exclusive listening party for 6lack’s new album, East Atlanta Love Letter, and I regret that I didn’t go. This heartfelt album was flawless from start to finish and I love the way he references the place I’m proud to call home. I won’t say much about this album since I already have a review prepared to go up at some point next weekend, but I will say that I was absolutely impressed. If I wasn’t a fan before, I’m certainly a fan now.

Where Neon Goes to Die - Stephen A. Clark

Slowly but surely, Arkansas born Stephen A. Clark is making his way through the Miami music scene. As a first time listener, he won me over with his latest LP release, When the Neon Goes to Die. A phenomenal album with this 1980’s vibe throughout, I’m shook that I wasn’t a fan sooner. However, I’ll hold off on the praise I give this album - because I’m working on a review for this one as well - but be on the lookout for a complete album review in the near future.

Room 25 - Noname

Indefinitely underrated, independent singer/song-writer/poet, Fatima Warner - professionally known as Noname - finally blessed her fans with new music and I’m absolutely certain this album will be on heavy rotation all weekend. With a sarcastic demeanor and slick comedic relief throughout her rhymes, the 26 year young Chi-town native is is not your traditional hip-hop lyricist. I’ve been a fan since her 2016 mix tape, Telefone, which made the musical year in review list from that year, but this album just made my love for her heighten. It sounds like it could a sequel to Telefone, exposes more of her creativity and expresses her womanhood on a much deeper level.

Hive Mind - The Internet

Not many of their kind on the realm of alternative R&B, I can truly say The Internet is a super team of musical talent and easily one of my favorite music bands to emerge out of the past decade. Before Hive Mind even dropped, there was so much “pre-excitement” built up, so it’s hard to tell if my opinion might be a little on the bias side or if it really is as good as I think it is. Either way, Hive Mind is the same incredible listening experience as the projects that came before it; some of which I still listen to weekly, if not, daily. Everything about this album is cohesive with a mastery that can only be obtained through attention to both detail and quality and I honestly didn’t expect anything less.

Tomorrow - The O’My’s

One day last week, I woke up to a text from a certain someone, telling me to check out this album. A love language. A few songs in, I was found myself falling hopelessly in love with those beautiful melodic harmonies and the soulful feel of this album. Before this moment, I’d never heard of this Chicago band that I’ve recently discovered has been around (with varying members) since 2008. From the looks of it, they’re a local favorite in the Windy City. Tomorrow is one of those lovely, rainy day albums that take the blues away and immediately bring you peace.

Estelle - Lovers Rock

Named after the 1980’s reggae sub-genre, Lovers Rock is, essentially, a conceptual LP that chronicles the African-Caribbean love story inspired by Estelle’s parents. I haven’t heard anything from Estelle since circa 2011 (?) so it was definitely interesting to see a new project from her. Captivated by a special kind of nostalgia I felt, I was able to play it a few times in a row without skipping a song. As I swung my hips joyfully to every song on the first listen and knew then this has potential to be the kind of album I don’t get tired of…at least, not any time soon.

Lady Lady - Masego

The first time I heard of Masego was when he was featured on ‘Dance on Me’, which was one of my favorite tracks of 2015. After that, I made it a point to find more of his music. When I heard Lady Lady for the first time, I fell in love with his voice and style all over again. The production of this album infuses elements of jazz, trap, and R&B so effortlessly. To some, his music might be somewhat of an acquired taste, but I can appreciate how smooth and upbeat it is. It’s like the perfect blend of robust and sweet.

Whack World - Tierra Whack

Who is the world is Tierra Whack? That was the question I initially asked when her name kept popping up earlier this year - because, ironically enough, she’s definitely on a planet of her own - but I’m so glad I took a chance on her. On her debut album, Whack World, Tierra Whack was able to create a genre of her own, and audiovisual experience that’s both dark and bright, mellow and ferocious. Although relatively short, this album is full of thought provoking artwork, marked with a signature flow that’s a step beyond unique, but still fire as hell.

Speaking of music…

Rest in peace, perfection, & power, Mac Miller

(January 19, 1992 – September 7, 2018)