2018 might well be remembered as the year when we lost all hope, but it definitely won’t be remembered as a bad year for music lovers. We needed our musical heroes more than ever, that’s why we’ve picked out some of our favourites.
Here’s our list of the top five male musicians of 2018, featuring controversial hip-hop superstars, celebrated singer-songwriters and new multi-discipline artists.
Donald Glover had a big start to 2018 when he welcomed his second child into the world, but when he dropped ‘This Is America’ back in May, the internet pretty much blew up. The chart-topping single and its shocking video were universally praised for tackling the issues of gun violence, racism and police brutality head-on. Although we sadly didn’t get a new Childish Gambino album this year, we were treated to the delightful Summer Pack EP.
Elsewhere this year Glover entertained us as Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story and as Earl in the second season of his acclaimed TV show Atlanta.
Glover was very popular at the major awards ceremonies this year, bagging himself two BET Hip Hop Awards, a Grammy and three MTV VMAs. He has also recently been nominated for a Golden Globe and a further five Grammys next year.
It’s been an interesting 12 months for Kanye. While most of the headlines you’ve read about him have probably been negative, you can’t deny that he’s put out some amazing music.
During his Wyoming Sessions earlier this year, West produced a staggering five albums. These included Pusha T’s DAYTONA, Kanye’s Ye and the self-titled debut from Kids See Ghosts – a duo formed by Kanye and Kid Cudi. DAYTONA, Pusha’s third record, has been widely praised as one of the year’s best hip-hop albums while Ye has turned out to be one of West’s most personal and divisive projects yet. Kids See Ghosts has received widespread critical acclaim and been lauded as one of 2018’s most boundary-pushing hip-hop albums.
This year West has also produced Teyana Taylor’s long-awaited second album K.T.S.E. and Nas’ Nasir. West was recently nominated for the Producer of the Year award at the 2019 Grammys – a well-deserved nod if you ask us.
Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner took his band in a bold new direction this year with their sixth LP Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Upon its release, the album divided both critics and fans but has gone on to be widely featured in year-end lists. It also earned the band their fourth Mercury Prize nod and two Grammy nominations.
Following the release of the album, Arctic Monkeys recorded an excellent vintage themed Maida Vale session for BBC Radio 1, and produced a strange short film entitled Warp Speed Chic.
Tranquillity Base marked Turner’s eighth consecutive UK number one album, and truly cemented his reputation as one of the finest songwriters of his generation.
2018 has been a big year for Gaika. In July, the Brixton based artist released his debut album Basic Volume on the legendary Warp Records. The sprawling 15 track epic was widely praised for its diverse range of styles, mixing sounds from the worlds of dancehall, industrial and electronica.
In June Gaika released a new clothing line during London Fashion Week, while in August he unveiled SYSTEM – a short film and sculpture in Somerset House as part of the Boiler Room residency.
Late last year, Gaika was appointed the political editor-at-large for Dazed magazine and has been making the most of his platform throughout the year, including writing a piece that criticised the Metropolitan Police’s crackdown on drill music.
Father John Misty
Just one year after he released his most challenging album to date, Father John Misty returned with yet another stellar record. God’s Favorite Customer (Josh Tillman’s fourth LP under his Father John Misty moniker) came out in June to widespread acclaim from critics. This more stripped back and concise record saw Tillman return to a less overtly political style of songwriting, and tackle more personal themes.
In January, Tillman won his first ever Grammy award, and in June he entered the world of film when he briefly starred in Hotel Artemis. He also contributed the song ‘Gilded Cage’ to the film’s soundtrack.