The idea of “winning” a year feels like a uniquely internet-age notion; after all, one might argue that making it through with spirit, body, and mind intact is a victory in itself. Yet this is, after all, the lawless Dystopian landscape of our times, where Twitter and Instagram stand in for the local saloon. Therefore, somebody must be crowned the winner of 2018, lest our entire equilibrium be thrown out of whack. It’s hip-hop, things must always be ranked. That is the status quo.   

In all seriousness, use this not as an opportunity to vouch for your personal favorites, but to celebrate the various accomplishments in an objective fashion. Of course, you might find that the actions of one artist came to embody the year in its entirety. You might even feel compelled to make a case; in that event, feel free to do so in the comment section below. Essentially, what we’re trying to figure out, is who the HNHH community is riding for.

We’ve assembled a few notable candidates for your consideration. Should you believe a “snub” to have occurred, there’s always the “Other” option. 


TRAVIS SCOTT

Astroworld platinum. Grammy-nominated. A newborn baby daughter. Some of hip-hop's most successful and acclaimed merch. Possible free Jamba Juice for life. Baby mama covered Forbes. Consistently sold-out North American tour. "Sicko Mode." 


PUSHA T

One of the year's best albums. Toppled a hip-hop superstar in single combat. Played a pivotal role in the "Surgical Summer." Helped bring lyricism to the forefront. Quietly made being petty kinda badass. Seemed utterly unflappable when under pressure. 


CARDI B

Became a critical darling damn near overnight. Invasion Of Privacy. Had a newborn daughter. Numerous top 10 album of the year spots. Every song on her album went platinum. The "Money" video. Grammy-nominated. Ubiquitous. 


J. COLE

Platinum with no features. Our selection for best album of the year. Killed every guest appearance, and there were many. Embraced OG status. Attempted to save Lil Pump (A for effort). KOD tour. Helped usher in JID. Delivered our selection for the Hottest verse of the year. Collaborated with 21 Savage, Royce Da 5'9", Moneybagg Yo, Rapsody, JID, and more. 


MEEK MILL

From "Free Meek" to criminal justice reform icon. Buried the hatchet with long-time rival Drake. Became a people's champion. Appeared on CNN to raise awareness. Discovered his "freaky side." Dropped off, quite arguably, the best album of his career. Landed a Jay-Z feature. 


LIL WAYNE

Escaped from the Man-Bird's clutches. Finally dropped off Tha Carter V after literal years. Solidified himself as a hip-hop fan favorite. Took home BET's "I AM Hip-Hop Award. Carter V platinum.


EMINEM

Bounced back from Revival. Dropped off a surprise album that broke the internet. Delivered what many called his best work in years. Deftly handled Machine Gun Kelly in one of the year's best beefs. Kamikaze platinum.


DRAKE

Grammy-nominated. Singlehandedly tripled the popularity of the name "Keke." Fought admirably in a heated and memorable beef. Had his first son. Platinum status. "God's Plan." Headlined one of the year's biggest tours. Helped usher in the likes of Blocboy JB, Lil Baby, and BlueFace. Simply put, an unstoppable sales juggernaut. 


Photo credits:
Travis Scott: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Pusha T: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Cardi B: Rich Fury/Getty Images
J. Cole: Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images
Meek Mill: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Lil Wayne: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
Eminem: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Drake: Christopher Polk/Getty Images