Though there are many different kinds of gifts given during the month of December, my personal favorite is the NPR albums of the year wrap up. The list was comprised out of the 50 albums in 2018 that were the most highly voted by station members and staff.
The reason why I love this year so much? All of the top ten albums were made by women.
This is a pleasant, though not entirely surprising, development. Not only are they just women, but seven out of the 10 artists are women of color. Noname, Kali Uchis and Janelle Monáe, are only a handful of those who were recognized by NPR and its listeners for creating reputable works of art.
Cardi B, taking the sixth spot with Invasion of Privacy — a raunchy ride through self-praise and the spoils of new wealth — certainly has a place on the list, though I’m not sure I agree with it being so high up. It is, at the very least, comforting to know that these boundary-pushing female artists are getting recognized by both the public and music critics alike.
The artists who stand out the most to me on the list as perhaps being the most important, however, are Tierra Whack and Travis Scott. I consider both of them to be two of the most innovative rappers in the game when it comes to lyricism and production quality.
Travis has established himself with his otherworldly visuals and sound, further solidifying his dark vision this year with his masterful album Astroworld. Whack is the newcomer: A female rapper who is just establishing herself with her whimsical visuals and clever wordplay.
Both have entirely unique visions which are just so fun to listen to and watch — one can’t help but enjoy their songs. It will be exciting to see where the two artists take their vision in 2019.
In an era characterized by its social movements and push towards progression, it has never been a more important time for female artists and artists of color to create, create, create.
The world needs to be able to hear their voices and stories in a setting they can make their own and control. NPR has done a good job of curating these stories — so now it’s your job to listen along.