On June 16, Beyonce’ released an album with her husband Jay-Z under the moniker, The Carters.
A Black Music Month to Remember
June has the designation nationwide as Black Music Month.
During the sixth month of every year, music retailers, record companies, radio stations and television stations honor Black musicians who have paved the way for the current crop of musical icons.
Throughout Black Music Month, fans of urban music can hear and see stories of their favorite musical heroes from Jackie Wilson to Marvin Gaye to Lionel Richie to Michael Jackson to New Edition to Prince.
Although Black Music Month usually focuses on the icons of the past, the current icons and new stars of Black music do not intend to cede the spotlight to those who came before them.
This Black Music Month has proceeded like none before it with the current heroes and future heroes releasing groundbreaking albums throughout June 2018.
From legends like The Carters (Jay-Z and Beyoncé) and the late John Coltrane to newcomers like Jorja Smith and Jacquees, June 2018 has the set the bar as high as possible for Black excellence in the music industry.
RegalMag.com looks at 10 of the best albums to come out in June 2018 from hip-hop to R&B to jazz.
The Carters: “Everything Is Love”—The Carters are now the first family of Black music, taking the mantle from previous family brands from the past. What makes Jay-Z and Beyoncé so brilliant is that they use their turmoil and headline fodder and make millions off of it. When allegations of Jay-Z cheating on Beyoncé made the news, the Houston native responded with her fiery “Lemonade” album. Her Brooklyn, N.Y. bred husband then replied with his contrite “4:44” album. And after two joint stadium tours, The Carters have shown they have mended all broken fences with their joint album “Everything is Love.”
Nas: “Nasir”—Hip-hop heads usually consider Nas as one of the greatest emcees in the history of rap music. Despite his lyrical prowess, critics have trashed his beat selection, arguing that the music usually does not come up to par with his lyricism. The Queens, N.Y. rapper solved that problem by employing Kanye West to produce his entire “Nasir” album. With production on point thanks to West, Nas can unleash on topics from police brutality to systemic racism and children possibly inheriting the sins of their parents.
Kanye West: “ye”—Say what you want about Kanye West’s politics and his whitewashing of Black history, but no one can say that the Chicago producer and rapper is not talented. He has more talent in his pinky than many wannabe musicians have in their entire body. Furthermore, his honesty and vulnerability when it comes to his mental health makes “ye” a monumental project in the annals of hip-hop history. Furthermore, West does not shy away from his controversial comments like slavery was a choice, addressing it and other issues like the #MeToo movement and the Stormy Daniels story.
Jorja Smith: “Lost & Found”—Real R&B finally made its triumphant return in 2018 thanks to newcomers like Great Britain’s Jorja Smith. Like West, Smith does not shy away from vulnerability, openly and honestly sharing the pain of life and failed relationships on her debut album. Her rapping skills briefly reminded critics of a young Lauryn Hill. And Smith’s laid-back vibe has some calling her the next Sade. Combining the greatness of Hill and Sade with a new school style guarantees many years of success.
Drake: “Scorpion”—Although Drake’s “Scorpion” album will not drop until June 29, the Toronto rapper/singer has stayed in the headlines all spring and summer thanks to his beef with Pusha T. Although many critics feel that Pusha won the battle, the results of “Scorpion” will determine if Drake wins the war. Drake’s fans probably do not care much about hip-hop battles because the superstar continues to drop anthems like “Nice for What.” Although “I’m Upset” received lukewarm reviews, “Scorpion” will almost undoubtedly contain many pop hits that will have fans and haters forgetting about his May and June 2018 beef with Push.
Ne-Yo: “Good Man”—Thank God for Ne-Yo because too many R&B crooners started believing they were rappers, singing about thug life and playing as many women as possible. Male R&B stars of yesteryear would romance and seduce women with love ballads about being a good a man for their woman. Ne-Yo brings that reality back by opening up about his past relationship mistakes and the process one has to go through to become a good man.
Jacquees: “4275”—Ever since Jacquees and DeJ Loaf released the banger, “At the Club” for Birdman’s “Before Anythang” documentary soundtrack, newfound fans have anticipated the release of a full album. His debut album “4275” on Cash Money Records did not disappoint. The album title references his childhood address. Critics have stated that Jacquees has a voice straight from the church choir, but his subject matter is designed strictly for the nightclub. “Inside” featuring Trey Songz is a fan favorite, but it is his homage to old school Atlanta R&B and his love for current hip-hop that has endured him to fans of all ages. His album has features with Jagged Edge and LaTocha Scott from Xscape as well as Young Thug and Chris Brown.
John Coltrane: “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Tapes”—The term genius gets thrown around too frequently when it pertains to musicians. Kanye West describes himself as a genius, but late jazz musician John Coltrane exuded pure ingenuity. On June 29, Verve Records will release some lost tracks by the great saxophonist. “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Tapes” consists of recordings made in 1963 with Coltrane’s classic quartet (McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones), which produced classic albums like “A Love Supreme” and “Coltrane.” The album does not consist of just a hodgepodge of recordings but a complete album recorded by the quartet on March 6, 1963, which includes covers and new compositions.
Kids See Ghost: “Kids See Ghost”—Critics cannot hate on Kanye West because May and June have belonged to him musically despite not being too wise when it comes to Black history. His joint self-titled album with Kid Cudi under the group name Kids See Ghost followed his solo album, “ye” by one week. And like every album coming from West’s Wyoming compound, the album consisted of seven concise songs with no filler tracks. Both Kid Cudi and West have battled mental illnesses recently and controversy and the two refuse to shy away from that controversy on their group effort. “Reborn” is one of the standout cuts on the album.
Jay Rock: “Redemption”—If Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) rapper Jay Rock did not have a mainstream pop fan base before his appearance on the “Black Panther Soundtrack” curated by labelmate Kendrick Lamar, he does now. He takes advantage of his growing pop fan base with the release of his album, “Redemption.” Jay Rock actually became TDE’s first breakout artist a decade ago but Kendrick, SZA and ScHoolboy Q have eclipsed him in popularity. However, he reintroduces his story and his prowess on the mic on “Redemption,” which has also consists of features from J. Cole, Future and Jeremih.