NBA Rookies DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba & More Name Their Rap MVPs and Top Albums of 2018

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for PUMA
DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III attend the first look of PUMA basketball shoe, Clyde Court Disrupt on June 20, 2018 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

As we inch closer towards the pivotal fourth quarter of music releases, we've received a boatload of blockbuster albums that have eclipsed expectations in 2018. Whether it was Drake's formidable double album Scorpion, Travis Scott's magnum opus Astroworld, or Pusha T's visceral seven-track DAYTONA, rap fans have witnessed a slew of golden releases by the genre's perennial leaders. 

With the basketball season quickly approaching, Billboard spoke to several NBA rookies from this year's 2018 class including DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Trae Young and Mo Bamba about their top albums of 2018 and Rap MVPs. Take a look at some of the choices below. 

Jaren Jackson

Selected No. 4 by the Memphis Grizzles

Favorite Album of 2018: Astroworld by Travis Scott 

When you listen to the joint, it's like the whole thing is a vibe. The whole thing is just one vibe. He didn't deviate. It sounds like one long song really, and everything kind of flowed [together].

He NAILED certain stuff. He nailed "Yosemite." He nailed it. He dropped Gunna on it and he put the producer on it. "Stop Trying to Be God" is a hit. Like, it's crazy. Even the songs that nobody is talking about are crazy. Like, "Can't Say" is crazy. Shoot, "Coffee Bean" crazy, "Houstonforincation" is crazy, "Carousel" is crazy. I didn't even mention "Sicko Mode." The first beat is insane. I sat up in the bed and said, "What!?" Drake was going to spaz -- but they brought it back kind of good. 

2018 Rap MVP: Undecided

Kanye dropped every album and he produced everything. He came with that heat, Travis came with that heat, Gunna came with that heat, Playboi Carti came with that stuff. Man, but Uzi ain't drop yet. I think Uzi is coming this month, so that can change everything. 

Michael Porter Jr.

Selected No. 14 by the Denver Nuggets

Favorite Album of 2018: Let the Trap Say Amen by Lacrae & Zaytoven

That's my guy. I just like his positive messages and there was a lot of stuff on that album that stuck out to me. I like a lot of different kinds of music, but his music really sticks out to me. 

2018 Rap MVP: Lacrae

I like that Astroworld and I like Drake's Scorpion, but it gotta be Lacrae. Lacrae is the MVP to me. 

Chander Hutchinson

Selected No. 22 by the Chicago Bulls

Favorite Album of 2018: Scorpion by Drake

One, he had a dual album with the R&B and rap. So a lot of good music came out, and Drake is just different with how he carries himself. When he puts music out, he just shuts down the whole Internet. Not to say that's just from hype, but I've been rocking with Drake for awhile. I like him. 

2018 Rap MVP: Drake

I'd say Drake, even though everyone is going to mention the Pusha T beef and talk about that. But I still feel like Drake is that guy. 

Kevin Knox

Selected No. 9 by the New York Knicks 

Favorite Album of 2018: Drip Season 3 by Gunna

Gunna is my favorite. I met him out in Miami at Rolling Loud. He mad chill. Him, Lil Baby and NBA Youngboy are my three favorite rappers. Them three upcoming rappers are my guys right there. I don't really listen to albums like that. I just wait for an album to come out, and when people say these songs are fire, I just check them out. I don't listen to the whole album, I just listen to the songs. 

2018 Rap MVP: Gunna

Gunna is that guy, even though he only dropped like one project this year. Him and Lil Baby are definitely up there for me. 

Trae Young

Selected No. 5 by the Atlanta Hawks

Favorite Album of 2018: Scorpion by Drake

I'm a slow-jams kind of guy, and he had both the R&B and rap sides. 

2018 Rap MVP: Quavo

I mean, he's featuring on stuff, and he's coming out with his own music. I love "Lamb Talk." He released it to me before he dropped it. That's my guy.  

Marvin Bagley 

Selected No. 2 by the Sacramento Kings

Favorite Album of 2018: Scorpion by Drake

Drake is always coming with new content, and it's not the same every time. I feel like he's going to be there for a minute. J. Cole, too. KOD was one of my favorite albums from him. A lot of music came out, but if I had to put those two, I'd go with those. 

2018 Rap MVP: J. Cole 

Man, if I'm going with rapping, I gotta go with J. Cole. J. Cole is always telling a story. He's talking about what he's seeing and what he experienced. I'm a big J. Cole fan and I love talking to him. He's an even better guy. So just how he can tell a story and how he can make it powerful for it to reach so many people is inspiring. I'd say he's the MVP of 2018. 

DeAndre Ayton

Selected No. 1 by the Phoenix Suns

Favorite Album of 2018: Scorpion by Drake

Listen, that album is personal all the way from the start to where it hit me, son. "Emotionless," man, he spoke some real stuff. Not only that, but he was also exposing some females that be thinking they're all that, and he was really putting himself out there, too. Like, "I jacked up too. Here go my faults right here." I respect what he did 110 percent. 

2018 Rap MVP: Drake

Most definitely Drake over everything. I love that man. 

Mo Bamba

Selected No. 6 by the Orlando Magic

Favorite Album of 2018: Astroworld by Travis Scott

Well, Sheck [Wes, rapper behind "Mo Bamba"] hasn't released his album yet and it's in the works, but I think it's Travis because he just dropped Astroworld and he gave me a shout-out on it. It's crazy because I actually met Travis before, and I was in the studio with him when he was working on Astroworld. I heard "Sicko Mode," "Stargazing" and "Watch" before they dropped and I said to myself, "This album is about to be crazy." 

2018 Rap MVP: 6ix9ine

He's eight-for-eight on the Billboard charts. He's stirring up the pot with a lot of beef, but he's a funny dude, he's engaging and I have nothing bad to say about him. I love the "FEFE" record. That one goes. I did like "Keke" with A Boogie and Fetty Wap. He got some bangers on him.