The biggest and best surprises of 2018 music: Cardi B, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and more

To some extent, we all knew kinda what to expect from the music world in 2018. Beyonce would continue to reign – which she most certainly did, with her Coachella headlining performance, On The Run II tour with Jay-Z and her surprise new album. Drake would have a big summer, like he has the past few years – and that also came true, with his various singles from his “Scorpion” album ruling the airwaves this summer into fall. And, Kanye West would continue to be unpredictable – which definitely happened, from his roller coaster of political involvement to his musical output, including his seven-song album “Ye” and his surprise hit single “I Love It” with Lil Pump.

It was the other acts this year that kept things interesting, from surprise rising acts to pop stars that released career-best albums or shone even brighter than we expected. Read on for a list of acts that pleasantly surprised us in 2018.

After breaking through last year with “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B was one of music’s biggest question marks this year, concerning whether she’d be able to follow her hit single with something similar and how she’d continue to build on her success. As it turned out, Cardi fans had nothing to worry about – the rapper more than exceeded expectations with her stacked debut album “Invasion of Privacy,” which charmed critics and spawned a number of successful singles, including “I Like It,” which racked up the kind of numbers to outperform “Bodak Yellow,” a feat that naysayers never would’ve believed last year.

Since the release of “Invasion of Privacy,” she’s remained one of the most visible stars of her genre, contributing one guest feature after another to both hip-hop songs and Spanish-language tracks. All this, and she gave birth to her first child, daughter Kulture, in July.

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