My 10 Favorite Songs of 2019 So Far (4/21-9/26)

With 2019 coming to an end soon, it is important to highlight some of the great songs to come out this year. With the first list of the year, we saw 2 Chainz, Kevin Abstract, and SAINt JHN take the top spots, however, since then we’ve seen a lot of great releases from artists as they continue to impress me over the year. Here is my list of favorite releases from 4/21 to 9/26! (As usual, there is a limit of one song per artist)

10. I Was On The Block – YG ft. Valee and Boogie

“I Was On The Block” is by far one of YG’s most intriguing songs in his catalog. This song begins my top ten list because of its use of one of my favorite flows to emerge in recent years. The “Valee Flow” is a flow used by many rappers such as Smokepurpp, Lil Pump, Nicki Minaj, and even Tyler, The Creator. While Valee isn’t a major name yet, his flow is easily influential and YG’s and Boogie’s use of the iconic style is one of my most favorite highlights of the year.

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9. Proud Of Me – Lil Keed ft. Young Thug

Explaining the appeal of Lil Keed is fairly difficult as he doesn’t add much to modern music that hasn’t already been done already. But, what Lil Keed does do quite well is make attractive and infectious songs such as “Nameless” and “Proud Of Me”. Young Thug’s feature in this song is definitely the best part as his voice compliments the song in every way imaginable and even ends up becomes more likable than Lil Keed on this track. While Lil Keed has some things to work on, Young Thug once again proves that he’s one of the hardest and greatest working rappers in today’s scene.

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8. Baguettes in the Face – Mustard ft. NAV, Playboi Carti, and A Boogie Wit da Hoodie

As I’ve said in the past, I love NAV but he is simply one of the non-ironically funniest artists in the industry. But, where NAV lacks in seriousness, he makes up for in catchy choruses and verses. Mustard is a genius when it comes to selecting features for his song because of this song and “ON GOD” which both came from his newest release, Perfect Ten. “Baguettes in the Face” combines the chorus power of NAV, the style of Playboi Carti, and the flow of A Boogie Wit da Hoodie. Together these four created one of the best hits that this year has to offer.

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7. Jollof Rice – Bas ft. EARTHGANG

Ever since I heard Bas on “Night Job” back in 2015, I’ve been a fan of some of his songs. While he has some great songs, I tend to prefer his songs with J. Cole, however, Bas surprised me this year with the release of his song “Jollof Rice”. This song features WowGr8 from EARTHGANG whose presence brings the song to a new level. While it is unfortunate that Olu from EARTHGANG wasn’t on the song, I am thankful that at least WowGr8 provided some great verses to this highly addictive song. I really am impressed with Bas because of this song and I hope his EP, Spilled Milk 1 sees a sequel in the near future.

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6. I THINK – Tyler, The Creator

IGOR is without a doubt one of the best albums of the year but picking just one song from it to represent the album is very tough. I decided to go with “I THINK” because of its masterful production and message. I honestly really enjoyed IGOR and I hope that it receives its much-deserved recognition at the end of the year from critics and listeners alike.

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5. UP – EARTHGANG

EARTHGANG is perhaps the best duo of the 2010s and “UP” is the best piece of evidence I can give to this claim. “UP” combines Olu’s powerful vocals with WowGr8’s top-notch delivery to create a beautiful masterpiece. EARTHGANG has had a good amount of hits throughout the years but “UP” is by far their best one yet as it combines the best abilities of both rappers. I am really fascinated with their ability to produce terrific songs that never cease to become too repetitive.

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4. Find Our Way – Being As An Ocean

Finally, Being As An Ocean released their newest album PROXY: An A.N.I.M.O. Story which contains some wonderful tracks to be heard. One of these songs is the single, “Find Our Way”. This song is definitely the best song to come from the band in years and is possibly their finest song ever made. I was thoroughly impressed with the post-hardcore band this year and cannot wait to see what’s next for the group.

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3. On My Own – Jaden ft. Kid Cudi

Before I start, I just want to say that I love Jaden Smith, however, I love Kid Cudi more. Now, with that in mind, it is pertinent to say that “On My Own” is one of the strongest songs to ever come from Jaden and that is because Kid Cudi lends his amiable voice to the already appealing song. I adore these two for their own reasons, but, combined they made a memorable song that I will never forget. I really hope these two work together more often because their synergy is perfect together.

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2. Dangerous – ScHoolboy Q ft. Kid Cudi

ScHoolboy Q’s latest album, CrasH Talk looked very promising based off the singles but wasn’t able to surpass previously released albums of his, especially the Blank Face LP. Regardless, CrasH Talk did supply us with some great songs such as “Numb Numb Juice”, “Drunk”, and my favorite “Dangerous”. While the song is only two and a half minutes long it makes each second count as ScHoolboy Q delivers a remarkable verse while Kid Cudi performs a grim chorus. This song by far has some of the most impactful and perilous lyrics I’ve ever heard from a rapper in this decade. ScHoolboy Q has serious potential to create fascinating and hypnotic songs and “Dangerous” is a glorious example of this.

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1. NO HALO – BROCKHAMPTON

BROCKHAMPTON is an unstoppable collective that seemingly never loses steam nor fail to adapt to changing times. Five albums in and they are still going strong especially with the slew of singles from their fifth album, GINGER. One of these singles to the album is the song “NO HALO” which has every member contributing vocally. The song is a beautiful piece of art that excellently showcases the imperfections that humans inevitably have. Deb Never even lends her voice to the boyband to bring the song to it’s fullest potential. I think “NO HALO” is a great way to begin an album about that covers the past, the future, and every mistake made along the way.

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How To Fix Brockhampton

Brockhampton became a force to be reckoned with in 2017 with their Saturation trilogy. Each album had its highs and lows but overall were outstanding albums from the “boy band”. Each member of Brockhampton brought something new and refreshing to the table with each album release. Members such as Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Matt Champion, Joba, Dom McLennon, Dom McLennon, and Bearface were on their way to rising to the top, however, 2018 would forever change Brockhampton and their sound, style, and meaning.

In May, several allegations were made against Ameer Vann citing that he was abusive and manipulative. These allegations would quickly lead to the removal of my favorite member of the group. Ameer Vann, however, was the face and icon of the Brockhampton brand. His face was the cover of the three Saturation albums and his unique style and delivery gave the band a distinct sound. The removal of arguably the best member of Brockhampton was crushing to me and other fans alike. Ameer Vann was the reason why I enjoyed the group as much as I did. Often in the music industry bands can survive and adapt to lineup changes, yet Brockhampton without Ameer Vann is hard to imagine. How can one of the most innovative and popular rap groups continue without one of their best members and the face of the band?

The best answer I can produce for this question would be Jaden Smith. In 2017 Jaden Smith put out my favorite album of the year with SYRE. The album quickly became one of my favorites of all time due to its impeccable production and Jaden Smith’s talent coming to fruition. Brockhampton conveniently has impeccable production and features immense figures of talent. Why not fill in the hole left by Ameer Vann with an equally talented and important figure? Jaden Smith is known to be a fan and possible collaborator with the group, why not introduce him on their next album titled PUPPY. Jaden Smith jokingly has mentioned that he was the newest member and has also apparently spent multiple weeks living and working with the group. When Brockhampton inked a deal with RCA for approximately 15 million, the group tapped star, Jaden Smith, to be a part of their announcement video. With an open spot and a promising musician showing interest, it would make the most sense to include him.

In order to do this, Brockhampton would need to reevaluate their formula and style. Ameer Vann was featured on almost every song the group put out, and they undoubtedly had him on the upcoming album. The removal of Ameer Van would require redoing the album anyway, why not just replace Ameer Vann’s sections with Jaden Smith? If Jaden Smith proved anything on SYRE, he proved that he is versatile and capable of adjusting to different styles and sounds. Jaden Smith is my obvious candidate to replace my favorite member, even considering both blew up last year with their debut albums. The chemistry between the current members is already perfected, throwing in Jaden Smith would be a challenge that the band would have to adapt to, however, the finished product would be something we’ve never seen nor heard before.

With Brockhampton set to appear on Jimmy Fallon this month, it would be the best time to announce this lineup change. Jaden Smith’s inclusion would not only bring attention to the group once more, it would also give the fans something to look forward to on PUPPY. While we only have a wait a few days to see what Brockhampton does on Jimmy Fallon, I can assure you that adding Jaden Smith would be a pleasant surprise to me. With or without Ameer Vann, the group is still contractually obligated to produce six more albums. I am a huge fan of Brockhampton already, that adding Jaden Smith would only give me yet another thing to be excited for in 2018.

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Best Albums of 2017

The rules for this year’s list are simple. One album allowed per artist. Only albums I can see myself playing in the future and/or have an effect on myself or music as a whole. Only albums from January 1st – December 31st.

Honorary Mention: Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.1 – Lil Peep

Of all of the albums released this year, one stuck out to me more than some others; that being Lil Peep’s debut and final non-posthumous album release from Lil Peep. With Lil Peep’s recent passing I figured putting him on this list as my honorary mention would be the most justifiable. Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.1 is Lil Peep at his best and was just a sample of what could’ve come from the 21-year-old. His work with emo rap helped revive the emo genre and shed some new light on the outdated and forgotten style. Lil Peep’s personality of a loving boy who’s been mistreated and hurt by people he thought loved him resonated a lot with me along with his fairly huge fanbase he accumulated in such a short amount of time. This album has a song and style for almost everyone; songs like “Benz Truck” and “The Brightside” show two completely different perspectives of Lil Peep and add a commendable contrast in style. Although I was a big fan of Lil Peep and his untimely passing affected myself along with his fan base, however, I am glad he released Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.1 so his debut album could live on indefinitely, thus solidifying his legacy.

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10. IWASVERYBAD – IDK

IDK put out an explosive album this year with IWASVERYBAD, and I must commend him for his work. From start to finish this album explores IDK’s flow and talent as he rips through each song. IDK’s voice and execution is the most distinct factor that sets this album apart from much of today’s current rap music. This album is solid and is filled with many names such as MF DOOM, Swizz Beatz, and Chief Keef. Songs like “Pizza Shop” and “17 Wit a 38” offer a refreshing style that is sure to go a long way if continued. If IDK keeps up this work and continues to surprise his fans, I believe he will become a big name within the next few years. I highly recommend this album and this artist especially his older work under the moniker of Jay IDK.

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9. At What Cost – Goldlink

This year seems to be full of surprises from debut albums and At What Cost is a testament to that statement. DMV rapper Goldlink shines through on his debut album as his groove and flow follow him. This album is silky and smooth as Goldlink manages to effortlessly slide through each song with his incomparable style, giving each song a new layer of depth in the process. Songs like “Herside Story”, “We Will Never Die”, and “Crew” are the climax of Goldlink’s style and sound as they contribute the most singularity to this project. Additionally, being filled with features from artists such as Jazmine Sullivan, Shy Glizzy, and Wale solidifies the fact this album was created to be as polished as possible. Given that this is just his debut album, I think the 2015 XXL Freshman has a shot at success ahead of him as he continues to stroll on each song on At What Cost.

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8. Pure Comedy – Father John Misty

Pure Comedy is without a doubt a masterpiece. Father John Misty invokes thought and emotion unlike any other current artist today. His gloomy yet seemingly positive outlook on life is beautiful as each lyric tell a story within themselves. Father John Misty’s unique indie-folk sound works wonders with his narrative and soothing yet powerful voice and lyrics about life, death, and everything in between. This album is an experience, to say the least; and songs like “Pure Comedy”, “Ballad of the Dying Man”, and “Birdie” need to be heard. I find it hard to talk about this album from a critical and informative standpoint because of how necessary it is to listen to. I absolutely recommend Pure Comedy to anyone reading this and especially anyone who loves the folk sound.

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7. Flower Boy – Tyler, the Creator

For Tyler, the Creator this album is balanced, to say the least. Tyler, the Creator comes alive with an authentic humanistic approach and appropriate beats to match. Tyler finds the perfect balance of loud and quiet on this album that he has been seeking since Wolf back in 2013. Tyler’s contrasting sounds finally come to be harmonious in Flower Boy for the first time. This album by Tyler is truthful and deep, as he explores missed opportunities, especially love. The journey from Goblin to Flower Boy has been quite extraordinary as Tyler has had time to delve into different genres and sounds each becoming more cohesive with time. This album is easily Tyler’s greatest release to date and boasts a plethora of features which only further endorse Tyler’s balanced sound. If Tyler, the Creator continues to perfect his balance of sound, the future seems bright for the Odd Future founder.

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6. Process – Sampha

Sampha somehow did it again and released another great project. Not since his 2013 EP Dual has Sampha released a project, but Process was worth the 4-year wait. With “Timmy’s Prayer” being one of my favorite releases of 2016 I couldn’t wait to see what Sampha had in store. Process is the culmination of Sampha’s feelings and time over the 4-year gap, and it couldn’t be any better. This album hits hard and can make the toughest shed a tear as Sampha is brutally honest about himself and life in the most symphonic way possible. The piano was seemingly made to compliment Sampha’s unique voice and projection as the two combine to make truly flawless pieces. It’s safe to say that I would wait any amount of time to hear Sampha release another project that could rival Process.

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5. Without Warning – 21 Savage & Offset

2017 was the year of collaborations with at least four albums paired some of the best current names in the industry. Of the profuse amount of releases, the one that stands out the most is 21 Savage and Offset’s Without WarningWithout Warning is the most volatile of the collaboration’s released in 2017 and for good reason. 21 Savage has had an amazing year with his debut album and numerous of features that topped the charts, meanwhile, Offset had a prolific year with the Migos debut album as well as his own personal life and relationship with Cardi B. This pairing, however, isn’t an obvious choice as the duo haven’t put out as much work with each other, but nonetheless they make it sound as if they’ve been working together for years. With production being handled by Metro Boomin and sprinkled with some features by Quavo and Travis Scott, this album is the recipe for success. While songs like “Rap Saved Me” and “Ghostface Killers” display the duo’s synergy, yet songs like “Ric Flair Drip” and “Run Up the Racks” show their individual talent on raging beats by Metro Boomin. Without Warning is the blueprint for collaboration albums, and I for one cannot wait to see if this duo plans to release another project.

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4. As You Please – Citizen

With Citizen ranking high on my list of favorite songs of 2017, the placement of this album on this list was obvious. Citizen is one of my favorite emo bands and after their previous work and “Jet” they should be yours too. As You Please is a welcoming followup to their 2015 album Everybody Is Going To Heaven which I enjoyed more than their previous album, YOUTH. Somehow Citizen continues to outdo themselves and produce some of the best emo music since it’s revival. As You Please is a reaffirmation of Citizen’s influence and talent in the genre whilst still leaving the door open for even further experimentation and exploration. I enjoyed every song on this album especially “Jet” and recommend it to anyone who likes emo or is at least interested in what I believe to be the best band of the emo revitalization era.

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3. Saturation 2 – Brockhampton

I was unfortunately late on the Brockhampton hype train, so when I did finally listen to the Saturation 2 I was astonished. This collective of 14 guys continue to break the boundaries of “boy bands” and have ushered in the new rules and regulations on how a collective should function. With each member contributing their talent it’s not shocking how well Brockhampton can function seamlessly and coherently. I chose the Saturation 2 out of the trilogy due to the differing production and lyrics. The production of the Saturation 2 is exceptionally impressive. With some of the beats sounding like they came straight from the Middle East; the creative choices make this Saturation the superior of the three. Regardless, Brockhampton has already solidified their name as one of the best boy bands of all time.

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2. DAMN – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s fourth album simply reinforces the reasons why he is one of the best rappers of all time. A stark contrast to To Pimp A Butterfly, DAMN is loud, angry, and accessible. This album boasts nothing but hits, each one proving time and time again why it deserves to be on the album. Kendrick Lamar once again defies the norms and continues to raise the bar for himself and others.

“Kendrick further goes in-depth of his psyche, social systems and the effect of fame on his life but also the world around him with his fourth album release, DAMN. Creatively the production of the album shines due to it’s “double album” style of being able to be listened to forwards for the “weakness” side of the story and reverse for the “wickedness” side of the story, As a seamless continuation of the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City narrative of the life of Kendrick, the tone of the album is frustrated and angry at the state of the world but also reflective in how our own lives can affect the world around us. This is a statement album and should remove any doubt of who the greatest rapper on the planet is right now.” -ZiggyStarscream

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1. SYRE – Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith really surprised me with this one. When I heard SYRE was coming out and heard the trailer, I knew I would like this album, however, I didn’t know at the time that I would love it more than anything else this year. The fact that I put SYRE higher than Saturation 2 and DAMN should be enough to convince anyone to listen to this. The album soars beyond any expectations that were set for Jaden Smith and continues to amaze me each time I listen. Songs like “BLUE”, “Icon”, “Fallen”, and “George Jeff” are Jaden Smith at his best, he isn’t the greatest musician, lyricist, or rapper but he is the greatest relatable figure for myself and the youth as a collective. If you take nothing away from this list, at least give SYRE a listen, it has my official seal of approval and my praise to the highest extent. Jaden Smith won 2017 with SYRE now we can only wait to see what else he has to surprise us with in the future.

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Best Artist of 2017

2017 had a lot to offer just as every year tends to do, however, 2017 introduced the world to a group, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. 2017 gave us Brockhampton and their remarkable Saturation trilogy. This collective who prefer to be known as a “boy band” took the year by surprise with their consecutive releases and accompanying music videos. This boy band currently has 14 members and continues to impress with every release. The formula to Brockhampton is quite simple in retrospect, but the execution is what makes them stand out better than any group before them.

Brockhampton was formed in 2012 and went by the name of AliveSinceForever until 2014 when Brockhampton was created. With Kevin Abstract taking the helm of the band leader and Ameer Van being a founding member, their journey to the Saturation trilogy would require a lot of risks and trust. Allegedly, a forum about Kanye West created the Brockhampton we have now, despite the few changes to the members. With Brockhampton hosting a diverse cast of members including members who are black, white, gay and straight it’s easy to see how diversity plays a huge part in their success. Each member of Brockhampton is unique to the point where almost everyone who listens can resonate with at least one member and maybe even more. With all of the members being roughly around 20 years old, the achievements and hype of Brockhampton is something they were entitled to when the first Saturation album was released this year.

In my personal opinion, the Saturation 2 is the best of the trilogy. This album ranked at number three on my list of albums this year and surprisingly beat out a lot of other well known and respected names. I could easily choose Brockhampton as my favorite artist of this year based solely on that album. The Saturation 2 improves upon everything that the first one had to offer, which is then reinforced in the finale of the trilogy. As a standalone album, The Saturation 2 hits every mark and sets more for them to hit moving forward. With near perfect production and unparalleled verses by each member the album excels and makes me want to listen to it every day to which I have. Although I was late in discovering Brockhampton since I’ve heard this album I’ve become a huge advocate of spreading their name to as many rap fans as possible. The Saturation trilogy is not only a great introduction to the group but also invites listeners to explore some of the solo content their members have put out, especially Kevin Abstract.

Kevin Abstract’s album American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story is an impressive album by itself, but when compared to the Kevin Abstract we hear in Brockhampton, the stark difference of character continues to add layers and depth to the group. A lot can be said about the members of Brockhampton but my favorite member has to be Ameer Van. Ameer Van’s verses, voice, and talent stand out the most to me and I find myself identifying myself with him which is quite rare for me to do.  His competition to be my favored member is definitely a close one and I could see myself having multiple favorites with the release of their future albums. Every member of Brockhampton contributes something new and different which then creates some of the most outlandish and realistic verses ever heard.

Brockhampton exploded in 2017 and certainly had a good reason to do so. Brockhampton needed to be heard and their message needed to be delivered. While the group delivered more than their fair share of hits and albums this year, what lies ahead can only get better and hopefully will rival my thoughts on the Saturation 2. Until then, Brockhampton remains as my favorite artist of 2017 while also becoming my favorite boy band of all time.