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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3×3 Monday’s 5/27/19

I DO EVERYTHING! – Masego

While I’m fairly new to Masego and his music, I have become a huge fan ever since a good friend of mine recommended him to me. His song “I DO EVERYTHING!” is a fun tune where we listen to Masego list off all of his talents and how much he can accomplish in the world of music. The song is playful and exciting as we hear all that he can do in order to create music in his world. The song fits well as the closer to his 2016 album, Loose Thoughts but can also be enjoyed as an entertaining song at any time.

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Outside – The Weeknd

Feeling lonely and sad recently has brought me back to one of my most favorite artists of all time. The Weeknd never ceases to help my mind when times get tough, and “Outside” is no exception. Heartbreak is no joke and The Weeknd knows that thus giving us a relatable song that everyone can feel connected to. With such a great discography the choose from, I chose “Outside” because I feel like it is often forgotten about when it comes to The Weeknd’s amazing music history.

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Bring the Pain – Method Man

The oldest song on this weeks 3×3 Monday is “Bring the Pain” by Method Man on his 1994 album, Tical. Method Man’s flow on this song brings pure joy and brings a special edge to listen to. I think this song is fairly hard to write about because it just works in every way imaginable. The song is sleek, Method Man is smooth, and the song itself it a complete work of art. I highly recommend this song to any fan of the Wu-Tang Clan or 90’s hip-hop.

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Bottle Service – YG

“Bottle Service” is a brand new song from Compton rapper YG from his album “4REAL 4REAL”. I believe his newest album is outstanding and this track is another reason to present my case for this opinion. “Bottle Service” is very similar to his other 2019 song, “Stop Snitchin” whereas they’re both lively and amusing to listen to. I personally prefer “Bottle Service” over “Stop Snitchin” but both are great songs from YG this year. “Bottle Service” is a catchy song and definitely worth putting in your playlist for this Summer.

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PUPPET – Tyler, The Creator

Much like YG’s newest album, IGOR from Tyler, The Creator is another wonderful album release from 2019. “PUPPET” is a sad song that disguises itself as a slow and melodic love song. With an unnamed feature by Kanye West, “PUPPET” stands out on the album IGOR for good reason. While I fully recommend IGOR to anyone and everyone, I think many will find this song to be one of it not the best song on the album hands down.

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Nameless – Lil Keed

I only found out about this song three days ago and I absolutely love it. Lil Keed did a great job on this song and making it a memorable tune. I’ve had this song on repeat ever since I heard it a few days ago and I plan to keep it that way until I get tired of it. I haven’t heard his 2018 release, Keed Talk To ‘Em but I plan to when I have the time assuming the album is similar to this song. I actually would like to shoutout Rico Nasty for playing this song during one of her Instagram live streams because I doubt I would’ve heard it otherwise.

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Like I Ain’t – Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne is a rapper with one of the greatest discographies in all of hip-hop and “Like I Ain’t” is a stroll down memory lane for Tech N9ne. In this song, Tech lists many of his accomplishments and collaborations with other rappers and musicians during his career. I really enjoy this song because it shows how prolific Tech N9ne has been for the past 20 years. Tech N9ne has been one of my favorite rappers for many years and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in the future now that he’s reached his 20-year mark.

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I’M DOPE – Tobe Nwigwe

Much like “Nameless” I recently discovered this song and have listened to it many times since my discovery. Tobe Nwigwe is a unique voice in hip-hop because of a majority of his songs barely even song like hip-hop in the first place. “I’M DOPE” is a smooth and laidback song that allows Tobe to explore his musical talent while referencing Dave Chappelle in the chorus. I really enjoy this song and have already dove into Tobe’s work and I really like what I’ve heard so far.

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Come Closer – A Boogie Wit da Hoodie ft. Queen Naija

“Come Closer” feels like a blast from the past and I couldn’t possibly like it any more than I already do. Sampling Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” is a genius move on the producers part and Boogie rides that wave all the way throughout the fairly short song. Boogie’s flow and rhymes are on point the whole time and the feature by Queen Naija fits perfectly as if she was made for this song. I really like this song and I hope he dabbles in this sound again in the future.

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Legacy Pt.2

Everyone wants to be remembered after they leave the Earth. Being remembered could range from memories made with family and friends to actual entities that they’ve created in their lifetime. One of these entities that a fair amount of people have created over the years is music. Music can be used in a multitude of ways to leave a mark on the world. If one wants to reach more people with their legacy they need to stand out and have a reason to be remembered in the first place. There are plenty of musicians from the 70’s and 80’s that have never managed to break out of a local scene or be able to produce a hit song. The year is now 2018 and it’s easier to make music now more than ever before. With technology constantly evolving, musicians easily come and go while collecting their paychecks and garnering their fame and fanbase.

One of the greatest and most successful rappers of all time is Eminem. Eminem has decades of experience, talent, and knowledge under his belt as he continues to release music here and there over the years. The rap god himself, however, fell from his throne last year with the release of RevivalRevival wasn’t the worst album in the world, but it certainly wasn’t the best. Although often considered his worst album, it still says a lot when considering  Eminem’s discography is quite impressive and full of classic albums. While Revival didn’t exactly hit the marks, it did allow Eminem to create an album that he seemingly enjoyed making and wanted to see the public’s reaction to his thoughts on the world. The album, however, was not what people wanted to hear and left many feeling disappointed. Less than a year later, Eminem released Kamikaze. This album is Eminem’s response to the listeners and critics that ostensibly chastised Revival in the previous year.

Kamikaze, was the perfect opportunity for Eminem to get his anger and feelings out against those who loathed Revival. With Kamikaze being a sudden and surprising release, Eminem undoubtedly had the public’s attention again. The album itself is admittedly one of his better albums that further explores his opinions while showcasing his technical skill when it comes to rapping and writing. Kamikaze is a good album, however, with Eminem being one of the most controversial humans in existence it was bound to be met with negativity. This negativity commonly stems from comments aimed at his disses towards newer rappers, old friends, and even a questionable insult to Tyler, The Creator. With fans and critics once again blasting Eminem for being his usual controversial self, one must ponder about the impact this has on his legacy. Eminem is now constantly coming under fire whenever he releases an album thus making one wonder if he’s destroying or bettering his legacy with each release.

A legacy can vary depending on the nature of the person who’s leaving it. Someone who caused pain and torment to others in their lifetime will surely be remembered, but they will be remembered as an example of what not to do in life. On the other hand, leaving a positive legacy behind is not an easy task. Now more than ever are people being found guilty of past issues which subsequently leads to their name forever being associated with that act. Eminem is a special case in regards to the mark he will certainly leave on the world. Eminem is different because his influence is constantly changing throughout the years. In the early 2000’s, Eminem was one of the biggest celebrities that appealed to kids, teens, and adults while simultaneously receiving hate from Congress. Compare early 2000’s Eminem to modern day Eminem who now has a divided fan base due to his album releases and political stance, and it’s easy to see why his legacy is in a peculiar position.

While Eminem will obviously be remembered as one of the greatest and most controversial rappers of all time, it is imperative to take a step outside of the box and view Eminem as a whole. With an insanely successful career comes hardships and obstacles, both of which Eminem has surely detailed in his music. Eminem struggled for a long time until he got his chance to shine, and with that opportunity from Dr. Dre, he made the best of it. Eminem learned not to let anyone walk over him, use him, or even disrespect him in his career, which has led to some notable feuds. The story of Marshall Mathers is a culmination of one man attempting to make his opinion heard and fight for what he believes in. Revival may have been a fumble, but Kamikaze once again reaffirms that the rap god will fight to his death to defend what he believes in. Leaving a legacy behind as a man who doesn’t care about what other people think will inevitably be Eminem’s destiny.

ON REPEAT: Domo Genesis’ Studio Debut is an Underrated Gem of the Neo-Soul Catalogue

This is a guest post from fellow writer Musicwithmink. This is the first time I’ve featured someone since January when I featured Steveforthedeaf, so I hope you enjoy this content from yet another great writer!

I think it’s safe to say that when most people think of Odd Future in 2018, they probably remember the collective as Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, and somewhere between five and 20 other dudes that fell off five years ago. While the group’s three stars have been consistently (and rightfully) a part of the alternative hip-hop/R&B conversation in recent years, with their artistic progression and maturity since the proudly-ignorant OF days well-documented and highly celebrated, it’s easy to assume that those who created less buzz stayed in that stagnant teenage mindset and faded away as a result.

While that may be true for some, not every lesser-known member should be counted out – Syd Tha Kid’s group The Internet has been quietly releasing material throughout the 2010s and is coming out with a new album very soon, Mike G released a pretty solid mixtape on 4/20, and Domo Genesis has come out with a studio album and two mixtapes in just the past 3 years. Regrettably, it wasn’t until a month or so ago that I started delving into Domo’s solo material, but within just minutes of hitting play on his 2016 album Genesis, I knew I was being introduced to something special. Fully countering every expectation I had going into it, Genesis is an uplifting, mature, and beautiful hip-hop album with strong neo-soul influences, and it’s sure to sit firmly in my summer rotation.

Domo’s work in the early 2010s was marked by a sharp, cocky flow with braggadocious lyrical content to match, usually spat over the spacious, MIDI-centric instrumentals of Tyler the Creator and Left Brain. I can definitely get into that style, dated as it may be, so when I went into this album I expected to be moderately pleased by some more of that simplistic and hard-hitting content.  What I got, however, was completely different. In a good way.

The production on this album is top-notch – nearly every beat is lush but tasteful, featuring a nice combination of real instruments and MIDI, a ton of buttery Fender Rhodes (the number one way for producers to win my heart), and beautifully sung vocal hooks. The entire musical landscape is very contemplative; this matches the lyrical content, which most often concerns Domo’s meditations on his place in the music world, as an artist stuck somewhere between obscurity and fame and forced to live in the shadow of his adolescent success.

The three-track run of “Wanderer”, “Questions”, and “My Own” exemplifies this perfectly, all of them carrying the message that though Domo may not be a nobody, he’s still hungry and still has a lot left to prove. Later tracks speak similarly, with the line ‘If you don’t like this song, they’re gonna turn my lights off’ from “All Night” is a particularly good summation of the precariousness of Domo’s career. In addition to the solid lyrics and instrumentals, I was struck by just how well the tracks flow into each other. Many are bookended by spacy transitional sections that lead into the next track seamlessly, making much of the album feels like a single, episodic work.

The track “Go (Gas)”, produced by Tyler the Creator and featuring Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, unfortunately, sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of this lineup. It’s not a bad song, and it’s clearly meant to be a throwback to Domo’s older style of carefree, arrogant bars (complete with very “Goblin/Wolf” sounding production from Tyler), but it would have fared so much better as a single or bonus track than as the midpoint of an otherwise much-classier album.

Still, aside from the awkward placement of that particular track and the somewhat one-dimensional overall subject matter, Genesis is an album that, in my opinion, should be way more talked about than it has been. The contemplative, motivational lyrics and bittersweet instrumentals, along with Domo’s flow, which is as solid and laid back as ever, make a great album for those quiet summer evenings spent with music, the sunset, and maybe some cheap beer. If you’re a fan of artists like Oddisee, Rapsody, Anderson .Paak (who has a feature on “Dapper”), and TPAB/Untitled Unmastered-era Kendrick, definitely give this one a shot.