Kicking off the new decade and ending the old – with style. As always, these songs are mostly new music from 2019/2020 releases. Here is the iTunes link. If anyone wants to make a Spotify link (or any other service), post it in the comments or email me and I’ll add more links. If anyone has anything I should hear, send that along too. Enjoy.
“Just How It Is” by Young Thug. Destiny. Fate. Accepting just how it is. This is a song about embracing where you are. If you’re doing the work, it’s aspirational. If you’ve already made it, it’s in service to the work. More here.
“MUDDY” by Jamila Woods. An homage to Muddy Waters, electric and visceral. If he could shake the fire out, we can shake the fire out.
“Worthy Girl” by Kills Birds. So many influences, so much energy. “How can she be queen? / when she can’t read maps?”
“Cosmic Cave” by Ex Hex. It’s just so catchy. Kind of like if Tom Petty and the Ramones had a daughter. “Come on and dance with me…”
“What It Is” by Angel Olsen. The cynicism in the lyrics and the production here are outstanding. Those strings, especially on headphones, are not a sound anyone you’re going to hear anywhere else anytime soon. More here.
“Wintertime” by Norah Jones. We slow all the way down for this one. Jeff Tweedy chord progressions and her piano accompaniment could be its own genre. More here.
“July” by Noah Cyrus and Leon Bridges. Didn’t see this duet coming, but I’m glad it’s out there. A painful relationship ballad.
“Dmtri” by Action Bronson and The Alchemist. Stream of conscious musings from Bronson over an Alchemist beat. Only these two could pull any of this off.
“Been Use Ta (feat. Pusha T)” by DJ Shadow. Much like the Young Thug track we started with, The statesmen recognizing the GOATs. More here.
“The Pros” by the Professionals. A dose of Madlib. And his brother.
“Me Denny and Darryl (feat. Method Man and Cappadonna)” by Ghostface Killah. They’ve still got it. Soulful beats and stream of consciousness raps. There’s so much influence on other tracks on this playlist from them, it just fits (and it was new!).
“Headlines (feat. Westside Gunn, Conway, and Benny) by DJ Premier. More influence, on the boards from Premier, and even in the head nod with the chorus (Raekwon and Wu).
“Jesus Forgive Me, I Am A Thot” by JPEGMAFIA. Similar to the craziness we got from underground rap around 20 years ago, I feel like he’s pushing all of the boundaries today. ODB, El-P, and others feel like influences. The style, dynamics and tempo changes alone are very ambitious.
“Lonely Child” by YoungBoy Never Broke Again. This is the new blues. Of the emo-rap genre, this actually aches.
“Kings Fall” by Raphael Saadiq. Another master still making great music. Lyrically and emotionally this continues the sheer ache of the human condition in a desperate situation. “I want you to be my / the supplier, my provider, and all those things (all things happen to you)”
“DR BIRDS” by Griselda. Modern aspirational rap. The art world, drug culture, violence, influence – all combine over a skeletal beat. “Write brick on my brick.” More here.
“Kerwin Frost Scratch That (feat. Matt OX)” by 10k.Caash. If Kills Birds is modern grunge, 10k.Caash is modern Beastie Boys-era party rap.
“Just the Way It Is” by Action Bronson and The Alchemist. Another dose felt appropriate. “At least I’m famous and I ain’t shit.”
“Good News” by Mac Miller. It’s a loss. A real loss. There’s so much struggle and questing for redemption in this song.