While we had some pretty bad and disappointing albums in 2019, there were some great ones and a lot of them went egregiously overlooked. Here are my honorable mentions and ten best albums of the last 365 days. I’m going to provide quick links(highlighted in green or blue) so that you can listen to these albums if you didn’t get the chance to this year.
Beware of the Dogs – Stella Donnelly
American Love Call – Durand Jones & The Indications
A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night – Blu & Oh No
Assume Form – James Blake
GINGER – BROCKHAMPTON
Bandana – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
Shea Butter Baby – Ari Lennox
Flamagra – Flying Lotus
Eve – Rapsody
Thina – Seba Kaapstad
Ventura – Anderson .Paak
10. Titanic Rising – Weyes Blood
Natalie Mering released one of the most beautiful and euphoric projects I have ever listened to it. Titanic Rising is chock full of absolutely breathtaking vocals from Mering and some of the most mellow and pretty instrumentals of the year. Instead of Gunna’s album making you try to swim to the top because you are being drowned by its boredom, this album will have you floating in the ocean without a care in the world and fully relaxed. Just listening to tracks such as “Andromeda” and “Movies” will have you craving for more from Mering and are two of my favorite tracks of the year.
9. Guns – Quelle Chris
Quelle Chris is an artist that grasped my attention in 2018 with his amazing collaboration project with Jean Grae and Guns solidified that this is a guy that we need to be listening to. Chris carefully balances humor and sarcasm with some pretty deep and thought-provoking messages that revolve around guns in America and weapons in general, both physical and mental. “Guns” and “Obamacare” were incredible singles to promote this album and “Straight Shot” is one of the most heartfelt and emotional songs that I listened to this year.
8. Everything’s For Sale – Boogie
Not everyone will agree with this selection because as time goes on, I can see the argument made that Boogie was being a total simp on this project, which isn’t always a problem but I can definitely see why people would turn their backs on this record. Boogie also has a pretty nasally voice that can spark some drawback as well but what Boogie may lack in presence, he makes up for in great lyrics and great production to go along with the songs. He can also go from an absolute banger such as “Soho” to a very personal and uncomfortable track such as “Whose Fault”. Boogie gets in touch with his feelings of being a father but not wanting to take care of his kid because of his relationship issues with his child’s mother. Those feelings get in the way of him being a present father and it is a beautiful but gut-wrenching narrative to listen to.
7. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? – Billie Eilish
The breakout artist of the year, Billie Eilish delivered the best pop album of the year with this incredible project. Backed by immaculate production from her brother Finneas, Eilish delivers catchy song after catchy song. “Bad Guy”, “When the Party’s Over” and “Wish You Were Gay” are all incredible songs that Eilish was able to handle with her surprisingly soothing voice. I cannot wait to see what Eilish does in the future because this project was so goof for someone who was only 17-years old at the time of its release.
6. IGOR – Tyler, the Creator
Once the universe heard “Earfquake”, it felt like the world had stopped for a couple of days and all anyone did was listen to this song. Tyler put out one of the best heartbreak records of the decade with IGOR. Not only has Tyler improved as an artist since his early beginnings but he has completely reinvented his style from this in-your-face, comedic and dark rapper to one that actually displays some true emotion and wants to make high-quality music. While the mixing can put off some casual listeners, it is all a part of the style to go with the jumbled thoughts one would go through in a romantic relationship. Tyler really knocked it out of the park and I can’t wait to see what the synth-layered king does next.
5. Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve
Another project that went criminally overlooked was the debut, full-length project from this Arizona trio. One of the more experimental and unique rap project of the year, this group put together banger after banger that discusses how they are handling fame and how fame and social media influence affects one’s reality. We even get a Flagstaff shoutout on the track “Koruna & Lime” that kicks off this fast-paced project. Make sure to give this one a listen if you are a real fan of rap.
For the second year in a row, JPEGMAFIA has cracked the top ten of my best albums of the year list. In 2018, Peggy finished 2nd with the incredible Veteran project. While I did have my reservations going into this project, because I didn’t want to compare this album to Veteran, I had no doubts that he would deliver another high-quality album; and that’s exactly what happened. Peggy’s main topics of this project involve social media trolls and people that live their lives through social media, thus, disconnecting them from reality. Peggy’s charismatic flow combined with some grimy instrumentals make one of the more original listening experiences that I have had.
I have to give credit to my younger brother on this because I was skeptical about YBN Cordae. I didn’t believe he was one that would make enough waves with his singles to really garner my attention to any of his projects but some excellent singles such as “Bad Idea”, “Have Mercy” and the track that made this album, “RNP” culminated in one of the most mature projects of the year. YBN Cordae has something special up his sleeve in my opinion. While he may never scratch the surface of Kendrick Lamar, Cordae has pen game and he has great flow, which is what you need to be a long-term, relevant rapper for today. Cordae has that “it factor” and if he can continue to make great and, surprisingly, emotional tracks such as “Family Matters” this guy is going to be an absolute star.
My top two have made me lose faith in humanity to recognize high-quality music. How these two projects went almost unnoticed and all of you should be jailed for not listening to them. Of course, I am kidding but y’all really need to listen to these next two and we are start with the best true rock project of the year. Clark Jr. meticulously blends rock with genres such as R&B, soul and jazz that creates some of the best songs I have heard this year such as “I Walk Alone” and the Prince-esque “Pearl Cadillac”.
My favorite album since Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. I cannot stop listening to this album from the UK rapper. This album has a little bit for every level of music fan. There’s no ambiguity. There’s no off-putting production. Little Simz goes right in your face and gets straight to the point on every track and every track is that damn good. “Boss” and “Offence” are two heavy percussion tracks that kick off this album to pull you in perfectly before you become overwhelmed and get lost into what is, without a doubt, the best song of 2019, “Selfish”. The glistening piano and Cleo Sol’s immaculate vocals had me in awe from the first second I heard this song. I have listened to this song daily since it came out way back in March. This has been the only 10/10 project I have given since I started this brand back in 2017 and there’s no better album I’d rather give that distinction to. PLEASE. If you have the chance, listen to this project by all means. You will regret it if you don’t.