The first 3 months of 2019 were slow in terms of musical output and weak in terms of quality when compared to the calibre of works in 2018. However as the 2nd quarter of 2019 draws to a close, incredible records have been dropping left and right, flooding the public consciousness with music.
So after streamlining through dozens of albums of these 3 months, I’ve come up with a fairly large list of my favourite records so far.
Anderson .Paak – Ventura
Genre: R&B, Soul
After the disappointment of last year’s Oxnard, Anderson .Paak is back 6 months later with a much stronger follow-up in the form of Ventura. Emphasizing his singing over his rapping, the album is a leaner and more focused affair which sees .Paak crooning his heart out over some of the most beautiful songs you’ll hear all year.
Pivot Gang – You Can’t Sit With Us
Pivot Gang is a Chicago-based rap group who on their debut album, decided to make less of an artistic statement and instead chooses to focus on just rapping really freaking well. As the 6-man collective revel in each other’s presence, their infectious charisma and talent shine through. Easily crafting one of the most light-hearted yet technically proficient records this year.
Aries – Welcome Home
Genre: R&B, Trap
In a world where Post Malone sits atop the global charts, artists like Aries will shine. Combining his lo-fi hip-hop aesthetic he’s honed over on Youtube and the pop sensibilities commonly found in trap rap today. Clearly inspired by (again) Post Malone and Joji, Welcome Home is an addictively intriguing take on the increasingly melodic side of trap R&B.
Kevin Abstract – Arizona BABY
Genre: Rap, R&B, Pop
Brockhampton leader Kevin Abstract has always been unflinchingly candid in his music. On his previous solo record American Boyfriend, he showed incredible promise and potential in both his vocal abilities and songwriting. Arizona Baby sees him taking these elements and improving them on nearly all fronts. Combining much of what makes Brockhampton great and running it through a personal filter on his life, Kevin Abstract came through with the best solo record of his career so far.
Christian Alexander – Summer ’17
Genre: Lo-fi, Bedroom Pop
Christian Alexander’s debut album is one of the best lo-fi records I’ve heard in years. Finding the perfect balance between quiet melancholy and subdued crooning. His vocal deliveries are entrancing but when he isn’t behind the mic, his production abilities carry the project just as well. Less barebones than most lo-fi music while also more tranquil than modern pop, Summer ’17 has taken its spot as one of my favourite albums of 2019.
Smokepurpp – Lost Planet 2.0
Genre: Rap, Trap
Unlike his close compatriot Lil Pump, Smokepurpp understands what makes his music so devilishly charming. Condensing trap music down to its most skeletal form, all Smokepurpp needs is a thumping bass and rattling hi-hats to work his magic. Lost Planet 2.0 is not even close to being revolutionary within the genre, but sometimes sticking to what works can be equally as appealing.
The Cranberries – In The End
After lead singer, Dolores O’Riordan’s untimely demise in 2018, her hauntingly beautiful vocals on The Cranberries 8th and final studio album become that much more potent. The album is raw, emotional, hard-hitting yet surprisingly uplifting as well. In The End serves as a perfect reminder of why the band has been able to go strong for the past 30 years and how devastating O’Riordan’s passing feels.
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
2019’s breakout pop star, Lizzo’s talent cannot be understated. Her vocal capabilities are as raw as they are bombastic. From the get-go, her voice hits you the force of a speeding truck on the title track and refuses to take her foot off the gas for the remainder of the album. Oozing with charisma and magnetism, Cuz I Love You stands tall as one of the biggest records of 2019.
Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats – Anger Management
Genre: Rap, Trap
19 minutes is more than enough time for the dream team of Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats to completely obliterate your eardrums with some of the hardest trap songs of 2019. Infusing nearly every song on the album with rage and fury, Anger Management more than lives up to its title. But make no mistake, this record also proves that Rico Nasty is more than just another aggressive trap rapper.