Goldlink – Diaspora
Genre: Rap, Funk
I was never a huge Goldlink fan. Oftentimes I’d find the production overpowering his breezy vocal deliveries and the song structures too haphazard for my liking but on Diaspora, he waves all my concerns away. Sounding like an artist that’s finally come into his own, Diaspora is Goldlink’s vision come to fruition.
The Raconteurs – Help Me Stranger
After a long 11 year wait, the Jack White-fronted band returns with an album that just perfectly scratches that classic rock itch that I’ve been looking for. The guitar playing is wonderfully catchy and the drumming just takes a hold on me, while Jack’s vocals are just pure nostalgic bliss. It’s an impeccably crafted classic rock record.
Mach-Hommy – Wap Konn Jòj!
Genre: Rap, Jazz Rap
Mach-Hommy is the perfect fit to fill in the hole that MF Doom unceremoniously left in underground hip-hop. Only 18 minutes long, Wap Konn Jòj! darts between its lo-fi production and laid back rapping from its vocalists. Both elements are inescapable of each other and form a harmonious combination that’s both harrowing and impressive.
Black Pumas – Black Pumas
Genre: R&B, Neo-Soul, Americana
Black Pumas are a duo that literally sounds like they had just walked out of a Quentin Tarantino Western flick. The entire album is a slow burn. From the opening seconds down to the final minutes, there’s barely any change in pace. Yet their exercise in restraint leads to a record that knows what it wants to be and does exactly just that.
Blarf – Cease & Desist
Genre: i don’t f**king know, man
Blarf (who many are suspecting to be comedian Eric Andre) is an absolute enigma that appears out of nowhere to drop one of the most insane records I’ve heard in my life. An album that seems to be solely comprised of samples, the amount of effort put into this project is jaw-dropping. With the number of samples easily exceeding 100, Cease & Desist is an experience that needs to be heard to be believed.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana
5 years in the making since their stellar debut collab Piñata, the dynamic duo of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib didn’t have anything left to prove but instead had to show that they could still deliver a project that could rival their previous work; and rival it, it does. Freddie’s rapping is more energetic and impeccable than before, and Madlib’s sampling is even more extra-terrestrial than before. Truly a match made in coke-rap heaven.
100 gecs – 1000 gecs
Genre: Dance, Industrial, Pop
If genre hopping was a sport, 100 gecs would be Olympic competitors. The mostly industrial production that the duo employs is mind-numbing yet somehow they manage to weave in their chipmunk-like vocals into the mix, creating an album that’s equal parts confusing and groovy.
Craig Xen – Broken Kids Club
Genre: Punk, Rap
XXXTentacion will go down as one of the most influential rappers this decade and this is undisputed just by the sheer number of imitators he’s spawned since his passing. Craig Xen is a close friend of X’s, and on his latest album shows that he’s capable of making music that’s on par or even better than many of his similar-sounding contemporaries. Depressingly melodramatic, Broken Kids Club makes a strong case on how X’s foundation can be built upon.
Daniel Caesar – CASE STUDY 01
Genre: R&B, Soul
Daniel Ceasar’s last project Freudian is one of the most beautiful R&B albums of the past 5 years, and CASE STUDY 01 is no different. Much more contemporary influenced than his last project, Daniel is much more ambitious on this record, as the various vocal pitch shifts and aesthetic detours he takes signify an artist that’s able to evolve while at the same time adapting to modern sounds.
Thom Yorke – ANIMA
Genre: Electronic, Indie rock
I wasn’t familiar with Thom Yorke’s previous solo work before diving into ANIMA, but based off his work in Radiohead, I didn’t expect I’d be walking into an electronic-filled record. But a welcome surprise it was as the hauntingly beautiful melodies serve as a stark contrast to the seemingly desolate production.