2019 Honorable Mentions
Second of three part series of 2019 albums/mixtapes/eps I thought were dope.
If you haven’t read the previous post about projects I had in my These Were Dope Too list, check that out or don’t. I don’t really care wtf you do lol.
This here is the Honorable Mentions. These were projects I enjoyed a lot and found to be worth talking about more than just listing but weren’t the greatest things I heard all year.
One more thing, in the last post, I made it so the YouTube links would go straight to the album. Instead, I’ll post my favorite song from these projects cause that YouTube album shit is tough as fuck to try and format. If the full album is in one video, I’ll link that instead.
Here’s the Honorable Mentions.
The WIZRD - Future
January 18th, 2019
Forgot this joint dropped but holy shit is it way better than I remember. It’s soooo long though. Homie could’ve cut like 5 tracks and I think it’d have some serious replay value. The most interesting parts of this album are when the production does a little bit more than your average trap song. “Baptiize” goes fucking crazy. The synth progression in the background is mixed so well it feels like you’re floating on clouds in the Tron universe. The addition of mouth clicking and popping noises on “Tricks on Me” and the songs layered with additional croons from Future himself along with pitched up vocal samples like on “Temptation”, “Promise U That”, or “Krazy but True” take this album to another level sonically. I get almost nothing out of this lyrically or thematically other than feeling like this the type of album to play when some girl shits all over you emotionally. Future is the poster boy for toxic masculinity laced across 808’s and lush trap production. Shit’s got a place in the music landscape and homie is the perfect villain to fend off healthy relationships.
Never Stop, Rocket Ship, Temptation, Call the Coroner, Promise U That, Stick to the Models, Baptiize, Goin Dummi, First Off, Tricks on Me
tears of joy - MIKE
June 21st, 2019
New York has been the little brother to Atlanta in terms of defining sounds this past decade but MIKE is one of the artists along with the other SLUM artists (Ade Hakim, Navy Blue, new Earl, Slauson Malone, Standing on the Corner... ) that have been pushing the boundaries of underground, abstract hip hop. A lot of their music sounds like it was ran through a cassette tape, liquified, then passed through a coffee filter onto an 8 track. This shit uses beautiful sounds and samples too. Like some simple loops of brass instruments or unique, real ass drums. Not like the synthesized drums you find on FL Studio but a real drummer recording them shits. Tears of joy is another installment in this soundscape. The beats are so fascinating. Some of them like “summer 17” and “PLANET” have hypnotic synth loops in the background that pulsate in your ears. The mixing is grainy and jaded, but that’s what helps paint the overall mood that MIKE has come to be known for. It’s a dark, earthy feeling that slows down and makes everything feel whole. It’s like taking the concrete pavement of New York streets but interspersing long vines and jungle plants to create an actual concrete jungle of sound. Songs are crafted to sound like staring outside into rainy horizons through a sepia lens. The tempo of some tracks creates this atmosphere where it feels like traversing through piles of sand but you’re being carried along by MIKE’s vocals while you got a blank stare on your face the entire time. I love this shit.
scarred lungs vol. 1 & 2, goin truu, TAKE CROWNS, memorial, summer 17, parkS, PLANET, sleepwalk, fool in me, suffocate, stargazer vol. 3
Own Pace - Medhane
November 12th, 2019
Same type of vibe as the MIKE tape but a lot more boom bapish. Medhane dropped one of my favorite projects two years ago in collaboration with Slauson Malone called Medslaus. That shit is a depressive trip through his mind with great production. Shits hard. “Own Pace” is New York boom bap rap combined with mixed down samples to create grainy sounding tracks. Way more lighthearted than “Poorboy” but still self reflective in its own right. Either way, I love boom bap rap when there’s a refreshing take on it or the emcee is engaging. Medhane is both.
Trauma & Grace, Affirmation #1, Whispers, Grapefruit, Stranger, Affirmation #2, 2020sht
Jim Crow the Musical - Add-2
November 26th, 2019
I have a hard time justifying straight bars over solid production as a top album cause the formulas been used over and over since the early 90’s. Like, I can quote bars throughout this little commentary but you’d rather hear them shits in the actual songs than sit here and read them. What I will say is that it’s so refreshing to hear dope bars over dope beats and that you should spin this joint if you’re a traditionalist or want some compelling woke shit thrown in your direction.
The Secret Life of Blacks, 3 fifs, Souls 4 Sale, Back in the Day, Homecoming, Wings (Please Don’t Leave)
Party Pack Vol. 2 - Shoreline Mafia
September 4th, 2019
This shit slap so stupid lol. I fucking love west coast hip hop so much. Doesn’t matter the variant cause I’ll eat that shit up like Kelvin Benjamin at a Golden Corral. This particular flavor of California rap is what codeine dreams on Venice Beach are made of. They’re from LA but they wear a slight Bay Area influence on them with the bouncy, simplistic beats. You won’t get hyphy to this shit but there’s a dash of it. I listened to this so much whipping the civic around or at the gym. There’s so many one liners on this that get stuck in my head just because of the delivery alone. It’s probably the most complete Shoreline Mafia project I’ve ever listened to and it’s condensed down to make sure I don’t get tired of them and keep coming back. I’d recommend this to anyone that’s… god i don’t know not shitty????
Wings, Carribean, Chandelier, Pour Two 4’s, Wake Me Up In Traffic
The Recipe - Villain Park
August 28th, 2019
West coast hip hop that isn’t party music. Couple of these joints got the funky LA bass lines like “Cold Game” that sound familiar to anyone that’s heard a Dr Dre or DJ Quik joint. Homies got bars and their deliveries hit super hard on all these songs. Some of this album makes me think this is what Clear Soul Forces would sound like if they were born in LA instead of Detroit.
Visions, Cold Game, Thang on Me, We Out Here, Smoke Break
Zuu - Denzel Curry
May 31st, 2019
I appreciate when people incorporate their influences but don’t use them as a crutch. I have a HARD time when that shit sounds like you’re wearing it on your sleeve and not creating something that sounds different. Denzel has soooo much Florida hip hop on this shit it’s crazy. “Ricky” got some pitched down vocals on the drum break that sound so dope. “CAROLMART” got the pitched up Plies chorus from “So Fresh” by Trina and holy fuck was I bouncing off the walls the first time I heard it. I was in the gym for my yearly “pretend I know what’s up” performance and I ran this joint back like five to six times. I think something Denzel should try to do more often is go full metal, screaming at me like we bout to go to war like he did on the “P.A.T.” joint cause he sounds REALLY good doing that shit.
RICKY, WISH, BIRDZ, SPEEDBOAT, CAROLMART, P.A.T.
DIE FOR MY BITCH - Baby Keem
July 19th, 2019
“Orange Soda” gotta be one of the most fun songs of the year. When the beat cuts out and homie’s like “BITCH SIT ON MY FACE I ATTACK THAT” oooooOWWWWEEEE. I thoroughly enjoy how he utilizes his voice like another instrument similar to Playboi Carti more than someone like Young Thug. He’s not the best song writer but he has one liners all over this joint that are extremely memorable. People say he’s an industry plant which is whatever. I mean, we got Bryson Tiller that way so might as well get Baby Keem too. “Slice Interlude” into “Rockstar P” = fantastic transition. Also, the beat on “Rockstar P” combined with “fucking on a bitch with a six pack, no cap bro, be regular, don’t act hoe” Pass the fucking crying emoji with fire emojis PLEASE. His love ballads are kinda iffy to me though. He’s got that angsty “MY EX” song where his voice and delivery doesn’t carry enough to justify the shit lyrics but on “APOLOGIZE” it works a LOT better.
HONEST, INVENTED IT, FRANCE FREESTYLE, BULLIES, SLICE INTERLUDE, ROCKSTAR P, ORANGE SODA, APOLOGIZE
So Much Fun - Young Thug
August 16th, 2019
I waver greatly on this album. For Thug, it’s nowhere near the boundary pushing he’s done throughout the decade. For a 2019 album, it’s extremely consistent and one of the best iterations of the current landscape of melodic, modern hip hop. I really wanted to put this in my top albums but I can’t find myself finding significant reasons to vault it up to the top. I can spin this joint from front to back without skipping a single song. There’s no “Harambe” or a “Check” on here but there’s still a bunch of really good songs. “Hot” blew up on social media. The run from “Light Up” to “Surf” to “Bad Bad Bad” is light and bouncy. “What’s the Move” with Uzi has similar bounce. “I’m Scared” got the 21 Savage part where he says, “This ain’t middle school, when you sucking on me, please include the balls (on god)” Which is very important!
Just How It Is, Ecstasy (WITHOUT MGK), Hot, Light It Up, Surf, Bad Bad Bad, What’s the Move, I Bought Her, I’m Scared, Big Tipper, Circle of Bosses, Mannequin Challenge
The Plugs I Met - Benny the Butcher
June 21st, 2019
Griselda been making the toughest music the past five years. In my opinion, Benny is easily the best rapper in the collective and homie is on here spitting. I bet if this shit came out in the early 2000’s, they’d be some of the most popular rappers in the world. The Pusha T and Black Thought verses are crazy.
Crowns for Kings, Took the Money to the Plug’s House, 18 Wheeler, 5 to 50
Hiding Places - Billy Woods & Kenny Segal
March 29th, 2019
I walked five miles in the middle of some open plains listening to this for the first time. Deadass. I remember having the worst time adjusting to Billy Woods’ voice and delivery but he said some shit about “numbers fibonacci” and I was like, “awww fuck you got me you son of a bitch.” Literally the first song lmaoooo. The production on this entire album is fucking incredible. The melancholy feel combined with the subdued drums create this dark atmosphere that floats along with Billy Woods aggressive delivery. It’s a really interesting juxtaposition to be honest. I find myself continually going back to this and having no issue actively listening to this or throwing it on as background music when I code. “A Day in a Week in a Year” is amazing. I’m doing myself a disservice by not sitting and REALLY trying to understand the entire concept of the album and the bars but this shit got so many layers. I could see myself wanting to vault this to my top albums list and I might in 2020 if I ever retroactively adjust these rankings.
Spongebob, Checkpoints, Spider Hole, Houthi, A Day in a Week in a Year, Toothy, Red Dust
May the Lord Watch - Little Brother
August 20th, 2019
Conceptually, this feels like a continuation of “The Minstrel Show” which is a fantastic album. I didn’t know what to expect with this album cause after I heard that 9th Wonder wasn’t going to be on the boards, I got a little worried. Not that Phonte and Big Pooh can’t rap over other beats (Get Back), I just prefer them over 9th Wonder beats. Thankfully, I wasn’t let down. They’re extremely consistent throughout the entire project and the production has a similar vibe to 9th beats that it works. It also helps that the majority of the producers have been making beats that sound inspired by Dilla and 9th i.e. Khrysis, Nottz, and the Black Milk joint. Skits are great. Lyrics are dope and sometimes corny but somehow work for them???? Great album
The Feel, Everything, Right on Time, Black Magic (Make It Better), Goodmorning Sunshine, What I Came For, Picture This
Netflix & Deal - 03 Greedo & Kenny Beats
November 28th, 2019
I got the write up for this in the top albums one. Album is here cause it’s not as good as the one directly related to this one.
Traffic, Paid in Full, Disco Shit, Blue People, Beg Your Pardon, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Aye Twin, Life, Dead Presidents
LIL BIG MAN - Maxo
March 15th, 2019
Introspective raps over smooth lofi beats. Maxo is great. You got him and MAVI as these two dudes continuing to push this sound across the underground space. I fuck with this pretty heavy. It definitely doesn’t hit any crazy pockets that we haven’t heard before but it’s an incredibly smooth and solid listen. “Strongside” got a great vocal sample and a layered guitar sample in the background that he sounds good over. “In My Penny’s” is incredible. Especially at the beat switch when he pitches down his vocals. Great overall sound on that song. I also really enjoy the little saxophone riff that’s sampled on “Crown Heights” that serves as the main melody for the track.
Time, Strongside, Kinfolk, No Love, In My Penny’s, Headphones, Crown Heights, Quicktoldme
When I Get Home - Solange
March 1st, 2019
One night, I was driving home to visit my family and it’s like 1:00 AM in the morning and over the course of the year, I played this album a couple times but never really found it special. But that night, it’s like I got hit by a semi-truck and careened off the road into a pack of deer. I was hooked. This album is such a fascinating listen from top to bottom. It’s like being on a lazy river where the inner tube is the collection of instrumentals and the gentle water that propels you down the river is Solange’s voice. I really love this shit. The run from “Stay Flo” to “Dreams” to “Nothing Without Intention (Interlude)” to “Time (Is)”..... fucking incredible. “Sound of Rain” = top tier night driving music when alone.
Down with the Clique, Stay Flo, Dreams, Almeda, Time (Is), Binz, Sound of Rain
Pretty Face - Deem Spencer
February 28th, 2019
I can’t wait til I really like some girl and get my heartbroken to listen to this project again. I don’t think I can appreciate the emotion put into this album as much without that. The mixing on certain songs has his voice subdued into the back of your ears to sound as if it’s the voice in the back of your head. This project does a really good job of encapsulating that feeling when you’re super sad and start to overthink certain aspects of your relationship. Like when there’s those late nights where you think about everything you could’ve done better. Or in some cases, the girl was super shitty and you don’t see why they were so trash and you try to justify liking her and see only the good things. (This works both ways so if you’re into guys or girls or whatever cause we LGBTQIA allies)
Really I, Been, Tryna Live, How Beautiful, Is, But, Shorty (Pt 3)
let the sun talk - MAVI
October 18th, 2019
“eye, i, and i, and nation” had me hooked off the rip. This project is similar to the Maxo project so if you fuck with that sound, this one goes hand in hand with it. I really fuck with these conscious rappers creating their own worlds with the use of lower mixed vocals over these mixed down beats. The pitched down vocal samples float over these beats.
eye i and i and nation, selflove, love of money, sense, chiasma, guernica
MAGDALENE - FKA twigs
November 8th, 2019
“thousands eyes” is so fucking beautiful. Everytime I hear it I can picture the opening scene in this one section of God of War where you’re on the boat and float into this world called the “Lake of Light” and the colors are so vivid. It’s like if you gave Bob Ross a 32 oz, adderall, infused red bull vodka and let him paint. Shits madddd fucking beautiful. There’s also this incredible fascination I still have with anything related to biblical stories and characters. Ancient texts are written in a way that seem significantly grander than anything you read today. For example, imagine if the book of John was written with a couple more “fucks” and “shits” interlaced between Jesus’ daily preaching. Jesus pulls up to the cypher on some five elements of hip hop type shit in some raggedly ass timbs. Anyways, the production on this entire joint is incredible. The mixing and layering of all the sounds creates an atmosphere that manifests this grandiose feeling. I feel like I’m in an art museum watching paintings created before my eyes through sound waves. This shit makes me feel like an art thot lmaooo. I FUCK WITH ART THOTS THOUGH. I think the idea of empowering Mary Magdalene the woman, instead of the traditional depiction of her as a run of the mill whore, helps to relate to ideologies we’re still having issues with overcoming in present day society. This album is a deeper metaphor on how she relates to Mary Magdalene with the shit that’s been going on in her life since the release of her last album. But holy fuck does this also tackle so many issues we have with how women are perceived for their mistakes or missteps. Shits fucking fantastic.
thousand eyes, home with you, sad day, holy terrain, mary magdalene, cellophane