The Best Albums Of 2019

On December 13th 2019 » By Vinyl Me, Please Staff

vmp best header

Baby Keem

DIE FOR MY BITCH

BABY KEEM JUST HUMBLED A MODEL. (Editor’s Note: Not a fake one, a real one. Don’t stunt.) I don’t know which 2019 rap record’s given me more unbridled, inventive fun than Baby Keem’s second mixtape. He exudes the infectious recklessness of everyone’s badass lil cousin, the one who used to hit you too hard when y’all slapboxed each other. You love him, even as he outlines every reason why you shouldn’t. Dastardly, yet constantly winking at the camera as he fills every pocket imaginable with a voice somewhere between chipmunk and deadpan. Quotables abound, versatility’s afoot, and he fuckin’ INVENTED IT. —Michael Penn II

Benny the Butcher

The Plugs I Met

How does Benny the Butcher follow up an outstanding album like Tana Talk 3? An outstanding EP that elaborates on his promise on “Broken Bottles.” If you’re still sick about him rappin’ ‘bout the drugs he stretched, you’ll need fluids and a colostomy bag for how Benny expands his world. He leaves no room for breathing, making us feel as claustrophobic as he does during a flashback in his mom’s kitchen. He also revels in the spoils, but hunger underscores every note. And the gotdamn 38 Spesh verse on “Sunday School?” May the fork continue to click and Griselda continue to reign! — MPII

Big Thief

UFOF

Everything in the world stops moving when you press play on a Big Thief record — it’s just a fact. This is especially the case with U.F.O.F.. It’s a cosmic, layered, and effect-driven tearjerker and their first of two released this year. Adrienne Lenker’s songwriting has never been stronger, and the risks of the production experiments yield massive pay-offs. U.F.O.F. gives you a sense that it isn’t just the Earth that slows down as you listen, it’s the whole dang universe. — Jonah Graber

Bon Iver

i,i

For the last decade, Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver project has been an inward-looking insular thing, one sad, lonely man singing out to whoever may or may not be listening to him, whether or not he’s singing from Kanye’s Hawaiian Vacation or from his dad’s hunting cabin. But he’s also built a community of like-minded artists and a successful festival (Eaux Claires), and been more open to the world, which hasn’t manifested itself in his music until now: this is the most widescreen, big band Bon Iver album (many, many people contribute here), the work of not just one man, but corralled by him into this new, bigger sound. For those keeping track, this is Vernon’s 4th straight stunner. — Andrew Winistorfer

Charli XCX

Charli

Charli’s, first track “Next Level Charli” is as much of a portrait of a party-induced elevation anthem as it is a proclamation of what Charli stans can expect over the next 51 minutes. With production at its most intrepid and her collaboration muscle as flexed and flawless as always, Her third studio album finds Charli at her stride assembling a portrait of what pop can — progessive, challenging, approachable, intoxicating, and electric at every turn. Delightfully strong in her ballads this time around, “White Mercedes” and “I Don’t Wanna Know” leave as much a of mark as the uptempo bangers she could nail in her sleep. — Amileah Sutliff

Tyler Childers

Country Squire

“He’d rather be dead, than alive one more minute, in this god forsaken town / when he was a kid, oh, he never’d have dreamt it, all the ways a city can bring a country boy down,” Tyler Childers sings on “Creeker,” one of the nine heartworn songs on Country Squire, his superlative sophomore album. Country Squire is a stunning achievement of form, a modern John Prine album delivered by a son of Appalachia for the sons of Appalachia. If 2017’s Purgatory was the breakthrough, Country Squire is the one that proves that Childers is here for the long haul. —AW

Clairo

Immunity

It’s your classic late 2010s fairy tale: girl meets internet, girl falls in love with internet, girl has thoughts and feelings, girl makes intimate, beautiful music and a bedroom rig, girl puts it on the word wide web to a charming webcam lip-syncing video, girl gets well over 43 million views on YouTube and two years later releases a debut to critical and audience acclaim. With a start like hers, all eyes were on Clairo’s full-length, and she delivered on Immunity with refinement, and the immense clarity that can only come with the sound of someone really coming into themselves. — AS

The Comet Is Coming

Trust In The Lifeforce Of Deep Mystery

If Pharaoh Sanders had left jazz and toured with Parliament in 1978, it might sound something like this album, the sophomore release from U.K. jazz godhead Shabaka Hutchings and company. This is space jazz that can make you move, make you think, and make you want to throw a brick through a window. Vital, incredible, and funky, this is future-leaning jazz that doesn’t forget to bring the heavy. — AW

Crumb

Jinx

The young band Crumb make indie rock fit for these anxious times, when being attached to your phone is a general positive — how else would you know the Chinese spot down the block is 4.7 stats? — but probably a net negative, that never needing to unplug makes you feel like you just can’t, and burnout at 25 isn’t a theoretical but a real thing. Jinx is for the hour after an anxious trip on public transportation, and when your Instagram post doesn’t even get the pity fave from your college roommate. Which is to say it’s perfect always. —AW

Drugdealer

Raw Honey

A soft-rock triumph from a Michael Collins—a guy who used to make jokey chillwave—and his band that blends every ‘70s and ‘80s soft rock, Peter Cetera trope into psych-pop that probes the most vexing corners of the human psyche. Is love real? How much of your existence is actually happening or just happening inside of your head? Who are we? You won’t find any of those answers here, but at least the album, and its wool sheets, are asking them. —AW

Billie Eilish

WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO?

Billie Eilish’s anticipated debut WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? turned out to be one of the biggest pop moments of the year, and solidified her as the year’s most buzz-worthy emerging pop enigmas. Written and produced by Eilish and her older brother from top to bottom, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP is a mature, catchy, dark, and occasionally industrial trophy of a debut. — JG

FKA twigs

MAGDALENE

I never thought heartbreak could be so all-encompassing,” FKA twigs explains in the press release for her sophomore full-length. “I was left with no option but to tear every process down.” After a high-profile breakup and a health scare that’s public knowledge at this point, twigs experienced turned her spiritual and creative rebirth into MAGDALENE, an open-wound medieval-influenced concept album that simultaneously revisits and reworks the story of a misunderstood biblical figure and sounds like what it feels like to experience loss at the most personal and cellular level — and be left with no choice but to build yourself back up bit by bit or burn. It’s a mind-melting meditation, a manifesto in transformation and self-power, and a masterpiece on all accounts. — AS

Freddie Gibbs + Madlib

Bandana

The dope-rap mastermind reconvenes with the Beat Konducta to unleash another cocaine masterpiece. Name a rapper that extends a “Flat Tummy Tea” metaphor into the American legacy of genocide and plunder. Name a beat that effortlessly pivots between trap and massive sample like “Half Manne Half Cocaine.” I know most folks assume that Piñata remains the untouchable of the two, but Bandana grants Gangsta Gibbs a vulnerable edge that rounds him out with a graceful maturity that’s only come from experience—MPII

Girlpool

What Chaos Is Imaginary

On What Chaos Is Imaginary Girlpool sounds more polished and mature than ever before. Cleo Tucker’s voice has evolved after taking testosterone for over a year, and they now sing at least an octave lower, bringing new vocal range and a newfound sense of individuality to the duo. What Chaos Is Imaginary is a milestone for a duo who continues to grow and improve. — JG

Ariana Grande

thank u, next

After a 2017 and 2018 that saw her publicly reckon with breakups, an attack on one of her concerts, and the death of Mac Miller, Ariana Grande came back with the relatively breezy, but still heavy, thank u, next, one of this year’s few blockbuster pop albums that lived up to the hype. Where Sweetener was all big cries and big feelings, this one feels smaller in scope, made not for cathartic bawls, but for quiet cries in your bedroom. “thank u next” is the clear jam, but it’s smaller tracks like “needy” and “fake smile” that make thank u next consistently rewarding.—AW

Gunna

Drip or Drown 2

Jean size jokes aside, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Thug protege as influential as Gunna’s been in the past two years. Drip or Drown 2 is merely the icing, finding Sergio Kitchens quarterbacking the cadences and references that set the trend for a sizeable fraction of MCs slowly populating the fringes of rap. There’s a reason why folks joke about how Gunna’s first name is Feat. And there’s plenty of borderline self-help bars if you sift through the Birkin. Gunna said “I know my purpose!” He also said “They won’t respect you ‘til you try!” These are Fendi facts, indeed!—MPII

The Highwomen

The Highwomen

When Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson joined forces as the Highwaymen in 1985, it was as a victory lap: four titans, joining together for some high-grossing tours, well-selling albums, and a movie tie-in (1986’s Stagecoach). When the Highwomen—a group of superstar Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, and Amanda Shires—formed in 2018, and released this, their debut LP in 2019, it felt downright radical. After all, country radio still has problems with representation and doubling down by having four women make an album about womanhood is a grenade tossed at the country music establishment. —AW

Julia Jacklin

Crushing

Julia Jacklin is one of the best songwriters in the crazy new crop of Australian indie rock, as her 2016 debut, Don’t Let The Kids Win was a minor triumph. But that couldn’t have prepared anyone for the raw, brutal nerve of Crushing, an organs-on-the-table dissection of a breakup that is devastating for its specificity. It’s like the hauntingly beautiful Kubler-Ross of breakup albums. — AW

Jay Som

Anak Ko

On Anak Ko, you can easily find recognizable Cranberries and Cocteau Twins influence next to a bootlegged Prince drum machine next to an “an obvious Steely Dan song” next to a pedal steel laiden country tune, yet not a single bit of its out of place and all of its it’s own. The follow-up to Melina Duterte’s break-out 2017 album Everybody Works drips with the sprawling warmth, playfulness and confidence you’d be hard pressed to find in many other rock albums this year. —AS

Carly Rae Jepsen

Dedicated

Hear me out: you ever dreamed about having someone in your room (on the bed, on the floor, etc.) for weeks on end only to one day magically find them there planting a fat movie kiss on your lips? You know how your body felt the moment your lips first made contact? (Not the moment before, or after — those moments are other albums). That’s how Dedicated feels. I’m just gonna stand on top of this hill and scream until we’re all ready to shut the hell up and accept the sounds bestowed upon us by the bubblegum goddess herself genetically- engineered the produce a floodgate of dopamine in our sad little brains. There really is no drug like her (or the chorus of “Want You in My Room”). — AS

JPEGMAFIA

ALL MY HEROES ARE CORNBALLS

I CAN’T FEEL MY FACE, OH GOD! And that’s no rap cap, Peggy’s new shit really makes you feel like that every chance it gets. There’s not a working rapper that can keep a listener at his whim like JPEGMAFIA can; he’ll drop you into new universes within seconds of each other, leaving you as disoriented and enthralled as he can be after the right vaporizer hit and the right sample. After listening to him for damn near a decade, it’s wild to hear a Peggy album with the stakes this high. He doubles down on himself; a move some would consider a calculated risk, but what the fuck is a risk in a JPEGMAFIA album? We live in this moshpit. — MPII

Little Simz

GREY Area

Nothing about this year has felt sure or confident, with the exception of impending doom and Little Simz’ GREY Area. The follow up to her kooky, conceptual 2016 Stillness in Wonderland, Simz has kept her intoxicating high speed flows and pulled them a little closer to herself. The result is her most self-assured album to date; she’s brash and playful at every turn (“fuck it, lemme get a birthday cake and it ain’t even my birthday.”) and sets a new, more suave standard for gracefully not giving a fuck. Take note. — AS

Mach-Hommy

Wap Konn Jòj!

Imagine how blown I’d be if a Mach-Hommy project so succinct was trapped behind the art dealer paywall… The past two years seem to have opened him up, giving sermons for the streamable low since he’s no longer floating in obscurity. We’re better for it. This is everything Mach on overdrive, chilled to the right temperature with enough callbacks to the jazzier, soulful elements of eras past to lead newcomers into his universe. Not by intention, but by being the impeccable MC he is. It’s short, dense, and perfect for the permanent slate grey taking hold over the next few months. —MPII

Slauson Malone

A Quiet Farwell, Twenty Sixteen to Twenty Eighteen

A lotta heads talk genre-defying, genre-fluid, genreless music… this Slauson Malone album does that, and won’t back itself into any corner. Chopped soul, sparse bass riffs, glitches, breakbeats — it’s the gumbo of existence. This is an extended attestation to the fragility of memory, the creation of history, and what it even means to be human. It wheels along into a void that threatens to swallow itself whole, leaving the listener too spellbound to do anything but bask in an unpredictable warmth. Will you smile at the past when you see it? — MPII

MAVI

Let the Sun Talk

The Charlotte golden child wasn’t fuckin’ witcha when he told us it was Nation Time! This record sounds like the rallying cry for real niggas worldwide, set in the brightest sparks of our future and the darkest recesses of ourselves. MAVI keeps his fingers on our pulses like a hair-trigger, spittin’ until his soul threatens to exit the bones he walks around in. He’s concerned with love and legacy the way many young men are, but never take him for immature. He raps like his life depends on it, and we depend on each other. Name the last homemade rap record that made you feel like that… Don’t worry, I’ll wait. — MPII

Megan Thee Stallion

Fever

Before Hot Girl Summer, before the countless, endless memes (though the one about her knees is still awesome) and everything else, there was this, the debut LP from the best Texas rapper to emerge in recent memory, a dexterous, firing wall of flows, a UGK album made by a woman who will kill you if you cross her, a 2 Live Crew album made by a woman ready to test the real mettle of puny men. It was a light year for rap debuts, but that might be because Meg ran away with everyone’s bag. —AW

Kevin Morby

Oh My God

The death of producer and friend Richard Swift and the 2016 election prompted Kevin Morby to ask big questions, and think about his place in the universe, which prompted this album, which sounds like a piano-based update of Dylan’s gospel phase (which I mean as a high compliment). The songs here are sparse and searching, howling and orchestral, a sad, somber album for sad, somber times. — AW

Maren Morris

Girl

After limiting her output after 2016’s superlative Hero to a song you cannot escape in your local pharmacy, Morris finally released her anticipated second major label LP, GIRL. GIRL hasn’t been as massive as Hero, but that’s because it wasn’t designed to be; where the latter leaned into THIS IS MY MOMENT songwriting, Girl is concerned with more internal things like womanhood, the ups-and-downs of committed relationships, and trying to be a good person. Morris is one of country’s best songwriters, and GIRL rewards repeat listens; each pass reveals new words to live by. —AW

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors

Perhaps unexpectedly, Angel Olsen’s fourth full-length was, sonically, about the expanse — out, not up, so to speak. Sprawling, symphonic and maximalist, Olsen managed to both diverge from and make a logical successor to break-out My Woman that at some points devastates with a nuanced nostalgia (“Spring”) and at others sends a belting, synth-driven silver electric current into your bones (‘Impasse”). If there were ever any doubts, Angel Olsen is not your “indie darling.” — AS

Orville Peck

pony

I don’t think it gets more enjoyable than pony. Between Kacey Musgraves’ win at the Grammys, Old Town Road, and countless other similar occurrences, 2019 put us in the midst of a mass cultural rethinking of country as a genre. On the fringes, we find our fashionable masked hero, pouring out homoerotic desires in a booming, dynamic, operatic explosion that could give Jonny Cash a run for his money. It’s the dawn of glam country, and Peck is leaving the charge. Hop on your trusty steed and follow him into the sunset or gtfo.
AS

Caroline Polachek

Pang

Pang hits just like pop should, and just as its title implies: viscerally in the bones. Perhaps more than any of her previous records to date. “I think as I’ve deepened my knowledge and passion as both a music fan and an artist I just desire more and more clarity and honesty out of music,” Polachek told VMP earlier this year, and it shows on Pang. — AS

You can get the Vinyl Me, Please edition of this album right here.

Polo G

Die a Legend

As drill continues to embrace its melodic Eastern mutations, Chicago-bred Polo G emerged from the trenches to bring a sobering light to the struggle. He plays the melody everyman game with a sharp wit that prioritizes directness and vulnerability with a songwriter’s edge. And having a megahit will always help, rendering him appropriate for the kickback and the dark nights alone. Polo G’s a product of addiction, poverty, and struggling with faith. Die a Legend is a young man’s chronicle of the Chicago we thought we knew, rooted in the weight of the consequences and delivered with a melancholic vigor that breathes new life into the subgenre. Truly special. — MPII

Rapsody

Eve

Eve feels like Rapsody’s first comfort album. Her first project post-Grammy nomination and post-major label debut. However, she still raps with the same grit as her previous work, but this time explores her womanhood along with that of her peers, mentors, and idols. Guests bring a lot to the table on Eve, namely Reyna Biddy who performs spoken-word throughout the project. Not to mention ”Ibtihaj,” the album’s first official single and my current frontrunner for collab of the year, which features Rapsody, GZA and D’Angelo (!!!) all over a 9th Wonder beat. — JG

Joel Ross

KingMaker

It’s not often a singular, fresh new talent arrives in jazz these days, and it’s even more rare that he’d emerge playing vibraphone. But jazzbos the world over are excited about Joel Ross and his debut KingMaker, and for good reason: It’s an album that blends the body politic jazz of Ambrose Akinmusire with the sunny, sprawling ‘70s albums of Bobby Hutcherson. It’s an album that is great in its own right, and also a harbinger of what’s to come, as Ross is an exciting composer in addition to being an exciting player. —AW

You can get the Vinyl Me, Please edition of this album right here.

Dua Saleh

Nūr

It’s not often that an artist as refreshing as Dua Saleh leaks into one’s consciousness, especially not in the dead of winter with Psymun in the cut to helm the sonics. Dua can sound fantastic over a metronome alone, and they did on the first song! This whole EP is a whirlwind that reels you in, covering you in a haze of desire and defense. Dua has range like that; they can spit sum’n, sing even more, and lull one into a lullaby. (Mind you, this can all happen within the same three-to-five minutes.) Some of the most original shit I’ve heard in a long time, and they’re only pushing the bar higher with every drop! —MPII

(Sandy) Alex G

House of Sugar

As a music writer, Alex Giannascoli is my archenemy. (Sandy) Alex G — his persona, his music, like, all of it — has an indescribable quality and error of mystery that frustrates me to my core to even think about articulating, but absolutely sends me into outer space. As a music listener? Alex Giannascoli is my best friend. House of Sugar is absolutely no exception. Why am I crying about a cow right now? Why is this Bruce Springsteen-style stadium ballad making me wanna drive my car full-speed off a bridge? I don’t know, but give me more of that shit. — AS

SASAMI

SASAMI

Falling into my possession at the very start of 2019, I fell into SASAMI on constant repeat. First attributing the grips of its melancholic, modern shoegaze sound had over me to a mid-winter daze, it proved to be so much more, growing with and gifting me newly through the seasons. Previously known for her syths in rock outlet Cherry Glazerr, Sasami Ashworth solo debut somehow ties your mind up and cleanses your palate all at once and is one of the most embracing rock albums to come out this year. —AS

SAULT

5

A minimal and mysterious album release strategy has increased in popularity over the late aughts. No press photos, no bios, no information - a full album appears seemingly out of nowhere, giving the listener an opportunity to get the whole picture without having to wait on the slow trickle of singles. Many bands try this and fail: SAULT is not one of them. Their debut album 5 is a mix of driving tracks that take cues from world music with lots of fuzz and polyrhythm. Each song on this album is shaped around an incredibly catchy vocal hook - making the songs instant earworms. 5 has a song for every occasion — party starters, pensive love songs and revenge tracks — all with a beautiful lo-fi tinge. —Alex Berenson

Sturgill Simpson

Sound & Fury

The prickly Sturgill Simpson followed up his not-quite-country concept album about raising his son with this, the best ZZ Top album made by a kraut-rock band ever. It came packaged with an anime film that doesn’t really elucidate what’s actually going on here, which is that Simpson is an Artist who won’t be boxed in by any four walls you want to put around him. — AW

Sleater-Kinney

The Center Won't Hold

In which Sleater-Kinney attempt to do the one thing we don’t allow legacy bands to do, and women in legacy bands to do specifically: evolve. Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker wrote in close companionship with producer St. Vincent to give the group a more angular sound, yielding slappers like “Reach Out” and “Can I Go On,” two of the year’s best rock songs. The album got overshadowed by drummer Janet Weiss—who played on every song here—leaving the group, which was maybe the most unfortunate music story of 2019, because this album packs too much punch—and does too much good work about aging, and fighting against the dying of the light— to be overshadowed. — AW

slowthai

Nothing Great About Britain

It appears that slowthai is the latest of MCs in a recent spree of spitting in fans’ mouths per request. A casual glance at his debut LP, and one will quickly understand how his purview enables such an incident. (Granted, that might’ve been King Whitey out there.) But it’s not all hawkspit and cheap pints: Nothing Great About Britain wraps a nationalist critique into a livewire autobiography of a biracial wildchild from a town of cobblers. He runs the gamut of the underworld, and comes out cleaner than he should. Ultimately, slowthai wants to love and be loved in return. Thankfully, we can spend half the time raging to his desires. — MPII

Solange

When I Get Home

Let’s go with the Black weirdo shit! Taste! This is one of the most FUBU, “if you know, you know” albums I’ve heard in the past few years. It’s all swangas and swishas and melanated shades, a vibe harnessed by Solange Knowles on supercharge. She’s soothing and urgent, setting the scene for a burden-free tomorrow while basking in the glee only her home city can give. It’s fly shit you can gallivant through, but sounds drastically disjointed once played out of context and/or sequence. This album holds the kinda synergy you can’t detach for the same results. There’s a different type of magic afoot here, and it ain’t everybody’s jam! — MPII

Tyler, the Creator

IGOR

The full bloom of Tyler Okonma came with a wig that looked cool, a suit that glistened, and a pop romance gone awry. Anyone truly on that Golf Wang 666 shit could’ve guesstimated this trajectory by the way Tyler helmed the bulk of production back then. (Maybe even the queerness, shrouded in angst and uncertainty.) IGOR feels like the second piece in a new period, more pastel in mood and execution. This album can be downright chipper, and bitter in all the right places. I’m still not over how Uzi bodied that intro, and I’m still not over how Tyler made all these damn beats. —MPII

Vagabon

Vagabon

If you line Cameroon-born, Brooklyn-based artist Laetitia Tamko debut full-length up next to Vagabon, you’ll notice a slight amplification of her full and __ voice on the latter. And a literal amplification of her voice pairs with a renewed lyrical fortitude. She’s also swapped out cold apartments and guitar strums with a banishment of self-doubt and songs infused with digital sounds. Remaining a keen observer of the world around her above all else, her songs contexts have shifted both internally and with the world around her — “Morning starts with a pill/ And didn’t reach its peak/ All the women I meet are tired,” she starts “Every Woman” — but Vagabon promises the confidence to meet shifting tides with grace and nuance. — AS

Vampire Weekend

Father Of The Bride

Vampire Weekend deliver their mid-30s ennui album, an age where you look back at your 20’s, wonder where you fucked up, and look forward to your 40s, wondering what you can change. For Ezra Koenig, that’s making a song cycle at least partially about whether marriage breeds resentment, and whether or not you can really find fulfillment in whatever domesticity looks like for you. Packaged in a jam-band friendly visage — this is the most sonically adventurous VW album — this is phase 2.0 for the Vampires. —AW

Weyes Blood

Titanic Rising

Weyes Blood’s hypnotic alto and an album built around unpacking and deconstructing the influence of cinematic lore are a match made in a wonky, underwater heaven. Natalie Mering most conceptually complete album to date, it rewrites an impending sense of climate-apocalyptic doom into the romance we know. Both lyrically and sonically, Mering between fantastical escapism and harsh and jarring bits of reality that cut through and echo with poignance. “Got lost in the fray / I gave all I had for a time / Then by some strange design, I got a case of the empties,” she sings on “Something to Believe.” — AS

billy woods + Kenny Segal

Hiding Places

The methodical billy woods came through with his masterpiece this year, flanked by a Kenny Segal that never even considers missing. Together though? Never has a lifetime of processing trauma and paranoia felt to submersive and beautiful. Comical, even, the way woods fake laughs his way through the ways the body remembers, and the way he’ll never forward his mail. It’s not all spider holes and phone cards; there’s a joy of simply being, even when being here isn’t enough. Masterful rapping, masterful beats, and an intensity always on the brink of brimming over. — MPII

Jamila Woods

Legacy! Legacy!

In a year when debating “cancel culture” — whether it actually exists, if it goes to far, what it even is — seemed like a never-ending hell spiral, Jamila Woods’ sophomore album asserted something more complicated: that the legacies of great artists get complicated because people themselves are incredibly complicated. Woods knows that just “cancelling” someone erases you of any complicity, and also doesn’t address the underlying problems with basically everything. From Muddy Waters and Miles Davis to Betty Davis and Nina Simone, Woods uses the lives and careers of her heroes to dissect her own life, and bring some sense to this world. —AW

Young Thug

So Much Fun

Two months after hearing this album, I was silently tucked in the back of the Uber, roaming around Atlanta for A3C. Naturally, the driver turned Thug on; we bopped quietly, two Black men and our Thugger on a pleasant afternoon. We had our questions, and I still do: whom does Thug have that’ll kill you for a pack of noodles? Why so many lines about killing people’s moms, and fucking grandma? Furthermore, what made NAV sound so motivated? All that and more… make So Much Fun the enigma it’s been for Thug listeners who’ve waited patiently for him to reach a commercial mass that matches the way he’s been critically revered. The title describes precisely what we came here for. — MPII

ZelooperZ

Dyn-O-Mite

Danny Brown’s latest Bruiser Brigade signee is a multi-tonalist—equal parts Young Thug and Earl Sweatshirt. So much so that I didn’t realize he was only one person until months into having Dyn-O-Mite in rotation and reading online that he was, in fact, one person. It’s on this project that he truly pops and comes into his own, revealing a skilled lyricist and a talented, versatile vocalist — JG

You might also like…