June not only brought us the official start of summer 2019, but it also brought us some high-quality music to be the unofficial soundtrack these next few months.
We’ve seen newcomers hit it out the park with debut efforts, some of today’s best coming with new material, and a re-release that we thought would NEVER happen. With today being the last day of June, I figured I’d take a look at some standout projects from this past month. So, let’s get right to it: these are my picks for the 10 BEST RELEASES OF 2019.
*sidenote: for all my stans/superfans/music purists out there, these are in no particular order! please don’t threaten to kill me in the comments if I misplace or skip over your favorites*
10. MEGATRON – Nicki Minaj
The queen of rap returns in style. ‘MEGATRON’ sees Nicki back in her anthem bag with a sunny, Carribean-style track that’ll definitely get the ladies up and dancing at the functions, and that’s a Fendi-fact. It’s sexy, it’s enticing, and of course, Nicki delivers witty bars about… well, what she’s the best at rapping about (I’ll leave that up for your interpretation). But nonetheless, I’m excited for some new Nicki Minaj music; & whatever she has tucked away, I’m sure the Barbz will put everyone’s timeline on notice.
9. 7 EP – Lil Nas X
For anyone who assumed the ‘Old Town Road’ hype was a fluke or thought Atlanta native Lil Nas X was gonna end up another one-hit wonder, you’ve got a loooooong summer ahead of you, chief. Releasing his second single ‘Panini’ right before the release of his project, and the song went viral in a matter of hours. While the EP is titled ‘7’, we’re getting 8 original songs from the record-breaking artist… kind of. Sure, he’s got OTR up twice, with the Billy Ray Cyrus remix as the opener and the original as the closer, but the 5 new songs we do get see Lil Nas tapping into different sounds. From country to rock to pop/alternative, the emcee shows versatility and range that I personally didn’t think he had. Cardi B makes an appearance on the unofficial OTR sequel Rodeo, and of course, the internet was set to flames. All in all, Lil Nas X is here to stay, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the rising star.
NOTABLE TRACKS: Panini, C7osure (You Like), Bring You Down
8. DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR – Gucci Mane
At this point, Gucci Mane could put out an album full of voice memo’s and we’d still love it. Because Gucci Mane has had a historic career, practically solidifying himself as the hometown hero and one of raps longest standing rappers. And he hasn’t missed a step since his 2016 release from prison, with ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ being the rappers 100th full-length project and stands as another noteworthy release for Gucci. Sitting at 18 tracks, the Atlanta emcee is flexing on every single song & brings just about everyone in for a verse. Justin Beiber lands on ‘Love Thru the Computer’, Meek Mill bars out on ‘Backwards’, and ‘ICE’ reminds us of why Lil Baby and Gunna are next to run the game. Along with looks from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Rick Ross, Lil Uzi Vert (where the hell is Eternal Atake?!), Wiz Khalifa and more, this project has enough heat to keep your playlists occupied for a while.
NOTABLE TRACKS: ICE, Special, & Potential
7. DIASPORA – GoldLink
DMV’s own GoldLink is back after the release of his debut album ‘At What Cost’ and his Grammy-nominated hit ‘Crew’. The emcee dropped a handful of singles in the months prior, with ‘Got Muscle’ featuring Peewee Longway picking up traction and serving as a stand-alone single. The ones that do appear on the album gave us more insight into the direction of the album. GoldLink is tapping into sounds and styles from black areas across the world, and cuts like ‘Zulu Screams’, ‘U Say’, and ‘Yard’ are just examples of the different elements incorporated within the record. I gotta give it to him… this is a summer record I was hoping for. It’s laid back, fun and a really nice change of pace for the current landscape. GoldLink’s unique and chill flow sounds great over the eclectic production and delivers a groove like no other. For anyone looking for music a little outside the mainstream, you won’t be disappointed with this album.
NOTABLE TRACKS: U Say, Days Like This, and Joke Ting
6. LONG LIVE MEXICO – Lil Keed
I will admit I didn’t know a lot about YSL’s newest signee until I saw this album pop up on my Spotify. And I can 110% see what Young Thug sees in Atlanta’s Lil Keed. It’s his uncanny similarity to Thug himself, but with a twist, and you just can’t put your finger on it. But this isn’t just another mini Thugger wannabe. Lil Keed caught some shine with his last effort ‘Keed Talk To Em‘ and has been on a tear ever since. LLM is a hard-hitting project out the gate, and Lil Keed is definitely feeling himself. Cuts like ‘Ride The Wave’, ‘Oh My God’, & ‘HBS’ show that Keed can stand on his own two, but LLM doesn’t cut back on features; Young Thug himself shows up twice, newer artists like Roddy Ricch, Lil Gotit, & YNW Melly get some shine, and Lil Uzi Vert & Gunna pop up in the tracklisting, just to name a few. Check out Lil Keed’s project if you’re looking for bangers this summer!
NOTABLE TRACKS: Oh My God, Proud of Me, and Pull Up
5. 1-888-88-DREAM/THE BEST IN THE WORLD PACK – Dreamville/Drake
J. Cole’s Dreamville label is gearing up for the release of ‘REVENGE OF THE DREAMERS 3’ this summer and finally decided to tease the project. And I’m just gonna say it, they might have an early AOTY (album of the year) contender off these two tracks ALONE. Got Me is R&B in its purest form, featuring incredible vocals from Ari Lennox & Ty Dolla $ign, and dope verses from Dreamville alum Omen and Chicago’s Dreezy. Down Bad? Bars. I don’t even want to tap into what makes this song so good. Young Nudy, J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, and Venus from Earthgang? Do I even need to?
Which brings us to the two singles by October’s Very Own. Hot off the championship victory of his hometown Toronto Raptors, Drake decided to drop some songs in celebration (thanks again, @complexmag). Now, these aren’t the best of Drake’s discography for sure, but knowing that we might not get a full release until next year, it’s good to have some new Drake to bump. Plus, it’s just nice seeing Aubrey having some fun after an… interesting 2018/early ’19. Here’s to you Drake!
4. INDIGO – Chris Brown
You can love him. You can absolutely despise him. But one thing we all know about Chris Brown? TALENT & HITS. 32 tracks on this new ‘Indigo’ album, so there’s more than enough to sink your teeth into. Brown has always been known for giving you a little bit of everything, and this recent release is no different. You’ll get some fun, some love, some heartbreak and more with ‘Indigo’, as well as some great features from Nicki Minaj, H.E.R, Drake, Juicy J, Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Tory Lanez, Justin Beiber, Trey Songz… I could go on, but I’ll let you check it out for yourself. But just know, if you counted Breezy out before, know that he’s not messing around with this one.
NOTABLE TRACKS – Come Together, Need A Stack, Undecided & No Guidance
3. CASE STUDY 01 – Daniel Caesar
Everybody was gearing up for a #HotGirlSummer a #CityBoyzSummer, until Daniel Caesar decided to drop. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if cuffing season rolls in a few months early. The follow up to the award-winning ‘Freudian’, ‘CASE STUDY 01’ is atmospheric, it’s airy and finds Caesar in a new place in life. It’s an introspective take on love and what it all means, with 10 songs & a slew of lyrics that’ll definitely creep their way into your #MCM or #WCW’s captions. With some vocal assistance from Pharrell, Brandy, and a surprise feature from John Mayer, this album is a reminder that Daniel Caesar is a generational talent like no other.
NOTABLE TRACKS – CYANIDE, LOVE AGAIN, FRONTAL LOBE MUZIK & ARE YOU OK?
2. BANDANA – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
The dynamic pairing of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib always ends in legendary projects. ‘BANDANA’ is the follow up to 2014’s ‘PIÑATA’ finds the duo in rare form. Madlib posted on his Instagram that the entire project was produced with beats off his iPad but from the quality of this album you could’ve told me it was made in Abbey Road. Madlib chops up some beautiful beats, beats that’ll remind you of the best boom bap rap with a 2000’s edge. Gibbs is back with slick/gritty bars, rapping about the finer things to the drug game, and even drops a few lines about his stint in an Austrian prison back in 2016. With dazzling features from Anderson.Paak, ATL’s Killer Mike, & Pusha T, ‘BANDANA’ is a true blue rap album from two of the game’s best.
NOTABLE TRACKS: Crime Pays & Palmolive
1. ACID RAP/10DAY – Chance The Rapper
Now, THIS was a personal pick, but I doubt there’s anyone that’ll really debate me on the basis that these are two of the best mixtapes of the decade; in all fairness, they could be all-time great projects. In celebration of his upcoming debut “owbum”, Chance The Rapper released his first two critically acclaimed mixtapes ’10 Day’ & ‘Acid Rap’ as a way to revisit the path that brought the Chicago emcee to stardom. For all my day 1’sfans and my “we want the OLD Chance” people, this release is like Christmas in the summer. And with a brand new album on the horizon, Chano is prepping for a summer run like no other.
NOTABLE TRACKS: …all of em?
So, how do you feel about the list? Love it or hate it, sound off in the comments. As always, follow us on Twitter & Instagram, and be on the lookout for next months top 10!