A 2018 mixtape
First of all, I’d like to thank one of the coolest humans, Charles, for encouraging me to make this list.
The songs are ordered firstly by key (starting at 12A), then by tempo. The song list also includes some descriptions provided with help from Genius.
Pretty Little Fears (feat. J. Cole) by 6LACK — East Atlanta Love Letter.
This T-Minus-produced song is a beautiful love letter from 6LACK and J. Cole to their significant others. It’s a soft and easy listen.
Sundress by A$AP Rocky—Sundress—Single.
With its gorgeous cover art and Tame Impala samples, Sundress captured my heart more than every other song from TESTING—A$AP Rocky’s other album released earlier this year. And this should say a lot.
Look Back at It by A Boogie wit da Hoodie— Hoodie SZN.
This Jahaan Sweet-produced song uses MJ’s “You Rock My World” melody in the first verse. What especially stands out is the post-chorus, which is inspired by MJ in “Remember the Time” (see 8:10).
SOMETHING ABOUT HIM by BROCKHAMPTON—iridescence.
Brockhampton is a 13-member band. The lead singer, Kevin Abstract, tweeted to say that the song is an ode to his boyfriend.
The Bends by Earl Sweatshirt—Some Rap Songs.
This song caught my attention because of the way it samples—supposedly— the song “After Loving You” by Linda Clifford.
One of my favorite writers in the game, Paul Thompson, wrote about Earl Sweatshirt and Some Rap Songs.
This Week in Rap: Earl Sweatshirt Breaks Boundaries, Dipset Returns, and More
Every Wednesday, Vulture runs through the best, most interesting, and sometimes most confusing rap releases of the week.…
While we’re here, if you haven’t, you should also read Paul’s post about Drake.
ball w/o you by 21 Savage—i am > i was.
Produced by BEAM & TM88, in “ball w/o you” 21 Savage talks about the difference between love and loyalty.
These verses really do make you contemplate the necessary ingredients in making various relationships work.
The One (Radio Edit) by Jorja Smith— The One — Single.
This Joel Compass-produced song is so well made, it’s a gift for the ears.
Freeee by KIDS SEE GHOSTS — KIDS SEE GHOSTS.
Considered to be a follow up to “Ghost Town” on Kanye West’s album ye, the song has been submitted for consideration for ‘Best Rock Song’ and ‘Best Rock Performance’ in the 2019 Grammys.
Gonna Love Me by Teyana Taylor—K.T.S.E.
This song heavily samples “I Gave To You” by The Delfonics.
Can’t Be Broken by Lil Wayne—Tha Carter V.
Following the theme of “Freeee” and “The Bends”—nothing can break or stand in the way of Weezy. Tha Carter V is his twelfth studio album.
The Mantra by Mike WiLL Made-It, Pharrell Williams, & Kendrick Lamar—Creed II: The Album.
Why did none of you tell me about this soundtrack? “Shea Butter Baby”, which I include later in the list, is also from Creed II.
According to Genius, this song marks Mike WiLL Made-It’s fourth collaboration with Pharrell and his seventh collaboration with K-Dot. In the song, they talk about how negativity will not stand in the way of their success.
I Was Never There by The Weeknd & Gesaffelstein—My Dear Melancholy.
This is The Weeknd’s first collaboration with French producer Gesaffelstein. This magical song, and the album, is said to be about Selena Gomez. One can only dream of such a farewell.
Shea Butter Baby by Ari Lennox & J. Cole—Creed II: The Album.
Ari Lennox reminds me of Erykah Badu. I did some googling and I’m not alone in my opinion:
Powerful with a jazzy, nasal lilt, her voice recalls Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu and, for good reason, as she’s cited them as artistic inspirations in the past.
You should also check out her single, “Whipped Cream”, and do not miss this interview:
Here's 10 Things You Never Knew About Ari Lennox
One of our '17 Artists to Watch in 2017,' Ari Lennox, is a Dreamville label signee with a bright future ahead of her.
Rose Gold by Illa J—John Yancey.
Illa J is the younger brother of legendary hip hop producer and rapper, J Dilla. In this album, he talks about the ups and downs of his relationships.
You Want It Darker (Solomun Remix) by Leonard Cohen—You Want It Darker (Solomun Remix) — Single.
Remixing can bring the wisdom and art of the past to a younger and sometimes different audience. This remix is a thoroughly enjoyable experience thanks to House DJ and producer Solomun.
“You Want It Darker” is from Leonard Cohen’s album announced on his 82nd birthday, three weeks before his death.
APESHIT by THE CARTERS—EVERYTHING IS LOVE.
All that needs to be said here can be better said with this gif:
YOSEMITE by Travis Scott—ASTROWORLD.
I would divide my 2018 into two clear phases delineated by the release of ASTROWORLD. The depth, humor, and accessibility of this album is exemplary.
I pick YOSEMITE; produced by June James, it is the best sounding song from the album. Nobody yet knows why it’s named after Yosemite. I am happy that the best sneakers got an s/o and will continue to wait on my Twitter order.
In addition to bringing this album into my life, I would like to thank Trav for introducing me to DJ Screw. Listen to “Never Trust” for 12 minutes of bliss.
Overdue (feat. Travis Scott) by Metro Boomin—NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES.
I almost slept on this song because I had “No More” on repeat the whole time. With the ambient “Anthonio” sample and Travis Scott vocals, it could have also sat well on ASTROWORLD.
Anybody (feat. Nicki Minaj) by Young Thug—Hear No Evil — Single.
I love “Sir”, “Ganja Burn”, and “Chun-Li” from the Nicki Minaj album, Queen, this year. But this Young Thug collab is what’s making it on my list.
I Say a Little Prayer (Mono) by Aretha Franklin—The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967–1970 (Remastered).
My first introduction to Aretha Franklin was in 1997 with the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding—which taught me love, patience, and pain all in one place.
While we are on the topic of the movie, I recommend that you check out this bit to appreciate the process of writing a story like this one:
The playlist is available on Apple Music and Spotify.
Thank you for reading.
Please get in touch and let me know your favorite songs.