This year has been an undoubtedly tumultuous time for everyone, musicians included. As a result of the pandemic, long-awaited releases have been shelved indefinitely, tours have been halted world-wide, and the independent music landscape looks rockier than ever. Regardless of tours or promotion opportunities many artists have continued to produce content in brand new ways, whether it be “quarantine albums” or virtual concerts. In some ways, COVID has challenged norms and created more empathetic audiences and consumers as a result. …


Donald Glover has had an undeniably rapid growth into stardom over the past decade. Setting aside his achievements in comedy, film, and television, his Childish Gambino alias has produced one of the most diverse catalogs in modern hip-hop. His beginning was muddled by poorly-aged internet nerd rap on projects like Camp and Culdesac, later transitioning into more artful songwriting on 2013’s Because the Internet. His last album, Awaken My Love!, came out over three years ago, a foray into the vintage R&B and funk of Maggot Brain and Bootsy Collins. Finally, we’ve reached 3.15.20: mysteriously live-streamed on Glover’s website this…


Ghosteen finds prolific songwriter Nick Cave a few years after the release of 2016’s devastating Skeleton Tree, recorded during the aftermath of his teenage son’s unexpected death. Tree was heartbreaking from front to back, enlisting a minimal electronic sound palette that provided a backdrop to Cave’s grievous vocal wallowing. It was an entirely unique listening experience only comparable to the band’s prior discography and perhaps David Bowie’s Blackstar.


By this point, Tyler the Creator needs no introduction. Fans and onlookers alike have held mixed opinions towards his work over the last decade, with him popping up into the mainstream via Adult Swim television shows, a successful fashion line, and a discography ranging from horror-core to alternative rock. I think it can be universally agreed upon that his last album, 2017’s Flower Boy, was received as a sort of artistic epiphany-a once controversial and near villainous hip-hop artist showcasing pure vulnerability over discussions of his closeted sexuality, fears, and age. …


The career of Schoolboy Q has been an unpredictable one. After signing to the then-unknown record label Top Dawg Entertainment nearly a decade ago, his rise has been largely overshadowed by peers Kendrick Lamar and SZA. To date, he’s had two number one albums, his biggest being 2014's Oxymoron which housed the breakaway hit “Collard Greens”. The other, 2016’s Blank Face, was a riveting and experimental dredge into psychedelic rap, enlisting heavyweight features such as Anderson Paak., E-40, and Kanye West. From an artistic standpoint he’s in a strange place-despite being widely known and respected, I’ve never met anyone that’s…


The first aspect that greets the listener on Solange Knowles’s fourth album, When I Get Home, is repetition. The opener “Things I Imagined” is a blunt reiteration over airy synthesizers and piano, beckoning “I saw things I imagined” some dozen times. For the rest of project repetition shows up on nearly every track, fitting into the lofty instrumental network whenever possible and only sparingly going off course. Apparently, it’s a Houston thing.

Solange’s last album, A Seat at the Table, grappled with issues of black identity and womanhood on tracks like “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair”…


#50) serpentwithfeet-soil

R&B artist Josiah Wise has created a kaleidoscopic listening experience with his debut album soil. The project’s distinct blend of Wise’s roots as a classical/gospel singer with distorted instrumentation is enigmatic, spiraling around lyrics dealing with love, religion, and sexuality (“I get to devote my life to him, I get to sing like the cherubim”).

Standout Tracks: Cherubim, Bless Ur Heart, Messy

#49) Vessel-Queen of the Golden Dogs


After years of relatively unknown projects and quiet appearances with fellow Atlanta artists, Destin Route, aka J.I.D, finally got his well-deserved recognition in March of last year. His debut album The Never Story was unveiled through one of the hip-hop industry’s biggest possible co-signs (J. Cole’s Dreamville Records) and cemented his creativity and clear talent as a lyricist. Across the project’s sub-40 minute runtime, tracks like “General”, “LAUDER”, and his biggest hit to date “NEVER”, breathlessly switch between humor, hubris, and paranoia. And as evident of his 2018 XXL Freshman Class appearance, J.I.D …


Vince Staples may be modern rap music’s most important cynic. Since his breakout in late 2014 with the Hell Can Wait EP, his public image has remained both hilarious and brutally honest throughout Twitter hot takes, food critiques, and one of the most confusing videos to ever go viral. Running parallel to this personality is undeniable artistic innovation, seen in the refined West Coast style on his debut album Summertime ’06 and rampant experimentation on last year’s Big Fish Theory. The latter, which enlisted notable producers such as SOPHIE and Flume and dived into the house and avant garde genres…


2018 has been a tumultuous year for BROCKHAMPTON. After a lightning-fast rise into the mainstream due to last year’s brilliant SATURATION album trilogy and co-signs from the likes of Rick Rubin, Zane Lowe, and Jaden Smith, the group faced seemingly impassable abuse allegations towards founding member Ameer Vann. Many saw Vann as an integral part of the crew, and after his forced departure in May the group cancelled their summer tour and project PUPPY planned for release in the following month. After visible distress during their final group performances and a social media blackout, the remaining members headed off to…

Brett Peters

I write reviews and opinion pieces on music, culture, and history.

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