Music opinion

The Best Songs of January 2018

The first month of the year brought that heat. Find that here on this list.

January is one of the most important months of the year. It serves as the month that sets our expectations for the entire year. This is true for our relationship status, or financial status, or professional life. The same is definitely true for music. The premier month is an exciting time for music as it serves as the starter block for the year. I’ve personally made it my task to show you my favorite tracks of January. So here we go I guess, listen to my opinions for the best songs of the first month.

All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar & SZA

Possibly the only thing that could have made black people more excited about the upcoming Marvel Movie Black Panther was a fire soundtrack. So of course, as Kendrick Lamar was recently named as the Executive Producer of the movie, the black delegation lost its collective mind. The excitement for the movie was vaulted into high gear with the release of the first single, “All the Stars”, a Kendrick led-track which features sweet voiced songstress SZA. The TDE pairing brought the energy with SZA delivering an electric chorus and verse, which when mixed with the Kendrick production created the perfect concoction for an amazing track. The use of rhythmic drums and strings in the production served as a sweeping and emotional background to Lamar’s usual lyrical prowess. It served its purpose to put the world on notice that this movie is going to take the world by storm.

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Egyptian Luvr – Rejjie Snow, Aminé, Dana Williams

Rejjie Snow did not waste any time making a splash in the music world in 2018. He released his first studio album, Dear Annie, in January, which was a showcase of his production skills and unique rapping style brought over from Dublin, Ireland. The standout track from the project is “Egyptian Luvr”, a smooth, funky beat that expertly uses a well-timed Aminé feature and a calming Dana Williams chorus that gives the track a classic feel. It never feels as though it is trying too hard, coming off as genuine and charming. The Dublin artist found a way to combine his modern, unique flow with the smooth production of a 90’s R&B song. If this is any indication of the year Rejjie Snow could have, then I’m here for it.

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Something Foreign – SiR, Schoolboy Q

I think there’s a rule in the music commandments that if a two TDE artists combine on a track, the track is legally liable to be fire. Off of recently minted TDE member SiR’s album November, this track is backed by a piano production that makes the listener feel as though they are in a relaxing jazz club in east Memphis. Then the strings hop on, strengthening the production. SiR’s simplistic lyrics allows the focus to be placed on his superior vocals, as his honey-like voice seduces the listener into allowing him to pull up in something foreign. The addition of Schoolboy Q sends to track to another echelon, as one of the hardest and hood rappers once again showcases his ability to deliver smooth and sultry lyrics. This track is another strong showing from the TDE collective.

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Juliet + Caesar – Cautious Clay

Even though New York-based artist Cautious Clay only has 5 tracks available on Soundcloud, it has not taken him long to show that he has an exciting new R&B sound that should be welcomed in the mainstream. His voice is relaxed, never coming across as forced or disingenuous. The natural sound that he seems to carry blesses your ears with lyrics on the subject of living a life without love. The production is strong, displaying a clear and concise vision from the artist that usually escapes rookie artists. As a music fan, one should look out for any future work that he puts out, because he is the real deal.

Loco – Creek Boyz

The Creek Boyz have found a vein that is filled with gold and should hold onto it for as long as possible. The Baltimore County rap group’s aura of positivity and energy brings a level of excitement to the rap game that hasn’t been seen in a while. After exploding onto the scene with the contagious hit “With My Team”, the group returned with “Loco”, once again displaying the chorus of talent that the group contains. They have the ability to work in concierto to make rapping about getting money sound heavenly and angelic. Their use of trap beats with rhythmic, almost singsong lyricism has allowed them to create a yin-yang balance of sounds. Look out for more tracks from this collective throughout the year, as they should continue to trend upwards and refine their sound.

Let Me Down – Jorja Smith feat. Stormzy

If there is one combination that will prove to never fail, it is that of a British songstress and a British grime rapper. This is especially true if the pairing is Jorja Smith and Stormzy, who both experienced breakout 2017s. Jorja’s haunting and woeful vocals are backed by equally a haunting piano beat that is reminiscent of an old Adele song that I’ve forgotten the name to. The track is given an extra burst of energy and emotion with the addition of Stormzy, who has found a way to draw from the influences of grime rap, while also calling on emotional and meaningful lyrics to pack a sensitive punch. We should all look forward to more pairings like this in the future, as this is should be the prototype for all collaborations.

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