Memo’s Monthly Favorites: February 2021

Hello everybody! Happy March! Even though February is the shortest month of the year, this past month was packed with a lot of great music. Especially in the singles department. I added more singles than usual in the honorable mentions, but I did leave two tracks. I did this because Daw has already written two great articles about them. I really recommend reading Daw’s articles on “Gang Signs” by Freddie Gibbs featuring ScHoolboy Q and “So.Incredible.pkg [Robert Glasper Version]” by Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats, Smino, and Robert Glasper. Those two tracks are amazing. Give it a listen. With that being said let’s dive into my monthly favorites.

Song Honorable Mentions:

Cakes Da Killer & Proper Villain – What’s The Word: Let’s start off with some straight-up fire. This hip-house track is very energetic. Cakes Da Killer is coming at you with these speedy flows. I really like how expressive he is when he delivers each bar. Proper Villain kills it on production. It has everything you want from a good hip-house beat. What’s not to love?

Big Freedia – Platinum: This song is by far one of the most fun and entertaining songs I have listened to this month. If it weren’t for the pandemic, I can totally see this song pumping people up at a club. I love how powerful and bold Big Freedia’s voice is. It pairs well with this fast-paced southern hip hop beat. I guarantee this song will have you on your feet, so if you want to have a mini dance party give this song a listen.

Genesis Owusu – Gold Chains: Genesis Owusu is probably my favorite discovery so far this year. This song was so close to becoming my favorite song of the month. This is mostly because of his singing. The chill lowkey production is great, but his voice is incredible. He doesn’t have a crazy singing performance, but everything he says sounds smooth as fuck. Especially when he is melodically rapping. This track is a must-listen.

Tkay Maidza – Kim (with Yung Baby Tate): After releasing my favorite EP of 2020, I became a giant fan of Tkay. So you better believe I am hyped for her upcoming EP. Especially after listening to “Kim”. That shit is crazy. This track is an aggressive, unapologetic, attitude-filled ride. Both Tkay Maidza and Yung Baby Tate sound so badass. They have amazing chemistry. I really love how this song references famous Kim’s including Kim Possible. I genuinely don’t know how someone can hate this song.

Noname – Rainforest: Noname is back with another impressive single. She just continues to amaze me. Her poetic lyricism is packed with a lot, and I mean a lot, of deep content. In the hoof alone she talks about depression, exploitive billionaires, and deforestation. “Because, because a rainforest cries, Everybody dies a little”, is one of my favorite lines I have heard all year. I can’t emphasize enough how well written this song is. Plus the jazzy calm instrumental makes for a perfect backdrop for this song. For crying out loud, NONAME DROP AN ALBUM! I NEED IT!

JID – Skegee: JID really did something special with this track. Like other JID tracks, he goes in a conscious direction. As always his lyrics are well written. What makes this song special in my opinion is what JID actually raps about. He shines a light on the Tuskegee experiments. Before this track, I didn’t know those disgusting and dehumanizing experiments actually happened. I appreciate JID for spreading more awareness to historical moments like these because I for sure did not learn about this in my public high school.

EP Honorable Mentions: 

MAVI – END OF THE EARTH: Although I am not absolutely in love with this EP, I do see its appeal. Mavi shows flashes of potential throughout this entire EP. On the first track, he is rapping with so much emotion. He truly sounds like he in a lot of pain. I love how Mavi raps when the trap drums come through on “METHODS”. His depressing lyricism is on point. I just hope he continues to improve and finds his own sound.

Luna Li – jams EP: There’s no clickbait here. This EP is filled with jams. In this 10 minute and 10 track EP, Luna Li soothes the listener with her talent. It’s crazy how Luna produced every single one of these lushes beats on her own. Every instrument played was done by her. The guitar, bass, violin, keys, and even the fucking harp were all her. What instrument can’t she play? If you want to relax I highly suggest putting this EP on.

Album Honorable Mention:

Luke Banter – Pucker Up: In this album, Luke provides several love-sick, yet upbeat pop tracks that are perfect for this past Valentine’s day. Luke does an impressive job at making catchy hooks. With tracks like “Nelly Bly”, “Pucker Up”, “Allergic”, and “Witchcraft” I can see the potential in what Luke is doing. This album is far from perfect. There are definitely several flaws and duds in the tracklist. With that said I am genuinely excited to see what Luke does moving forward.

Conway The Machine & Big Ghost Ltd – If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed: Man, Conway continues to amaze me. Conway has single-handedly turned me into a bigger Griselda fan. Don’t get me wrong Benny and Westside Gunn are cool, but Conway is on another level. Just like From King to a God, If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed differentiate himself from his contemporaries with his pen game. I absolutely love how badass Conway can be, but he can also be very vulnerable. Big Ghost Ltd kills it with the gritty production. Although this is not my favorite Conway album, I think this album is awesome. Don’t sleep on this album!

slowthai – TYRON: It was a tough choice putting TYRON on the honorable mentions list. Although this isn’t my favorite album of the month, so far this is definitely my favorite hip hop album of the year. Slowthai really impressed me with this album. The reason why I am a fan of slowthai is because of his aggressive bangers. In the first disc, we get those bangers, but the second disc is depressing and moody. Again I love those bangers, but slowthai really shined like he never has before on the second disc. Slowthai proves once again why he is one of the best rappers in the UK.

Favorite Song of The Month:

Kero Kero Bonito – The Princess and the Clock: As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of great singles released this month. It was honestly very hard to choose my favorite song of the month. I ended up picking this song because of how extravagant it is. This song sounds like an evolution of a track from Bonito Generation. It’s cute and upbeat, but they experiment a bit more on the production. This track has several different phases. It can be explosive and crazy, but then turn soothing in a blink of an eye. I am so hyped for the upcoming EP!

Favorite EP of the Month:

JPEGMAFIA – EP2!: In a short time span, JPEGMAFIA drops another installment of his EP series. Last year, he dropped an EP filled with entertaining experimental mostly rap songs. In this EP he is going into it with a different approach. This EP is darker. It is moodier. Peggy is a lot angrier than he was in EP!. Peggy has been angry in past projects, but he is usually rapping and shouting. In EP2!, he goes into a melodic approach. I wouldn’t even consider this rap. This is an angry experimental R&B project. Even though he is singing, his lyrics is still unapologetically cutthroat. I am not disappointed. 

Favorite Album of the Month:

Black Country, New Road – For the first time: I did not expect to like this album as much as I did. I consider myself a hip-hop fan. Although I do give other genres a chance, hip hop is my bread and butter. This experimental rock album is not something I usually would gravitate to, but I am in love with it. The biggest reason why is because of the production. This album has some of the best production I have listened to in a while. I also really love the dramatic singing performances throughout the album. This album has a lot of great qualities that help keep the listener’s attention. This is good because this album has a risky tracklist. It is only 6 songs with each song spanning from 5 to 10 minutes long. Black Country, New Road does an excellent job at keeping the listener engage even with a funky tracklist. If this album is just the beginning, then I can’t wait to see what they do next!

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

Best Tracks of the Week 11/28/19

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This is our weekly best new tracks article. We cover mostly brand new songs but also some gems from the last few weeks. Follow our playlist if you want to follow on Spotify or if you hate my writing and just want the music:

I’m going to keep this quick because I have enough Thanksgiving turkey tryptophan in my body to subdue a horse. I’d like to give a shoutout to my little brother because we roadtripped back to Chicago for 15 hours and I made him listen to me skimming through over 200 albums for most of the ride. This year I am thankful that my brother (I’m going to leave his name out of this so the instant fame doesn’t ruin his life) didn’t drive us straight off the road when I’d go five straight albums without listening to a full song.

‘Strangest Places’ – Approachable Members of your Local Community, Dulcie

This band name is hilarious, and they also have an album called ‘If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to contact us’ which I also think is funny. I might just be high on Thanksgiving family vibes (or tryptophan) but these dad jokes are hitting right now. These Australians (because as we previously discussed I guess I only listen to Australian music now) have not come out of nowhere, they have a ton of great songs that have led up to this absolute jam.

‘Sympathetic Vibrations’ – Bad Sounds

This sensorily satisfying jam comes from Bad Sounds who are from Bath. What, you don’t know where Bath is? Are you serious? Haha, you idiot. Bath is the largest city in the county of SomersetEngland, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859.[2] Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.

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‘Louder’ – Big Freedia, Icona Pop

Oh yeeeeah, this is a jam. Do I even have to say anything about this?

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‘Descendant of the Stars’ – Action Bronson, The Alchemist

Damn this song is old af! I didn’t even realize until I started doing some digging to write the blog since it was released officially on the album this week. I guess that’s going to happen sometimes when you do most of your research in the car on your phone. Oh well, always happy to give national treasure Action Bronson some extra attention. Check out his show F*ck That’s Delicious if you haven’t already, it’s awesome.

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‘Blinded’ – Mint Julep

This was one of those songs I started sending out immediately as soon as I heard, love these tender vocals over the airy, dreamy production. Can’t wait to cruise to this in the car on some Sunday morning when I’m in a good mood. Fun fact, half of this band Keith Keniff (along with Hollie Keniff) produced the song that Facebook plays for the “look back” feature.

‘Save Room For Us’ – Tinashe, MAKJ

This reminds me of my guilty pleasure songs from the 90s, I’m going to share one with you now that I used to play on my blue portable CD player when I was like 10:

That’s one of those songs you play for your little league team in Chicago one time and then quickly learn that you don’t have to talk about everything you listen to and can instead focus on the finer points of the game and your sunflower seed technique. Also, Tinashe will soon be making an appearance on our BEST OF THE DECADE playlist:

‘Mullet’ – Upset

Two weeks in a row for Upset!!! What an… I won’t say it but you know what I was going to- UPSET! This is a first in Indie Pong history that this supergroup (who we discussed last week) has just against all odds pulled off. Congratulations to Upset, your names have been engraved on our Indie Pong plaque sheet of paper in our headquarters.

Also Donnie Baker came up when I typed in Mullet Upset so… I’m not going to post videos because they can be a bit unsavory but if you want to look them up yourself be my guest.

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‘The Keeper’ – Blossoms

Little bro (whose name will remain anonymous as to keep hoards of people from sliding into his DMs because he’s a spoken for man) found this one on the road trip, and it’s wonderful. Blossoms are a UK band, and I’m pretty sure they’re one of those bands that is an extremely well kept British secret that hasn’t fully traveled over to the US yet, because their music has 10M+ listens on more than a handful of tracks and they are doing an extensive UK tour right now. This was the case with Mahalia, who before absolutely exploding and becoming a top five Indie Pong artist of the year, already had wide acclaim in the UK. At her show in LA she explained that it was her first US tour which shocked me because she’s the best and has a huge following already. Well it’s time for your boy to shed some light:

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Actually that’s enough right, you guys get it right, they’re an awesome British folk rock band that’s about to blow up in America soon so keep them on your radar. Also, this song reminds me of one of my faves from back in the day, little folk gem for you:

‘The Tide’ – Ruthie

This is just a straight up great song, would have been ten, twenty, thirty, forty years ago and is now. I highly recommend new EP Universal Heartbreak Now, and especially this jam for when you’re traveling in time and you’re not quite sure what year you ended up in because you spilled coffee (or space coffee) on your motherboard (?) and need to play a song for the locals to prove that you’re from that decade and not an alien like in Back to the Future.

‘I Wish I Never Met You’ – Oh Wonder

Some smooth tunes over here! This is the kind of song that is all you want to listen to after a long day, to ease you into your dinner/movie plans (making a makeshift dinner from loose ingredients in my kitchen and watching Chopped and queuing positive reviews of the judges up to your first bite so it’s like Aarón Sánchez is complimenting YOUR bean and cheese burrito) or if you just want a gorgeous pop songs to get you through whatever you’re going through.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading and happy Thankgsgiving y’all!

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And don’t forget to follow our playlist on Spotify for instant updates!