Hello everybody! Happy New Year! It has been a while. School and work kept me very busy this year. It prevented me from writing a lot of blogs this year. With that said, nothing will stop me from telling you all my top 50 albums of the year. Even though no one asked. This year has been an amazing year for music. In my list, I have a mix of the biggest releases and some underground gems. Every album here is great in my opinion. Check out these albums if you haven’t done so already.
Without further ado here are my top 50 albums of the year for 2021!
50) Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
49) Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti
48) CHAI – WINK
47) Chief Keef – 4 NEM
46) J. Cole – The Off-Season
45) Shelley FKA DRAM – Shelley FKA DRAM
44) Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson
43) Vince Staples – Vince Staples
42) Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
41) Tony Allen – There Is No End
40) Adele – 30
39) EXUM – Xardinal Coffee
38) Zack Fox – shut the fuck up talking to me
37) IDK – USEE4YOURSELF
36) Kota The Friend & Statik Selektah – To Kill A Sunrise
35) Rejjie Snow – Baw Baw Black Sheep
34) Pink Siifu – GUMBO’!
33) serpentwithfeet – DEACON
32) Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs)
31) St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home
30) Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee
29) Clairo – Sling
28) Nas – King’s Disease II
27) Conway The Machine – La Maquina
26) Paris Texas – BOY ANONYMOUS
25) Your Old Droog – Time
24) Porter Robinson – Nurture
23) Lil Nas X – MONTERO
22) Blu – The Color Blu(e)
21) CZARFACE & MF DOOM – Super What?
20) James Blake – Friends That Break Your Heart
19) GRIP – I Died For This!?
18) Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram
17) Turnstile- GLOW ON
16) Weezer – OK Human
15) slowthai – TYRON
14) McKinely Dixon – For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her
13) JPEGMAFIA – LP!
12) Black Country, New Road – For the first time
11) Tyler, the Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
10) Genesis Owusu – Smiling with No Teeth
9) Magdelena Bay – Mercurial World
8) BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW ROAD
7) Kanye West – DONDA
6) Injury Reserve – By the Time I Get to Phoenix
5) Backxwash – I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES
4) C. Tangana – El Madrileño
3) Spellling – The Turning Wheel
2) Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
1) Silk Sonic – An Even with Silk Sonic
Let me know what you think?
P.S. Just like last year, I have a Spotify playlist for my top 50 songs of 2021. Check it out! I also started list week on my YouTube channel (FancyMemo), if you are interested.
Hello everybody! Happy June! I hope you are all doing well. This past month was pretty busy for me. My semester ended last month, so that means I had finals to worry about. Somehow I passed all of my classes so yay me! Now that my semester is over I can finally focus a bit more on music. Speaking of music, I’ve got some recommendations for you all today, so let’s jump into the honorable mentions.
Song Honorable Mentions:
Chimurenga Renaissance, King Britt, and Nadine Stoddart – Zimbabwe: I got to thank the homie Mates for this song recommendation. This track is fire! As you might have guessed from the song title, this track takes heavy musical inspiration from Zimbabwe’s culture. This hip-hop track has traditional Zimbabwe sounds sprinkled throughout the track. Nadine’s singing is not only great, but she sings in her native language which adds even more to the song in my opinion. The rap verse was tight, but I just wish there was a bit more. One verse wasn’t enough for me. Overall great track! Mates came through with this recommendation.
Bungalow Collect – Tell Me Where To Go: This might be the smoothest track of the month. Bungalow Collect consists of members Apollo J, Zay Suaz, Marcus Isiah, and Rshad. Each member absolutely killed it. This group is so charismatic. I promise after the first listen you will be hooked. The rapping from both Apollo J and Rshad are FIRE! The chorus from Zay and Marcus is extremely entertaining. I love the groovy production. It somehow feels old school and new school at the same time. This song is filled with great vibes. I can’t get enough of it. PLEASE GIVE IT A LISTEN! I AM BEGGING!
DMX – Bath Salts (feat. JAY-Z & Nas): This song is a must-listen for not only New York hip hop fans, but for hip hop fans in general. Three New York rap legends on one song. JAY-Z starts things off sounding hungry over this dark and grimy beat. He didn’t come to play. This man is spitting. “Every six months, I think I need a new bucket list” is probably my favorite line off the track. With that said both Nas and DMX had great bars and quotables. When Nas said, “Ha, let’s put success to the side, I’d still be this fly if I worked at Popeye’s, That’s a whole lotta spinach, whole game full of gimmicks, Make a fool out of yourself for a post on Akademiks”, I started geeking out. The late legend, DMX, went in. This line, in particular, got me laughing, “I’m taking half, it’s just that simple Or I can start poppin’ niggas like pimples”. Even in DMX’s later years, he was still able to give entertaining verses. This song is from DMX’s posthumous album Exodus. Give it a listen, especially if you are a fan of hip hop.
EP Honorable Mentions:
Paris Texas – BOY ANONYMOUS: This fiery duo just dropped some heat on this EP. Throughout this entire project, Paris Texas delivers some crazy moments. For example, the outro of “CASINO” is fucking insane! I love how it transitions into the following track “PACK 4 DA LOW”. Paris Texas has a lot of energy when they rap. Although I prefer their in-your-face rapping, when they slow things down on songs like “AREA CODE” the outcome turns out pretty cool. What stands out the most to me is the chemistry Louie Pastel and Felix have. Everything sounded so natural. Nothing sounded forced. I can’t wait to see what they do next. This is an exciting experimental rap duo that you should keep an eye out for.
Album Honorable Mentions:
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti: Mach-Hommy has been a fan favorite in the underground for a while now. Pray For Paris is the first project I have listened to from Mach. Although I wouldn’t say this is the best rap album of the year, I do see why he has such a dedicated fan base and has garnered the attention of JAY-Z and Drake. He is a great lyricist with several cool quotables like, “I’ll put that biscuit to your tee like it’s England”. Throughout the album Mach tributes Haiti which is where he is from. Thanks to Westside Gunn, who executive produced the album, this album has a grimy feel to it. If you are a fan of Griselda you will love this album.
CHAI – WINK: This album is the perfect example of not needing to know the language to enjoy the music. CHAI is a female Japanese band consisting of four members: Yuna, Kana, Mana, and Yuuki. Although there is some English in this album it is mostly in Japanese. I have no idea what they are saying, but the singing is so pretty. Pretty might be the best adjective to describe the album. From the singing to the production, each song is so pretty. Some standout tracks I want to mention include “PING PONG!” featuring YMCK. I love the video game-like production. “Maybe Chocolate Chips” has a great feature from Rick Wilson. He sounds a lot like JID to me. Although the closing track is only one minute long, I love the serenity “SALTY” provides. Great album! Give it a listen.
Tony Allen – There Is No End: Tony Allen is a drummer hailing from Nigeria. He, unfortunately, passed away last year, but his music lives on with this new posthumous album. There Is No End is an exciting album filled with amazing instrumentals and incredible features. Sampa The Great, Koreatown Oddity, Danny Brown, and Skepta did their thing on their respective tracks. Some of the features I didn’t know going into this album blew my mind like Zelooperz and Marlowe. I love the music off of this album, but I think the best part of the album is how Tony Allen started and ended the album. Tony Allen wanted to remind the listener that music never ends, it lives forever. I just thought this was a beautiful statement. Tony Allen’s work will definitely live forever.
Song Of The Month:
Lil Nas X – SUN GOES DOWN: I need to let the cat out of the bag. Lil Nas X’s music has been a “guilty pleasure” of mine since the release of the 7 EP. I basically love everything he has dropped and “SUN GOES DOWN”is no exception. The production on this track is pretty simple. It basically consists of some trap drums and a calm loop consistently playing in the background. It is simple but effective. Lyrically Lil Nas X is in a very vulnerable place. He basically talks about his struggle figuring out his identity growing up, his struggle with depression, and at the end, he reassures his younger self. Although I love “Montero”, I think “SUN GOES DOWN” is the best he has released this year. Dare I say, the best song he has released in his career.
EP Of The Month:
Audrey Nuna – a liquid breakfast: Audrey Nuna is such an interesting artist to me. On the surface, she seems kind of dull with her monotone delivery, but she is the complete opposite. Yes, her delivery on this EP is pretty monotone, but she can rap. Her flows can be very impressive from a technical standpoint. The combination of the monotone and impressive rapping with these dreary beats sounds so cool together. What surprised me the most is finding out she can sing. She has a nice voice. I wish she sang a bit more on this EP. Especially without autotune because she proves on “Long Year” that she doesn’t need heavy autotune. Overall I really liked the EP. I hope she will be working on an album soon.
Album Of The Month:
CZARFACE and MF DOOM – Super What?: The first time I found out CZARFACE and MF DOOM were working together I knew it was going to be awesome. They both are known for having a comic book-inspired persona. It’s a match made in heaven. Czarface Meets Metal Face was amazing and so is Super What? Although it’s predictable at this point, I absolutely love the cartoony production style and the comic book references in the lyrics. Esoteric, Inspectah Deck, MF DOOM, and the features rapped their asses off. With this album most likely being the last project MF DOOM would have his name on, I think this is a great album to end off his discography. This is exactly what I wanted from these guys. I can’t ask for more!
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
Hello everybody! Happy May! Sorry for not posting this article a lot sooner. Not going to lie, I have been slacking lately. This past month I didn’t listen to as much music as I would like. I’ve been too busy with work, studying and of course Animal Crossing. With that said I do think I’ve got a good monthly favorites for you all today. Lets just jump into it!
Song Honorable Mentions:
Tkay Maidza – Syrup: This will be Tkay Maidza’s year! I can see it now. Assuming Last Year Was Weird, Vol 3 is as good as Kim and Syrup, I can see Tkay blowing up even more than she has been. Tkay returns to a more aggressive sound. The production is pretty simple, but it slaps. I love how heavy the bass is. Tkay kills it as always. Her pen game is on point. She drops a lot of great one liners. I’m just obsessed with this track. I can’t wait for the new EP.
Rina Sawayama – Chosen Family (with Elton John): Although I have always enjoyed the original track, I did think there was something missing. I think the addition of Elton John fulfills the missing feeling. Not only is his performance amazing and grand, but I think the addition of his piano adds a lot to the production. I also think turning a track about friendship into a duet is such a great idea. I am so happy this exists. Rina and Elton sound so good together. It’s a match made in heaven.
Freddie Gibbs – Big Boss Rabbit: At this point there is no stopping Freddie Gibbs. Every time he is on the mic he reminds everybody that he is one of the best MC’s right now. He makes rapping seem effortless. In this track he is rapping over a cool trap beat with a Nas sample tying everything together. Although the beat is cool, Freddie can rap over nails on a chalkboard and that song will still be amazing. I know Gibbs is dropping an album this year, so I hope he continues his winning streak.
EP Honorable Mentions:
Dev Lemons – Lemontopia: I have mentioned in the past that Tik Tokers and YouTubers should know their place and never drop music because most of the time the outcome is not good. Dev Lemon is an exception. The quirky personality she shows off in her Tik Toks appears in the spacious bedroom pop production that is displayed on Lemontopia. The instrumentals make me feel like I am floating on clouds. I am surprised at how good of a singer she is. For some reason she sounds like Kali Uchis to me. This EP is only 4 tracks with a run time of 8 minutes. It is definitely worth a listen.
The Alchemist – This Thing Of Ours: The Alchemist is by far one of the most consistent producers out right now. I don’t remember the last time he has missed in recent history. In this EP he brings in guests to rap over these beautiful lofi beats. He got Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue to start off the EP. Both Sideshow and Boldy James kill it on their verse on the very next track. Pink Stiifu and Maxo did their thing on the third track. Earl shows up again on the last track. I think the Alchemist does a great job at providing the foundation needed for his guest to thrive. Give this EP a listen. The second half of the EP is the instrumentals from the previous four tracks, so if you didn’t like any of the features at least you got the beats.
Cordae – Just Until….: I forgot how good of a rapper Cordae is. Cordae is really spitting on this EP. Something that Cordae doesn’t get enough credit for is the way he can adapt into different rap styles. On the first track, Cordae is being introspective with Q-Tip. Two tracks later, Cordae is being braggadocious with Young Thug. In this short EP, Cordae is showing off his skill set and preparing the listeners for his next album. He said his next album is coming soon, so that’s good. I’m excited!
Album Honorable Mentions:
Thom Moot – Thomfoolery: This is by far one of the most unique albums I have listened to this year. Stylistically this album is all over the place. The first track is a fiery grunge cut. He has several other rock tracks, but there are also a lot of interesting detours. For example, “Alien Invasion Rag” starts off with an old western piano playing, but then an alien invasion happens around the midpoint. The following track sounds like an intergalactic space battle to me. Thom does a great job at making a story with his music. If you are interested in a weird experience give this album a shot.
Kenny Mason – Angelic Hoodrat: Supercut: Kenny Mason is someone you want to keep an eye on. He is such a breath of fresh air in the rap landscape. The beats he raps on are so dark and heavy. His rapping is insane. Although he could be laid back and monotone at times, when he wants to rap he raps. His technical ability is mind blowing. Believe it or not this rap album isn’t just a rap album. “Play Ball” is a straight up punk song. He is rapping over metal guitars on “Pup”. Although I do prefer the traditional rap songs, I do admire this album’s creativity. I really want to know what direction Kenny’s sound goes to in the future.
Flying Lotus – Yasuke: Yasuke is a pleasant surprise. I had no idea Flying Lotus was dropping an album this year. Let alone an album for a Netflix show. As always expect a weird, hypnotic, spacy, and serene ride when diving into a Flying Lotus album. Something that makes this album different is that since the album is for an anime based on Japanese samurais, this album takes influence from Japanese music. It’s a cool change of pace for Flying Lotus. I think he did a phenomenal job. Put on some good headphones, lay on your bed, close your eyes, and give this album a listen.
Favorite Song of The Month:
Little Simz – Introvert: If you told me before this song dropped that Little Simz was dropping an album I would have been excited, but now I am counting down the days until it drops in September. I literally can’t wait! This tack is one of the best songs I heard this year. It might be my favorite Little Simz song. As always, Little Simz kills it lyrically. I love how conscious and focused she is. With that said, I think the instrumentation is what steals the show for me. I love how big and grand it is. You can tell they took the time to perfect this instrumental. If Little Simz’s next album has amazing bars and instrumentals like these throughout the entire track list then its game over. Every artist should might as well pack their bags and take a break until next year because Little Simz will take album of the year if her next album is as good as Introvert.
Favorite EP of The Month:
Kero Kero Bonito – Civilisation II: With only three tracks, Kero Kero Bonito blows my mind with their second installment of their Civilization series. The trio are back with their signature cute and colorful musical styling, but with more of an electropop sound. The trio uses this cute style to sing about what the world is going through during the pandemic. The second track of the album is basically a day of their life during the very beginning of the pandemic. The innocent observation they give in “21/04/20” is very interesting. The following track “Well Rested” gives the listener some hope. Sarah reminds the listener the human race has gone through a lot already. At this point nothing will be able to take down the human race. The production is insane on this track. In February, I named “The Princess and the Clock” as my song of the month. I love that song, but “Well Rested” is even better. This EP is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough.
Favorite Album of The Month:
BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE: BROCKHAMPTON seems to never disappoint. The boys are back with the first of two albums they are releasing. Even if they end up not dropping a second album this year I will be happy because ROADRUNNER is amazing. They basically took elements from their past work and put it all together. If you miss their Saturation series and you want bangers go listen to “BANKROLL” with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. If you want to listen to something similar to Iridescence check out “BUZZCUT” with Danny Brown. If you love the GINGER era try out “COUNT ON ME”. Do you feel like crying? Go listen to “THE LIGHT”. I can go on and on. There’s something for everybody. Even if you don’t end up enjoying the entire album like me, I guarantee you there is a song for you in this album.
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
Hello everybody! Happy New Year! So I am going to do something different this month. I usually write an article about my favorite music of the month, but since the shit show we call 2020 just ended I rather rank 50 of my favorite albums from 2020. Starting today on my YouTube channel I will be starting list week. I will be talking about my favorite and least favorite music from 2020. My top 50 albums video is the last video I will be uploading, but I think it would be a good idea to release my list early here on Indie Pong.
Although I think I have a pretty good list I do have a couple disclaimers. First of all, I kind of cheated. This list is called my top 50 albums of the year, but I do have a few EP’s in the list. Also, I know this is an indie music blog, but I do have some mainstream albums in the list. There has been several mainstream albums I enjoyed this year, so I would feel weird not to include them in my list. With that said, I don’t think my list is that bad. I am honestly proud of it. 2020 might be a shitty year, but at least there has been a lot of great albums released in 2020.
Without further ado here is my top 50 albums of the year for 2020!
50) Kota the Friend – EVERYTHING
49) Lady Gaga – Chromatica
48) Joji – Nectar
47) Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG
46) Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation
45) Jme – Grime MC
44) SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)
43) Aminé – Limbo
42) Logic – No Pressure
41) Thundercat – It Is What It Is
40) Nas – King’s Disease
39) 070 Shake – Modus Vivendi
38) 21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II
37) Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind
36) Childish Gambino – 3.15.20
35) Action Bronson – Only For Dolphins
34) Deante’ Hitchcock – BETTER
33) Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
32) Jean Dawson – Pixel Bath
31) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
30) Blu & Exile – Miles
29) Fionna Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
28) R.A.P. Ferreira – Purple Moonlight Pages
27) Qualle Chris & Chris Keys – Innocent Country 2
26) Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III: The Chosen
25) Benny The Butcher – Burden of Proof
24) Oliver Tree – Ugly is Beautiful
23) Kali Uchis – Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) ∞
22) Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Voll:3 Cane & Able
21) JPEGMAFIA – EP!
20) The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed