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Keeping up with music in November was a rat race. Around every corner, new releases awaited and to our pleasure, their sheer quantity was non-reflective of their quality. Even though the year is wrapping up, it’s without a doubt that some of the best was saved for last. Here’s what was on heavy rotation last month:
“It’s been a minute since you seen or heard from me I’ve been swerving cars,” raps Earl Sweatshirt on the 12th track from his third studio album, Some Rap Songs. It’s Earl’s dark optimism and his wizarding wordplay that first drew me in as a listener, and it’s all still brewing with potency on SRS. Amidst a very public struggle with depression and sadness, the rapper tucked away for almost 4 years for the sake of his mental health. “Veins” in particular, makes known that his return is a chin-up moment for the artist and listeners alike. Speaking from his own experiences, when Earl tells you to pace yourself, the sentiment takes on an honest new meaning. When he tells you to keep faith, you listen, and when he offers you peace, you take it.
Among the slew of singles that followed up his self-titled EP released in February, Mutombo continues to showcase the vocal capacity of Private Club Records’ designated soul-trap crooner, Dwn2Earth. On the track, Dwn2earth fills minimally bouncy production with melodic verses, likening his curving skills to that of legendary big man Dikembe Mutombo. According to Spotify, the artist was streamed for over 84,000 hours this year by over 486,000 fans from 65 different countries, making 2019 that much more exciting for Dwn2earth.
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Appearing on Smith’s only project release of the year, The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story, “SOHO” serves as its enticing introduction. The track sees Jaden getting playful with autotune and colorful harmonics while singing of an ex-supermodel bae, their frequent trips to Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and the clothes, paparazzi and turmoil that come along with the outings. “Said that I’d give you the world and you turned it to a snow globe,” he sings on the songs closing verse.
The stars align when Texas-based rap collective PNTHN links up. This year, the group blessed us with two releases; the first in their Potluck EP and the second in their follow up EP, Rico. “Communion,” not an afterthought, but an eminent addition to their catalog, touts members of the group Kenny Casanova, dc4prez and twohorizonra jousting bar for bar over knock-driven production from Por Vida. In typical PNTHN fashion, the track doesn’t let up on energy at all, and if you aren’t moshing when “Communion” drops, you’d be better served to just get out of the way (Seriously, I warned you).
On his debut EP, singer-songwriter Lucky Daye channels funky-floaty R&B sensibilities, while flexing his range. Previously appearing on HBO’s Insecure as well as writing credits for artists like Mary J. Blige, Ella Mai and Trey Songz, I is a passionate start to his journey manning the mic that doesn’t disappoint. “Concentrate,” is a small window into Daye’s deep grab-bag of vocal tricks and standout lyricism.
Check out the rest of November’s rotation in the playlist below:
Onaje is a Junior Journalism & African and African Diaspora studies major from Houston, Texas. He believes that the best kind of writer is a rapper and his work has appeared on NPR, The Daily Dot, Austin Monthly Magazine, and Orange Magazine.