Another year closes this Mixtape Monday. This week we take a look back at The Best of 2019.
This week’s roundup features over sixty projects from some of the dopest, most prolific artists and producers pushing the envelope. This year’s retrospective includes music from Kokoroko, Dibia$e, Nicole Bus, Quelle Chris, Fly Anakin x Big Kahuna OG, Waldo, Black Milk, 30/70 Collective, Hunnah, Femdot, Jazzbois, Kota The Friend, Wynne, Seba Kaapstad, The Stuyvesants and so many more.
After careful consideration, the artists chosen to represent this year in music are the best of what can only be described as a gigantic list of contenders. The final lineup could easily have hit the triple-digit mark if not for a bit of discipline on my part.
Without further delay, here is a look back at a great year in music. Join me in looking ahead to 2020.
KOKOROKO – KOKOROKO
London afrobeat collective KOKOROKO drop their self-titled, four-track EP ahead of their highly-anticipated forthcoming album.
TRIUNE – Still Matter EP
Nahid Abunama-Elgadi, Josh Hey and Sigmund Washington combine as TRIUNE with their Paxico Records debut Still Matter.
Brainorchestra. – From The 908
Elizabeth, New Jersey representative, and rap polymath Brainorchestra. drops the highly-anticipated album From The 908.
14KT – For My Sanity
14KT makes a splash with his twelve-track “freedom project” titled For My Sanity, which boasts a heavy list of collaborators including Muhsinah, Jimetta Rose and Masego.
Ohbliv – Give Thanks
Richmond’s own Ohbliv follows a rack of Lewse Joints with the fourteen-track tape titled Give Thanks.
SOL Development – The SOL of Black Folk
Oakland collective SOL Development offer their take on W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk titled The SOL of Black Folk.
30/70 Collective – Fluid Motion
Melbourne’s own 30/70 Collective follow the stellar 2017 album Elevate with a new album titled Fluid Motion.
HARRiETT – Harriett
Damani Nkosi and Ill Camille combine to form HARRiETT with the arrival of their collaborative album of the same name.
Jazzbois – Jazzbois Goes Blunt
Budapest trio Jazzbois bring their hip-hop, jazz/funk signature to eleven lush tracks on the Blunt Shelter Records exclusive titled Jazzbois Goes Blunt.
Wynne – If I May…
Portland spitter Wynne presents her formidable debut mixtape If I May… featuring contributions from Mahalia, Syd, Hit-Boy, J.I.D. and more.
Grip – Snubnose
East Atlanta spitter Grip follows his standout 2017 debut album Porch with the thirteen-track street opus Snubnose.
Easalio – Fly
Richmond rap veteran Easalio follows the 2017 album Mood with his latest album simply titled Fly.
Mark De Clive-Lowe – CHURCH Sessions
Mark De Clive-Lowe returns with CHURCH Sessions featuring Kamau Daaood, Myele Manzanza, 14KT, Stro Elliot and more.
Amerigo Gazaway x Xiomara – 1990
Producer and Soul Mates Records founder Amerigo Gazaway teams with Bay Area singer Xiomara to drop an expertly crafted take on New Jack Swing titled 1990.
ben hixon – Dearly Loved
Dallas’ own ben hixon follows the fourteenth installment of his 80s & Gospel series with an eight-track house music gem titled Dearly Loved.
Otxhello – Not Forever, Just For Now
Otxhello is the latest to make waves for Radio Juicy with the release of the lush Not Forever, Just For Now EP featuring Ox The Moron.
Black Milk – DiVE EP
Black Milk gets back to work on the highly-anticipated DiVE EP featuring BJ the Chicago Kid, MAHD and Phil Swish.
Kevin A – Tropic
Kevin A (fka Kevin Amar) spreads his sharp falsetto and experimental soul across eight tracks on the Tropic EP.
Rome Streetz – Noise Kandy 3
Rome Streetz drops the heavy-hitting Noise Kandy 3 album featuring production from Statik Selektah, Futurewave, Sadhugold and more.
Homeboy Sandman – Dusty
Homeboy Sandman drops his highly-anticipated Mello Music Group debut Dusty featuring appearances from Quelle Chris and Your Old Droog.
Jake Milliner – Bernie Says
South London’s own Jake Milliner marks his solo debut with the release of Bernie Says featuring Alfa Mist, Marcus Tenney, Bubblerap (of Hawkhouse) and 25.
Corey King – A Loveless Sunken Sun
Corey King “alchemically transformed” his anxieties into seven expansive, electronic tracks on his latest project A Loveless Sunken Sun.
Nicole Bus – KAIROS
Dutch songstress Nicole Bus is on the mic and behind the boards where she teams with multi-platinum producer Needlz to deliver her debut album KAIROS.
Harleighblu x Bluestaeb – She
Singer Harleighblu and producer Bluestaeb follow singles “Present” and “Cake” with their thirteen-track collaborative album She.
Thijsenterprise – Smoetsie
Thijsenterprise explores love and lovemaking on the twenty-eight track, Stepbacks & Setbacks follow-up Smoetsie.
Josiah The Gift – RAW
New York spitter Josiah The Gift doesn’t mince words on the follow-up to The Jack Johnson EP titled RAW.
Devin Morrison – Bussin’
Devin Morrison single-handedly gives r&b a boost with the release of his gospel-inflected, eleven-track opus Bussin.’
Dibia$e – Bonus Levels
Dibia$e’s Bonus Levels is a tip of the hat to vintage video game culture that utilizes 8-bit sound to induce nostalgia.
Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program – Down 2 Earth Vol. 4
Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program followed Dance of the Cosmos with the fourth installment of the Down 2 Earth series. Rest in space, Ras G.
KOTA The Friend – FOTO
KOTA The Friend follows lead singles “Birdie” and “Backyard” with the nineteen-track album FOTO.
Seba Kaapstad – Thina
Swaziland and Deutschland connect as multi-national South African collective Seba Kaapstad apply their soulful signature to Thina.
DUCKWRTH – The Falling Man
DUCKWRTH follows his 2017 XTRA UUGLY mixtape with The Falling Man EP featuring Rico Nasty, Terrace Martin, Mr. Carmack and more.
Emotional Oranges – The Juice Vol. 1 & 2
Enigmatic L.A. duo Emotional Oranges delivered twice in 2019 with The Juice Vol. 1 and 2. The latter was inspired by The Weeknd’s acclaimed Trilogy.
Teebs – Anicca
Five years since the release of Estara, Teebs makes his long-awaited return with the release of Anicca.
Waldo – Grove
Waldo puts on for Michigan with his new fourteen-track album Grove produced by frequent collaborators Sango and Savon.
femdot. – 94 Camry Music
femdot. teams with Smino on the punchy, seven-track extended play titled 94 Camry Music.
fleet.dreams – Baskets of Gold
fleet.dreams lends his progressive take on Motor City soul to seven spacious tracks on the percussive masterpiece Baskets of Gold.
FloFilz – Transit
FloFilz drops a toast to the UK hip-hop scene with the release of Transit featuring Alfa Mist, Barney Artist, Biig Piig and K, Le Maestro.
Jansport J – fades. [Beat Tape]
Jansport J is back in the mix to follow heavylight. [Beat Tape] and sayless. [Beat Tape] with a new gem for instrumental enthusiasts titled fades.
Torb The Roach x Floppy MacSpace – Square Wave Adventures
Torb The Roach and Floppy MacSpace team to follow Tape Echo: Gold Floppies with the 8-bit video game inspired Square Wave Adventures.
friendkerrek – The Lathe of Heaven
New Orleans producer friendkerrek takes a deep dive into found sounds and dusty loops with The Lathe of Heaven.
Nappy Nina – The Tree Act
Nappy Nina marries a righteous pen game with ace production and a few choice features on The Tree Act.
TROX – Late 80’s Baby
Portland representative TROX makes his label debut for Fresh Selects with the highly-anticipated Late 80’s Baby beat tape.
Georgia Anne Muldrow – VWETO II
Georgia Anne Muldrow reprises the funked-up 2011 instrumental album VWETO with the arrival of VWETO II.
Hooks Arthur – What You Know May…
Hooks Arthur presents his third album of the year with the release of What You Know May… featuring Mondo Slade, Josiah The Gift and Zesto Q.
Quelle Chris – Guns
Quelle Chris questions just about everything across the masterful, thirteen-track album Guns.
Hunnah – Show You
Singer Hunnah pays tribute to her mother with the debut of her five-track Show You EP inspired, in part, by ’90s r&b.
Lord Byron – ALL
Prolific DTX spitter Lord Byron follows 33 and Behold It’s Us with the seven-track ALL EP
Jaw Gems – Dim Kingdom
Two years after Heat Weaver, Portland, Maine collective Jaw Gems light a path to guide listeners out of the Dim Kingdom.
Siaira Shawn – Tender
Siaira Shawn shares an introspective collection of dystopian love songs on her latest extended play titled Tender.
JuJu Rogers – 40 Acres N Sum Mula
JuJu Rogers delivers his highly-anticipated third album with the arrival of 40 Acres N Sum Mula featuring SANÓ and Sampa The Great.
Fly Anakin x Big Kahuna OG – Holly Water
Fly Anakin and Big Kahuna OG follow the Big Fly series with their latest joint effort on behalf of Mutant Academy titled Holly Water.
Kiefer – Bridges
Kiefer channels his signature sound through a number of analog synths and intricate compositions across the six-track Bridges EP.
Libretto x Buscrates – Eternal Ridin
Libretto provides the words and Buscrates provides the tracks on the new collaborative album Eternal Ridin.
Mannywellz – META
Mannywellz paints a picture within a picture on META, which riffs on the music of his Nigerian roots through the lens minimal electronic and progressive soul.
Pivot Gang – You Can’t Sit With Us
Pivot Gang marks their debut with the arrival of You Can’t Sit With Us featuring production from daedaePIVOT, squeakPIVOT and Daoud.
ewonee. – Fakie Flip
Ever prolific, ewonee. returns with Fakie Flip. The project is inspired by NYC’s legendary skate culture.
Sidewalk Kal – Black Identity Extremist
Back with his fourth project this year, Sidewalk Kal comes with the brash, experimental and slightly lofi Black Identity Extremist.
Space Monk – Spheres
Space Monk returns with Spheres featuring contributions from Fat Ron, Khadisma, Darian Momanaee and Black EU-IV.
Juga-Naut x Giallo Point – Back To The Grill Again
Nottingham’s own Juga-Naut is back to follow 2018’s Bon Vivant with Back To The Grill Again, featuring production from Giallo Point.
Tensei – Constellate
Midas Wells and Chris Kramer combine as Tensei to deliver Constellate. Their effervescent combination of spiritual jazz, soul, psych rock, electronic and boom-bap is a clinic in quality music.
The Stuyvesants – Hot Like July
The Stuyvesants follow WRMX Remix Radio and their more recent project April with the seasonally appropriate Hot Like July.
Tiana Khasi – Meghalaya
Tiana Khasi follows her debut single “Nuketown” with the seven-track Meghalaya EP produced by Sampology.
Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard yet. She wants to listen to your mixtape. Follow her on Twitter @karaslamb.