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.
London afrobeat collective KOKOROKO drop their self-titled, four-track EP ahead of their highly-anticipated forthcoming album.
Nahid Abunama-Elgadi, Josh Hey and Sigmund Washington combine as TRIUNE with their Paxico Records debut Still Matter.
Elizabeth, New Jersey representative, and rap polymath Brainorchestra. drops the highly-anticipated album From The 908.
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.
Richmond’s own Ohbliv follows a rack of Lewse Joints with the fourteen-track tape titled Give Thanks.
Oakland collective SOL Development offer their take on W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk titled The SOL of Black Folk.
Melbourne’s own 30/70 Collective follow the stellar 2017 album Elevate with a new album titled Fluid Motion.
Damani Nkosi and Ill Camille combine to form HARRiETT with the arrival of their collaborative album of the same name.
Budapest trio Jazzbois bring their hip-hop, jazz/funk signature to eleven lush tracks on the Blunt Shelter Records exclusive titled Jazzbois Goes Blunt.
Portland spitter Wynne presents her formidable debut mixtape If I May… featuring contributions from Mahalia, Syd, Hit-Boy, J.I.D. and more.
East Atlanta spitter Grip follows his standout 2017 debut album Porch with the thirteen-track street opus Snubnose.
Richmond rap veteran Easalio follows the 2017 album Mood with his latest album simply titled Fly.
Mark De Clive-Lowe returns with CHURCH Sessions featuring Kamau Daaood, Myele Manzanza, 14KT, Stro Elliot and more.
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.
Dallas’ own ben hixon follows the fourteenth installment of his 80s & Gospel series with an eight-track house music gem titled Dearly Loved.
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 gets back to work on the highly-anticipated DiVE EP featuring BJ the Chicago Kid, MAHD and Phil Swish.
Kevin A (fka Kevin Amar) spreads his sharp falsetto and experimental soul across eight tracks on the Tropic EP.
Rome Streetz drops the heavy-hitting Noise Kandy 3 album featuring production from Statik Selektah, Futurewave, Sadhugold and more.
Homeboy Sandman drops his highly-anticipated Mello Music Group debut Dusty featuring appearances from Quelle Chris and Your Old Droog.
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 “alchemically transformed” his anxieties into seven expansive, electronic tracks on his latest project A Loveless Sunken Sun.
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.
Singer Harleighblu and producer Bluestaeb follow singles “Present” and “Cake” with their thirteen-track collaborative album She.
Thijsenterprise explores love and lovemaking on the twenty-eight track, Stepbacks & Setbacks follow-up Smoetsie.
New York spitter Josiah The Gift doesn’t mince words on the follow-up to The Jack Johnson EP titled RAW.
Devin Morrison single-handedly gives r&b a boost with the release of his gospel-inflected, eleven-track opus Bussin.’
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 followed Dance of the Cosmos with the fourth installment of the Down 2 Earth series. Rest in space, Ras G.
KOTA The Friend follows lead singles “Birdie” and “Backyard” with the nineteen-track album FOTO.
Swaziland and Deutschland connect as multi-national South African collective Seba Kaapstad apply their soulful signature to Thina.
DUCKWRTH follows his 2017 XTRA UUGLY mixtape with The Falling Man EP featuring Rico Nasty, Terrace Martin, Mr. Carmack and more.
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.
Five years since the release of Estara, Teebs makes his long-awaited return with the release of Anicca.
Waldo puts on for Michigan with his new fourteen-track album Grove produced by frequent collaborators Sango and Savon.
femdot. teams with Smino on the punchy, seven-track extended play titled 94 Camry Music.
fleet.dreams lends his progressive take on Motor City soul to seven spacious tracks on the percussive masterpiece Baskets of Gold.
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 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 and Floppy MacSpace team to follow Tape Echo: Gold Floppies with the 8-bit video game inspired Square Wave Adventures.
New Orleans producer friendkerrek takes a deep dive into found sounds and dusty loops with The Lathe of Heaven.
Nappy Nina marries a righteous pen game with ace production and a few choice features on The Tree Act.
Portland representative TROX makes his label debut for Fresh Selects with the highly-anticipated Late 80’s Baby beat tape.
Georgia Anne Muldrow reprises the funked-up 2011 instrumental album VWETO with the arrival of VWETO II.
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 questions just about everything across the masterful, thirteen-track album Guns.
Singer Hunnah pays tribute to her mother with the debut of her five-track Show You EP inspired, in part, by ’90s r&b.
Prolific DTX spitter Lord Byron follows 33 and Behold It’s Us with the seven-track ALL EP
Two years after Heat Weaver, Portland, Maine collective Jaw Gems light a path to guide listeners out of the Dim Kingdom.
Siaira Shawn shares an introspective collection of dystopian love songs on her latest extended play titled Tender.
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 and Big Kahuna OG follow the Big Fly series with their latest joint effort on behalf of Mutant Academy titled Holly Water.
Kiefer channels his signature sound through a number of analog synths and intricate compositions across the six-track Bridges EP.
Libretto provides the words and Buscrates provides the tracks on the new collaborative album Eternal Ridin.
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 marks their debut with the arrival of You Can’t Sit With Us featuring production from daedaePIVOT, squeakPIVOT and Daoud.
Ever prolific, ewonee. returns with Fakie Flip. The project is inspired by NYC’s legendary skate culture.
Back with his fourth project this year, Sidewalk Kal comes with the brash, experimental and slightly lofi Black Identity Extremist.
Space Monk returns with Spheres featuring contributions from Fat Ron, Khadisma, Darian Momanaee and Black EU-IV.
Nottingham’s own Juga-Naut is back to follow 2018’s Bon Vivant with Back To The Grill Again, featuring production from Giallo Point.
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 follow WRMX Remix Radio and their more recent project April with the seasonally appropriate Hot Like July.
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.
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