Categories: Music

Okayplayer’s Songs of Summer 2020 [Playlist]

A four-hour crash-course in summer 2020’s most essential listening, handpicked and sequenced for any number of this year’s particularly limited seasonal scenarios.

Like so much of what the year’s already wrought, summer’s hitting different in 2020. And that’s putting it lightly for many of us. Between a lethal virus, the unending violence against black and brown bodies, an administration intent on only compounding those injuries with equal parts sheer incompetence and plotted cultural destabilization, and the dwindling prospect of any of this being resolved within a reasonable timeframe, 2020’s basically the convergence of all our fears and vulnerabilities in one historically shitty lap around the sun. All of which is to say, this summer’s already one for the books in all of the wrong ways. And it’s only the third week of July.

But let’s pan out from the existential dread for a second and refocus on the hidden gifts here. We’re getting closer to our neighbors, leaning on community and local institutions like never before. We’re rediscovering long-shelved personal projects that offer a new level of gratification and depth to our lives. And the sudden abundance of time is allowing us to finally (barely) keep up with the vigor and impossible pacing of the streaming era’s rapid-fire release cycle. So, in an effort to keep you (and us, frankly,) up to speed, this year’s Songs of Summer playlist is a north-of-four-hours crash course in 2020’s most essential listening, hand-picked and sequenced for any number of this season’s particularly limited prospective scenarios.

There’s smoke-out suites courtesy of CRIMEAPPLE, Freddie Gibbs, Boldy James, and The Alchemist; justifiably moody lockdown meditations a la Nick Hakim, Devin Morrison, and Frank Ocean; new world funk from Thundercat, Count Bass D, and Blvck Spvde; jolting dance floor experiments per JWords, Little Dragon, Sango, and Sassy Black; neck-aching instrumental dispatches via Knxwledge, VHOOR, and Swarvy; and barrels of blistering penmanship from Westside Gunn, AKAI SOLO, Tha God Fahim, and Zeroh. Yeah, it’s a lot. But the year’s weight demands a heavy-set soundtrack.

Plug into the Okayplayer’s Songs of Summer 2020 playlist below. Subscribe to our Spotify channel today for true notes of all eras and disciplines.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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