Memo’s Monthly Favorites: July 2021

Hello everybody! Happy August! I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far. I am definitely enjoying my summer. Especially since a lot of great music has been dropping recently. Just like the weather, I’ve got some hot recommendations for you all today. Let’s jump into the honorable mentions.

Song Honorable Mentions:

99 Neighbors – Live a Little: I can’t believe I just discovered 99 Neighbors this past month. I’ve been sleeping on their music for way too long. 99 Neighbors is a rap group from Vermont. They remind me of both BROCKHAMPTON and Injury Reserve. On “Live a Little”, they come out the gates with a lot of charisma. Each member gave some cool verses. I love the jazzy instrumental. This track is a lot of fun. I will definitely be excited for any new music they make in the future.

Kevin Abstract – SLUGGER (feat. $NOT & slowthai): BROCKHAMPTON member, Kevin Abstract, is teasing his upcoming album with a total fucking banger. This track is the definition of “chaotic”. I love the cluttered instrumental. Kevin starts things off with a verse filled with a lot of energy and personality. $NOT sounds so badass during his verse. Slowthai went off. His different vocal inflections were insane. This track is FIRE! I can’t wait for Kevin’s new album.

Little Simz – I Love You, I Hate You: Little Simz keeps continuing her amazing single streak leading up to her new album. Just like “Introvert”, this track has a grand instrumental. The instrumental sounds so classy. Somehow, it still doesn’t outshine Little Simz pen game. She is very vulnerable on this track. I don’t want to spoil it, but man this shit is depressing. The amount of emotion in her words gives me goosebumps. This is a must-listen!

Vince Staples – ARE YOU WITH THAT?: Although I wasn’t in love with Vince Staples newest album, I did love this single from the album. I don’t know how he did it. Vince somehow was able to make a very catchy song while rapping about the horrors of street life. The beat, from Kenny Beats, is very moody. Vince raps in a nonchalant manner. On paper, a song like this shouldn’t be so addicting, but it is.

EP Honorable Mentions:

Yves Tumor – The Asymptotical World EP: Last year Yves Tumor dropped one of the best albums of the year. This year Yves dropped one of the best EP’s of the year. I like how breezy and catchy the songs can be on this art-rock EP. Yves vocals are killer. They are an amazing performer. I am sure their concerts are insane. Although I think Yves deserves to rest, I am glad they are spoiling us with more music. Thank you Yves Tumor!

Skepta – All In: UK rapper, Skepta, just recently dropped a tiny EP filled with bangers. I like how diverse this EP is. On one track, Skepta is rapping his ass off on a trap beat. On another track, he does a good spanish cut with J Balvin. As someone who doesn’t listen to Skepta often, I am both surprised and impressed with his ability to fit into a variety of musical styles. This EP isn’t anything crazy, but it is a good time. 

Albums Honorable Mentions:

SAULT – Nine: SAULT is back once again with another quality project. Not a lot of bands or artists can drop several good albums in a short time span like SAULT. Even though they make albums in a short time span, every album has well-crafted instrumentation. Each album has great lyrics. They cover several important topics on this album. This is a beautiful neo-soul album. It definitely deserves a listen.

IDK – USEE4YOURSELF: I was very hyped for this album. Although it didn’t meet my expectations, this album has a lot of highlights. “Shoot My Shot” with Offset is one of my favorite bangers of the year. “Hey Auntie”, with legend Slick Rick, is a vulnerable track with a heart-wrenching performance from IDK. The tracklist is diverse with the beats diving into several different hip hop subgenres. Even the features are pretty diverse. IDK got Young Thug, MF DOOM, T-Pain, SIR, and more on this album. IDK has a lot of potential. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together: Dave is a UK rapper known for his lyrics. He has proved in the past that he is an amazing lyricist and storyteller. He once again proves his skill set on this album. There are moments in this album that leave me speechless. For example, the transition from Dave to ShaSimone’s verse on “Both Sides of A Smile” is mindblowing. On “In The Fire”, Dave brought in the Avengers of UK rap on the same track for an insane posse cut. Dave is rapping his ass off on “Heart Attack”. When the beat ends he is still spitting bars. Although I wish this album was a bit more focused, this is an insanely good rap album.

Song of The Month:

James Blake – Say What You Will: Over the past couple of years, James Blake hasn’t missed in my opinion. This single continues the fantastic streak he has been having. James is basically singing about being happy with yourself. As always, James gives an amazing singing performance. The second half especially is where he really goes all in. This man has the voice of an angel. I am very impressed with this song. James is dropping an album this year, so that is very exciting. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

EP of The Month:

Tkay Maidza – Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3: I think it was no secret this was going to be my EP of the year. On my YouTube channel, you can watch me fall in love with this EP on first listen. I reviewed this EP here on Indie Pong. This EP is amazing with some jaw-dropping production, astounding rapping, and gorgeous singing. The cohesiveness of this EP makes me excited for her next album. Imagine the greatness Tkay can create with a full-fledged album if she continues in this direction. She has so much potential. I can’t wait for whatever comes next.

Album of The Month:

Rejjie Snow – Baw Baw Black Sheep: Rejjie Snow is an Irish rapper. He thrives on these relaxed and chill jazz-infused beats. This album is such a pleasant listen. This album was meant to make you feel good. This is the perfect album to listen to when you’re out walking at a park during sunset. It makes you appreciate your surroundings. It makes you appreciate the little things in life. That’s at least what I got out of this album. I hope it does the same for you. Give this album a listen if you haven’t already.

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

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Is This EP of The Year?: Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3 by Tkay Maidza EP Review

Australian rapper and singer, Tkay Maidza, just released the final installment for her amazing Last Year Was Weird EP trilogy. As this is the final EP for the series, Tkay made sure to end off the trilogy with her best work yet. With the help from producer Dan Farber, Tkay Maidza takes us on a fun and pretty journey through the flower territory.

The first track off the EP, “Eden”, does a great job at not only setting the stage for the listener, but also transporting them into Tkay Maidza’s world. The flower territory if you will. The song title and lyrics refer to the Garden of Eden from the Bible. The Garden of Eden is a beautiful flower-filled paradise. In the lyrics, Tkay raps about how she is in a blessed position. She has garnered a lot of success and she doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon. I love how the instrumental gives off a heavenly feel to the song. The song starts off with some lushes strings. It is very dreamy and atmospheric. I love how the instrumental slowly start building up during her verse then explodes with some cool trap production once she sings the chorus. The following track, “Onto Me”, has this amazing earworm chorus. It is sticky like honey. In this track, Tkay Maidza and UMI raps about two different scenarios. Tkay is in a rocky relationship with a guy. Although things aren’t perfect, she is willing to try and work it out with him. UMI does the opposite. Instead of giving the guy who wants her back another chance, she tells him to move on. I think having these two different perspectives on one track was a very creative idea. The beat is amazing. The plucky guitar and scattered minimal production are fantastic.

“So Cold” is a summery dance track. The production here is so groovy. You know this is a great dance track when it is able to make my fat ass move. It is almost impossible not to dance to this song. On this track, she raps about how the guy she was with ended up being soulless. After she learns this, Tkay drops him quickly. I love the different flow switch up during her verse. Once again the chorus is very catchy. Stylistically, “Syrup” is a total 180. The second single to this EP consists of minimal yet hard-hitting production. I love how drowning and overwhelming the production is. Tkay is absolutely rapping her ass off all over his beat. Her lyrics are braggadocious. The chorus is pretty clever. She even dropped the quotable of the year with this line, “I go hard, I’m a boner”. Spoken like a true poet. 

The next track, “Kim”, is not only another single, but it is another massive banger. Hard Tkay is thriving on this one. Her performance is absolutely wild. Especially with this hard-hitting, kind of industrial beat. The chaotic “bitch, I’m Kim” shouting is insane. Tkay’s verse is fire. I just love how confident she is. The same can be said about Yung Baby Tate’s performance. Her verse was very charismatic. I’m loving the Kim Possible references throughout the entire track. This track is absolutely amazing. “High Beams” is a nice transition point from hard to soft Tkay. This track is a lot calmer. It started with some angelic vocals. With that said, Tkay’s rapping is still vicious. There’s a lot going on within the production. There are these haunting vocals prevalent throughout the track. This is an amazing track that helps transition into the next track.

“Cashmere” is the third, and my favorite, single released before the EP. I love how dreamy and pretty the production is. Tkay’s vocals are delicate. She comes across as very vulnerable. She is talking about how she has been hurt so many times throughout this relationship that she is in. She knows that she can’t handle being treated poorly any longer, so she ends up leaving him. The outro to this song is one of my favorite moments on the EP. She really sounds relieved during this portion of the song. “Breathe” is a grand and emotional way to end off the EP. First of all, I love the call back from ”Eden”. During the intro, we hear vocal snippets of Tkay saying “Breathe”. This is the exact same way the final track starts off. Also similar to “Eden”, “Breathe” has a gorgeous and grand instrumental. The beat drop on this track really hits hard. It gives such an emotional impact that matches perfectly with Tkay’s lyrics. Tkay talks about how no one really believed in her. Although she did become successful, she did make regretful decisions on the way. In the end, Tkay is reminiscing about the good times and she doesn’t want to leave. She just wants to stay.

You can tell from the beginning this EP trilogy means a lot to Tkay. You can tell this is the case when you listen to the grand intro, the impressive performances, and the emotional last bow on the final track. Tkay Maidza and Dan Farber put a lot of love and energy into this project. Seeing how passionate they were on this EP, I can’t wait to see what they would do on a full-fledged album together. The sky’s the limit for these two.

Memo’s Monthly Favorites: June 2021

Hello everybody! Happy 4th of July! We are finally halfway down with the year. Although this hasn’t been a crazy year for music so far, I have a feeling things are going to start picking up. Just this past month there have been a lot of great singles. I’m going to cap it at 6 tracks in this article because I can easily write a ten-page essay on just the singles alone. There were a lot of big-name artists dropping projects this past month. There were a lot of great projects in general released this month. Let’s just hope this summer goes even crazier. I have a few recommendations for you all today. Let’s jump into it.

Song Honorable Mentions:

Nxtime & Dev Lemons – keep in touch: Nxtime X Dev Lemons is a heavenly collaboration we all needed. This bedroom pop track has pretty, dreamy, and quirky production. Although this track is about how difficult dating is, the production gives off some great summery vibes. I like Ray Rubio’s singing, but it is tough to compete with Dev’s performance. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite up-and-coming artists. 

Declaim, MED, and Madlib – All Over The World: This track has Madlib production…do I need to go on? Like most Madlib beats, this track has a chill and lofi feel to it. It has this wonky sound looping in the background. It is honestly a very pretty beat. Both Declaim and MED give great verses. The chorus is dope. If you’re a fan of straightforward boom bap hip hop, definitely don’t miss out on this track. Yall old heads would love this!

Pa Salieu – Glidin’ (feat. slowthai): Brooooooo! THIS SHIT GOES CRAAAZZY!  The chorus on this track is so catchy. It is hard not to groove to this track. Pa Salieu has so much personality. He just seems like a cool person in general. Slowthai absolutely kills his feature. A slowthai feature never misses. This grime beat is absolutely perfect for these two artists. Man UK hip hop is so underrated. Don’t sleep on UK rappers!

Tkay Maidza – Cashmere: Just like the early 2000’s Lakers, Tkay Maidza just got herself a three-peat. SHE HAS NOT MISSED ALL YEAR. This is the third single for her upcoming EP Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2. Cashmere is probably the best track she released this year. I love the colorful and angelic production. Tkay’s voice is so smooth and pretty. This track is AMAZING! I can’t wait to watch her perform this song in September. I also can’t wait for her new EP. I can’t believe it’s dropping in less than a week!

Remi Wolf – Liz: This month has been a great month for singles. If the competition wasn’t so neck and neck this track could have easily been my favorite song of the month. The instrumental on this track is beautiful. It is another dreamy bedroom pop track with a cool bass and amazing electric guitar playing towards the end of the track. The instrumental is amazing, but it can’t top Remi’s performance. Her singing gives me goosebumps. You can tell Liz means a lot to Remi just by listening to the passion in her voice. Go listen to this track right now.

Album Honorable Mentions:

EXUM – Xardinal Coffee: Mates is back at it with another fire recommendation. Not going to lie, this album is pretty weird, but I love it. EXUM is such an amazing performer. Whether he is rapping, singing, or screaming he always sounds amazing. EXUM reminds me of both Ski Mask the Slump God and IDK, but even more chaotic. I love how well the production compliments EXUM. The beats always match his energy in this diverse tracklist. This album has no misses in my opinion. Go give it a listen.

Backwash – I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses: I am in love with this album! The haunting and creepy horrorcore production is to die for. I love the inclusion of metal in this industrial hip-hop album. The rapping is S tier level good. Backxwash can fucking spit man. She gives an incredible performance on basically every track here. Confession time. I just listened to this album for the first time two days ago. I didn’t listen to this album when it first came out because I heard a snippet on twitter and got scared, so I kind of started avoiding this album. I’m glad I did finally give this album a chance because it is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up liking this album more than this month’s album of the month. Although this album isn’t for everybody, give it a chance. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised like me.

Your Old Droog – Time: This is by far one of the most underrated albums of the year. Droog made a great contempt album about time. Time is referenced in each track in one way or another. There are tracks where Droog is talking about his younger self, his career, and even mortality. There is even this very cool storytelling track about a time machine taking people back in time. The lyrics are great. The production is very lush and classy. There are a lot of great features like MF DOOM, Aesop Rock, and Blu. What’s not to love?

Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs): Let me start off by saying this, the best way to experience these songs is through Bo Burnham’s Netflix comedy album Inside. This comedy album does not flow nicely since it is meant for a comedy special. The reason why I am adding this album is that the highs on this album are HIGH. Some of my favorite tracks of the year are in this album. “Comedy”, “White Woman’s Instagram”, and “Welcome to the Internet” are in constant rotation for me. This album can be very funny, but it can also be depressing. The special is mostly about Bo’s mental state during the pandemic, and you can tell the pandemic had an effect on him while watching the special. I totally recommend this special and album. I am sure you will be able to find something you like.

Mother Mother – Inside: After blowing up on Tik Tok, you would think indie rock band Mother Mother would capitalize the attention by dropping a safe and generic album. Luckily this is not the case. This album does go into a darker approach. The dark mood is the result of the band’s experience during the pandemic. I do really enjoy this darker approach. In fact, I wish they went further with this sound because the album does get more upbeat further into the album. With that said, I do like the serene moments. I think for the most part the band gives a pretty good performance. Even with some flaws, I do really enjoy this album. Give it a try.

Favorite Song of The Month:

Jasiah – Art of War (feat. Denzel Curry & Rico Nasty): When a track starts off with “Yo, this the type of shit to make you curb stomp a newborn baby”, you know it will be an aggressive banger. I love the experimental and industrial production. It is almost as hard-hitting as the rappers. Every rapper here did not miss. Denzel Curry goes in with a fiery flow. Jasiah’s chorus is the type of shit you headbang to. Rico woke up and chose violence. I love how cartoony and squeaky her delivery is. This track is insane. I fucking love it. It definitely deserves to be the song of the month.

Favorite Album of The Month:

Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost: I’m not going to lie, I am a huge fan of Tyler. I am definitely biased, but god damn this is amazing. Tyler really showcased his skill set on this album. The production is great. He somehow mixes this artsy sound with a rugged hip-hop mixtape vibe. DJ Drama’s adlibs definitely further pushes that mixtape sound. Tracks like “LUMBERJACK” and “JUGGERNAUT” are crazy bangers with amazing production. Tyler also shows off his lyrical chops in songs like “WILSHIRE” and “MASSA”. There are a lot of great highlights in the tracklist. Although this isn’t my favorite Tyler album, it is a great way to end off this amazing three-album run.

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

Memo’s Monthly Favorites: April 2021

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!

Memo’s Monthly Favorites: February 2021

Hello everybody! Happy March! Even though February is the shortest month of the year, this past month was packed with a lot of great music. Especially in the singles department. I added more singles than usual in the honorable mentions, but I did leave two tracks. I did this because Daw has already written two great articles about them. I really recommend reading Daw’s articles on “Gang Signs” by Freddie Gibbs featuring ScHoolboy Q and “So.Incredible.pkg [Robert Glasper Version]” by Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats, Smino, and Robert Glasper. Those two tracks are amazing. Give it a listen. With that being said let’s dive into my monthly favorites.

Song Honorable Mentions:

Cakes Da Killer & Proper Villain – What’s The Word: Let’s start off with some straight-up fire. This hip-house track is very energetic. Cakes Da Killer is coming at you with these speedy flows. I really like how expressive he is when he delivers each bar. Proper Villain kills it on production. It has everything you want from a good hip-house beat. What’s not to love?

Big Freedia – Platinum: This song is by far one of the most fun and entertaining songs I have listened to this month. If it weren’t for the pandemic, I can totally see this song pumping people up at a club. I love how powerful and bold Big Freedia’s voice is. It pairs well with this fast-paced southern hip hop beat. I guarantee this song will have you on your feet, so if you want to have a mini dance party give this song a listen.

Genesis Owusu – Gold Chains: Genesis Owusu is probably my favorite discovery so far this year. This song was so close to becoming my favorite song of the month. This is mostly because of his singing. The chill lowkey production is great, but his voice is incredible. He doesn’t have a crazy singing performance, but everything he says sounds smooth as fuck. Especially when he is melodically rapping. This track is a must-listen.

Tkay Maidza – Kim (with Yung Baby Tate): After releasing my favorite EP of 2020, I became a giant fan of Tkay. So you better believe I am hyped for her upcoming EP. Especially after listening to “Kim”. That shit is crazy. This track is an aggressive, unapologetic, attitude-filled ride. Both Tkay Maidza and Yung Baby Tate sound so badass. They have amazing chemistry. I really love how this song references famous Kim’s including Kim Possible. I genuinely don’t know how someone can hate this song.

Noname – Rainforest: Noname is back with another impressive single. She just continues to amaze me. Her poetic lyricism is packed with a lot, and I mean a lot, of deep content. In the hoof alone she talks about depression, exploitive billionaires, and deforestation. “Because, because a rainforest cries, Everybody dies a little”, is one of my favorite lines I have heard all year. I can’t emphasize enough how well written this song is. Plus the jazzy calm instrumental makes for a perfect backdrop for this song. For crying out loud, NONAME DROP AN ALBUM! I NEED IT!

JID – Skegee: JID really did something special with this track. Like other JID tracks, he goes in a conscious direction. As always his lyrics are well written. What makes this song special in my opinion is what JID actually raps about. He shines a light on the Tuskegee experiments. Before this track, I didn’t know those disgusting and dehumanizing experiments actually happened. I appreciate JID for spreading more awareness to historical moments like these because I for sure did not learn about this in my public high school.

EP Honorable Mentions: 

MAVI – END OF THE EARTH: Although I am not absolutely in love with this EP, I do see its appeal. Mavi shows flashes of potential throughout this entire EP. On the first track, he is rapping with so much emotion. He truly sounds like he in a lot of pain. I love how Mavi raps when the trap drums come through on “METHODS”. His depressing lyricism is on point. I just hope he continues to improve and finds his own sound.

Luna Li – jams EP: There’s no clickbait here. This EP is filled with jams. In this 10 minute and 10 track EP, Luna Li soothes the listener with her talent. It’s crazy how Luna produced every single one of these lushes beats on her own. Every instrument played was done by her. The guitar, bass, violin, keys, and even the fucking harp were all her. What instrument can’t she play? If you want to relax I highly suggest putting this EP on.

Album Honorable Mention:

Luke Banter – Pucker Up: In this album, Luke provides several love-sick, yet upbeat pop tracks that are perfect for this past Valentine’s day. Luke does an impressive job at making catchy hooks. With tracks like “Nelly Bly”, “Pucker Up”, “Allergic”, and “Witchcraft” I can see the potential in what Luke is doing. This album is far from perfect. There are definitely several flaws and duds in the tracklist. With that said I am genuinely excited to see what Luke does moving forward.

Conway The Machine & Big Ghost Ltd – If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed: Man, Conway continues to amaze me. Conway has single-handedly turned me into a bigger Griselda fan. Don’t get me wrong Benny and Westside Gunn are cool, but Conway is on another level. Just like From King to a God, If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed differentiate himself from his contemporaries with his pen game. I absolutely love how badass Conway can be, but he can also be very vulnerable. Big Ghost Ltd kills it with the gritty production. Although this is not my favorite Conway album, I think this album is awesome. Don’t sleep on this album!

slowthai – TYRON: It was a tough choice putting TYRON on the honorable mentions list. Although this isn’t my favorite album of the month, so far this is definitely my favorite hip hop album of the year. Slowthai really impressed me with this album. The reason why I am a fan of slowthai is because of his aggressive bangers. In the first disc, we get those bangers, but the second disc is depressing and moody. Again I love those bangers, but slowthai really shined like he never has before on the second disc. Slowthai proves once again why he is one of the best rappers in the UK.

Favorite Song of The Month:

Kero Kero Bonito – The Princess and the Clock: As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of great singles released this month. It was honestly very hard to choose my favorite song of the month. I ended up picking this song because of how extravagant it is. This song sounds like an evolution of a track from Bonito Generation. It’s cute and upbeat, but they experiment a bit more on the production. This track has several different phases. It can be explosive and crazy, but then turn soothing in a blink of an eye. I am so hyped for the upcoming EP!

Favorite EP of the Month:

JPEGMAFIA – EP2!: In a short time span, JPEGMAFIA drops another installment of his EP series. Last year, he dropped an EP filled with entertaining experimental mostly rap songs. In this EP he is going into it with a different approach. This EP is darker. It is moodier. Peggy is a lot angrier than he was in EP!. Peggy has been angry in past projects, but he is usually rapping and shouting. In EP2!, he goes into a melodic approach. I wouldn’t even consider this rap. This is an angry experimental R&B project. Even though he is singing, his lyrics is still unapologetically cutthroat. I am not disappointed. 

Favorite Album of the Month:

Black Country, New Road – For the first time: I did not expect to like this album as much as I did. I consider myself a hip-hop fan. Although I do give other genres a chance, hip hop is my bread and butter. This experimental rock album is not something I usually would gravitate to, but I am in love with it. The biggest reason why is because of the production. This album has some of the best production I have listened to in a while. I also really love the dramatic singing performances throughout the album. This album has a lot of great qualities that help keep the listener’s attention. This is good because this album has a risky tracklist. It is only 6 songs with each song spanning from 5 to 10 minutes long. Black Country, New Road does an excellent job at keeping the listener engage even with a funky tracklist. If this album is just the beginning, then I can’t wait to see what they do next!

These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!

Memo’s Top 50 Albums of The Year

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

19) Conway The Machine – From King To A GOD

18) Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED

17) James Blake – Before

16) Slauson Malone – Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Crater Speak)

15) The Weekend – After Hours

14) Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now

13) Poppy – I Disagree

12) 100 gecs – 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues

11) clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

10) Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?

9) Tkay Maidza – Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2

8) Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo

7) Rina Sawayama – Sawayama

6) The Strokes – The New Abnormal

5) Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

4) Boldy James & Sterling Toles – Manger on McNichols

3) Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez

2) Mac Miller – Circles

1) Run The Jewels – RTJ4

Let me know what you think?

p.s. Here is a link to my top 50 songs of the year playlist on Spotify in case you are curious.

Best Tracks of the Week 9/3/20

Hellllloooooo here we go again. Best new songs, from the last two playlist updates since I was lazy/busy and didn’t do last week’s. Here’s the playlist, follow for weekly updates and follow along as you read if you’d like!

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I’m just gonna come smouldering hot out of the gates and talk about this new Mariah Carey/Ms. Lauryn Hill song. Like whaaaaaaat? Iconic artists release new music all the time but what business do these all timers have releasing a song in 2020 that goes THIS hard?

‘Save The Day’ – Mariah Carey, Ms. Lauryn Hill

Unbelievable. While we ride out the entirety of this song, I know this is off brand but did anyone watch the Rockets OKC game 7 tonight? What a trash game. Underwhelming. Should have just Indie Pong’d instead.

‘BRITNEY BITCH’ – BLACKSTARKIDS

Our faves BLACKSTARKIDS are at it again with a very on brand ‘BRITNEY BITCH’. You can check them out in our best songs of the first half of the year post I did or in this interview we did with them earlier this year. Another banger, not surprised. BSK is on a rocketship on their way to the moon.

‘Renegade Breakdown’ – Marie Davidson, L’Œil Nu

This song is insane. I absolutely love it. I’m a big Marie Davidson fan and was bummed when she decided to retire (but understood as it was pretty much the most relatable reasoning I’d ever heard) and then un-bummed when she unretired shortly thereafter with new projects such as an Essaie Pas release. If you dig this check out this banger from our Best of the Decade List and the rest of the Marie Davidson catalog as well.

‘Grasshopper’ – Tkay Maidza

Has anyone come into a song hotter than this? This Tkay Maidza EP is just something special. Zimbabwean-born Australian Tkay goes both unbelievably hard and unbelievably smooth on this album. As a matter of fact I have literally three of her songs (!) on the playlist this last week, which I think is a new record? Check out ‘My Flowers‘ and ‘24k‘ on the playlist as well (and Shook from a few weeks more than a few weeks back).

‘Mijo Pt. 1’ – Josh Dominguez

This album is going to fiiiiirrrreeee. What I’ve heard is that the first two singles off of the album are not even the showstoppers on the record, those are coming soon. Which is nuts because this track is DOPE. Josh has grown so much as an artist and you can really tell, production aside, from his newfound mastery of rhythm and cadence.

‘Live In Life – Alice Ivy Remix’ – The Rubens

This song is hot af.

Obviously we love Alice Ivy dating way back, seeing as it’s practically all I talk about. By the way did y’all catch this #content we put together courtesy of Mubi?

#content

‘Escape The Night’ – Jun Kamoda

This is some straight up house heat, and not only that, it’s also by a fellow J man and features some Japanese so obviously I am IN.

‘Live 4ever’ – Magdalena Bay

You know how I know you’re special? Magdalena Bay? Because you’re basically the only pop act that #UnderCoverSadGirl listens to. Jen and I brought UnderCoverSadGirl to a Sigrid show and she absolutely hated it. Just kidding that’s an exaggeration but let’s just say she did not buy any merch. But she loves some Magdalena Bay as do I and they just keep continuing to impress.

‘Screwface’ – They Hate Change

Yeah, this is absolutely the next big thing. These dudes are dope af and their whole EP is awesome. This is the kind of sound we’re always looking for, an innovative take on a familiar genre that leaves you wanting more. Kind of reminds me of one of my favorite sleeper rap tracks of the past decade. Watch out for these guys, they’re on their way up.

‘Fuck Dallas BBQ’ – The New Restaurants

This song is awesome. Vibes. They have an album coming out in a few days, am stoked.

‘Modern Hart’ – Billy Nomates

I really just love this one. You know me, I don’t like to overexplain music. This just has it, ya know?

‘Gateway’ – MUEX

Chicago based (ayooo) Muex is the move.

‘Wild Faith’ – Jerome Blazé

This album is gorgeous y’all!

Haha sorry as you can see by this point in the blog we’re cutting right to the point. Who likes to read, anyway?

‘Surfer Guy’ – Lullabies

Time to mellow out after all of these piping hot tracks.

And I’ll leave you with one final one. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and FB if you LOVED this blog, check out our video podcast on our Instagram where Jen, Cassie, and I discuss new songs and I get absolutely drenched in body paint, and tune in for new tracks next week by following our Spotify playlist!

Anyways, one more for the road:

‘You’re Not Real You’re Just a Ghost’ – Sophia Bel

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