Man, what a year 2020 has been… In a pandemic driven, political circus, multiple forms of injustices, love vs hate filled year music seemed to be the highlight for myself and many worldwide. Our favorite artist with their backs against the wall were able to turn it on this year. We consumed music quite differently in 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic there were no concerts, no festivals, “outside” was a no go so we couldn’t take in music in crowds of folks to witness its effect. To my commuters out there, we definitely did not get to spin new music on New Music Friday the same way! This Top 50 list though was not easy to construct at all. This year was actually a really good year for music despite all the horrors 2020 brought us. Some of your favorite acts and mine may have not made the 50 but it does not mean they didn’t put out good music. It just wasn’t good enough for this Top 50. Harsh? Maybe. But you know me. I’m just speaking facts. Below are some albums I’d like to recognize as honorable mentions.
Yeah I know some solid projects didn’t make the 50, one being one of my favorites this year from Annalise Azadian, but let’s move on. This Top 50 list ranges between January 1, 2020 through December 1, 2020 so no, I didn’t snub Roddy Ricch and Harry Styles (who would have made this list easily). The date range of old us to run from January 1 – December 31st but instead having you all wait till January, I decided to deliver this around the same time as all the major platforms for once. I made my decisions on these albums based on content, production, impact, commercial success and of course, REPLAY VALUE. So without further due let’s see what artist rose to the occasion and was pandemic proof and put out some of the year’s best albums.
50. Aminé – Limbo
49. PARTYNEXTDOOR – PARTYMOBILE
48. Bad Bunny – Las Que No Iban A Salir
47. Spillage Village – Spilligion
46. Headie One – Edna
45. J Balvin -Colores
44. Taylor Swift – folklore
43. Reason – New Beginnings
42. Kenny Mason – Angelic Hoodrat
41. Jhené Aiko – Chilombo
40. Burna Boy – Twice As Tall
39. The 1975, ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’
38. Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony
37. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
36. Blxst – No Love Lost
35. Giveon – Take Time
34. Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour
33. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
32. CHIKA – Industry Games
31. Big Sean – Detroit 2
30. Drake – Dark Lane Demo Tapes
29. Boldy James X Jay Versace – THE VERSACE TAPE
28. Royce da 5’9 – The Allegory
27. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin – SAVAGE MODE II
26. SAINt JHN – While the World Was Burning
25. Juice Wrld – Legends Never Die
24. Mac Miller – Circles
23. THEY – The Amanda Tape
22. Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo 2
21. Boldy James & the Alchemist – The Price of Tea in China
20. The Weeknd – After Hours
19. Ariana Grande – Positions
18. Ty Dolla $ign – FEATURING TY DOLLA $IGN
17. Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
16. Nas – King’s Disease
15. Pop Smoke – Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon
14. Conway The Machine – From King To A GOD
13. Roc Marciano – Mt. Marci
12. Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
11. Polo G – The GOAT
10. Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG
9. WIZKID – MADE IN LAGOS
8. Dvsn – A Muse in Her Feelings
7. Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris
6. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
5. Bad Bunny – EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO
Bad Bunny is different. The run he has been on the last few years has been absolutely remarkable. What Reggaeton’s biggest star has done this year alone is simply LEGENDARY. As Benito’s music career comes an end, he went out with a BANG. Think of Kobe’s 60 point sendoff, but with Benito being in his prime unlike Kobe at the time (Rest in Paradise Kobe). El Último Tour Del Mundo is the third solo studio album which followed just nine months after the release of his last ground breaking release, YHLQMDLG. This album was like something I’ve never experienced before. Benito took his genre and music to 2035.
I’ll keep this short and sweet on why this album is Top 5 worthy but also could be considered higher and possibly a #1 for the year. Bad Bunny’s ability to diversify his sound without losing a listeners attention was amazing. I am talking all listeners! Listeners who may not even be fluent Spanish, barely understand Spanish and those who have no idea what he is saying. It’s just beautiful sounding music. The album is introspective and pulls from post-punk and rock just as much as it does hip-hop and R&B.
As to if Bad Bunny is really done with music, it’s to be determined. All I can say is we’ll most certainly miss him. Benito gave us an album that is way ahead of its time but can be appreciated now, 10 years from now and so on. I think albums like this are what we call a “classic.” Gracias por todo Benito!
4. Freddie Gibbs & the Alchemist – Alfredo
Another year, another top 5 appearance for Freddie Gibbs. Alfredo truly was something special. Freddie delivered and his partner this time was legendary producer Alchemist, who came through like a legend would. Alfredo is an amazing body of work and it only took me one listen to realize it. Gibbs and Alchemist chemistry showed to be renowned throughout this project from the super sinister “Frank Lucas” with Benny the Butcher to “God Is Perfect” and my favorite track, “Scottie Beam” featuring Rick Ross. Freddie refuses to fall to the pressures of the industry to conform. This is who he is. Sales don’t mean anything with content this good! If this is the kind of output we will keep getting from Gibbs, he’ll be on this list every damn year. Congrats on the Grammy nom Freddie & Alchemist!!
3. Lil Baby – My Turn
Lil Baby is ARTIST OF THE YEAR & WAS SNUBBED OF A GRAMMY NOM FOR RAP ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Where should I begin with Lil Baby’s and My Turn? Oh wait, you’re probably wondering why this album isn’t number #1. Just keep reading.
The amount of growth this man has done as an artist is insane. I never really saw this coming or myself ever saying this but, Lil Baby is currently one of the Top 5 biggest artist in the current music climate. Last year he showed us he’d be a force. But this year? SHEESH! So as mentioned earlier 2020 has been Lil Baby’s year. He dropped My Turn and the deluxe edition and they both went number one! He had the best-selling album this year as well. He showed another side to him and his artistry with “The Bigger Picture,” and that right there deserves a Grammy in and of itself. My Turn is full of heaters and quite frankly has no real skippable tracks. This album was ground breaking for Baby. My Turn will be the album that will age extremely well but mainly be remembered as the album that placed an emerging artist into one of the genre’s elite!
This album was Top 3 this year and I went back and forth with it being number 1 and or 2 but there were two albums that blew me completely away more than Lil Baby’s My Turn. Top 3 honors in my book and based on the history of this list are basically a 1C rank sharing the #1 spot with 1B and 1A. With that being said, this album is sensational and I’m very intrigued on how the hell Lil Baby tops this! Congrats to Lil Baby and all his success this year.
2. Benny The Butcher – Burden Of Proof
I don’t feel the need to say much about Benny. The album speaks for itself and I have raved all year about Benny prior to this album drop so I wasn’t a bit shocked by how well put and constructed Burden Of Proof is. Burden Of Proof is Benny’s second studio project produced entirely by Hit-Boy. If you thought Big Sean and Hitboy were good together and Nas and Hitboy were great, TUH. Benny and Hitboy make for a phenomenal duo! What Benny and Griselda have been able to do these past few years is simply remarkable. I mean, you all see this Top 50 list right? There is like 5 projects in the Top 30 and 3 in the honorable mention collage above.
“Last year was about branding, this one’s about expanding” is what Benny says to open up this album. Burden Of Proof is the perfect showcase of Benny’s growth with another year under his belt. It showcased his versatility and legend in the making talent (I said what I said). But also, this album reminds us that Benny is incapable of missing EVER. This album did not do the Lil Baby or Lil Uzi Vert numbers but the overall body of work earns the #2 spot on this list with heavy consideration as #1. Salute to Benny and all of Griselda! Also, wishing you a speedy recovery Benny!
THE #1 ALBUM OF 2020 IS…..
Brent Faiyaz – F*ck the World
Also before I dive in to my pick for #1, I would like to know how many of you all actually saw this coming? Did you start to notice it around the Top 10? MUHAHAHA! Anyways let me talk my sh*t.
F*ck the World is MAGICAL. F*ck the World is THERAPY. F*ck the World is an EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. F*ck the World is IN SUAVE WE TRUST’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Brent delivers an absolute IMMACULATE body of work. Yes, I said what I said! F*ck the World over My Turn? Over Alfredo? Over After Hours? (LOL meh) Over Eternal Atake? Over Burden Of Proof? YES OVER ALL OF THOSE! Brent wasted no time taking us on a full blown trip emotionally. 10 tracks. 26 minutes. 10 “MOODS.” No MISSES. Throughout the album Brent is ruthless, detached from romantic flings, smooth and carefree. The emotional ride felt with this one is insane. This album is like Brent’s personal diary as an audiobook and it’s a really good audiobook.
Brent is a unique talent that continues to push the boundaries of what R&B in 2020 can sound like. He has no MAJOR label backing but they know damn well who he is and they are steady calling. His past works are aging like fine wine and F*ck the World should do the same. It’s the most concise, the most sonically enjoyable album this year. It’s the #1 album of the year.