Hip-Hop stars Kanye West and Drake both released their long awaited albums around the same time a few weeks ago. I won't go in depth on either of them, but I feel like they are both mediocre in comparison to what most people wanted. I feel that the other two artists were too worried about each other and sales and music streams to accomplish anything special. Instead, I have listed a few albums that I have enjoyed more than "Donda" or "Certified Lover Boy" that should have been given the same spotlight as the former.
Here are some honorable mentions of already respected albums:
Olivia Rodrigo “Sour”
Isaiah Rashad “The House Is Burning”
Doja Cat “Planet Her”
J. Cole “The Off-Season”
St. Vincent “Daddy’s Home”
Willow “Lately I feel EVERYTHING”
Tyler The Creator “Call Me If You Get Lost”
First, I believe everyone owes the R&B singer Tinashe an apology for not giving her the respect she deserves. She has been around since 2014, but due to label issues many people have forgotten about her. That doesn’t mean her music went bad though, as her new album “333” shows she’s just as good as when she first popped out onto the music scene. All of the songs on the album, from “Let Go” to “It’s a Wrap,” the music feels like fresh air and was refreshing to hear. This was my album of the summer even though it came out in August. There were plenty of jams like “I Can See The Future,”“X,” and especially “Pasadena,” which has a feature from Buddy. If you like Doja Cat’s discography you will most definitely enjoy Tinashe’s “333.”
Click the link below to listen to “Pasadena” by Tinashe:
Now if you are heartbroken or just have been looking to get into your feels you will understand where the artist Terry Presume is coming from in his EP “What Box?” Presume is a reasonably new artist, but he is signed under the same label that has Rex Orange County, Adele, Glass Animals and more. This six track EP perfectly captures his emotions, yet not all the songs were downtempo and depressing. The best thing about this album is the use of vocals, instruments and effects. For instance, in the song “Personal” Presume uses a riff similar to the popular emo pop song “I Can’t Handle Change” by Roar, and it was done beautifully. If I had to pick some must-listen songs from this EP, they would be “Don't Wait Forever,” “Zaza and Some Runtz(Smoke Break),” and “Personal.”
Below you can listen to “Personal” from Presume’s EP:
Ace Hashimoto is what happens if you took Pharrell’s sound to Japan, and trust me it is a beautiful mix. He was previously known as BrandUn Deshay and was part of the well known group Odd Future. What sticks out most about his album “Play.Make.Believe.” is how clear the production is since he mixes different sounds and genres into his own form of R&B. Out of all the albums I will talk about in this article this one without a doubt has no bad songs. I recommend checking all of them, especially “Girls,” “2nite,” and “Trak Star.” Like I said before, if you are a fan of Pharrell or others like Childish Gambino and DEAN please check out Ace Hashimoto.
Below you can click to enjoy Hashimoto’s song “Girls”:
I have always been a fan of the artist Serpentwithfeet, and the album “Deacon” is a big reason. This album takes aspects from 90’s R&B and gospel sound. This makes the whole album feel supernatural yet comforting at the same time. The album has songs that will make you either ready to fall in love or feel as if you are about to transcend. Without a doubt, “Same Size Shoe” is my favorite track and it has a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. Fans of alternative artists like Sophie or Perfume Genius will definitely love this charming album.
Below you will find a link to Serpentwithfeet’s song “Same Size Shoe”:
Last but not least is “Smiling with no Teeth” by Genesis Owusu. This is an electric album with no boundaries, which means no song sounds the same, yet it is cohesive. This is something that I enjoy about many new artists like him since they are not afraid to step outside the box. For a debut album it has already gotten great reviews, for example getting an 8/10 from famous music reviewer Anthony Fantano. When I listen to this album, I can hear sounds from Gorrillaz, Radiohead, Prince and so many other artists. The ability to blend so many sounds is impressive which is why this is one of my favorite albums this year. My top songs from this album are “Centrefold,” “Whip Cracker,” and “Waitin’ on Ya.”
Below is a link to Owusu’s “Waiting on Ya”:
None of these albums sound alike yet all impressed me with their creativity. So, check them out instead of being wrapped up in "Donda" and "Certified Lover Boy."