During the latter half of November 2019 I’m going to be doing a little write up on my top 50 songs of 2019. This is just a draft for now really, and is more accurately my top 50 songs from December 2018-September 2019. I’m without a computer at the moment so have been unable to listen to the last 7 weeks of music, but once I have caught up I will post a final ‘Top 50 of 2019’ list, which will be much more accurate.
I’ll be doing this in 10 parts (with 5 songs each), with the first being Tuesday 19th, and another coming out each day for the following 2 weeks. So, with that said, read on, listen to some of the songs, and let me know what you think, hopefully you discover some songs you enjoy!
• Dizzy Wright – Slow Down (ft. Chel’le)
In 2019 Dizzy Wright released his album ‘Nobody Cares, Work Harder’, a fantastic project combining lots of different sounds and styles. The album has many high points, but the song that’s ended up as my favourite is ‘Slow Down’, a laid back bop reminiscent of 90’s/2000’s r&b.
The beat and the hook on Slow Down do an incredible job of setting the mood for the song, which is this old school r&b vibe. The standout feature of the beat is the little acoustic guitar lick played throughout the song, which also has this little twang at the end of every few bars that sounds amazing. During the hook there is also a subtle little guitar solo played in the background of the beat. In typical old school r&b fashion, Dizzy enlists a female vocalist to handle the hook, in this case Chel’le. The hook is quite simple, but is sung beautifully, is catchy, and most importantly meshes excellently with all the other parts of the track.
Dizzy does a great job at helping uphold the vibe of the whole song, with his lyrics being focussed mainly on love, and his delivery being as smooth as ever. The song contains 2 verses, and on both of them Dizzy rides the beat with ease, uses great wordplay, and has some great bars to help him paint the narrative of the track. I feel like the laid back ‘weed-rap’ style that Dizzy rapped with earlier in his career translates amazingly to this laid back r&b/love song vibe.
Overall Dizzy does an exceptional job recreating that old school r&b sound, from the cliche guitar in the beat to the outstanding performance by Chelle on the hook. Dizzy is as strong as ever throughout the track, and the end result is a thoroughly enjoyable, chill, nostalgic vibe. Recommend this one to anyone who loved poppy r&b when it was popping 10-20 years ago, or anyone who was once a fan of Dizzy but thought he fell off.
• Mustard – On God (ft. A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, YG & Tyga)
‘On God’ is a sensational posse cut from Mustard’s (FKA DJ Mustard) 2019 album ‘Perfect Ten’. A lot of posse cuts fall flat due to there being one or two average verses that bring the whole song down, but this is absolutely not one of those. On God has impressive and enjoyable verses from A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, YG and Tyga, as well as a catchy hook from Ferg and an amazing beat from Mustard. This song is just super fun all the way through, and a good showcase of all the artists talents.
All 4 of the rappers on this track actually have crazy good verses, like I can’t fault any of them or pick a favourite, this really is a great song to show off what each artists is capable of. Rocky’s verse is full of insane wordplay, Ferg’s verse flows so nicely, YG’s delivery and subtle humour throughout his verse is extremely enjoyable, and Tyga utilises the beat super well. It’s rare that a posse cut like this is this consistently strong, but I’m super happy with the song from start to finish. A$AP Ferg also handles the hook, which is simple but super catchy, and does a nice job at breaking up each of the verses.
This is another one of those beats that sounds simple at first glance, but the more you pay attention the more you realise how any layers there are and how well they are all put together. I think one of my favourite things about this beat is it doesn’t sound like a stereotypical DJ Mustard beat. As good as it is to have a ‘Signature Sound’, it’s great to see the versatility Mustard is capable of. The beat itself sounds super orchestral at times, with string sections that sound like they’re building up to something big. There are also these electronic keyboard synths present through a lot of the song, particularly the verses. The one feature of the beat that is typical Mustard is the rattling hi -hats which are played throughout most of the track, sometimes slowing down such as during the stringed sections. On top of all this there is a number of interesting little electronic synths scattered throughout, really takes it to the next level. Where this beat shines though is the mixing and mastering, with the whole song sounding so crisp, and the beat during each verse varying slightly, and sounding like it was crafted to the artist rapping at the time. Another example of a spectacularly made beat that sounds much more basic than it is.
In summary, I think On God did a fantastic job at standing out in a year absolutely chock full of posse cuts (ROTD3, Khaleds album, Pivot Gang, Beast Coast etc). It feels like a group project at school where everyone actually pulled their weight for once, with all 5 of the artists contributing to the track positively. Not only is this a great showcase of the talents of 5 artists, but it’s a super enjoyable track, one that’s fun to throw on with the squad or even at a party (if your friends aren’t hip hop haters).
• B.o.B – Ray Charles
In 2019 rapper B.o.B. released his southmatic album, one which is full of samples, and is an ode to a different day an age. His song Ray Charles was a clear standout to me, and features a B.o.B rapping over Ray Charles samples, and the result is easily one of the most fun and enjoyable songs of the year.
This song is one of many from the album that revolves heavily around an old school sample, which gives the song and the album as a whole this real old school Motown or blues vibe. This song in particular samples Ray Charles both for the hook and the beat. The song sampled is ‘Give The Poor Man A Break’, which is quite apparent on the hook, which is just a cut up sample of Ray Charles singing “Give the poor man a break”. The beat sounds like something straight out of the 70s/80s, made up of a real boppy drum beat, some strange cut up vocal samples, and these brass sections that sound like something from a marching band. It’s quite hard to put into words, but the beat and the hook combined just give the song this real ‘Blues Club’ kinda vibe, one that leaves a lot of room for B.o.B. to just have fun with his raps.
As great as the samples and the overall beat are, B.o.B is the reason this song is as likeable as it is, with him rapping with a wide range of upbeat, fun flows, all while delivering solid rhyme schemes and amazing bars throughout, many of which are laced with comedy and funny one liners. B.o.B’s flows and wordplay on this song is as good as ever, and actually makes this one of my personal favourite songs of his ever, and I’ve been a B.o.B fan for over 10 years now. One other subtle little thing that I think takes this song to the next level is the ending. Just when you think the song has pretty much ended, B.o.B comes in spitting a final 8 bars which are some of the strongest on the song in terms of wordplay and enjoyable flows, before a final hook ends the song. He does a great job at keeping things exciting from start to end, which is something I always appreciate.
In summary, this song is a great example that B.o.B is still a fantastic rapper with ability to make a top tier track. A lot of people disregard B.o.B purely because he is a flat earther with some outlandish opinions, but this track just goes to show that antics aside, he is still an an amazing artist. Highly recommend this one to any B.o.B fans past or present, and fans of sample based hip hop, or even anyone who is a fan of Motown music.
• Lil Gotit – Da Real Hoodbabies (remix) (ft. Lil Baby)
Thanks to the addition of an amazing Lil Baby verse, the remix of ‘Da Real Hoodbabies’ by Lil Gotit takes what was already an amazing song (that probably would have made this list had it not gotten an even better remix), and makes it slightly better. Both the original and the remix are just super fun listens, with this addictive quality to them that keeps listeners (me at least) coming back.
The beat is simple, made up of just some heavy 808s, a basic drum beat, and these quite obscure synths which have this bounce to them, giving the song this real low key bouncy vibe. The beat is nothing special by itself, but the way it compliments each artist is crazy good, especially on the hook. This song has the same hook as the original, but on both it is one of the best parts of the song, and the part that draws you in to the song. The song starts with a hook, helping this song be catchy straight from the beginning, and the hook itself is amazingly delivered, with this fun, bouncy flow and Gotit fitting it to the beat excellently. This is also the kind of hook that’s crazy fun to sing along to, especially the beginning with;
I’m the real hood baby,
Bitch, it’s tatted on me neck”.
The remix features 2 verses, the first from Lil Gotit, and the second being primarily Lil Baby with a bit of Lil Gotit towards the end. Both verses continue on from the hooks amazingly, with each rapper keeping up that fun upbeat flow while riding the beat excellently. Gotit’s verse is actually one of my favourite of his ever, and despite it being the same as the original, it’s super enjoyable regardless, being full of solid wordplay and hilarious quotables, all while showing off how well he utilises the beat. But of course the thing that makes this song stand out against the original is the Lil Baby feature, which is actually the only change from the original I believe. Lil Baby comes in hard and keeps up this confident, high energy flow throughout his feature. His part of the verse is full of great metaphors and impressive rhyme schemes, and all of it just sounds so fun, and even the transition back to Lil Gotit is executed really well. Both verses just do a superb job at adding to the overall fun bouncy vibe set by the beat and the starting hook.
Overall this is a great showing of Lil Gotit’s potential to make a great song, as its one of few standouts on an otherwise bloated album, and is also a good example of how strong Lil Baby has been as a feature artist in 2019. This is a different kind of banger, but nonetheless it is an incredibly fun listen and great to just vibe along too. If you liked this, I’d recommend checking out Pyrex Kid and Drip School from his ‘Crazy But It’s True’ album.
• Malibu Ken – Save Our Ship
Just going to preface this one by saying that the self titled Malibu Ken album is easily my favourite album of the year, and probably top 5/10 of all time. I enjoyed every song, and think all of them are well worthy of a spot in the 50, but as I didn’t want to bloat the list, I was extra harsh on the songs. Chances are I’ll end up with more songs making the 50, but for now ‘Save Our Ship’ is the most consistently amazing song, and does a great job of showcasing the strengths of the album, namely Aesop’s lyricism and Tobaccos video game like beats.
The production throughout the entire album is consistent in terms of both quality and the sound itself, with all of the beats giving me some kind of video game vibe, yet all the songs sound unique and stand apart from the others, and ‘Save Out Ship’ is no exception. The beat on this one is in this real low tone for the most part, with some higher pitched distorted guitar like synths sprinkled throughout. As a whole the instrumental sounds like something off the soundtrack for ‘Hotline Miami’. There is also this super high pitched electronic synth which comes in with a pleasant little melody before and during the hook. The beat changes up further after the second and final hook, with what is basically a weird synth solo, can’t really describe it too well but it’s a nice little switch up and keeps the song exciting. The hook itself is one of the best on the album, and actually one of my favourite Aesop hooks ever. It’s catchy, short and sweet, and full of the amazing wordplay that Aesop is known for.
If your familiar at all with Aesop you’ll know that lyrically he is on a whole different level than just about any other rapper. This song is no different, with some of the most intricate rhyme schemes and wordplay, and pretty much every single bar being full of substance. He somehow strings together a plethora of ridiculous rhymes and multisyllabic rhymes without it ever sounding forced, and the bars themselves are so well written that you find yourself picking up on meanings and metaphors for months to come. I could really rave on about Aesop’s performance on this song for paragraphs, his flows are creative and vary constantly, his delivery confident and hard hitting, and his all round vocal performance is just so gripping.
Overall, Save Our Ship is a great little peek into the Mailbu Ken album, showcasing the ridiculous production by Tobacco, and the insane lyrics and rapping ability shown by Aesop throughout the whole album. This song in particular is just perfect start to end, with lots of highs and no lows, and if you enjoyed it I’d highly recommend checking out the whole album.
Summary & Discussion
Spotify playlist of all songs here!
Apple Music of all songs here!
Have you heard any of these songs before? What are your opinions on them?
Do you have any recommendations for me based off these songs?
If you havn’t heard them before, I’d highly recommend giving them a listen and letting me know what you think!
– Shan –