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!
• Higher Brothers – Do It Like Me (ft. JID)
Higher Brothers are a Chinese rap group signed to the 88rising label, and in early 2019 they released their ‘Five Stars’ album, featuring fellow 88rising label mates as well as a number of incredible features from established American rappers. I enjoyed many of the songs, but the one I found to stand out and be the most amazing over all is ‘Do It Like Me’. The song features verses from 2 members of Higher Brothers, Melo & Psy.P, and a feature from up and coming Atlanta rapper JID. I feel this song is not only the most enjoyable on the album, but it also features some of the best rapping and one of JID’s best features of 2019.
The beat is really basic, actually has a real cypher kind of vibe, could imagine it being played in an abandoned warehouse or car park like a BET cypher and each rapper just taking turns spitting. It’s composed of this generic drum beat, a thumping bass and this simple synth which is the real core of the beat. The hook on this is really good considering. Like it is in no way the kind of hook I would usually enjoy, but I love it, it’s just delivered well it enough that it’s crazy catchy. It’s short, it’s repetitive (literally the same line repeated 4 times), and I can’t understand a single word of it because it’s in Chinese. Regardless, the more I heard this song the more I loved the hook and therefore the song as a whole.
Psy.P of Higher Brothers has the first verse, and is an amazing start to the song. His verse is about 98% percent Chinese and 2% English, so I can’t really comment on the lyrical content at all, but his delivery and flows alone easily make this verse super enjoyable. In English, Psy.P throws over to JID in a short, fun little interlude, and is a subtle touch that makes the song that tiny but better. JIDs verse is sensational, actually probably one of my favourite verses of his ever and that’s as a big fan. The way he flows over the beat, his impeccable wordplay, his addictive mellow yet hungry delivery, and even his bars on this really show why people have compared him to Kendrick, or pick him as someone with a big future. I could go on about it for pages, but I implore you to go and check his verse out even if it means you spend your last 2 minutes doing that instead of reading this, truely an incredibly impressive and sonically enjoyable verse. Melo of Higher Brothers has the final verse of the song, and his is about 50/50 English and Chinese. His flows are incredible, with him switching it up a number of times in his verse, and his delivery is amazing as well. Overall he just does a great job to keep up the quality through to the end of the track.
In summary, I’d say this would be a great entry point to anyone who is hesitant on giving Chinese or Asian rap in general a go. It showcases how enjoyable verses and songs can be just based on flows and vocal deliveries alone, and is helped along by a fantastic JID verse as well. Just a super enjoyable song, and a great showing of the talent of both Higher Brothers & JID.
• Boogie – Silent Ride
Silent Ride from Boogie’s ‘Everything For Sale’ album is one of the biggest vibes of the year. The combination of the atmospheric beat, the incredibly catchy hook and the mellow flows from Boogie just set this real laid back feel and vibe, perfect kind of song to throw on in the car on a late night drive home.
The beat does an incredible job at setting the mood of the track, which is this kind of sad, reflective mood. The beat revolves primarily around this real airy, mellow melody that sounds like a woodwind instrument of some sort, possibly a pan flute. This instrument is present during most of the song, but changes up its melody at times as the song progresses. Apart from that, the instrumental only really contains a basic drum beat, just a low tempo hi hat heavy beat with some claps and minimal bass. Overall though the instrumental alone is beautiful and Boogie utilises it exceptionally.
The hook is easily one of the strong points, not really in terms of its content but certainly in terms of its catchiness, which is largely due to Boogies delivery and flow. Boogie sings the hook in this slow melodic manner, and it sounds kind of strange at first but has this addictive quality to it, is one that grows on you with each listen, and by the time you are familiar with the song it’s the standout feature. Honestly it just fits the mood set by the beat perfectly, with this low defeated tone to his voice. Boogie does a great job on the verses to ensure consistency in terms of both quality and overall sounds, once again meshing with the beat perfectly and riding it with ease. He switches up his flow numerous times, has this catchy and clear delivery throughout, and has a heap of impressive wordplay and bars on top of that. This whole song really showcases Boogies versatility perfectly, from his rapping to his singing, and his wordplay to his ability to pack bars full of emotion.
Overall this is just an all round pleasure to listen to front to back, with such a calming beat and the addictive nature of the hook, and even the verses. I’d also say this is one of the more accessible songs on my list for a broader audience, I can see this appealing to just about anyone. If you enjoyed this and the song above it on my list, check out ‘Soho’ by Boogie featuring JID for a great showcase of each artist.
• A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – Beasty
Beasty is the second song to make my top 50 that was actually released at the very end of 2019, and ever since my first listen I’ve been super impressed, and it’s only grown on me since then. Beasty is by New York rapper ‘A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’ and is found on his Hoodie SZN album, and what it does amazingly is showcase A Boogie’s ability to change up flows seamlessly, all over a hard hitting Kenny Beats instrumental.
The beat on Beasty is provided by Kenny Beats, and is composed mainly of a hard hitting bass, some rattling hi hats, and some synths that have a real scI-fi feel to them. The drums often change up slightly as A Boogie switches flows and delivery, which is a nice little touch to help emphasise the switch. At times there are also other synths that act almost as backing vocals with Kid Cudi-like ‘ahhhs’ or some high pitched vocal synths being used. The chorus is nothing too special but doesn’t take away from the track at all, being a catchy little 8 bar hook that’s delivered well, flows nicely, and has a nice little rhyme scheme. It’s only on the track twice, and since it is so short it barely even feels like a hook, but acts as a nice little outro and interlude between the verses.
The verses on this song are the standout to me, and the reason this song is looked at so fondly in my eyes. To put it simply, I think A Boogie has the best progression in terms of his delivery and flows on any verse in the last couple of years. The first verse in particular is the one that impressed me most, but the second verse has an impressive delivery and flow switches as well. To try describe it a bit better, on the first verse of this song A Boogie sounds like he is getting progressively angrier/more upset as the verse goes on, until he finally loses it. The first few bars sound like he is mad and mumbling complaints to himself with the more typical rap flow and delivery, then it suddenly switches up and he sounds like he is talking out loud with a more upset tone and melodic delivery. Then finally he loses it and sounds almost like he is having a tantrum, with this sporadic flow and melodic delivery that sounds like he is on the verge of crying. Then, he sounds like he calms down, and the next few bars of the first verse are delivered in this calmer rap flow, and this is all in one verse. Apart from this, the lyrics and wordplay itself is amazing, and I really urge you to check this out so you know what I mean because it’s a difficult one to explain!
Overall this song is just a really pleasant and enjoyable listen from a musical standpoint, and also super impressive from a creative standpoint. The progression in flows, vocal delivery, and the beat is amazingly done and one of my favourite examples of a well executed build up in years. For songs similar to this, check out the Hoodie SZN album, lots of similar songs in terms of vibe. If you want another song with an amazing build up check out jungle fever by Angel Haze.
• Lil Pump – Be Like Me (ft. Lil Wayne)
When I first heard ‘Be Like Me’ from Lil Pump’s Harverd Dropout album I definitely didn’t think it was top 50 material. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like the hook at all, namely Pump’s attempt at singing, but enjoyed the Weezy feature so put it in a playlist regardless, and the more I heard it the more I enjoyed the hook, and at this point it’s probably one of my favourite hooks of the year, my favourite song from the album, and my favourite Lil Wayne feature.
Despite the song having some amazing verses, the hook and beat alone are strong enough to carry this song. The beat is composed mainly of this melodic bass synth which which is played the entirety of the song. As each verse progresses, there is the addition of some basic drums and also a subtle little piano loop which mirrors the bass melody. The beat is fairly simple but sets a real playful mood, one that fits the peronalities of Pump and Wayne well. The hook is fairly long, a bit repetitive, and sung pretty badly, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the catchiest hooks of 2019. The way Lil Pump says “everybody wanna be like meee-eee-eee” is unironically one of my favourite little touches all year. Helps the hook be a real grower, combined with the fun beat this song is just real enjoyable to sing along too, the hook especially.
Lil Pump has the first verse, and spends his time rapping about how people and rappers are always trying to be like other rappers, in particular Pump himself. He does so with this real playful delivery and a range of fun flows, with some funny bars and some solid rhyme schemes throughout. I love pumps verse, but Wayne definitely outshines him in terms of flows, wordplay, bars, and pretty much everything. Wayne flows on the boppy beat with such ease, sounding so confident and spitting a range of complex flows that are both fun and impressive. His verse is just as fun as pumps to listen to, but far more impressive, and was initially my favourite part of the song.
Overall this song comes across as just a playful, fun song between 2 generations of rappers who seem to influence the look and sounds of other artists, but it’s actually much impressive than it seems. With an insanely catchy hook, one that I’ve come to think sounds amazing, an addictive little beat, and one of the best Wayne features in recent memory this song is a fun listen and an impressive display of both Lil Pump and Wayne’s talents as rappers.
• Dave – Disaster (ft. J Hus)
‘Disaster’ by UK rapper Dave is my personal favourite song from his 2019 album ‘Psychodrama’. I enjoyed a majority of the album, but whereas most songs I enjoyed for their lyrical content or storytelling, Disaster was one I enjoyed based more so on overall vibe, the beat and the strong feature. This is the second song in the top 50 to feature J Hus on the hook, and like the other, the hook is a big part of why this song is as great as it is, and is probably my favourite part of the song.
The song structure isn’t anything groundbreaking, but is different than most, being a hook delivered by J Hus, then a long verse which has Dave and J Hus taking terms spitting bars for just over 2 minutes, then another hook to close out the song. I think in this case the structure works excellently and is executed perfectly, with an immaculate hook really putting the pressure on the 2 minute verse to be good, and the verse being delivered so amazingly it may even be better than the hook. The beat is minimalistic, which also helps to shine the spotlight on the bars. Composed of a simple drum beat and this melodic little bass synth which forms the backbone for the beat and is the primary sound we here throughout the song. About 35 seconds into the verse we also hear this little guitar like synth, which plays a real simple note or 2 which echoes for a couple seconds then repeats. Overall just a real nice beat that sets this mellow vibe and allows the artists to be the main focus.
The hook is exceptional, I don’t know if this is just a language difference thing but I think the British accent on the hook just adds this extra something that makes this one of my favourite sounding hooks of the year. The entire hook sounds amazing, showcases a number of flows and great bars, and is actually quite long without being repetitive. I honestly love the whole hook, and it’s a long one, so I’ll just quote my favourite part;
“Make a one trip there,
Just to make a one ting clear,
Then fly out to Edinburgh,
I’m so fly, I might just pop my collar”.
Dave and an J Hus take turns spitting for the entirety of the 2 minute verse, and both deliver a super impressive performance in terms of solid flows, rhyme schemes, and deliveries. On top of that this song is absolutely full of great quotables and metaphors, ridiculous wordplay and some of the best transitions in any song this year. The chemistry between Dave and J Hus is insane, and it really shows throughout this song, and as someone who has always been aware of Dave’s capability as a rapper, and who had never really heard J Hus rap, I think they were even on this, with both of them competing for the best spot and both coming out with a 10/10 performance. If you can’t tell, I love this verse, could Gas it up and quote it all day, but I really urge you to check it out yourself if you like solid bars, UK rap or artists trading bars/verses.
Overall this is truely a sensational song start to end, the beat is compelling, the lyrics are amazing, the hook sounds oddly beautiful, the structure is nice, and both Dave and J Hus have impressive bars and flows throughout the verse. This is in my top 3 UK rap songs of 2019, and it’s been a great year for it, this song may even end up in my overall top 10. Such an enjoyable listen and one I can actually see growing on me even more in the future
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 –