As 2020 comes to an end, we’ve asked our music programmers to pick their favourite songs of the year. Discover Brian's Top R'n'B and Hip-Hop tracks!
Well 2020 went off-road pretty quick. Here I was moving into a new place, living my best life and building on the momentum of projects at the end of 2019. I’m not the type to say “This gon be my year,” but when I see something nice happening, I lean into the good, try to keep a level head, and “not talk bidness til bidness is done.” All that to say, in the words of indie pop group Avenue Beat “Fuck 2020.” But before we light it on fire and watch it burn to the ground, here are the songs that got me through some near breaking points.
Best R'n'B songs of 2020
While you read this, listen to the best of R'n'B on Stingray Music!
“Sensitive” by Serena Isioma
“Sensitive” by Serena Isioma produced by C Medina dropped early in the year, and it hit the perfect vibe of fuck everyone, and I’m taking the world by storm. Like I mentioned earlier, I was in a pretty good place at the top of the year, so going back to this energy when I needed a boost helped.
“Moment” by Victoria Monét
“Moment” by Victoria Monét, produced by Tim Suby & D’Mile, off her album Jaguar was a similar message from another side if that makes sense. This one felt like getting that approval you needed when shit was just not poppin’ off. Imagine being with your partner and just having them tell you, you got this and we are going to enjoy this moment. It was a song you might have had on your Valentine’s Day playlist that started having more meaning when you needed to hear “this your motherfuckin' moment.”
“Gone” by Alex Isley ft. Jack Dine
“Gone” by Alex Isley ft. Jack Dine is my second favorite song of the year. It was the number one until someone came along in October, but I’ll get to that. How do I explain my love affair with this song? Alex’s voice soothes the soul in a way I can’t describe, and I feel like I’m floating in the ethereal waters of a dreamscape when I hear it. Think I’m making it up, go listen to the track for yourself in a dark room and enjoy the stress reduction. Essentially this song should be made into a pill for anxiety.
“Make the Most” by Lonr. ft. H.E.R.
“Make the Most” by Lonr. ft. H.E.R., produced by DJ Camper, is simple, fun, light, and makes me think of sitting in a park with someone. Which was the kind of perfect visualization I needed once I was working from home. Funny thing about this song, the music video just does not fit the vibe. I understood the point the video was trying to make and applaud them for telling the story because tackling the murder of a black man by police in a love song seems IMPOSSIBLE, and they managed to do it tastefully. I guess it was just that I pictured the song one way, and the video definitely challenged that.
“Freeze Tag” by Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington ft. Phoelix
“Freeze Tag” by Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington ft. Phoelix almost didn’t make the list. The song felt like a cheat code… you can’t put four of the best producers and musicians in one group and just let them make music together. The fact that ego plays no part in the union of these insanely talented creators is beyond me. I can’t even imagine being a fly on the wall of a song planning session. Robert: “Ok I have a melody in my head.” *plays melody; 9th: “I got you,” * adds a beat; *Kamasi picks up sax and starts improvising; *Terrace hits record and starts humming and adding lyrics to the song. THAT… THAT IS HOW THEY PROBABLY MAKE MUSIC. Just think about it for a second… and you want me to list them against people working solo. In the end, I can’t not list them, though, cause their album was exceptional. Oh, and you know what they did after releasing the original version? They got their favorite rappers to put verses in the tracks and re-released it as a part two... #CheatCode
“Make It Home” by Tobe Nwigwe ft. David Michael Wyatt
“Make It Home” by Tobe Nwigwe ft. David Michael Wyatt and “Try Jesus,” both produced by LaNell Grant are just solid songs. The Pandemic Project album was a nice little five-track and ends with a podcast of sorts and it’s messy and funny. If you need good music and a baby announcement that goes off the rails, jump in. The laughs were needed and welcomed.
“Colors” by TeaMarrr ft. Wale
“Colors” by TeaMarrr ft. Wale produced by Brandon Brown is that weird track that would work in a rage room and chillin’ with friends. That dichotomy is built into the song, and I like it. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t loving the song, but the more I listened to it in conjunction with other songs, it always stuck out, and I would often skip back to hear it play again. Subconsciously it was a vibe I needed.
“Movin’ On” by India Shawn ft. Anderson.Paak
“Movin’ On” by India Shawn ft. Anderson.Paak produced by D’Mile is a pretty perfect duet. This is the second time D’Mile has produced a track on the list, and the style on each song is distinct but has a signature. India throws it back with some beautiful runs, and being outside to this one was good. I heard it while cycling along a waterfront just before it started raining. I kid you not, I was about to get mad, and the song came on and stopped me in my tracks, ‘cause the drums just melt your anger away.
“Damage” by H.E.R.
“Damage” by H.E.R. produced by Cardiak… I don’t know what to say. The song has elements from old school R&B, H.E.R. challenges Alex Isley for the best voice, and if “Gone” put me in a dreamscape, “Damage” is the music to the love scene inside the dreamscape. Real talk, I can’t say anything other than listen to the song. If you are an R&B fan, just know that H.E.R. is the heir apparent to whoever has the crown now. Which for all I know is H.E.R. and she’s just humble about being the current Queen of R&B.
TOP 5 Hip-Hop songs of 2020
5) Hello - E.Jones ft. Pharoahe Monch
4) Ooh la la - Run The Jewels ft. Greg Nice and DJ Premier
3) Scottie Beam – Freddie Gibbs
2) Shine - Joey Bada$$
1) Bout Shit – The LOX ft. DMX
Listen to the best Hip-Hop songs on Stingray Music