Unlike the beginning of most years, January had a surprising amount of big drops. From The Weeknd to the more lowkey Earl Sweatshirt music fans of all sorts had new music to look forward to. Today I want to detail and discuss some of the biggest, as well as some of the smallest and important releases of January. I will be shortly discussing albums in the order they were released then discuss some singles as well.
DS4EVER - Gunna
The album that has run the year so far, even beating out The Weeknd's album for the number one spot on billboard. Though I don't really care for this album at all, it's been a huge moment and will likely be around for the long haul.
Dawn FM - The Weeknd
The probable second biggest release of the year so far is a dark, synth pop experience from Canada's own The Weeknd. What is probably my favorite album of the year so far has not seen the success that was expected of it, but will likely be in album of the year conversations ten months from now.
From a Birds Eye View - Cordae
Cordae's highly anticipated sophomore album left more to be desired from the North Carolina rapper. Though it wasn't actively bad, this album was devoid of any real personality and felt like artistry took a back seat. It'll be interesting to see where Cordae goes from this as it seems to have flopped critically and commercially.
SICK! - Earl Sweatshirt
Another slightly disappointing album that is great and enjoyable, but lacks that forward thinking artistic cohesion Earl has bought in the past. I very much enjoy SICK! and it's drowsy production and sharp lyricism; and I'm excited to see how it holds up over time.
CAPRISONGS - FKA Twigs
An eerie and innovative mixtape from the soulful, FKA Twigs. She blends her angelic voice into stellar instrumentals that take influence from every genre from art pop to drill music.
Lyrics to GO, Vol. 3 - Kota The Friend
Another under-the-radar release from Kota that is lyrically very solid. Kota packs a lot of substance into this record, though it still has the normal issues of Kota projects. Weak delivery and production that don't necessarily harm the project, but more so hold it back.
On to Better Things - Iann Dior
A short and boring album from the games biggest pop rapper. There is a more pop punk sound to this album compared to Dior's other music, but it's still not very great.
Colors - YoungBoy Never Broke Again
Another bad attempt at making music from YoungBoy. He throws a lot of different sounds at the wall, and none of it sticks. Looks like his WUSYANAME feature was just a one time thing.
FACE - Babyface Ray
A dark and ominous trap album from the bubbling Detroit artist. Though not the most lyrical, with innovative production and a chilling delivery, Babyface Ray is able to give us one of the most fun albums of the year so far.
Me vs. Me - NLE Choppa
A loud, obnoxious and embarrassing release for Choppa, who seems to be grasping at straws to save his career. The album is very repetitive and a sonic low point for Choppa.
Records I Missed:
Pink Is Better - Token
Long Live Young Dolph - Paper Route Empire
OH REALLY - Doe Boy
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU - Dro Kenji
It's Not So Bad - KYLE
Surround Sound f/ 21 Savage & Baby Tate - JID
A high energy banger with an incredible beat, and beat switch. JID and 21 Savage both deliver top shelf verses and came through with one of the hardest songs of the year.
Walkin - Denzel Curry
Likely the best song to release this year and a great prelude to Denzel's Melt My Eyez, See Your Future. This song is truly flawless in my eyes
Arya f/ A$AP Rocky - Nigo
This single just shows the creative potential that Nigo's upcoming album has. This eccentric beat is dominated by a nonchalant A$AP Rocky who sounds right at home.
Johnny P's Caddy f/ J. Cole - Benny The Butcher
With Tana Talk 4 dropping in what could be days this single shows we might be in store for Benny's best album yet. The Alchemist production is amazing and this J. Cole feature is one of his best ever, the hunger in his delivery is unlike anything I've ever heard from him.
THE REV3NGE - Joey Bada$$
The only notable single I don't like. Considering this is presumably the first single before Joey's next album I was thoroughly disappointed with the mainstream sound and shallow lyricism