Grant’s Top 10
1. Cocoa Butter Kisses – Chance the Rapper // Vic Mensa // Twista
Chance could rap the contents of a phonebook and it would be a must listen, but when he takes on the topic of nostalgia and his difficult upbringing he simply switches into another gear. Accompanied by choice verses from Vic Mensa and Twista as well as a gorgeous organ-drenched instrumental from Cameron Osteen and Peter Cottontale Chance shows off both his lyrical dexterity and his emotional range on Acid Rap’s best cut.
2. Anxiété – Naive Thieves
Clocking in at just 142 seconds, Naive Thieve’s “Anxiété” is breezy in every sense of the word. The Los Angeles band, now with a healthy Jaron Eldon back on the drums, tackle the frustrations of creativity on one of the catchiest and most upbeat records they’ve ever put together.
3. Black Balloons – Local Natives
There are plenty of choices from Hummingbird that could have made the cut here, but the hard driving drums and ominous guitars simply set “Black Balloons” apart from the rest of the tracks on Local Natives’ LP.
4. Call Me in the Afternoon – Half Moon Run
5. Platoon – Jungle
6. Crush – Jai Paul
7. Pockets – Finish Ticket
8. Nosetalgia – Pusha T // Kendrick Lamar
9. Telegraph Ave – Childish Gambino
10. Fun – KYLE
Tanner’s Top 10
1. Hannah Hunt – Vampire Weekend
It’s tough finding a song that gives you chills. In 2013, “Hannah Hunt” was that song. As the song reaches its climax on the second verse, Ezra Koenig’s voice raises for the heavens, lifting the emotional weight on a song more than any other this year.
2. Blood on the Leaves – Kanye West
Kanye has always known how to make a banger. (see: Gold Digger, Stronger, etc.) But did anybody see a stereo-blaster sampling Nina Simone’s Civil Rights ballad “Strange Fruit” coming out of Yeezy this year? I certainly didn’t. Consider me more than pleasantly surprised.
3. Good Ass Intro – Chance The Rapper
As soon as the female vocalists announce Chance’s arrival on “Good Ass Intro,” it becomes clear that we’re witnessing something special. The 19-year old Chicagoan steals the show from there, spitting some of the densest, most lyrical raps of the year over a jazzy, free-spirited horn beat. For those who finally learned about the up and coming MC this year, it’s clear he’s earned his spot at the table. Chance made his “Good Ass Intro,” and I’m not just talking about this song.
4. Two Heavens – Death Grips
5. Help Me Lose My Mind – Disclosure // London Grammar
6. Numbers on the Board – Pusha T
7. The Mother We Share – CHVRCHES
8. Strictly Reserved For You – Charles Bradley
9. Attracting Flies – Alunageorge
10. Shabba- A$AP Ferg
Justin’s Top 10
1. Good Ass Intro – Chance the Rapper // BJ The Chicago Kid // Lili K. // Kiara Lanier // Peter Cottontale // Will for the O’mys
“Even better than it was the last time”
The last time, in this case, was the intro to Ye’s 2003 mixtape, I’m Good, months before his generation impacting musical run began. A decade later, Chance entered the Chicago music scene peddling a familiar soulful sound. “Good Ass Intro” is the work of a mad genius, paying homage to his elder statesman while blowing him out of the water. It’s vital, exhilarating, and full of kinetic, youthful energy as if spitting two killer verses was all Chance could do to keep from exploding. The beat bumps till the horns take over and you’re most certainly attempting some fresh footwork. Even better than it was the last time? Most certainly.
2.Worst Behavior – Drake // DJ Dahi
How do you not lose your shit to this song? The DJ Dahi production explodes with metallic, clattering hi-hats and pounding kick drums while Drake disses a multitude of motherfuckers. It doesn’t get much more REAL than that. Of all of Drake’s meme ready songs this year, “Worst Behavior” takes the (pound)cake.
3. Something About You – Dornik
In a year full of smooth R&B jams , from JT to Janelle Monáe, nothing touches “Something About You.” The simple backbeat and soothing layers of synth provide plenty of room for Dornik’s circular, hypnotic vocal arrangements to float over the song like the ghost of MJ.
4. Flexxin – Dutch Uncles
5. Telegraph Ave (Oakland by Lloyd) – Childish Gambino
6. Everlasting Arms – Vampire Weekend
7. Lonely – Danny Brown
8. Falling – Haim
9. Streams & Rivers – Coultrain
10. Black Balloons – Local Natives