By now you have probably read 5-10 “Best Albums” lists compiled by your favorite music conglomerates. This list is different for several reasons. First, this is a list of my (Arjun’s) personal favorite projects from the year. I did not have to dilute my taste through a group dynamic. This is my unfiltered opinion, which I think makes for a more honest list. Secondly, I did not include any artists for political reasons, which larger sites are prone to do. Lastly, this list is a bit unusual in that it combines albums, mixtapes, and EPs under the blanket term “project,” which in the age of long EPs, free albums, and high quality mixtapes is a necessity.
I am not going to write about every album on the list. Nobody has time for that. Instead, let’s hit the highlights and the lesser known projects.
Everybody probably has that one friend who gets the aux chord by default during every turn up function. I’m that friend in my friend group, and everyone I have introduced Cousin Stizz to has fucked with him. I played “Bonds” in the car with my brother, who I’m not super close with, and the chorus (“Ain’t no bond stronger than me and my money”) got stuck in both of our heads and became a recurring joke between us. There’s something about Stizz’s laidback delivery that appeals to the average person. He just sounds like a guy rapping. Like he’s so good at rapping and his flow is so smooth that it seems like he’s not even trying. It’s so blasé and cool and repetitive and addictive. And if you thought “Shoutout” was a fluke, it’s not. I’m halfway through the tape, and it is all bangers.
Suffolk County is about to soundtrack every house party in my small town this summer.
We are the loneliest generation. And I’m starting to accept that. Because it’s a beautiful loneliness. It’s a loneliness where we are both interconnected and isolated by our own devices. The chasm between reality and fantasy is shrinking. The internet allows us to develop personas, and man, these personas are perfect people. We have perfect opinions on every controversial event. And we are artists. And we have ideas for Kanye. It’s dumb but feels better than reality. We are alone together as an escape from just being alone. What we don’t realize is that being alone together is a lot sadder than just being alone.
So I made a really sad mixtape.
Note: SoundCloud does not have the first track of the mix (“Wound” by Arca), and the transition between that track and Tunji Ige’s “Song of the Night” is the best thing ever. So I’d recommend you download the mix (below) for that.
Chillin’ playing Lupe, feeling all alone, ain’t seen you in two Tuesdays