You may already have "lo-fi chill hip-hop beats for studying" queue'd up on your computer while studying for finals this Dead Week, but Limelight has you covered with our picks for the best albums of 2019.
“Eros” by Eli Sostre
Brooklyn native Eli Sostre released his long-awaited project “Eros,” which follows his debut album “Still Up All Night.” Sostre brings a mellow hybrid of rap and R&B to the table of underground hip-hop. Sostre’s melancholy tone, matched with executive producer Soriano’s hard-hitting beats calls for one of the best hip-hop projects of 2019. “Eros” acts as a platform for Sostre to express himself. The personal connection that Sostre has to this tape is apparent, but so is his chemistry with Soriano. The two combine for an incredibly powerful duo and ultimately charted at number 23 on Apple Music. A little over a month later Sostre dropped an EP titled “Vibe God Collection, Vol. 1,” which also features production from Soriano, but these tracks are most likely throwaways from “Eros.” Sostre has claimed to be taking a step away from music in order to focus on his family.
“Revenge of the Dreamers III” by Dreamville
“Revenge of the Dreamers III” is Dreamville’s third collaboration album, and it acted as a wonderful platform for J. Cole to reconnect and collaborate with his peers. Over 300 artists and producers collaborated with one another in order to complete the project. The album was nominated for rap album of the year at the 62nd Grammy Awards. The project definitely had no shortage of surprises, with artists like T.I. and J.I.D or DaBaby and Cole hopping on tracks together, and expectations were immediately blown out of the water. Atlanta-born rapper J.I.D shined throughout the duration of this tape, making six appearances, including verses on hits like “Costa Rica” and “Down Bad.”
“Social Cues” by Cage The Elephant
The Kentucky rock group Cage The Elephant impressed many with their fifth studio album “Social Cues.” The band spreads a message of feeling validated, and encapsulates the feelings that come with grief. The “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” group begins the hype for the project by releasing the single “Ready to Let Go” earlier this year. “Social Cues” was a wonderful addition to their overall discography, and it shows that the rock group still has the ability to create some intriguing music. “Social Cues” was nominated for rock album of the year at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
“Stuffed & Ready” by Cherry Glazerr
In Cherry Glazerr’s third studio album, released Feb. 1, front woman Clementine Creevy has a seriously torrid 30-minute vent session. In 10 vicious tracks, Creevy strays from her usual lyrical stomping grounds and instead breaks into broader topics such as feminism, fame and introspection. A cynical commentary on society at large, the band uses the extra room left by the departure of keyboardist Sasami Ashworth to shift into high gear and rip the world a new one. In “Stuffed & Ready,” Cherry Glazerr’s reverberated edge is made even sharper and Creevy’s honeyed vocal undertone is varied with a riot-grrrl fry. Above all else, “Stuffed & Ready” is a thorny knockout that proves that grunge is still alive, albeit twitching and barely breathing in the bottom of a hole somewhere.
“WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish’s studio debut, in short, completely obliterated the charts this year. Released on March 29, “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” earned the young artist countless awards and nominations for concept, originality, execution and more. Influences of Grimes, Aurora and Tyler, the Creator can be heard throughout the avant art-pop record, with smash singles “You Should See Me in a Crown” and “Bad Guy” painting the town red and tracks like “ilomilo” and “Bury a Friend” sending chills down spines. Dynamized by her brother, producer Finneas O’Connell, Eilish’s silvery voice is a siren song that puts listeners under a spell cast through means of her eccentric, calming electro-pop and macabre-yet-modern ambiance. “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” transformed 17-year-old Eilish from another blue-haired indie pop star into one of the biggest worldwide breakout sensations in music, and she isn’t done yet.
“Heard It in a Past Life” by Maggie Rogers
The album features a unique folk-pop sound full of high energy, emotion and amazing vocal prowess. From the feel good nature of “Burning” to reflecting on your relationships during “Fallingwater”, there truly is something for every mood. This album is essential for those long road trips with good friends, the windows down and the breeze going through your hair as sunset arrives. Whether you’re looking for some music with good vibes or want your life to feel like a coming-of-age film.
“African Giant” by Burna Boy
If you are a fan of Afro Beats, anything from Burna Boy’s fourth studio album African Giant is a must on your playlist. While staying true to his Afro Fusion roots with songs like Ye, Gbona, and On the Low, the Nigerian artist became a global sensation throughout this year. The album discusses Nigerian politics and colonialism, the pursuit of love and unapologetically celebrates blackness. Collaborating with artists like Jorja Smith, YG and Future allowed African Giant appeal more to the mainstream. Despite his crossover into mainstream media, Burna Boy remains authentic and is not a talent to go unnoticed.
“thank u, next” by Ariana Grande
In the midst of the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, and break up with fiancé Pete Davidson, Ariana Grande released her fifth studio album in February of 2019. Her first release, the title track "thank u, next," became an instant success. Peaking at the top of the charts, including U.S. Billboard Hot 100, she reached over 456 million views on her music video with co-stars such as Troye Sivan, Kris Jenner, Jonathan Bennett and many more celebrity faces. Additionally, her singles "7 Rings" and "Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" went off the charts. Grande became the third female artist to have a minimum of two songs make the Hot 100. Reaching the U.K. Singles Chart made her the first female artist to replace herself as number one single. She has a list of accomplishments from this year, including a nomination for the People's Choice Awards and the American Music Awards. Grande's many successes are the reason she has a world-renowned brand name.