For the last month or so, I have only listened to five albums. I am a creature of habit. I listen to music the same way Zuckerberg wears the same clothes.
If I can put the same sh*t on repeat, it gives me one less thing to think about. It always allows me to stay in a certain mental state. So, I decided to share them with you. To share my music and my mind with y’all.
All lyrics from Genius.com
- Quadron-Avalanche. Fave: “Sea Salt” Quadron is an LA-based Danish duo whose self-titled first album was released in 2009. Avalanche is their 2013 release that featured the very popular single, “Hey Love.” Lead singer Coco O and musician/producer Robin Hannibal named the band based on their mixed race heritage. Their music is considered “electric soul,” a genre which continues to grow and is largely European. The genre is influenced by hip-hop and acoustic soul sounds. Avalanche features an epic appearance by Kendrick Lamar (pre-GKMC) as well as top-notch production and lyrical dexterity. This album is my top pick as it is easy to listen to, comforting, and fun. The lyrical gem is from “Sea Salt”: “cause you just play on/but you just play/with my feelings/and leave it all, blame it all/on inexperience/since you rubbed your back with my heart/why did I give it again?/it’s time to focus my direction/it takes a soul sentiment.”
- Kendrick Lamar-untitled/unmastered. Fave: “Untitled 6”. A compilation album of leftovers from To Pimp a Butterfly, untitled/unmastered features a series of songs that are heavy on live instrumentation. The album is an experiment in free-jazz and avant-garde hip-hop (lots of dashes). The leftovers speak to a theme that didn’t make it to the final release of TPAB. “Untitled 6,” features vocals from Cee-Lo and is the best explanation of life as a Gemini that an artist has ever offered up. As a Gemini, the song appeals to me for obvious reasons. Lyrical Gem: “these metamorphic supernatural forces dominate what I see/a Gemini, duality personalities always conflict in me.”
- Peven Everett-Power Soul. Fave: “Can’t Do Without.” Chicago-native, Peven Everett created a house classic with Power Soul in 2006. The album features high-speed love songs and lamentations. I listen to this album because it reminds me of my hip-house roots as well as family in Atlanta that I can’t see or even speak to right now. The album was what I was listening to when I got a ticket in Ohio on my way from NYC to Detroit. Even that didn’t dull my love for it. Lyrical Gem: “The only thing I’m guilty of/is falling head over heels in love.” (unavailable on Genius.)
- Jay Z-In My Lifetime Vol. 1. Fave: “Imaginary Players.” IML 1 is the least favorite Jay Z album of many hip-hop purists. However, the follow-up to Reasonable Doubt features a few classic tracks. Of those few, “Imaginary Players” stands out as one of the greatest Jay Z tracks to ever see the light of day. Being new to New York, this album and its accompanying video from Streets is Watching puts me in a grinding state of mind. It was this album that prompted me to adopt the affirmation: “I am the difference between a 4.0 and a 4.6.” Lyrical Gem: “You beer money/I’m all year money/I’m Papi, ‘you ain’t gotta count it…it’s all there money/I never change money cause niggas got strange money/narc’d up, marked up, fucked up in the game money/I got bail money/XXL money/You got flash now, but time will reveal money.”
- Haitus Kaiyote-Choose Your Weapon. Fave: “Breathing Underwater.” The 2015 release of Choose Your Weapon was highly-anticipated among followers of the electric soul genre. The Australian band did not disappoint releasing another classic album filled with beautiful instrumentation and even more beautiful lyrics. “Breathing Underwater,” was a magical mid-album favorite that became a single. Almost ruined for me, personally, when I related the song to a failed relationship, the song had the power to overcome a dumbass. The lyrics, music, and video are timeless. Lyrical Gem: “I could/call your demons inside/soak them in chamomile/for your love, for your lover to find.”