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JMW's Top 10 Songs of January 2021

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Photo by FPVmat A on Unsplash

As we enter a new month tomorrow, it's extremely alarming how fast the month of January came and went. Nonetheless, January was an amazing start to the new year both personally and musically. Musically, January truly set the tone for the rest of the year. So many incredible tracks were released that it was genuinely hard to narrow it down to 10 (honestly, i added them all to my personal playlists regardless). Despite that, the show must go on. Here are my top 10 songs of January!

1. Jazmine Sullivan - Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)

January marked the return of the incomparable Jazmine Sullivan. After dropping a string of singles, the young Philly phenom released her fourth project, the impeccable Heaux Tales. While literally every track is outstanding, a cut that immediately changed my life was "Girl Like Me." Recruiting her friend, the sensational H.E.R., the two ponder on if being a "good girl" is even worth when they continue to fall short. Their voices blend flawlessly and the execution is literally angelic. The moment you hear Jaz sing, "I made a profile on Tinder," you're already blown away. There is so much truth and passion in her voice and she effortlessly delivers.

2. Wale - Good Vibes (Za)

January also saw the release of another dope single. As he always does, Wale came through with another memorable gem that immediately infiltrates your spirit on the first listen. On "Good Vibes (Za)," Wale longs for better, positive days. He reflects on the tumultuous year that was 2020 while also making note of the various blessings he received throughout the year. If it's one thing Wale does, it's tell a story. He highlights the chaotic societal climate currently taking place in our country and also manages to bring further awareness on the racial disparities seen within black culture and society. A catchy yet thought-provoking gem.

3. Mcamp - Sexy In the Morning

Seriously, this honestly is one of my favorite records out right now. Hailing from Portland, the 21-year-old legend in the making, "Mcamp" is a newcomer to the industry but mark my words... He's here to stay. Channeling that same musical quality felt in Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie," Camp's "Sexy In the Morning" is a dreamy love ballad that finds him gushing about how sexy his love is during the early hours of the day. Produced, mixed, and mastered by the young artist himself, he creates a timeless bedroom banger that just warms your core.

His production skills, vocal display and flow each are remarkable, channeling artists of the past while still maintaining a modern-day swagger. I actually had the opportunity to interview him and there's nothing more to say other than... Mcamp is next. You heard it from me.

4. Jazmine Sullivan - On It (feat. Ari Lennox)

Back for round 2, Deaconesses Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox minister a spirit of sensuality like never before on this steamy ballad. Another cut from Heaux Tales, "On It" is just so damn sexy. From the sanctified production to the anointed vocals, leading ladies Jazmine and Ari take listeners straight to church. Ironically, they aren't preaching your regular Sunday service sermon. They deliver a R&B banger like no other as they sing about wanting to engage in passionate yet downright filthy sexual acts (as long as the receiver is worthy of receiving). This pairing is literally something I just didn't know I needed but I'm so grateful for it.

5. Vanjess - Curious (feat. Jimi Tents & Garren)

Now, a group that needs to be paid much more attention is none other than the Nigerian R&B twosome known as VanJess. Sensual, enticing, and smooth, "Curious" takes me away. Featuring Jimi Tents and Garren, the hypnotic track possesses this alluring melody that leaves me thirsting for more. I actually stumbled across this on one of the R&B playlists on Apple Music and I knew from there, I needed more of this duo. Their melting voices do something to my spirit. The sensuality throughout each ad-lib / background vocal addition just excites me. The musicality is invigorating and new. They are definitely on my radar this year.

6. Russ - Ugly (feat. Lil Baby)

If there's one thing Russ does, it's make hits (I don't care. I said what I said). Whether he's singing about taking back a former past love with Kehlani or giving us real Hip-Hop realness with Ab-Soul, he possesses the range that truly makes him attractive in this industry. Bringing that bass booming trap feel, Russ teamed up with none other than the Atlanta powerhouse, Lil Baby for the high energy stunt anthem, "Ugly." Cocky from the start, Russ makes it clear that whether you like him or not, he's paid either way. He's so captivating that he even has his weak adversaries' women falling in love with him.

He makes it clear he doesn't have to act like he's cool with anyone to get anything he wants because he can just do that on his own. Of course, Lil Baby (who had a hell of a 2020), come through flawlessly breathing fire on the track. The flow is relentless, the swag is obvious, and the charisma is on full display. If there's anything I love, it's a stunt anthem.

7. Erica Banks - Buss It

If you'd never heard of Erica Banks prior to January, I'm SURE you have now. Even if you're not completely sure, you have. Anytime you've watched the infamous "BussIt Challenge" on social media (one of the best things to happen on social media), that is all thanks to Erica Banks. With her viral booty-throwing anthem, Ms. Banks came through and changed social media forever. Because of her upbeat, bass rattling, twerk anthem, "Buss It," Erica had women of literally all ages and sizes throwing everything the good Lord blessed them with in 15-40 second videos all over social media. The track literally makes you want to go to a strip club. It takes listeners back to pre-Covid days where day parties and long fun nights were the norm (Yeah, I miss it too).

8. Flo Milli - Roaring 20s

Keeping the energy high and the tempo fast, this month, I tapped into the talent that is Flo Milli. Again, sifting through Apple Music playlists looking for something new and innovative, I stumbled across this banger. Teaming up with Kenny Beats, Flo Milli samples Zero Mostel's "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. However, the Alabama rapper reinvents the sound and bends it to her whim making an all-new banger that slaps from beginning to end. It's something about her voice and flow that energizes me.

I enjoy the quick, witty bars and her delivery is so animated yet hard. She begins the song assuming the role of the stereotypical guy, but by the end of the song she switches positions and takes her place as a young, rich top-tier, black woman who will not submit to any man.

9. Nao - Antidote (feat. Adekunle Gold)

I remember one of my good friends from college told me about Nao... She dropped this song called "If You Ever," featuring 6LACK back in 2018 and I immediately fell in love with it, her voice, and her musical style. Since then, she was on my radar. Now in 2021, Nao is back, providing me and listeners worldwide with even more vibes. On the soothing, magical "Antidote," Nao ushers in a spirit of serenity and passion as she and Adekunle sing sweet melodies to their daughters, who both were born during this pandemic. They both see their children as the very antidote that they need to weather the storms of the times. Their daughters bring them sheer joy and peace.

Her voice is so tender and exhilarating. I envision myself playing this on some tropical island, (whenever it's truly safe to travel) with my shirt open, and a freshly poured mimosa in my hand as I enjoy the view.

10. KBFR - WEGO (feat. Conor Matthews)

January continued it's diversity with a spicy hot gem from the up-and-coming Philly native KBFR. Recruiting Conor Matthews, the two deliver a catchy, uptempo banger, "WEGO." Having garnered heavy success from his viral TikTok hit, "Hood Baby," KBFR set the tone for his 2021 with this charismatic record. With a humorous yet solid flow, he tells his own story in a way that is truly enjoyable for his listeners. He's definitely another artist to look out for this year.

January was truly a remarkable month with so many amazing releases. Personally, it may have been one of the best starts to a year for me in some time. Musically, it was utterly diverse and pleasing to my ear. The pace has been set and I'm so excited to see what February and the rest of 2021 brings. You can listen to my top 10 tracks of January below!

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