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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Gaither

JMW's Top 10 Songs of January 2022

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

If you're reading this, I know... it has been far too long since I've made a top 10 of the month - four months to be exact. Over the last few months, I found myself uninspired, unmotivated, and stagnant. Unable to really create anything without feeling anxious and defeated, I shut down and decided I just wouldn't write anything. While initially, that decision seemed to make things worse, the pause period allowed me to really miss generating these pieces that I craft.

The time away allowed me to miss what I do and really take time to just enjoy whatever music I consume without always expecting to craft a piece on it. It brought back my authentic, organic appreciation of the music I choose to download into me. With that being said, here is my top 10 songs of January.

1. Ella Mai - DFMU

Released only three days ago, Ms. Ella Mai made her return to the music spotlight with her first single in almost two years. After hearing "DFMU" for the first time, I was hypnotized. I couldn't stop playing the record. From the beginning to the very end of my day, I play this song more times than I should. Ella sings about giving love a try but charges her lover to not enlist in a game of tug of war with her heart. Her delivery is candid, honest, and oh so pleasing to the ear. It's for sure safe to say that Ella is coming.

2. Gunna & 21 Savage - thought i was playing

The earlier part of January saw the return of Gunna! Following his highly successful Wunna release, the sharp-tongued designer fiend dropped his final installment in the "Drip Season" series, Drip Season 4Ever. The way this song ignites my spirit is sickening. From the beginning to the very end, "thought i was playing" puts me in a different mode. 21 Savage, who I must say literally bodies every single feature he stars on, maintained the same energy and utterly floated over the track. It's one of my favorite songs on the album.

3. Nija - Beautiful Lies

There's nothing more to say other than, Nija Charles is the present and the future. Finally releasing her debut project, Don't Say I Didn't Warn You this month, the superstar is finally here. She's your favorite artist's favorite songwriter. Nija has written for some of the greatest in the world (check her credentials), and the time has finally come for her to rightfully shine in her own right. "Beautiful Lies" is one of those songs that just feels good. Although the crooner sings about toying with a guy's heart essentially for the fun of it, the song is great. From the tempo to her vocal talent and the production, it's a pure hit.

4. The Weeknd - Out Of Time

At the beginning of January, The Weeknd released Dawn FM album. While I haven't revisited it in a while, a cut from the project that stuck like glue was the groovy "Out of Time." On the album, the record appropriately follows after Quincy Jones' tale and it makes perfect sense. The tune is utterly influenced by the legendary producer and invokes a Motown-ish appeal. The Weeknd delivers this soft, flawless delivery and the song makes for one of the most meaningful moments within the album.

5. 2 Chainz - Pop Music (feat. Moneybagg Yo & Beatking)

if 2 Chainz does anything it's deliver a twerk anthem that will have ladies' faces plastered to the floor. With his upcoming Dope Don't Sell Itself album set to drop on Friday (Feb. 4), the ATL icon teamed up with Moneybagg Yo and BeatKing to deliver a rump-shaking diamond that will have women of all ages and sizes ferociously throwing what the good Lord gave them. 2 Chainz has always been a favorite of mine and he never ceases to amaze me with longevity in the game. He constantly creates hits that transcend time and his decorative career is a testament to that.

6. Cordae - Chronicles (feat. H.E.R. & Lil Durk)

January also gifted us with the DMV native, Cordae's sophomore album From A Birds Eye View. The exceptional body of work finds Cordae navigating through fame, fortune, and maturation. As he comes into himself he remains focused on his goals of retiring his mother, freeing his brother, and bringing the spotlight back to real Hip-Hop. However, one of my favorite moments on the album arrives at the soft-hearted, "Chronicles." Recruiting the great H.E.R. and the unparalleled Lil Durk (who has had a hell of a run much like Lil Baby), the three create such a sweet-sounding tune that is pleasing to my very ears. Cordae sing-raps about his heart and love for his partner. While traveling those crossroads, he asks her to not use his insecurities and vulnerabilities against him as he exposes his heart to her. H.E.R. & Lil Durk are the chef's kisses that make the song even better.

7. Doe Boy - Cry For Me (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)

The heartfelt Hip-Hop/R&B anthems continue with Doe Boy. With his first project since 2020's Demons R Us, Mr. "Oh Reallllyyy" himself, Doe Boy, returned with a brand new album titled after the iconic ad-lib. Charismatic, violent, and raw, the Cleveland rapper tells his story his way over gun-toting, flashy heartfelt verses. A cut from the album that immediately grabbed my attention was "Cry For Me." Recruiting the feature king himself, Ty Dolla, Doe Boy questions his lover asking her how dedicated to him she is. He expresses his love for her but ultimately asks for it to be reciprocated without hesitation. Ty Dolla on the chorus truly is the icing on the cake that just makes the song perfect.

8. Benny The Butcher & J. Cole - Johnny P's Caddy

Now, while I'm still fairly new to the Griselda gang, Benny The Butcher came through with some real raw sh*t that I simply had to acknowledge. Over this cold, Alchemist-produced beat, Benny again puts authentic Hip-Hop on the forefront. Setting the tone for the year, he recruits J.Cole for their first collaboration, and the two murder the scene leaving nothing left. The pair boast about their rise to success and do it with utter grit and grace. Cole, who recently celebrated his 37th birthday self-proclaims himself as the best rapper alive and does it proudly. The track serves as a lead single to Benny's Tana Talk 4 which is expected to release this year.

9. Pink Sweat$ - Real Thing (feat. Tori Kelly)

When I heard Pink Sweat$ and Tori Kelly's snippet for this song on TikTok, my heart melted. The song arrives on Sweat$ latest work, the angelic 8-song EP, Pink Moon. The two beautifully sing about their partners bringing them absolute Heaven on Earth just by being within their presences. Filled with spirituality, sensuality, and warmth, they deliver this ballad that massages the soul with pure ease. From the harmonious production to the anointed talent that flows in both Sweat$ and Kelly, the track is easily one of the best songs I've heard this month.

10. Nija - Rare

After listening to DSIDWY, I knew a couple of songs would touch this list. There's this captivating effect that Nija has within her voice that leaves you wanting more. On "Rare" she reminds her lover that she is not someone you find more than once (if that)... while also expressing she wants to find someone rare too who is distinct from what she's dealt with in the past. Starting the song with a sound bite from the social media sensation/artist Cleopatra, Nija sets the atmosphere, making it known she has no time for her time to be wasted, toyed with, or tossed aside like trash. The pen game is simply unlike others and the delivery is on point.

January was key in reviving me and bringing my love for writing back. While it took some time, I'm grateful. I learned more about myself, the music I enjoy, and taking time for myself to just be present. I'm very appreciative to those who kept me encouraged and reminded me that this is what I love but that it is ok to take breaks/pause periods. The music that was released this month was incredible and I'm truly looking forward to what 2022 has in store.

Feel free to stream my Top 10 Songs of January below via Apple Music!

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