JMW's Top 10 Songs of July 2020
Updated: Nov 3, 2020
As this month winds down, I still have been finding it difficult as a creative to regain my tempo in regards to listening to a lot of music and generating content. With Covid-19 cases continuing to skyrocket, returning to my daytime job (unfortunately), and trying to maintain sanity, it has indeed been somewhat of a struggle staying focused. However, July stormed (literally) through with new sounds and uncut gems that I found heavily enjoyable. Check out my top 10 tracks of the month.
1. Snoh Aalegra - DYING 4 YOUR LOVE
It's honestly everything about the beauty that is Snoh Aalegra that captivates every fiber of my being. From her steamy low-toned voice, to her sensual yet calm demeanor, everything is a win for me. In the visual for "Dying 4 Your Love," Snoh provides this spacey, intergalactic-yet-futuristic approach as she sings about wanting to be with someone but not feeling that same energy being reciprocated. She feels herself pouring more of herself into this "relationship" than her partner. She feels that this could be the one if they stop playing.
She calls them out for playing with her heart, making it seem as if they are truly in love with her just to treat her less than what she is worth. She desires to be loved, nurtured, and secured.
2. Brandy - Rather Be
I don't know about you guys, but I'm utterly excited for this new Brandy album! Her last album, 2012's Two Eleven might still be one of my favorite albums to this date. With her new album dropping tomorrow, I genuinely cannot wait to see how she delivers.
Over lo-fi, ghastly production, Brandy echoes that should would rather be in the presence of her love... loving up on them. She simply craves their presence, their attention, and energy. While the lyrics are not necessarily complex, Brandy's voice melts on the track like fresh butter (I really cannot get enough). "Rather Be" is a small reminder of the legend that is Brandy.
3. J. Cole - Lion King on Ice
Now over the past month, Mr. Jermaine Cole has been publicly scrutinized on social media for simply being himself and speaking his truth. After the release of his "Snow on the Bluff" single, Cole returned with a fresh two pack of singles entitled "Lewis Street." Both of the tracks are singles from his coming album, The Fall Off but it was something about this Lion King on Ice record that I immediately gravitated towards.
Reverting back to his "Young Simba" alter ego, "Lion King on Ice" acts as a tale of evolution and reflection. Cole looks back on his pre-fame days, his upbringing in Fayetteville, and his wealth and fame today. He always creates a moment where you are invoked by thought. In parts of the song we find him reverting to Young Cole speaking on continuing to prove himself in his career. Produced by jetsonmadeit, T-Minus, and Cole, I found the sound to be distinct from what I'm used to hearing on Cole records. I enjoyed it.
4. DJ Khaled - Popstar (feat. Drake)
Now, it's clear that this is a "loosie" that Drake tossed to Khaled. But, what does that mean to me? Nothing at all! I love when Drake is cocky. Popstar finds Drake reveling in his wealth, stature, and fame. He knows he's been at the top for years and he's very unbothered by anyone. He knows the only person topping him is well... him. This is not even Drizzy at his hardest. You can tell he's literally toying around but it makes for a catchy listen that will have you feeling yourself the same way Drake was. With us reaching towards the end of summer, Drake has stated that his upcoming album is 90% done. So with that being said, there is still much to look forward to.
5. Jhené Aiko - All Good
It is a no brainer that I am a Jhené Aiko connoisseur. The moment she announced she would be releasing a Deluxe edition to Chilombo, I knew I needed it. For starters, the original album was lovely beginning to end. And then, she comes with an additional 9 songs that are all just as great as the project. How can I hate this woman?
Now while I enjoy the entire Deluxe, it is something about this sh*t talking "All Good" that I enjoy. I know some expected "On the Way" to go up here. It was hard to choose. On "All Goo," She's telling men off but in such a way that I groove with it ironically. She tells us to shut up, go with the flow, and let things be cool. She comes for our sensitive ways, our emotional antics, and more (yet, I continue to enjoy it). Only Jhené can do this to me.
6. Kaytranada - Look Easy (feat. Lucky Daye)
If you're ever looking for an alternative / electronic gem, Kaytranada will provide that every single time. It is the way they mesh the electronic-pop tempo with R&B stylings and make you want to get up wherever you are. This time around, tapping Lucky Daye, Kaytranada delivers an all-out "bop" as my best friend says (I hate that word). Lucky's suave relaxed vocals interfuses with the production so seamlessly. The day this dropped, I played it on a loop while I was outside jogging. I could not get enough. I really wish it was longer.
7. Summer Walker - My Affection (feat. PND)
Summer came through earlier this month with highly anticipated her five-song EP and initially it didn't strike me like her previous music. However, after replaying it more this two-piece combo of her and PartyNextDoor simply hit for me. Many didn't care about this track, but I love it. The two just provide this vibe that I can't get enough of.
8. Gucci Mane - Nasty (feat. 21 Savage & Young Nudy)
I didn't expect to care for Gucci's compilation project: Gucci Mane Presents: So Icy Summer, but the album actually slapped... hard! One of the first tracks that grabbed my attention was the three-piece spicy combo of Guwop, 21 Savage, & Young Nudy. The production is very reminiscent of a Nudy track but the three of them come together as they rap about their wealth, aggressive lifestyles, sexual encounters, and of course, weapon toting ways.
9. Pop Smoke - West Coast Sh*t (feat. Tyga & Quavo)
It's been a few weeks since the late Pop Smoke's debut album Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon was released but it is undoubtedly still getting massive play around the world. When I first tapped into the album and I saw this Quavo and Tyga feature, I downplayed it tremendously... until I actually played it.
This song is actually great and it meshes the New York grit from Pop along with the West Coast style production. Quavo actually does not annoy me on this song and provides the charisma, while Tyga honestly holds his own and delivers a sharp verse. While I have other favorites on the album, this one possesses this contagious appeal that I just cannot shake.
10. A$AP Ferg - Move Ya Hips (feat. Nicki Minaj & MadeinTYO)
Released today, I actually did not expect this to even make my list. But, when Ferg and Nicki get together they typically do not miss. On their third collaboration the two New York natives continue to flow together like milk and honey on "Move Ya Hips." With her sophisticated, sharp-tongued verse, Nicki provides even more Instagram captions for all of the fans and haters to post. She brings back that animation in her delivery and makes for a fun listen. Atlanta's MadeinTYO gives listeners a memorable chorus while A$AP Ferg brings the Harlem energy rapping about his immense wealth, sexual prowess, fashionable statements, and luxury lifestyle. I've definitely already played the record about 4 times.
July was pretty decent musically. Even with so many distractions, I was able to weed out some gems that I personally liked. As we approach August, I simply hope we receive even better music than the previous month. You can check out each of these songs in my playlists below. Until next time, continue to stay uplifted, stay encouraged, and stay safe!