I know... It's been a while. While we are still in the midst of one of the worst (if not the utter worst) pandemics in history, there has also been much political chaos, worldwide civil disputes, and economic turmoil. Over the past month, it simply was too hard (and seemingly insensitive) to really engage with music with everything going on in our world. Ironically however, music (under God of course) has continuously proved to be the only constant that has maintained my peace.
Due to the climate of our world, I did not create a Top 10 list for the month of May. I really was not in a space to create really... anything throughout this month. As time always does, it has healed and alleviated me enough to regain focus. The show must continue as there has been much new music circulating in my head throughout the month of June. Let's tap into JMW's Top 10 songs of the month!
1. Kaash Paige - Jaded
There is this twinkling aspect of Kaash Paige that I just cannot get enough of. With her debut album expected to release soon, the 19 year-old Dallas native continues to drop gem after gem. With her entrancing vocal display and mature lyricism, Kaash delivers such a moment on "Jaded." From beginning to end, I literally could not get enough of this song. She sings about desiring commitment and real love. While she wants the partnership to work, she feels that the spark is dwindling.
2. Chloe x Halle - Forgive Me
Now... Chloe and Halle came in and literally swept me away this month. With the release of the sophomore album, Ungodly Hour, the two ushered in a new level of maturation, growth, and sexuality. On "Forgive Me" the young sisters are utterly unapologetic. They reclaim their self-worth and flash it for the world to see. They take back their power and control of their identities while reaffirming to their listeners that no man (or woman) should ever have that much power over them. The visual literally made me fall in love with them even more than I have. This song and the entire album is amazing, check it out.
3. Teyana Taylor - Lowkey (feat. Erykah Badu)
While Juneteenth has and will FOREVER be important, this Juneteenth was truly a treat as Teyana Taylor decided to bless the world with her third album, The Album. If it wasn't clear enough, I'm a true sucker for vibes and feels. Immediately on the first listen, I quickly gravitated to "Lowkey." Only Tey could reinvent Erykah Badu's "Next Lifetime!" Only she could get Badula to add a new dope verse and create a brand new moment in music. This is one of my favorite moments on her album. It bridges the past with today and innovates a brand new sound.
4. 6LACK - Know My Rights (feat. Lil Baby)
June saw the return of one of my favorites, 6LACK! Having been quiet (minus features here and there with artists such as Snow Aalegra, Summer Walker, and more) since his 2018 East Atlanta Love Letter album, 6LACK hopped back on the scene with his newest EP, 6pc Hot. Per usual, the man does not miss. However, I had to highlight the two-piece combo between both he and Lil Baby on "Know Your Rights!"
Bringing that booming Atlanta production, 6LACK and Baby reflect on their wealth, stature, and positioning in the rap game. They have worked hard on their own and they make it known. Lil Baby who has been on an untouchable hot streak for months blazes through with a fiery verse and the two just go off effortlessly.
5. Shy Glizzy - Right Or Wrong (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)
When Glizzy and Uzi come together... it's a gem. Continuing to put on for D.C., Shy Glizzy comes through with this up-tempo track. This is not the first time the two have collaborated (check out Glizzy's "Superstar" record). Glizzy brings his trademark flow from ad-libs to execution. Add Uzi to the mix, and the two body the track with pure ease. Both Uzi and Glizzy are cut from the same cloth when it comes to their deliveries, flows, and confidence. The two get straight to business as they rap about their money, women, and their sexual prowess.
6. Wale - EMPTY WISHING WALL (feat. Eric Bellinger)
June also saw Wale's return to the music scene. The fellow DMV native swiftly came through with a six-track EP entitled, The Imperfect Storm. Highlighting the civil and political unrest taking place throughout the world, Wale utilizes his platform to create some thought provoking, meaningful tunes to help us heal through these trying times. A personal favorite arrived early with "Empty Wishing Well."
Recruiting frequent collaborator / friend, Eric Bellinger, the two tell this story of navigating through relationships and life even though these chaotic unpredictable times. Eric's voice provides this soothing yet nearly intoxicating aura. Wale strings words and imagery together without any effort and creates a vivid picture as he flows.
7. Moneybagg Yo - Said Sum
When it comes to Moneybagg Yo, the man simply does not miss (don't debate me, debate your mother please). On the final day of the month, Moneybagg comes through with this street anthem that all types of people can actually relate to. Bagg chin checks any and every lame dude and woman who match the description in his lyrics. The flow is relentless and hard. Every lyric you truly feel Moneybagg means it with everything in his heart. I played this at least 4 times back-to-back.
8. Eric Bellinger - Eazy Shuffle
With so much darkness in the world today, I found this gem to be very positive and fun. Eric Bellinger is extremely talented and always comes through with a pure vibe. For the "Eazy Shuffle" Bellinger opts out of serious topics and creates a slight upbeat dance record that makes you want to get out of your car and dance. Whether you're with your friends, in the house alone, at a party (which you shouldn't be at because we're social distancing, right?) the "Eazy Shuffle" really makes you happy. It also seems like a record that people may create a social media challenge to.
9. UMI - Open Up
UMI is one of my newest pleasures. Everything that she creates, I genuinely fall in love with. When she announced her EP Introspection would be coming this month, I was elated. The six-song EP gives listeners an even deeper look into UMI's mind. She displays more growth, maturation, and sensibility as she peels the layers to her soul. UMI reflects on her internal journey. On "Open Up" the young singer goes back-and-forth with choosing herself over a relationship that has lead its course.
10. Lil Durk - Denied In UK
With the Deluxe release of his Just Cause Y'all Waited 2, Lil Durk gets right in his bag with this Hood love anthem, "Denied in UK." I've recently been listening to Durk more and what always strikes me is his charisma. He plays with his flow in various ways ranging from pitch and cadence, harmonies, and more. Here, her praises his lady and highlights the qualities of her that makes him happy and want to keep her around. He has no problem claiming her publicly because of her loyalty and authenticity.
Although social injustices, racism, and political turmoil continue to take root in our country, June brought a hint of sanity for me (and maybe others) with many of the recent musical releases. While we continue to undergo an awful pandemic, music continues to provide hope. It continues to be the soundtrack to our lives and provide us with some type of healing and alleviation. I pray that July brings even more tunes and even more peace. Stay healthy and stay safe everyone!