I could spend some time revisiting the works of Sartre and Camus in an effort to beef up the anecdotal part of my post, but that would chew up a lot of my time. To be perfectly honest, it’s been over 15 years since I’ve read The Stranger and I really want to get Goldwash’s new tune to your ears as quickly as possible.
Dubbed as Existential Funk, “But U Won’t” boasts a bevy of influences, starting off with a playful little jazz piano melody. From there, we’re welcomed in by some soulful lyrics, a thick ‘n funky bassline, and some accentuating, pitched-down vocal samples. The production quality is second to none, alluding to the fact that this enigmatic musician is primed for plenty of attention in 2016.
As it stands right now, this 21-year-old classically trained artist is relatively unheard of. I highly recommend following him now, so you can one-up all your friends at the end of 2016 with the old fashioned “Who Heard Them First” game.
REAL FRIENDS & NO MORE PARTIES IN LA (SNIPPET)
Speculation around the status of Kanye West‘s upcoming album, SWISH, has been swirling pretty constantly since the turn of the new year when Yeezy decided to drop his
underwhelming Nike dissing, Jumpman-esque single “Facts”. So when Kim Kardashian West teased the prospect of new Kanye music every Friday late last night, it’s safe to say all his fans had a mini freakout. Comparisons were instantly drawn to Ye’s revolutionary “G.O.O.D. Fridays” series back in 2010 which sent the internet into a frenzy leading up to the release of his much herald album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. While last week’s release seemed more like a throwaway teaser, this brand new single from Kanye seems like the real deal. While Kanye has never been known to mince his words, what makes “Real Friends” special is that it seems to come from an honest and vulnerable place, as he struggles to maintain relationships and questions how many genuinely trustworthy individuals he really has in his life. Packaged with the brand new single also comes a snippet for (what we presume to be) next week’s release, titled “No More Parties In L.A.” which is produced by Madlib and includes a feature from Kendrick Lamar. From the sound of it, things are only about to get better from here.
If you’re excited that we’re sharing a brand new RJD2 tune, you should probably sit down before continuing onto the next sentence. Not only are you getting an early listen to “Peace of What,” but it also happens to be the lead single from his upcoming sixth album, which drops on March 25th. We know. We’re pretty amped about this too. There’s more though – he’ll be promoting this album with a robust 2016 tour. Now that you’ve let that all sink in, let’s talk about the task at hand.
“Peace of What” is a soulful gem, boasting nostalgic, 90s rap influenced vocals from Jordan Brown. They’re artfully embraced by an array of instruments, including pronounced guitar work, playful percussion, piano, brass, and strings, all expertly crafted into a memorable three and a half minute experience. It’s instantly iconic, adding itself into the ranks of tracks we’ve come to adore from this Ohio-born musician.
The rest of Dame Fortune promises to boast plenty of soul influences, a lot of which came from his stint in Philly.
Living in Philly provided a context for a lot of soul music that I had liked. I didn’t have any cultural context for this music that I liked—it was just music that I had stumbled across as a beat making nerd. Philly was a place where there were enough people who had the same musical vocabulary that I did, which made the music more than something I had just discovered on my own.
If you want to be in the know with more early releases, tour info, and the like, make sure to follow RJD2 on Facebook.
When evaluating lists like this, it’s always important to remember the subjectivity in music. The songs here are not just what I would say are the “best” of 2015 or even necessarily my favorites, but the ones I had the most attachment to for one reason or another. Music is the closest thing we have to time travel in that it can evoke emotions unlike any other and effortlessly bring us back to moments long forgotten. This compilations of songs serves almost as a walk through memory lane, and choosing just 15 tracks to represent my 2015 proved to be a daunting task. Alas, I was able to finally narrow down my choices, so I hope you all enjoy my picks even if you don’t fully agree with them (which let’s be honest, you won’t). Finally, if you are curious about what didn’t make the cut, I’m going to shamelessly plug this massive Spotify playlist I compiled that includes pretty much all of my favorites from 2015.
These Walls ft. Bilal, Anna Wise, Thundercat
Girl ft. KAYTRANADA
Alina Baraz & Galimatias
No Less Ft Louis Mattrs
Jamie XX, Young Thug & Popcaan
I Know (Good Times)
Snakehips x Tory Lanez
Firefly (ft. Nao)
Superego (ft. Nao)
Skrillex And Diplo
To Ü (Feat. AlunaGeorge)
Weight In Gold (Louis Futon Remix)
Let It Happen
When you listen to music as much as I do, your song selections and life experiences become inseparable–each impacting the other in both conscious and subconscious ways. That relationship embodies the uniquely subjective nature of music. You can listen to a song ten times and think nothing of it but then hear it in the right context or headspace and everything just clicks. As such, any effort of making an objective “best of” list proves a fruitless task. So rather than attempt that Sisyphean task, my ’15 To End 2015′ captures the songs that meant the most to me this year: ones that soundtracked my best memories, comforted me at my lowest points or simply possessed endless replay value. Peep my favorites of 2015 below. Hopefully they’ll take on a life of their own in your music collection.
Aint No Other Way
Forbidden Knowledge (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)
These Walls (feat. Thundercat, Bilal & Anna Wise)
I Know Theres Gonna Be (Good Times)(feat. Young Thug & Popcaan)
Loving You ft. Lulu James
Let It Happen (Soulwax Remix)
I Eat Beats (Ardalan Remix)
Sonny Fodera & Gene Farris
We Work It
As a sweeping generalization, 2015 will go down as a year dominated by collectives. Future Classic, Hegemon, Moving Castle, Soulection, HW&W, Wedidit, Monstercat, and French Express pooled their talents together to commandeer the music scene this year. The technical aspects commonly associated with “Future” crept into the DNA of producers, becoming a topical theme across genres from the most obscure to the most mainstream.
In particular, and as one of the most recent additions to the TMN staff, it has been quite a journey both as a contributor and music fan since early April. Without the collaboration of the entire staff – the guidance of editors and advice of my fellow writers – year one as a ninja would not have been possible. Along the way I’ve covered tours, shot music festivals, and met some of my favorite artists, who have graciously exposed me to their own intricate webs of sound. That being said, below is my best effort to reduce thousands of great tracks released this calendar year down to a manageable number. Enjoy the tracks below, in order of release date, and see you all next year!
Veritas (Young & Sick’s Mixed Feelings)
The Rest is Noise
Acting Like (Prod. by Shlohmo)
Borrowed Time (ft. Tiana Khasi)
Fais Rien (PETIT BISCUIT Remix)
Maria Im Drunk (Ft. Deverano) (Travis Scott Cover)
Future + The Weeknd
Pass Dat (The Weeknd Remix)
Jeremih + The Weeknd
Capping off the biggest year of his career, The Weeknd decided to play the part of Santa Clause tonight and drop off a few Christmas gifts for all his loyal fans in the form of two new singles. The first track, “Low Life”, finds the Canadian crooner teaming up with Future, who’s had a pretty memorable year all his own, while the second is a remix of Jeremih‘s “Pass Dat” off his most recent project, Late Nights: The Album. Both tunes fit right in Abel’s wheelhouse, as his vocals sound right at home on the hazy, trapped out instrumental provided by Metro Boomin on “Low Life”. On the other hand, we couldn’t have asked for a more natural fit for a remix of Jeremih’s laidback stoner anthem. Stream both tracks above and stay tuned for more from The Weeknd as we head into 2016.