MMM Staff Picks: DeShonna Watson’s Top Ten Favorite Albums of 2020
*Honorable Mentions*: Childish Gambino – ‘3.15.20’ // HAIM – ‘Women In Music Pt.III’ // Bryson Tiller –‘Anniversary’ // Jessie Reyes – ‘Before Love Came To Kill Us‘ & Taylor Swift – ‘Folklore’
#10. Halsey – ‘Manic’
Perhaps the most introspective and genuine album of the year comes from singer-songwriter Halsey. Bravely inviting us into the real world of Ashley Frangipane. Giving the good, bad and ugly that many would never be courageous enough to share. However, Halsey does it with grace and confidence, making Manic a rare gem in a year full of uncertainty and chaos. Manic is as delightful as it is vulnerable, and as a result rather intentional or not, ends up serving as her finest effort to date, as well as one of the best LP’s of the year.
Listen to the tracks: “You should be Sad” , “Graveyard” & “Without Me”
#9. Beyoncé – ‘Black Is King‘
This was a project that represented 2020 in a variety of ways. Amidst racial unrest and social justice, Beyoncé brought a genuine, and truly inspiring effort to pay homage to Black culture and all the excellence it is capable of representing. Colorful and hopeful, Bey has never been one to shy away from expressing how she feels. And this time it was done in impeccable fashion. This will go down as one of the most aware and celebrated offerings of her remarkable tenure.
Listen to the tracks: “Already” & “Brown Skin Girl”
#8. Jay Electronica – ‘A Written Testimony’
Simply put, the Roc Nation artist’s long-awaited debut excels on a technical level throughout his latest project. Solidifying that no one overestimated his talent. Finally on center stage, the sheer mystery of the behind the scenes musician extraordinaire is on full display here. Showing he is every bit as eclectic a producer as he is a rapper. More so, showing that the main event was absolutely worth the wait. This is a must listen!
Listen to the tracks: “Universal Soldier” & “The Neverending Story”
#7. Eminem – ‘Music To Be Murdered By’
With nearly two decades in the rap game under his belt, Eminem still gives his fans something to brag about with the impressive Music To Be Murdered By, the eleventh studio album of his already illustrious career. The Detroit native’s masterful versatility is still on display throughout his latest project. Music To Be Murdered By is a blatant reminder of the hyper-technical class of rap that has defined the genius appeal of Eminem’s style, and like his previous work, keeps your attention throughout. Proving that Eminem is still one of the best rappers to ever pick up a mic.
Listen to the tracks: “Godzilla”, “You Gon’ Learn” & “Those Kinda Nights”
#6. Charlie XCX – ‘How I’m Feeling Now’
One of England’s most fly babes, Charli XCX, picked up where she left off with this sweet little piece of pop culture paradise. Made entirely from her home studio while in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cambridge native’s fourth project how i’m feeling now was a collective assortment of feel-good gems that simply could not be passed up in 2020!
Listen to the tracks: “Party 4 You”, “Forever” & “Claws”
#5. Popcaan – ‘FIXTAPE’
Reggae artist Popcaan has undoubtedly be one of the most underrated Jamaican stars in the music industry, but this year may have served as his certified introduction. Signed to Drake’s OVO sound label, he convincingly put modern dancehall back on the map in 2020 with the best offering of his career, FIXTAPE. Popular single “Twist And Turn” is just a glimpse into the stellar versatility and musical prowess Popcaan exhibits through popular riddims as he fully and wholeheartedly embraces different mixes and matches of hip-hop and Jamaican culture. The combination of gunman tunes and bottle popping party tracks bring an inviting flavor anyone can enjoy and get down to.
Listen to the tracks: “Twist And Turn”, “Buzz” & “Mamakita”
#4. Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Good News‘
The girl from Houston had one hell of a year, both personally and professionally. From getting shot in both feet by rapper Tory Lanez, to collaborating with Beyoncé, to winning multiple awards. We watched the 25-year-old transform into a superstar. Dropping a total of three projects this year, (two of which were mixtapes) she was indisputably one of the hottest new rappers of 2020. Good News is her official debut and does not disappoint, serving up plenty of hot girl anthems. And from the looks of it, it doesn’t look like she’ll be slowing down anytime soon. Is it safe to say we can now crown a new Queen of hip-hop?
Listen to the tracks: “Savage” (Remix), “Girls In The Hood” & “Cry Baby”
#3. Bad Bunny – ‘YHLQMDLG‘
Whether you are a fan of reggaetón music or not, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny’s second solo album is simply outstanding. The Puerto Rican native lays it all out on the table, leaving nothing to the imagination! And he doesn’t care if you rock with it or not. That is what makes YHLQMDLG (“Yo hago lo que me da la gana”, Spanish for “I Do Whatever I Want”) so awesome! Bouncing from one party record to the next, Bad Bunny pushes boundaries as he toys with sexual fantasies and living life to the fullest while paying homage to reggaetón’s past and future throughout a polished collection of feel-good anthems. Fittingly marking the highest ranking of his career debuting at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. On YHLQMDLG Bad Bunny seems more comfortable in his own skin than ever before. It’s safe to say that Bad Bunny is here to stay. Not bad for a guy who was bagging groceries 4 years ago.
Listen to the tracks: “Safaera” & “Yo Perreo Sola”
#2. The Weeknd – ‘After Hours‘
The Canadian crooner brought his best work to date on the fourth album of his mounting career. Ripe with introspect, The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) flexes his artistic progression with finesse more so than we’ve ever seen from him before. All the way through, After Hours is the most thrilling roller coaster ride on love, lust, pain and the ups and downs of fame only The Weeknd could provide.
Listen to the tracks: “Blinding Lights”, “In Your Eyes” & “Save Your Tears”
#1. Dua Lipa – ‘Future Nostalgia‘
London, England’s favorite female alpha delivered the biggest album released in the UK this year. Dua Lipa’s sophomore effort is full of disco and dance tracks and self-empowering anthems. Spending four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Future Nostalgia is packed with enough flavor for the perfect pick-me-up, jump start, or just something to smile about. And for that reason, it is the #1 album on my list of musical treats for 2020!
Listen to the tracks: “Don’t Start Now”, “Love Again” & “Break My Heart”