Archive for the ‘music’ Category


January 2021: All My Movie/T.V. Show/Album Reviews for the Month

February 1, 2021

Movies – I went kind of crazy this past month and watched a movie almost every day. I continued to put a dent in my 2020 watchlist and when I wasn’t watching new releases I was catching up on some horror movies I’ve missed over the years or wanted to re-watch. I post these reviews on Letterboxd and Facebook/Twitter as I write them, but I figure I should make a post at the end of each month with links to all the reviews I posted. Somehow, I watched 50 movies over the past two months and none of them were directed by Martin Scorsese, the director I’ve been focusing on over the past year. Ah well. I’ll be looking to correct that in February.

2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
2021 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2021 releases I want to see including January, February, and Sundance releases
2020 Releases Watchlist: Ranking of 2020 releases I still want to see
February 2021 – New to Streaming Watchlist: Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

T.V. Shows – I completely revamped my T.V. rating page. I have also sorted all the shows by season and the year their first episode aired.

  • Cobra Kai – Season 3 (2021) – 3
  • The Crown – Season 4 (2020) – 4
  • Harley Quinn – Season 2 (2020) – 3.5
  • The Mandolorian – Season 2 (2020) – 4.5
  • Stargirl – Season 1 (2020) – 3
  • What We Do in the Shadows – Season 2 (2020) – 4
  • Pen15 – Season 1 (2019) – 4

Music – I didn’t review much music this past month, but I’ve been rating songs in my Brand New playlist all month, so I should have more albums to talk about next month even though (as you will see) January was a slow month for new music.


Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (2020)

January 22, 2021

Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (2020, Pop)

Release Date: June 26th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

  1. Spotlight – 4.5
  2. What’s Your Pleasure? – 4
  3. Ooh La La – 4
  4. Soul Control – 5
  5. Save a Kiss – 3.5
  6. Adore You – 3.5
  7. In Your Eyes – 4
  8. Step Into My Life – 3.5
  9. Read My Lips – 4
  10. Mirage (Don’t Stop) – 3.5
  11. The Kill – 4
  12. Remember Where You Are – 3.5

Spin Rate: 6.5
Average Song Rating: 3.92/5
3.5+ Percentage: 100%
Skips: 0
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: Woah. That just happened. This is the first album released in 2020 that gets an average song rating greater than 3.9 and is now the highest rated album I’ve reviewed for last year. Does that mean I think it’s the best album of the year? Geez, maybe. It’s definitely amazing, but it’s also outside my comfort zone of hip-hop music so maaaaaaaaaaaybe I have no idea what I’m talking about here. And I’m not going to lie, someone put this on my radar when it came out and I put “Soul Control” on my Bangers Playlist many months ago, but I never gave the album a dedicated listen until I saw Anthony Fantano, “the internet’s busiest music nerd,” list it as his #1 album of 2020. I can’t say I always agree with Fantano’s taste, but I’m definitely on board with this pick. As great as Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia was for a pop album, I actually like What’s Your Pleasure? a bit more. The songs here have more replayability and a bit more soul. Jessie Ware is a good singer, but it’s the writing and production that really stand out to me. So many tracks on this are absolute pop smashes and I can listen to this album on repeat. If you try this out, I guarantee half the songs will get stuck in your head. I’m hesitant to call this my new album of the year, but it’s definitely my favorite non-rap album of 2020. An absolute must listen.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)


Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (2020)

January 11, 2021

Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (2020, Rap)

Release Date: December 11th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

  1. Who Is Flip Huston? – 3.5
  2. All Gas No Breaks – 3.5
  3. Rollin’ (feat. Jay Copes) – 3.5
  4. Out Of My Mind (feat. Jim Jones) – 4
  5. Momma I Made It (feat. Dame Dolla) – 4
  6. You Know The Vibes – 4
  7. Sky’s The Limit (feat. J. Shep) – 3.5
  8. On Mine (feat. Yukmouth) – 4
  9. Designer (Bonus Track) – 3.5

Spin Rate: 10+
Average Song Rating: 3.75/5
3.5+ Percentage: 100%
Skips: 0
Bangers: 4

Thoughts: This may come across bias because Flip is a long-time friend of mine – we have lived together in three different places – but I think he crushed this project. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical when he hit me up last year and told me he was making new music and wanted me to help him with the writing process. I turned him down because I haven’t written rap lyrics for at least a decade now and I didn’t really want to work hard to redevelop that skill set. As far as I know, Flip hasn’t made music in nearly as long. Honestly, I didn’t have high expectations for this because, frankly, I didn’t even think it would actually happen. But then he started sending me snippets and telling me about the huge guests verses he was getting and, well, here we are. I was expecting this dude to be dusty, but he sounds just as sharp and talented as he did when he blew my mind back in 2010 at this show. He just has a knack for penning catchy hooks and writing songs that get stuck in your head and stay there. Plus, Flip shows some versatility here with “You Know The Vibes” and the bonus track “Designer,” showcasing some singing and harmonizing abilities I didn’t even know he had. This is just a really solid all around project. The production is good, the big name guests all deliver solid verses, Flip shows off a variety of talent, and every song is good and half of them are straight up bangers.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)


December 2020 Music Ratings (2020 Wrap-Up Edition)

January 1, 2021


Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston?

Notes: Yep. I’m giving my boy the Album of the Month. I was working on a review for this, but I never got around to publishing it – I will be doing that early January, but I can assure this is a good project. If a good friend of mine released something I didn’t like, I’d just tell them it was wack. If someone I know (but wasn’t close with) released something I didn’t like, I’d probably tell them “it’s cool” and it certainly wouldn’t be featured on my monthly blog post. I’m featuring this project because I truly believe in it. Make sure you go check this out. It’s streaming on all platforms. Another friend of mine, Toby Ganger, sent me a copy of his album that is due out sometime in 2021 and it is truly excellent… like album of the year type level good. I’m not sure when the rest of the world will get to hear it, but I’m very curious to see if everyone loves it as much as I do. I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. I won’t leave a rating for anything I don’t have a good feel for yet.

Rating Scale

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent/Cool
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates December 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in December (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month.

1. Toby Ganger – Free Machine – 8+ (unreleased)
2. *Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – B Side – 6
3. Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket – 7+
4. *Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III: The Chosen – 6
5. *Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? – 7+
6. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom (2017)
7. *Jack Harlow – Thats What They All Say – 6+
8. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? – 7+
9. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings 3 – 7
10. Goodie Mob – Survival Kit – 7
11.*Che Noir – After 12 – 7
12. *Playboi Carti – Whole Lotta Red – 3+
13. Statik Selektah – The Balancing Act
14. Recognize Ali – Guerilla Dynasty
15. *Boldy James – Real Bad Boldy
16. *Taylor Swift – evermore
17. Juicy J – The Hustle Continues
18. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof – 9
19. Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts – 6+
20. *Tobe Nwigwe – CINCORIGINALS – 6+

The 50 Artists I Listened To The Most In 2020

Notes: I started using the Last.FM app about halfway through the year, so this is really just six months worth of scrobbles.

  1. Eminem
  2. Benny the Butcher
  3. Lil Wayne
  4. Conway the Machine
  5. Black Thought/The Roots
  6. MC Eiht
  7. Che Noir
  8. Spillage Village/Earthgang
  9. Amine
  10. Nas
  11. Berner
  12. Ty Dolla $ign
  13. Busta Rhymes
  14. 38 Spesh
  15. Recognize Ali/Dueling Experts
  16. Toby Ganger
  17. The Weeknd
  18. R.A. the Rugged Man
  19. Flip Huston
  20. Big Sean
  21. Logic
  22. Blu & Exile
  23. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin
  24. Sa-Roc
  25. Felt
  26. Westside Gunn
  27. T.I.
  28. Pop Smoke
  29. Boldy James
  30. Dua Lipa
  31. Ransom
  32. Phoebe Bridgers
  33. Reason
  34. Goodie Mob
  35. Ariana Grande
  36. CunninLynguists
  37. The Lox
  38. Jaden Smith
  39. Dinner Party
  40. Future
  41. Kaash Paige
  42. Brother Ali
  43. Deante Hitchcock
  44. Tyrone’s Jacket
  45. Rich Brian
  46. Kid Cudi
  47. Dave East
  48. Mac Miller
  49. Elzhi
  50. Ice Cube

As you can see, new music dominates my listening experience. Out of my top 50 artists, only CunninLynguists, Brother Ali, and Ice Cube didn’t release projects in 2020. A lot of my all-time favorite rappers (Biggie, Jay, Pac, Kanye, Outkast, etc.) and current favorite rappers (Kendrick, J. Cole, Joey Badass) are nowhere to be found. I definitely enjoy staying up-to-date, finding hidden gems, and keeping an open mind to everything new, but I can’t help but feel like it dominates my listening experience and I don’t listen to the music I truly love enough. That makes music feel more like homework than pleasure sometimes. I plan to stay very current, but I want to find more balance with this in 2021.

Top 10 Albums of the Year (in alphabetical order)

Apollo Brown & Che Noir – As God Intended (Rap)
Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (Rap)
Conway the Machine – From King To A God (Rap)
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (Pop)
Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo (Rap)
Mac Miller – Circles (Rap? Pop?)
MC Eiht – Lessons (Rap)
Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (Rap)
Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (Rap)
The Weeknd – After Hours (R&B/Soul/Pop)

I feel pretty confident in that list, but there could be an album or two I’d slip in or out and maybe some of the more recent releases will grow enough on me to make the jump. If I had to pick an absolute favorite for the year, I think I’d have to go with the Apollo Brown & Che Noir album.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Amine – Limbo (Rap)
Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World (R&B/Soul)
Che Noir – After 12 (Rap)
Deante Hitchcock – BETTER (Rap)
eLZhi – Seven Times Down Eight Times Up (Rap)
Felt – Felt 4 U (Rap)
Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (Rap)
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (Pop)
Logic – No Pressure (Rap)
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain (Rap)
R.A. the Rugged Man – All My Heroes Are Dead (Rap)
Reason – New Beginnings (Rap)
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory (Rap)
Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket (Rap)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Ariana Grande, “positions”
Benny the Butcher, “3:30 In Houston”
Boldy James, “Street Shit”
Che Noir ft. RJ Payne & Sa-Roc, “Moment in the Sun”
Chris Stapleton, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice”
Conway the Machine, “Ameenah’s Van”
Conway the Machine, “Serena vs Venus”
Don Toliver ft. Travis Scott & Kaash Paige, “Euphoria”
eLZhi, “Hot Winter Cold Summer”
Eminem ft. White Gold, “Zeus”
Goodie Mob, “4 My Ppl”
Gorillaz ft. Moonchild Sanelly, “With Love To An Ex”
Jamo Gang, “Runyon Canyon”
Jessie Ware, “Read My Lips”
Lil Wayne ft. Drake, “BB King Freestyle”
Lil Wayne, “Lamar”
Miley Cyrus ft. Stevie Nicks, “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)”
Reason ft. Mereba, “Westside”
Recognize Ali, “Wreck-Ignition”
Russ ft. Benny the Butcher & Black Thought, “Momentum”
T.I. ft. Eric Bellinger & Killer Mike, “How I Feel”
Tyrone’s Jacket, “Backpack Song”
Tyrone’s Jacket, “Streets”
Westside Gunn, “Shawn vs. Flair”


Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (2020)

December 9, 2020

Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (2020, Rap)

Release Date: October 16th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

  1. Burden of Proof – 3.5
  2. Where Would I Go (feat. Rick Ross) – 3.5
  3. Sly Green – 4
  4. One Way Flight (feat. Freddie Gibbs) – 4
  5. Famous – 4
  6. Timeless (feat. Lil Wayne & Big Sean) – 4
  7. New Streets – 3.5
  8. Over The Limit (feat. DOM KENNEDY) – 4.5
  9. Trade It All – 3.5
  10. Thank God I Made It (feat. Queen Naija) – 3.5
  11. War Paint (feat. Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine) – 4
  12. Legend – 4.5

Spin Rate: 9.5
Average Song Rating: 3.88
3.5+ Percentage: 100%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: Much like with Conway, I was slightly worried that Benny’s solo project was going to be too much of the same stuff we’ve already heard over the last few years, but Benny stepped his game up and shows a lot of versatility on this album. For the second straight project, Benny scores incredibly high in average song rating and, honestly, some of the 3.5s could have been 4s. Every song on this album is good and there is no weak spot, plus have the songs are straight up flames. It’s kind of strange how much better the production is on this album compared to the recent Nas album since both projects were produced entirely by Hit-Boy. Not saying the beats Nas got are weak, but the production here is way more my flavor. This album cements Benny’s status as one of the best rappers in the game right now.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)


Conway the Machine – From King To A GOD (2020)

December 3, 2020

Conway the Machine – From King To A GOD (2020, Rap)

Release Date: September 11th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

  1. From King – 3.5
  2. Fear of God (feat. Dej Loaf) – 3.5
  3. Lemon (feat. Method Man) – 4.5
  4. Dough & Damani – 4
  5. Juvenile Hell (feat. Flee Lord, Havoc & Lloyd Banks) – 4
  6. Words From Shay (Interlude) – N/A
  7. Front Lines – 4
  8. Anza (feat. Armani Caesar) – 4
  9. Seen Everything But Jesus (feat. Freddie Gibbs) – 4
  10. Words From Shay (Interlude 2) – N/A
  11. Spurs 3 (feat. Benny the Butcher & Westside Gunn) – 4
  12. Forever Droppin Tears (feat. El Camino) – 3.5
  13. Jesus Khrysis – 3.5
  14. Nothin Less – 3.5

Spin Rate: 9.7
Average Song Rating: 3.83
3.5+ Percentage: 100%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: These Griselda boys are having one hell of a 12 month stretch. Including the Griselda project that dropped last December with Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn, this is Conway’s fourth project in like a ten month period and they have all been good. This album is his most complete and diverse project that I’ve heard (I haven’t checked out all his older stuff) and it’s incredibly refreshing. Some critics point to Griselda as a whole being sort of one dimensional in that they only rap about drugs, but Conway steps comfortably outside that box here while maintaining his wit and high level lyricism. The production on this album is pretty elite and basically every feature is excellent, with Method Man coming through with an insane verse. Every song on here is good and there are many bangers. This is one of the best rap albums of 2020.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)


November 2020 Music Ratings

December 2, 2020


Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God

Notes: Wow. I sure didn’t listen to much new music this past month. Half the albums that cracked my top 10 last month were still in my top 10 most listened to albums for November. Only three albums released in November even cracked my top 20 and two albums from decades ago found a way in. My friend Phil sent me a copy of his upcoming album and I listened to it many times through even though some of the songs are still unmastered. His album is due out sometime in December, but you’ll find his project in my #4 slot down below. I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. MC Eiht’s album jumped way up in my esteem and I’m now wondering if it’s one of the best albums of the year. I’m shocked by it. I liked it so much I added his last album to my current playlist and that project also cracked my top 20 last month. Hopefully, I will get back to doing some actual reviews in December.

Rating Scale

10 – Perfection
9 – Amazing
8 – Must Listen
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates November 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in November (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to over the past month.

1. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God – 7
2. Ty Dolla $ign – Featuring Ty Dolla $ign – 6
3. MC Eiht – LESSONS – 8
4. Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (unreleased) – 7
5. T.I. – The L.I.B.R.A. – 6
6. Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel – 7
7. Dej Loaf – Sell Sole II – 5
8. TQ – They Never Saw Me Coming (1998) – 7+
9. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof – 8+
10. Ariana Grande – Positions – 6+
11. *Goodie Mob – Survival Kit – 6+
12. *Berner & Larry June – Cooks & Orange Juice – 5+
13. Conway the Machine – FROM KING TO A GOD – 8+
14. Lil Wayne – Lights Out (2000) – 6+
15. MC Eiht – Which Way Iz West (2017) – 7+
16. Reason – New Beginnings – 7
17. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned – 5
18. Deante’ Hitchcock – Better (Deluxe) – 6+
19. *Future & Lil Uzi Vert – Pluto x Baby Pluto – 5+
20. Sam Smith – Love Goes – 6+

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

38 Spesh & Street Justice ft. Che Noir, “Overthrow”
Benny the Butcher ft. DOM KENNEDY, “Over the Limit”
Busta Rhymes ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Look Over Your Shoulder”
eLZhi, “Light One Write One”
Freddie Gibbs ft. Big Sean, “4 Thangs”
Goodie Mob ft. Big Boi, “Prey 4 Da Sheep”
Gorillaz ft. Fatoumata Diawara, “Desole”
Jack Harlow, “Tyler Herro”
MC Eiht ft.Havoc & Kurupt, “Neighborhood Looks”
MC Eiht, “U Kno”
MC Eiht, “Lessons”
Recognize Ali ft. Planet Asia & Shabaam Sahdeeq, “Elephants in the Room”
Sa-Roc, “r(E)volution”
Saigon, “Bullets-19”
Spillage Village ft. Ant Clemons, “Baptize”
Ty Dolla $ign, “Time Will Tell”


October 2020 Music Ratings

November 3, 2020


Benny the ButcherBurden of Proof

Notes: I spent a week in San Diego this past month and listened to zero music while I was there, but even so, I think the past six weeks or so have been the best stretch of the year as far as new music goes.  There seems to be some confusion about these rankings, so I’ll go ahead and clear that up.  These rankings are not in order of preference – they are ordered by the number of scrobbles for each album, with a scrobble meaning I listened to a song on that album.  So, for reference below, that means I listened to a song from Benny the Butcher’s new album sixty times in October.  Granted, this does somewhat reflect my preferences, but an album released at the beginning of the month has a much better chance of finishing near the top of the rankings than an album that is released at the end of the month.  I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is.

Rating Scale

10 – Perfection
9 – Amazing
8 – Must Listen
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates October 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in October (all ratings are out of 10)

1. *Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (60) – 8+
2. *21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II (55) – 7
3. *Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (51) – 8+
4. *Ty Dolla $ign – Featuring Ty Dolla $ign (50) – 6
5. *Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel (44) – 7
6. *Reason – New Beginnings (31) – 7
7. *Bryson Tiller – A N N I V E R S A R Y (29) – 5.5
7. *T.I. – The L.I.B.R.A. (29) – 6
9. *Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (28) – 7+
10. MC Eiht – LESSONS (26) – 7+
11. *Westside Gunn – WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE (25) – 6+
12. Big Sean – Detroit 2 (24) – 6.5+
13. Reks – T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied) (21) – 6.5+
14. Conway the Machine – FROM KING TO A GOD (20) – 8+
15. *Smoke DZA – Homegrown (19) – 6.5+
16. Berner – Russ Bufalino: The Quiet Don (18) – 5.5+
16. Spillage Village – Spilligion (18) – 7
18. Alicia Keys – ALICIA (17) – ?
18. *Joyner Lucas – Evolution (17) – ?
20. *YG – My Life 4hunnid (15) – ?

Top 20 Artists of 2020 (since late July)

1. Amine (115)
1. Spillage Village (115)
3. Nas (113)
4. Conway the Machine (105)
5. Eminem (94)
5. Che Noir (94)
7. The Weeknd (91)
8. Benny the Butcher (86)
9. Lil Wayne (85)
10. Big Sean (83)
11. Logic (78)
12. Blu & Exile (75)
13. Felt (72)
14. Black Thought (71)
14. R.A. the Rugged Man (71)
16. Dua Lipa (65)
17. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin (59)
17. CunninLynguists (59)
19. Pop Smoke (57)
19. Sa-Roc (57)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Benny the Butcher, “Legend”
Benny the Butcher ft. Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine, “War Paint”
Benny the Butcher ft. Lil Wayne & Big Sean, “Timeless”
Black Thought ft. ScHoolboy Q, “Steak Um”
Busta Rhymes ft. Rapsody, “Best I Can”
Busta Rhymes ft. Vybz Kartel, “The Don & The Boss”
Che Noir & 38 Spesh ft. Street Justice & Klass Murda, “Royalty”
REASON ft. Vince Staples, “SAUCE”
REASON ft. Rapsody, “I Can Make It”
Reks, “Miss Education”
Sa-Roc ft. Styles P, “Rocwell’s America”
Sa-Roc ft. Black Thought, “The Black Renaissance”
Sa-Roc, “Gold Leaf”
Spillage Village ft. Jurdan Bryant, “Oshun”
T.I. ft. London Jae & Conway the Machine, “1/2 Ticket”
Ty Dolla $ign ft. Future & Young Thug, “Life Me Up”


September 2020 Music Playlist

October 1, 2020


Conway the MachineFrom King To A GOD

Notes: So this is mostly how I listen to music these days. Every Thursday night at 9 PM (Pacific Time), I look at all the new releases and add anything I’m interested in to my library and throw it in my Brand New and Current Rotation playlists. I used to have one playlist for newer albums, but I started leaving stuff in there for too long and it got really bloated and I wasn’t giving the newest music the attention I wanted to. Now I use the Brand New playlist for the latest music and have a strict policy of removing it after exactly one month, unless I’m really not into an album and decide to remove it earlier. My Current Rotation playlist consists of music from the last 4-6 months, with my favorite albums lingering around even longer, plus I’ve decided to start throwing older stuff on there, like artists I feel I’ve overlooked or albums I want to revisit. I probably listen to my Brand New playlist the most, but I give my Current Rotation multiple spins throughout the week and I also have a Goats Doing Goat Shit playlist of all my favorite rappers and albums and a Rappers from the Old School playlist of rappers that mostly came out in the 80s that I listen to semi-regularly. You can follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add any or all of my playlists.

This has created a somewhat interesting dynamic in my lists below. Half the albums on my top 20 list for September… I have never listened to all the way through. Somehow one of those albums (Jaden Smith) cracked my top 3. I have never actually listened to that album other than when a song comes up on shuffle. Numbers in parentheses are how many songs I listened to on each album or from each artist over the past month and/or the year the album was released if it didn’t come out in 2020. I spent basically all month surprised that Big Sean wasn’t getting more spins and I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that I never put his album in my Brand New playlist. Whoops. He will be in there all through October now. Also, note how high Eminem is on my top artists list despite not having any album in my top 20. I’ve started the long process of doing a profile on Eminem, in the same vein as my DMX and Notorious B.I.G. profiles. Eminem’s discography is much deeper than either of those guys, so don’t expect me to publish something anytime soon, but do expect Eminem to be near the top of my artists list until I do. As of now, I’m still on The Marshall Mathers LP. I will publish my Em album reviews as I write them though.

* indicates September 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in September

1. *Conway the Machine – From King To A GOD (75)
2. *Big Sean – Detroit 2 (57)
3. Jaden Smith – CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3 (50)
4. Nas – King’s Disease (45)
5. The Lox – Living Off Xperience (44)
6. *Spillage Village – Spilligion (39)
7. Amine – Limbo (37)
8. Black Pumas – Black Pumas [Deluxe] (37)
8. Dua Lipa – Club Future Nostalgia [DJ Mix] (37)
10. Ransom – Directors Cut** (36)
11. Rich Brian – 1999 (33)
12. Dave East – Karma 3 (31)
13. The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive (31)
14. The God Fahim – After Every Dark Day Comes Sunshine (30)
15. Spillage Village – Bears Like This Too Much (2016, 28)
16. BUCKWILD – Music is My Religion (27)
17. Apollo Brown & Locksmith – No Question (2018, 25)
18. CunninLynguists – Southernunderground (2003, 25)
19. The Weeknd – After Hours (25)
20. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (2009, 24)

**Ransom actually released three Directors Cut albums this year. They weren’t on my radar until last month and I decided to make them all one album, but if you wind up searching for it, you’ll see that it is actually three shorter albums.

Top 20 Artists in August

1. Spillage Village (86)
2. Conway the Machine (77)
3. Eminem (68)
4. Nas (66)
5. Big Sean (59)
6. Lil Wayne (53)
7. Jaden Smith (50)
8. CunninLynguists (48)
9. The Lox (44)
10. Dua Lipa (38)
11. Amine (37)
12. Black Pumas (37)
13. Ransom (36)
14. Rich Brian (33)
15. Dave East (31)
16. The Streets (31)
17. The God Fahim (30)
18. Buckwild (27)
19. The Weeknd (27)
20. Apollo Brown & Locksmith (25)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Amine, “My Reality”
Amine ft. slowthai & Vince Staples, “Pressure In My Palms”
Amine, “Burden”
Big Sean ft. Nipsey Hussle, “Deep Reverence”
Black Thought ft. Pusha T & Killer Mike, “Good Morning”
Conway the Machine ft. Method Man, “Lemon”
Conway the Machine ft. Freddie Gibbs, “Seen Everything But Jesus”
Conway the Machine ft. Benny the Butcher & Westside Gunn, “Spurs 3”
Conway the Machine, “Front Lines”
Conway the Machine ft. Armani Caesar, “Anza”
Deante Hitchcock, “I Remember”
Felt, “Alexander F’real”
IDK & JID ft. Kenny Mason, “Cereal”
Jacob Latimore, “Love Drug”
Kaash Paige ft. Isaiah Rashad, “Problems”
Nas ft. Anderson .Paak, “All Bad”
Nyck Caution, “Demons Don’t Take Off From Work”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. M.O.P., Vinnie Paz, Chris Rivers, Onyx, Chino XL, Brand Nubian & Ice-T, “The Slayers Club”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Sarah Smith & Kelly Waters, “The After Life”
Ransom, “I Am Legend”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Lost”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Would You”
Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius, “Pain In My Life, Pt. 2 (On God)”
The Lox, “Gave It To ‘EM”
The Lox, “Loyalty And Love”
The Weeknd, “Too Late”
The Weeknd, “Snowchild”
The Weeknd, “Escape From LA”
The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights”
The Weeknd, “Missed You”


The Weeknd – After Hours (2020)

September 18, 2020

The Weeknd – After Hours (2020, R&B/Soul)

Release Date: March 20th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. Alone Again – 4.5
2. Too Late – 4.5
3. Hardest To Love – 4

4. Scared To Live – 3.5
5. Snowchild – 4
6. Escape From LA – 4

7. Heartless – 3.5
8. Faith – 3.5
9. Blinding Lights – 4
10. In Your Eyes – 3.5
11. Save Your Tears – 3.5
12. Repeat After Me (Interlude) – N/A (dope though)
13. After Hours – 4.5
14. Until I Bleed Out – 3.5
Nothing Compares (Bonus) – 3.5
Missed You (Bonus) – 4
Final Lullaby (Bonus) – 3

Spin Rate: 10.8
Average Song Rating: 3.89/5
Good Song Percentage: 100%
Clear Cuts: 0
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: This is an album that really grew on me the more I listened to it and After Hours is now probably the album I’ve listened to the most in 2020. It’s an album I can put on almost anytime and want to listen to it all the way through. Since I’m not including the bonus tracks in my overall rating, I feel like there are no weak points here – every song is good and there are plenty of certified bangers. The mood and production on this album is a little dark, but I love the vibe. I’ll admit, The Weeknd comes across like a serious misogynist and that’s not something to be applauded, but I can’t deny the quality of the music and it is very high all the way through After Hours. This is easily my favorite non-rap album of 2020 and possibly the best album of the year… period. The Weeknd is probably already a legend and it doesn’t seem like enough people are saying that out loud yet.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)