Music is everywhere we go. In the lobby of the hotels we stay at, on elevators we ride up, and in our favorite retail shops. Whether it's cheesy annoying "elevator music" or Top 50 Hits of the month, music as a whole (whether we realize it or not) is the soundtrack to our lives. It provides a multitude of feelings and moods. Some amplifying happiness or even dragging sadness further down. They get the home team hype for a big game while they also open tear ducts at the end of our favorite show's finale (scores can absolutely make or break a production). Listen, I don't know the science behind why it brings out the emotions it does. But what I do know, is that sometimes that ONE song plays at the PERFECT time. I'm pretty sure we've all had those moments on shuffle: You can't find the mood you want. Skipping through just about every song and then.... BOOM.
*Creates station off that song*
Nobody has the exact same music taste. I think this is because of the different experiences of each life. Artists speak through their own experiences and along the way grab the fans who can relate personally to them. You hear: "Wow, he is preaching my life!" Things like that I feel is what keeps artists moving forward. They understand the impact they can have on peoples' lives. For me, when I listen to music, I go with any mood I'm in. I create playlists for every mood I have ever been in just about. The only one I have yet to make is one for anger. Mostly because I think I have a few that can get me out of that feeling. But let's cut the BS. Honestly, sometimes I do need a curated playlist for that. We all have our moments. I've put on screamo before, lol. Sometimes you just got to be mad!
When it comes to playlists, I'm constantly thinking of new ones to make. They usually come to me through a life experience or situation I'm going through. Just about every song I add to a playlist, with the exception of a few, remind me of a specific moment in my life. Small or big. Could be just driving home in my car from work towards my apartment in Dublin, CA back in 2016. Or the song I picked to listen to just before I walked out for my last game as a high school senior. That right there is the reason I think music is so important to me. It keeps my life in a constant flowing memory. Even those nostalgic feelings that make us want to be young for just one day again can never be lost. That feeling is also the reason I recently started to collect records. The physical feeling of having the music in your hand is always a good thing.
The playlist above is a gem of mine. I call that one "my baby". If I lost that playlist, call it a life. No, but seriously, that playlist has a ton of my favorite hits over the years. Started it in 2015, but has a lot of songs that existed before that date. I take each playlist I make very seriously. Every single one has a specific cover art, correlating with the playlists mood/theme. I kind of have Playlist OCD. Not sure if that's a legit diagnosis, but if not I just made it. I actually miss when Apple Music had the color backgrounds. Talk about a mood.
Oh, and by the way, I'm full #TeamAppleMusic. I'll explain why in another post that speaks on my very, very minimal Apple obsession.
To make playlists, you need to dig deep through a streaming service to have as much variety as possible. Midnight on Thursday night (Friday morning) is my Christmas. Every week when the clock hits 12, new singles, EPs, and albums drop. When I don't have to be up early for work, I won't be asleep before 1:30 a.m. Any anticipated albums will be listened to fully, followed by rolling through singles to find which one needs a home in my playlist library. They're updated weekly. There has yet to be a week where no playlists get a new member. But one thing I hate is having the same artist over and over in one single group. Over the years, it's made me appreciate a bunch of genres and many more artists. I used to be a hip-hop/R&B and pop only listener. Now I have a jazz only playlist, singer/songwriter, EDM/House, and even jazz inspired hip-hop. While doing so, I've come across more artists that aren't mainstream than I could imagine.
But now I would like to present to you, a handful of my favorite artists right now. Music is ever-changing. Therefore, this list tends to change. A couple have stayed the same, moved around, and lost a spot. However, I will always have a top list of artists I am listening to at any moment in time. It's just who I am.
Without further ado.....
Top 5 Most Listened to Artists in the Past Year
Pronounced "black" for those who aren't woke. It'll honestly take some time too. I said "six lack" for a while until the man started putting out apparel that literally said that it's pronounced "black". My apologies. 6lack is singer, songwriter, rapper from Atlanta, GA. I'm pretty sure he is under the alternative R&B genre too. His debut album and single is what drew me to the unique sound in the first place. It's a darker, moody sound that brings out the life experiences he raps and sings about in his songs. Incredibly obvious that it's real. Now, he's put out two albums so far. I can honestly say that, personally, I don't think there is one skippable track on either album. I'm open for debates, but the one song that has never had the next button hit on it: "Ex Calling". Forget what the critics say, it's an easy 10/10. No, my ex isn't calling me, nor has she since I was 14. So I can't relate in that aspect. But the flow, beat, and perfect night drive ability restricts me from nexting that song. Not only has he put out great music of his own, but he's basically owned the year so far in 2019 for features. He's getting to the point where if he is on your song, yeah, that's now his song. I think it's clear that 6lack is easily my most listened to artist as of late and for some time now.
If you like music, you know the name. From his multi-platinum mixtape start with So Far Gone to his more personal Scorpion album, Drake has owned charts and boards for years. An artist that brings everyone back to a memory in high school or college. Providing music through each phase of life. His So Far Gone was high school. Take Care was college along with Nothing Was The Same. All his most recent projects bring me back to football honestly. Although, Scorpion came out just before the wedding so that's a vivid memory of the beach week. He's been able to create his own sound and be inspired by other cultures and genres to bring his own perspective to it. He captures rap, R&B, pop, a little dance hall, you name it. Before 6lack took the spot, Drake was definitely the most listened to artist in my library. With competition from my all time favorite, Michael Jackson.
Saba, based on conversations I have with people, has not broken the barrier of mainstream listening. But I could care less. He's another artist that has less hype beats and more lyricism. Telling a story with each of his two albums and many more of his singles. I honestly can't say that I relate to a lot of his songs personally, life wise, but the realness in his songs is relatable. You can tell that no matter the increase of his popularity, it doesn't change the way his musicianship is. A very different flow is an easy play wherever I am. Car, plane, locker room, or at home. I highly recommend starting with his first album and playing through his most recent, which is my favorite of the two.
4.) J. Cole
The greatest rapper of my time. My time meaning when I began following rap, truly understanding the talent each artist has. When it comes to rap, he's the top on my list. Listening since The Warm Up mixtape all the way up to KOD, he, once again, hasn't really missed. The only album I've heard some criticism about was 4 Your Eyes Only. Which was a very different sound than his usual projects, but spoke loudly to what was going on in his life. Louder than usual and in a very personal way. Which was respected and heard. He speaks about life. Bad or good. Society's issues mixed with his personal issues and triumphs. Plenty of listeners can relate to at least one of his songs on any of his productions. And that, is a recipe for a timeless act.
Now remember this list is a more recent list. Say truly within the last year, really. Another artist with not as many projects as Drake or Cole, but with two fantastic, well put together albums. His Loose Thoughts album in 2016 kicked it off. I can honestly say that I didn't put the time in to listen to this fully and thoroughly as I should've. But once I did, I knew I discovered a necessity for my playlists and library. He's a daily/weekly play now. One that is highly anticipated to drop anything from a single to EP to a much needed album. Lady Lady was his sophomore album that was the furthest thing from a slump. It also contains one single song that has recently been added to my 'Top 25 most played' playlist that is automated. The song is called "Lavish Lullaby" I have songs still in there from 2015, lol. It was added to that list pretty damn fast. Which means it has been played ALOT in a short span of time. Completely on purpose, of course. Masego brings a new feel to the R&B/Soul category. A little comedy sprinkled throughout, which makes for a refreshing take on a skillfully made song. An up and coming artist that belongs in any R&B lovers library.
So there you have it. My top 5. Those artists are played daily. Songs for every mood I'm in and every location I enter. I'm a huge "Top 5" guy, too. It's my way of finding out and learning what other peoples' interests are. Maybe helps me discover a new gem of my own. Another reason why conversations are vital. Music will always be the thing that makes my life move. Provides a base for so many of the situations I find myself in in life. I can connect with people through music. And we all know that's never a bad thing. If you have any musical suggestions, write them in the comments below! I'm always open to new music finds and songs to add to any of my playlists. Or even to help me create a new mood.
And again, I am open to elaborate or even debate ANY of my musical opinions.