“Switch it, smoke it, I’ma sway on you” – 2/50, SNDTRK ’18

Ladies and gentlemen, the sexiest song of 2018. Sweet nothings sang breathlessly in our ears by a relatively unknown artist never sounded so good. Atop a slinky, hypnotizing beat launched by a Stokley 90s ad-lib, it was the song I never got tired of. Ever. It’s the definition of a mood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN6umKRoUf4

“I want you out of my comfort zone” – 3/50, SNDTRK ’18

I was privileged to witness Tamia live this year. With a career spanning 20 years, she effortlessly pulled gems and deep cuts from all seven of her albums. From the Jermaine Dupri-produced “Imagination,” to her latest hit from this year’s Passion Like Fire – “Leave It Smokin’.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsXQOaf0LQo The Salaam Remi-produced track builds on a 90s hip-hop […]

“Still I found a way to gravitate to you” – 4/50, SNDTRK ’18

After almost three years since her debut, NAO returned with her sophomore Saturn. Boasting a newfound sense of self and direction, the album is a seamless presentation of heartfelt reflection on life and love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqJC0bXa-qE My favorite song (as of now) is the tragically beautiful “Orbit” about losing to gain something better — something greater. 

“The feel of your hands/ touching my waist” – 6/50, SNDTRK ’18

Give Victoria Monet all of the things. While Ciara is busy being a footballer’s wife; and, Tinashe is searching for a label; singer/songwriter Victoria Monet is penning her a lane of black pop superiority.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owS78G-N168 Flexing her versatility and dancing skills, Monet channels 90s “If” Janet in this ode to love in the visual for […]

“Life of the party/always get it started” – 7/50, SNDTRK ’18

KeKe Palmer has taken the road less traveled in her career. While many hypothesized she would be the next Angela Bassett, Palmer decided she wanted to have fun before getting an Oscar; or — a Razzie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgo7SDyFqvc That fun includes co-starring on Lee Daniels’ musical drama Star. It is here that “Bossy” took form. The […]

“Now that I got my s*it figured out..” – 13/50, SNDTRK ’18

2018 was the year I discovered Victoria Monet. I had seen her name float around the Twittersphere, but never listened to her mixtapes. This all changed with the release of Life After Love Parts 1 & 2 (to be discussed later with my POTY posts).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGlbLaAHSfs The author of some of pop’s favorite hits ushered […]

“Give it to you harder than before…” – 14/50, SNDTRK ’18

Everyone knows the state of R&B music is in a transitional period. With hip-hop influencing popular music in general, rhythm and blues has become harder to detect. At least the version I grew up with. Strong vocals paired with competent lyrics and bridges. That’s why I was taken aback by this song from a literal unknown named […]

“Two step with the one you with.” – 16/50, SNDTRK ’18

Toni Toni Toni. The eldest Braxton sibling had one helluva a year. An engagement to Brian “Birdman” Williams; a climatic season of her family’s reality show; and, a return to music with her Sex and Cigarettes LP.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjW7WzozgI0 While the album was not her best, the lead single left an impression. The mid-tempo “Long As I […]

“So sharpen up those claws…” – 18/50 SNDTRK ‘18

YouTube stars-turned-Beyonce protégés Chloe x Halle debuted with The Kids Are Alright, an eclectic R&B album for the youth and elder alike. The sisters’ vocal ability far surpasses most of their contemporaries, while exploring themes fit for women their age. Apart from the the heavily-popular “Happy Without Me,” and the theme to Disney’s A Wrinkle […]