Daily Chiefers Presents: The Top Albums of 2020

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As we approach 2021, we start to take a look back at 2020 and all the changes that were made. Masks are the new norm now. Social distancing should be in the dictionary at this point. And all of a sudden it’s cool to work from home now.

But through it all, beautiful music was made, and we were here to capture our favorite parts. Here at Daily Chiefers we really don’t believe in ranking albums, so we decided to gather up our individual favorites. Hope you enjoy and see you next year!

Chiefer Joey / @itssjoey

1. HOTBOII – Kut Da Fan On
2. Slimelife Shawty – NoSlimeLeftBehind
3. HOTBOII – Double O Baby
4. Wifisfuneral – PAIN?
5. $NOT – Beautiful Havoc

Honorable Mention: Rod Wave – Pray 4 Love & Chino Cappin’ – Things Done Changed

If you can’t tell I’m from Florida, then I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s in my Spotify wrapped and in my blood. On top of the heavy Southern influences, this year was a year marked by pain, and all my favorites reflect that.

As the pandemic continues to wreck havoc on the homes of America, projects like Pray 4 Love, Wifisfuneral‘s PAIN? and Chino Cappin‘s Things Done Changed are almost a biography of what happened in 2020, channeling the pain that most people go through on the daily, especially with a virus like COVID-19 at it’s peak.

Orlando’s HOTBOII came out strong in 2020, proving that a pandemic shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone trying to break through. His recent projects Double O Baby and Kut Da Fan On both charted high on Apple Music, and remained in rotation for me the entire year.

Along with most of my picks, Slimelife Shawty and Palm Beach rapper $NOT both made major strides into the mainstream in their own ways, with $NOT dropping his debut project Beautiful Havoc alongside two Cole Bennett videos. Slime continued to break through the noise with his 2020 project, NoSlimeLeftBehind, which charted as high as #42 on the Apple Music charts, earning him a major spot as we head towards 2021.

Overall, each project this year holds a special place in my heart as we continue to fight the Coronavirus that has held us in our homes. With 2020 finally over, cheers to all the loved ones and amazing artists as we head towards a new year. This was definitely a wild and introspective year. Better vibes for 2021!

Chiefer Adam / @theadamesmith

  1. Sainvil – 2020 Was Hijacked
  2. Royce da 5’9 – The Allegory
  3. Spillage Village – Spilligion
  4. Mick Jenkins – The Circus
  5. 070 Shake – Modus Vivendi

Honorable Mention: Blxst – No Love Lost

It is telling to me that 070 Shake released an album pre-COVID-19 that prophetically possesses tones and sentiments that most closely epitomizes the year that would transpire. The reactive nature of the human condition has perhaps never been on fuller collective display in our lifetime, but many of our plights and emotions and the artistic output fueled by both predate this historic global event we’ve been sludging through. Music is constant proof of that universal truth. Much like 070, Royce and Mick added to their already stacked catalogs this year with masterfully crafted conceptual projects that dropped before the paradigm shifted, yet the complexities articulated by both resonate full tilt in a timeless manner, both aided by but also unaffected by outside stimuli. 

Depth of content certainly became a more desirable currency as time and priorities came into focus, but I also fully welcomed the less thematic raw display of talent showcased by the modern day supergroup Spillage Village on their opus Spilligion. Sometimes you just need to marvel at humans flexing unencumbered aptitude. Yet it would be the deeply moody and poignant crooning put forth by Sainvil on 2020 Was Hijacked that resonated most with me on every creative level. “Boxed In” is arguably the most important song penned this year, but he doesn’t miss once on curating the other six tracks that marked his second flawless release of the year. A year we will likely be quick to want to forget for all reasons other than the prolific music it provided us to brave the shit storm.

Chiefer Brick / @FatBoyBrick

  1. Brent Faiyaz – Fuck The World
  2. Thundercat – It Is What It Is
  3. Boldy James & Alchemist – The Price Of Tea In China
  4. Mike – Weight Of The World
  5. Knxwledge – 1988

Honorable Mention: SB Rich Noonie – Lost In Ohio

These albums will always mean a great deal to me because of the bullshit we’ve had to endure this year. From Brent and his opus Fuck The World, to the incredible pairing of Boldy and Alchemist. This year wasn’t about being in the clubs or at the parties (at least if you have some common fucking sense), but more for self-care and preservation. Who cares what’s popping with everyone else if you can’t enjoy what makes you happy. Each of these projects took me to another place, so we never listen to weak shit that doesn’t. Knowledge is one of my favorite producers of all time, Mike is a genius and Thundercat is a legend already. But who am I? Just another stoned fatty listening to better music than you, be well.

Chiefer Jake

  1. Drakeo the Ruler – Thank You For Using GTL
  2. Polo G – The Goat
  3. Rah Swish – WOO Forever
  4. Fivio Foreign – 800 BC
  5. Jaah SLT – 9/25/20

Honorable Mention: Mick Jenkins – The Circus

Music for sure hit different this year. As an avid concert-goer, something felt missing in my life, and these albums really helped to tide me over. I can’t wait until we can see some of these people live. Drakeo the Ruler had just about the craziest year ever, and he made one of the most innovative protest albums I’ve ever heard. Polo G, Fivio, and Rah Swish all delivered at a very high level. We’re very lucky to have them right now. New on the block is Jaah SLT, who really shocked me this year with a tight and endlessly enjoyable project. He’s only just begun.

Chiefer Colt / @captaincupit14

1. Freddie Gibbs & Alchemist – Alfredo
2. Knxwledge – 1988
3. Amine – Limbo
4. Sahbabii – Barnacles
5. Drake – Dark Lane Demo Tapes

Honorable Mention: Chuck Indigo – No Moor Bad Days

Despite all of the bullshit that came with 2020, a lot of artists managed to still find a way to cut through the negativity and deliver an uplifting soundtrack to the craziest year many of us have ever experienced. For me personally, there were several artists I’ve been in tune with for years, but had distanced my listening from that I felt like had a return to form. Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist‘s Alfredo took me back to my first time listening to “Thuggin'”, and that initial rush I felt when I originally discovered Pinata. Even artists like Drake seemed to take a step in a familiar direction, with Dark Lane Demo Tapes delivering a refreshing, yet nostalgic feeling that left me reflecting on life like I used to when I first became a listener of his music. All in all, my favorite music this year seemed to find a way to perfectly combine nostalgic sounds and rhetoric on the current social climate to package some hits that will be sticking with me for many years to come. 2020 wasn’t all bad.
 

Chiefer Avi / @avcantor

1. Khamari – El Dorado
2. August 08 – Emotional Cuh
3. Lil Baby – My Turn
4. Big Moochie Grape – Eat Or Get Ate
5. Hotboii – Kut Da Fan On

Honorable Mention: Ambré – Pulp (Directors Cut)

Despite all of the challenges we’ve faced this year due to COVID-19, the music world has seen a slew of quality albums reach the masses, especially in the rap and R&B worlds. The year started with Lil Baby’s genre-defining album My Turn, a 20-track project that cemented Baby as one of the biggest artists of the last five years, regardless of genre. The album and its accompanying deluxe are RIAA certified double-platinum and have eight gold and platinum tracks including “We Paid” and “Emotionally Scarred”. In April, Paper Route Empire signee Big Moochie Grape released his label debut Eat or Get Ate. The eight-song project featured hard-hitting flows, menacing instrumentals, and infectious lyrics on songs like “Uh Huh Uh Huh Uh Huh” and “Eat or Get Ate Intro”. Not long after Moochie’s tape, Florida’s Hotboii exploded onto the scene with his album Kut Da Fan On, a ridiculously consistent project that first gained notoriety from his introspective track “Don’t Need Time”. However, because COVID put a wrench in my partying plans and general demon behavior, my favorite albums this year were more melancholy.

Even with releases from R&B heavyweights like Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, and Teyana Taylor, among many others, my favorite album came from up and coming R&B/Soul singer Khamari. His debut EP El Dorado utilized instrumentals with minimalistic guitar riffs and spaced out drums for a colorful array of soulful, gut-wrenching, wavy, and emotional tracks. My sleeper project for this year is August 08’s Emotional Cuh. The 88Rising signee has played a supporting role for the label’s big names like Joji and Rich Brian, but this project is sure to gain him the acclaim he deserves. This seven-track tape is a charcuterie board of R&B cuts that infuse everything from synth-pop to the unmistakable drum kits of west coast hip hop. Songs like “21”, “Bussdown Your Soul”, and “Suburbia” are rich and diverse in a way that can cater to nearly any demographic within the R&B, pop, and rap worlds.

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