We’ve compiled a list of all of the most prolific and undeniable projects that came across our eyes and ears this year of 2019. We picked a total of 20 Albums of 2019 which includes DaBaby, Tyler the Creator, Megan Thee Stallion, Kehlani, Doja Cat and many more. Did your favorite album make the list? Check out our favorite album rankings 1 to 20.
#20 | Kanye West / Jesus Is Born
Kanye West rarely disappoints with any major studio release but this newfound religious approach to his music has brought the two worlds of Hip-Hop/R&B and Gospel to an re-inventive spiritual playground with Jesus Is Born. With gospel renditions of SWV’s “Rain,” and “Weak” or Ginuwine’s “So Anxious” to “Souls Anchored” gives us what we believe was missing from the Jesus Is King project. It’s safe to say there are some ideals that we may not agree with that led Kanye to this particular style of music but any Kanye West-led choir is destined to sound … heavenly. One of the honorable mentions from the ‘Jesus Is…’ projects would have to be the track “Follow God” which gives us a glimpse of both past and future Ye which this change may not be as difficult as it possibly seemed during the announcement of never performing secular music “again”.
#19 | Tinashe / Songs For You
The multi-faceted singer-songwriter Tinashe gives us her 2019 offering Songs For You after walking away from her previous label RCA and joining forces with Roc Nation. The project gives us a variety of moods to sort through such as dark-vibes like in ‘Die A Little Bit‘ and turn up records like “Link Up“. The guest features list include 6LACK, G-Eazy, Ms. Banks and MAKJ. With production from Hitmaka, Hit-Boy, Smash David and more.
#18 | Solange / When I Get Home
Solange’s latest LP When I Get Home was a calculated relaxed, ambient approach opposite of her deep, cathartic and political A Seat At The Table. The project features production from previous collaborators Dev Hynes, Pharrell Williams, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, the Creator. Catagorized as ‘psychedelic funk’ Solange takes on themes of obliqueness and sonically evoking daydreaming in the project which is not immediately significant sorting the album into what we believe is easy-listening. In our minds, Solange found a way to internalize and project her subconsciousness sonically into a project and we like being inside her mind.
#17 | Chance The Rapper / The Big Day
Chance The Rapper’s official debut album, The Big Day, that was inspired by Chance’s love for his longtime girlfriend & now wife, Kristen Corley. A departure from the traditional lifestyle of rap celebrates monogamy with more than enough features from Nicki Minaj, Lil Durk, DaBaby, Gucci Mane, John Legend, & Megan Thee Stallion. Our standouts are here.
#16 | Tyga / Legendary
The Los Angeles-based rapper Tyga has survived long enough in the rap game to make his 2019 project titled ‘Legendary’ in a climate that where the average rapper’s lifespan is 3 years. That itself is an impressive feat. The comeback hit “Taste“ featuring Offset produced by D.A. Doman, who produced majority of the project, took over the summer. Tyga has made an official release that is reminiscent of his early 2010s mixtape contributions like ‘Well Done’ and ‘#BitchImTheShit’. Mustard’s presence is strong on this record with the opening track ‘Too Many’ and perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. Tyga’s punchlines & beat selection shines the most on this project.
#15 | Young Thug / So Much Fun
Young Thug’s 2019 appropriately titled project So Much Fun flexes his ability to add provocative and flamboyant presence with his collaborative efforts. For his most anticipated project, So Much Fun shot to #1 US Billboard 200 after its first week’s release adding as his first number one album on Billboard. If there’s a rap party that debuted on the charts this year it would be Thugger’s ‘So Much Fun’ was party of the year. Executively produced by J. Cole, the album lists many collaborations from Nav, Juice WRLD, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Travis Scott, Quavo and more. One of the first offerings from the project gave us the double-platinum single ‘The London’ featuring Travis Scott and J. Cole. The project solidifies Thugger as one of the of nonconforming artists in the rap landscape.
#14 | Rick Ross / Port of Miami 2
Rick Ross’ fans always expect one thing from Rozay: luxury rap. The sequel to his debut original installment, Port of Miami 2 doesn’t deliver a huge record like his 2006 hit ‘Hustlin’ – however, Rick’s ability to craft tracks like ‘Summer Reign’ featuring R&B’s freshest talent, Summer Walker to delivering his best boss talk on a Just Blaze beat on ‘BIG TYME’ places him in a class that can ring forever. This is his 10th studio album & it feels like it. His mastered perfect timing, signature beat selection, and specific features will debatably position this album amongst his best. The album features Meek Mill, Drake, Jeezy, Teyana Taylor, and Nipsey Hussle. Our standout tracks are below.
- Turnpike Ike
- Nobody’s Favorite feat. Gunplay
- Summer Reign feat. Summer Walker
- Rich Nigga Lifestyle feat. Teyana Taylor & Nipsey Hussle
- I Still Pray feat. YFN Lucci & Ball Greezy
- Gold Roses feat. Drake
#13 | Roddy Rich / Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Roddy Ricch is one of hip-hop’s newest & youngest rappers. At age 21, the Compton-based rapper debuted number one on Billboard Hot 100. Roddy is from the West Coast but you can hear his Atlanta trap influences throughout his art on tracks like ‘The Box’, ‘Perfect Time’, and ‘Intro’. As Roddy sings through his pain, he also has fun & showers his woman in luxury on ‘High Fashion’ + ‘Bacc Seat f/ Ty Dolla $ign’. Our standout tracks:
- Bacc Seat f/ Ty Dolla $ign
- The Box
- High Fashion
- Perfect Time
- Peta f/ Meek Mill
#12 | Post Malone / Hollywood’s Bleeding
This is Post Malone’s third studio album and debatably his best work to date. The New York-based artist successfully blends hip-hop, rock, & trap in a melodic way that just….works. From the lead single, ‘Wow’ – Post has mastered the ability to make a hip-hop song infectious & become a hitmaker. This album provides the listener who enjoys mainstream pop melody meet trap beats. Fans of Post Malone will enjoy this album, but if you’re new – here’s our favorite tracks from this project:
- On The Road (f/ Lil Baby & Meek Mill)
- Die For Me (f/ Future & Halsey)
- I’m Gonna Be
- I Know
#11 | Ari Lennox / Shea Butter Baby
The R&B-Soul songstress Ari Lennox from the Dreamville roster shook the genre when she dropped her debut LP. Producing an equally moisturized project, Shea Butter Baby, with her unique tone and unapologetic approach of relatable tropes like smoking weed, playing videos and sleeping all day on the hit-record “BMO.” She flexed on the poetic and rhythmic lead single “Shea Butter Baby” featuring J. Cole which was pleasantly reminiscent of artists like Erykah Badu. The songbird gave us one of the most artful R&B projects that made us yearn for more and ask for seconds. We anticipate her next project.
#10 | Tyler, the Creator / IGOR
Rap giant Tyler, the Creator released his ninth project IGOR in 2019 and it was unequivocally his most diverse yet. This turn for Tyler lands his project in genres such as funk, hip-hop and neo-soul. Tyler has drew voices together across the landscape of R&B and Hip-Hop to curate this collection of music to evoke his character IGOR.
#9 | DaBaby / KIRK
The North Carolina-based newcomer DaBaby gave hip-hop numerous tracks with ‘BOP in it’ this past 2019. Despite his recent legal woes, DaBaby might be having the best rising wave of musical discovery Hip-Hop has seen this past year. With his project KIRK, DaBaby proved his new found fame wasn’t a fluke with superior beat selections from London on da Track, JetsonMade, and DJ Clue. Guest appearances from Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Chance The Rapper, Moneybagg Yo and Migos sent the radar for this drop from KIRK enticing and did not under-deliver. The 13-track project was easily one of the best projects laced with braggadocios bars and bright flexes that finished the year solidly.
#8 | YBN Cordae / The Lost Boy
YBN collective’s Cordae left hip-hop fans with an unforgettable debut with his 2019 release, The Lost Boy. The 22-year old MC delivers an artful 15 tracks full of wisdom beyond his years. With the current landscape of genre-blending melodic rap, Cordae provides the young hip-hop purist poetic bars over soulful beats with introspective lyrics about his family on Family Matters feat. Arin Ray, his coming to age story on Been Around, and the celebration of finally winning on RNP feat. Anderson .Paak. The project flaunts production from J.Cole, Smoko Ono, & Cardiak.
#7 | Snoh Aalegra / Ugh, those feels again
Swedish R&B singer, Snoh Aalegra contributed to R&B music this year in a way that fans of soul music couldn’t ignore. Aalegra’s soothing vocal quality shines on her lead single, ‘I Want You Around’, in which is her biggest commercial hit in the US Billboard history. Whether you’re in love (Whoa), breaking up (Nothing To Me), or somewhere in the middle (Situationship) – Aalegra is inviting you to feel the feels. One of our favorite R&B voices of 2019.
#6 | Tory Lanez / Chixtape 5
Tory Lanez takes us on a 2000s nostalgic journey that updates R&B classics from Ashanti’s ‘Foolish’ to Mýa’s ‘Best Of Me’. The project is an official album release and the 5th installment to his mixtape series where Lanez remixes chart-topping R&B hits with his signature rap-singing flare. We usually like to leave certain records alone, but Tory updates these records in a way that even the original performing artists wanted apart of the fun.
#5 | Megan Thee Stallion / Fever
The Houston hottie Megan Thee Stallion made a large footprint in hip-hop in 2019. Her Pimp-C inspired bars re-appropriated what female empowerment and sex positivity is. Her ability to reinvent brought to life her most recent notorious alter-ego, Hot Girl Meg, that ultimately took a life of its own. Megan’s presence on records like ‘Cash Shit’ featuring DaBaby, ‘Money Good’ & ‘Realer’ illustrates how much of a star she is. ‘Fever’ landed on Billboard Hot 100 albums at number 10. With signing a new management deal to Roc Nation, we have a inclination that we will be hearing a lot more from Meg in 2020.
#4 | Chris Brown / Indigo
One of R&B’s most treasured crooners, Chris Brown, continues to release strong extended LPs that leave his fans quenched. The ninth studio album Indigo from Chris Brown is his official third #1 album in the US since his 2012 release of Fortune. The 30-track project gave us hits like “No Guidance” feat. Drake, “Heat” feat. Gunna, and “Wobble Up” feat. Nicki Minaj and G-Eazy. The amount of music that Chris Brown has served up has been undeniably infectious. Indigo proved to be one of those projects in 2019.
#3 | Beyoncé / The Gift
Discovering Beyoncé would lend her voice to the iconic role as ’Nala’ in Disney’s 2019 CGI-remake of Lion King was more than a good enough reason to revisit movie theaters this past year. To also — executively produce a lineup of native African and Nigerian collaborators like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Shatta Wale for this 27-track project inspired by the film. Beyoncé also teamed up with super producers Major Lazer, Pharrell Williams, Baby Keem, Syd, Just Blaze, Mike Dean and many more to help complete this separate compilation of songs inspired by the film titled The Gift. The album The Gift was beautifully executed to capture the essence of African diaspora with sounds, chants and instrumentation that spoke to the origins of African-based music production. Similar to Black Panther’s motion-picture soundtrack, guest appearances were star-studded including the likes of JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Tierra Whack, Childish Gambino and more. This collaborative body of work introduced us to the ever-growing sounds of Afrobeat transfused with modern hip-hop aesthetics. This album was undeniably a favorite with Beyoncé’s versatile vocal performances on ballads and uplifting anthems like “Spirit” and “Brown Skin Girl” entering the 2020 GRAMMY nominations for “Best Song Written for Visual Media,” “Best Pop Solo Performance” and “Best Pop Vocal Album.”
#2 | Kehlani / While We Wait
Kehlani gave us something to hold us over with a perfectly titled and portioned project entitled “While We Wait” until she releases her official sophomore album. The 9-track mixtape from Kehlani was one of the most easy listens from the year leading the tape with a harmonious-duet with long-time influence Musiq Soulchild on ‘Footsteps’ and the lead single “Nights Like This” featuring Ty Dolla $ign was one of the most popular tracks of the year with 200+ million streams. One of our favorite tracks “RPG” which features 6LACK which metaphorically compares a relationship to a ‘role-playing game’ which requires the player to the control the character in a video game with a list of options which may or may not work for the player. The love themes in this project take on language barriers in the playful track “Love Language” or the 90s-esque dismissal to an ex on “Nunya” feat. Dom Kennedy kept this project on three-peat.
#1 | Summer Walker / Over It
Summer Walker’s debut studio album lived up to its sonic expectations after she sent fans reeling from the Drake-assisted remix for ‘Girls Need Love” which sparked an interest to what her debut project would sound like and her ironically-titled project, “Over It” would scorch to the top of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart one week after its release and currently over 1 billion global streams. Executive produced by London On The Track, the project takes samples and interpolations from the likes of Destiny’s Child, 702, Usher and Lenny Williams. The 18-Track LP also gifts us with guest appearances from Bryson Tiller, Jhene Aiko, PartyNextDoor, 6LACK and A Boogie wit da Hoodie describing all the tumultuous and spontaneous urges that occur in a toxic relationship.
Terrell Johnson is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of SWGRUS.