• E-Benny

Music Albums That Are Keeping Me Sane.

Yeah, I listen to a lot of songs by Abel, Travis and Kendrick in order to cope with all the madness. Please bear with me.

#music #quarantine #blackmentalhealth

Image retrieved via Instagram

Music is the unifying force that allows my mind to transcend into an ethereal world where natural sentiments such as pain, sorrow and worry are nonexistent. This year has been chaotic in every sense of the word and it is necessary for us to sometimes venture into a realm where we feel unattached to reality in order to stay sane and move on. Thus, welcome to my world of satisfying music.



After Hours by The Weeknd


Abel dropped one of the best albums this year and I literally can't stop listening to it. The album contains emotional and electric songs to suit your current mood. The production on this album is stellar as he delves into a brazen character who goes through the ups and downs of his hedonistic lifestyle.


"Alone Again", "Snowchild", "Escape From LA" and "Until I Bleed Out" put me in my feels while "Heartless", "Too Late", "Faith" and "Blinding Lights" make me to rage and hit the dancefloor.


ANTI by Rihanna

ANTI was released in 2016 to critical acclaim and served as one of the most defining albums of the recent decade. Rihanna delved outside the box to satisfy us with one of her most creative projects of all time. The genre-bending album explores themes of love, badass energy and sex in such a pleasurable way.


Songs such as "Kiss It Better", "Desperado", "Same Ol' Mistakes" and "Goodnight Gotham"serve as my nighttime bangers while "Consideration", "Work" and "Love On The Brain" allow me to escape from the cruel reality of life.


ASTROWORLD by Travis Scott

Astroworld is a modern-day classic. Yes, I said it! Travis explored different themes in his creative niche to make his psychedelic trap songs seem palatable and fun. Astroworld was a huge rollercoaster ride with no end. The features from artists such as Drake, Tame Impala, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and Frank Ocean made the album feel absolutely enjoyable.


Songs such as "Stargazing", "Sicko Mode", "No Bystanders"and "Yosemite" make me want to rage in my living room, while psychedelic songs such as "Wake Up", "Butterfly Effect", "5% Tint" and "Skeletons" put me in a state of tranquility.


B4.DA.$$ by Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is one of my favorite rappers for a reason. His debut album B4.Da.$$ exemplifies the use of lyricism, subtlety, energy and cohesion. My appreciation for him grew immensely due to the impact this album had on me.


Tunes such as "Big Dusty", "No. 99", "Christ Conscious" and "Belly Of The Beast" make me want to crowdsurf in my dreams. On the other hand, sentimental songs such as "Curry Chicken", "On & On" and Hazeus View" allow me to reflect on life and hit up some of my homies.


Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight by Travis Scott

As you can see, I'm a huge Travis Scott fan. Indeed, Birds is definitely not his best project in his discography and doesn't have the emotional attachment that most fans have with Rodeo or Astroworld. However, Birds packs the heat and has the tracks for the ragers.


Fan-favorites such as "Way Back", "Through The Late Night", "Goosebumps" and "Beibs In the Trap" are magnificent songs. Yet, the album contains underrated bangers such as "SDP Interlude", "Coordinate", "The Ends" and "Sweet Sweet."


CTRL by SZA

SZA burst onto the scene and established herself as a powerhouse of the new age R&B genre with her legendary album CTRL. The album has everything you need to cope with your day. I listen to this album everyday in hopes that my streaming will alert her to drop some new music.


Bangers such as "The Weekend", "Love Galore" and "Broken Clocks" are absolutely nostalgic to hear, yet the creative tracks such as "Supermodel", "Prom", "Go Gina" and Normal Girl" prove the artist's genre-defining sound.


DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

This album may be Kendrick's biggest mainstream project yet, and solidified his status as a rockstar of the modern era. Nonetheless, the album was nothing but perfect. The whole album flowed together. The gunshot heard in "Blood" to the braggadocious "Humble"prove the cohesiveness of the album.


Lately, I have been listening to "Blood" because of the magnificent poem told and the shock factor it created in the end. Favorite introspective songs include "Feel", "XXX" and "Fear" while bangers include "Loyal", "DNA" and "God."


Die Lit by Playboi Carti

Don't get it twisted folks. Carti really dropped a masterpiece with Die Lit as it contained a cohesive list of themes such as energy and rage. Carti isn't really lyrical with this album but he creates a fun atmosphere with his seductive ad-libs and stellar beats.


Favorite songs on this album have always been "Middle Of The Summer", "Right Now", "R.I.P. Fredo" and "Love Hurts." These songs give me the greatest summer feel and put me in the mood to relax and forget about the world. However, my latest favorites are "R.I.P." and "Flatbed Freestyle" because I've been watching a lot of his live shows to rid myself of boredom.


Dream Awake by Black Atlass

Black Atlass is one of the newest artists that I discovered this year. I actually discovered him through Abel and the XO crew after they promoted his recent album Dream Awake. I gave the album a listen and all I can say is that the project is full of classic bangers. He puts you in a spiral of love, lust and hedonism.


Songs such as "Lie To Me", " Do For Love" and "Never Enough" make me want to scream on top of my lungs.


El Mal Querer by ROSALÍA

I talk about this album every time a conversation about ROSALÍA pops up. Many people now know her for her hits with Travis Scott on "Highest In The Room (Remix)" and with J. Balvin on "Con Altura." However, El Mal Querer just puts you in the mood to read a book, clean your house or just wander into the wilderness. This album took a couple listens but I stamp it as one of the greatest albums of the 2010s.


You can dance and sing along to songs such as "Malamente", "Di Mi Nombre" and "Pienso En Tu Mirá." On the other hand, my favorite songs are "Bagdad", "Reniego" and "Nana." On "Bagdad", she uses a sample from Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" and is super appealing to hear. I also bump to "A Ningún Hombre" a lot because it exemplifies the idea of deep love.


Famouz by Jhay Cortez

Jhay Cortez was one of my favorite artists of 2019 mainly because of his classic reggaeton album, Famouz. Honestly, I found this album on a random search for new music and it was the cover art that enticed me. In short, the album was full of all kinds of bangers. The production to the vocals were excellent.


Trap-infused songs such as "Subiendo De Nivel", "¿Cuánto E$?" and "Costear" will definitely make you feel like you're the shit. On the other hand, his romantic songs such as "Somos Iguales", "Imaginaste" and "Apaga Las Luces" will definitely convince you to take your bae out for dinner and make out later. The album is mostly known for international hits such as "No Me Conoce" with Bad Bunny and J.Balvin and "Easy" yet it's worth more than that. Honestly, tune in to "Sabe" and "Cuando Bebe" and you're gonna feel like you're on top of the world.


Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa

Let me declare this. Dua Lipa dropped arguably the best album of 2020 with Future Nostalgia. The dance-pop album packs all the energy you need to lighten your day. In fact, it's so cohesive that you probably wouldn't skip a beat. This album has been one of the albums that just allows me to escape the harsh reality of 2020 and venture into a realm full of love and good vibes.


Singles such as "Future Nostalgia", "Don't Start Now", "Physical" and "Break My Heart"are motivational songs that me to hit the gym, go out for a walk or clean the house. Nonetheless, my personal favorites are "Levitating", "Hallucinate", "Cool" and "Pretty Please." I swear, these songs give the best vibes out of this album. The production and the themes of the songs put you in a good mood.


Hollywood's Bleeding by Post Malone

Hollywood's Bleeding is a modern classic. Post Malone etched himself as a global rockstar with this album and showcased his range in his genre-bending skill as an artist as he collaborates with numerous artists and producers from different genres. He did the same in "Beerbongs & Bentleys", yet the production and lyricism on this album sounds a lot better.


Obviously, the album is famous for having the hits such as "Circles", "Sunflower", "Wow" and "Goodbyes". Yet, the other album tracks such as the braggadocious "Saint Tropez" and "On The Road" serve as hype material on the project. His collaboration with Travis Scott and Ozzy Osbourne on "Take What You Want" was stellar! Songs I probably sing in the shower are "Hollywood's Bleeding", "Staring At The Sun", Die For Me" and A Thousand Bad Times." Post Malone is a great artist and you should definitely give his album a listen.


Hot Pink by Doja Cat

I knew of Doja Cat before she blew up with her viral song that somehow worked in her favor and put her on the map. I actually didn't listen to the album when it was released, but I tuned in after seeing everyone posting her songs on Instagram and TikTok to make videos. Fortunately, the album actually blew my mind. I didn't skip any song and listened to her for a whole week during this quarantine.


Her biggest hit "Say So" has immense replay value as well as "Bottom Bitch"and "Juicy". They bring those positive vibes similar to most of the songs on Dua Lipa's album. My personal favorites are "Rules", "Streets" and "Better Than Me." These songs have that nighttime drive feel to them, especially "Streets." That song sounds better when it's slowed down and induced with reverb.


IGOR by Tyler, The Creator

IGOR is what made me appreciate the creativity and flair of Tyler, The Creator. I wasn't really into his music in the beginning of his career and I paid little attention to Flower Boy and Wolf. This album rather caught my attention due to the rave reviews it garnered from my friends at the time of release. Initially I only listened to "Running Out Of Time", but I dedicated time to listen to the whole project at once and I fully embraced it.


"Igor's Theme" and "I Think" serve as dream pop/rap bops while "New Magic Wand" and "What's Good" serve as the songs for ragers. Love themed tracks such as "Earfquake", "Puppet" and "Running Out Of Time" are also true masterpieces. I normally listen to this album when I'm in the mood to relax but "What's Good" makes me want to burn off some calories.


Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps by Fireboy DML

Fireboy is one of the leaders of the new wave of Afrobeats that exemplifies the use of genre-bending ideals to create the palatable feel for the mainstream market. However, Fireboy DML did it through his debut album rather than a list of singles or EPs. His album deserves to be featured on numerous decade-end list for ushering in the new sound of Afrobeats and its replay value is astronomical.


He did his thing with this album. Fan favorites such as "Scatter", "Vibration" and "Jealous" never get tiring to hear. You can vibe to this album in every way and you don't need to necessarily understand his lyrics to have a good time.


My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West

This album dropped in 2010 and ten years later, we are still talking about this. In short, this is what we call a classic fellas. The production, vocals, raps and guest appearances were excellent as everything on this album seamlessly blended together. Kanye West put his name on the upper echelon of rap with the release of this album. It's not my favorite Kanye album of all time, but I respect the impact it has had on the culture.


The intro, "Dark Fantasy" and other songs such as ""Monster", "All Of The Lights" and "Monster" make me want to scream out the lyrics from the bottom of my heart. However, "Gorgeous", "So Appalled", "Runaway" and "Who Will Survive In America" put me in the state to disconnect with the world and write or read a book.



Over It by Summer Walker

I was lying on my bed in anticipation of this album because I had written about her and emphasized her songwriting skill and the creativity of her ballads. Good to say that Summer did not disappoint me and dropped one of the best albums of 2019.


Even though the album flows quite well, all the tracks are potential standouts. Favorite nighttime songs include "Drunk Dialing...LODT", "Potential", "Just Might" and "Tonight." Other songs that suit my solitary lifestyle include "Playing Games", "Body", "Come Thru" and "Like It." Anyway, this album is impeccable.



People by Hillsong UNITED

I wake up playing this album almost everyday because it has been with me through the thick and thin. People by Hillsong UNITED embodies all the sentiments we have when we get on our knees to praise God. The live music, beautiful vocals and deep lyrics create a welcoming atmosphere for anyone to find ways to be thankful for life and give praise.


Songs such as "Starts and Ends", "Holy Ground" and "Clean" hit you in the soul and you might probably end up crying to them. However, the album is not void of joy as songs such as "Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)", "As You Find Me" and "Highlands (Song of Ascent)" will elevate you to the heavens.


Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial by Roddy Ricch

I have to admit, I didn't really have any interest in Roddy when he first started. I was just saturated to the point where I couldn't even listen to new artists. I got into his music only because many people were talking about his album in addition to his viral hit, "The Box." Now I'm here writing about how cool this album is.


Roddy's album flows so well together that the it seems that the beats are even woven together. The intro to the album gives a brief description of his rags to riches story which leads to the back-to-back bangers in quick succession. I love singing to "Moonwalkin", "God's Eyes", "High Fashion" and "Bacc Seat." Nonetheless, Roddy packs the heat with his deadly flow on "The Box", "Big Stepper", "Peta", "Start Wit Me" and "Boom Boom Room."


Rodeo by Travis Scott

It's been five years since he dropped his debut album and I still don't know if Astroworld is better. On Rodeo, Travis fuses his raw lyrics with psychedelic beats to give you that dark feel. He takes listeners on a downward spiral which includes moments of loss of reality, parties, hungover and more parties. Travis is the leader of the rage and you're his sidekick.


Rodeo has some chill moments such as "Oh My Dis Side", "Impossible" and "Apple Pie." However, the psychedelic indulgence begins with "Wasted", "90210", "Pray 4 Love", "I Can Tell" and "Never Catch Me." Nonetheless, ragers can bump to "3500", "Nightcrawler", "Antidote", "Maria I'm Drunk" and "Flying High."


Rose In The Dark by Cleo Sol

If there is somebody that has made an album fitting for this period, it has to be the British newcomer, Cleo Sol. Her latest body of work, Rose In The Dark contain feelings of encouragement, love and provides advice to people who are going through tough times.


"Young Love" and "Rewind" caution you to take life easily while other songs such as "Rose In The Dark", "Butterfly" and "Her Light" provide soulful vibes throughout the project.


So Much Fun by Young Thug

I remember listening to this entire album at work and just bopping my head in amazement. Thugga really outdid himself and dropped a classic that finally brought him the necessary media attention that he deserved. The album's feel resembled that of Carti's Die Lit, yet it was done in an immaculate way. The album seems out of place when you're quarantining but it get's you lit regardless.


Bangers that make you feel awesome include "Hot", "The London". "Bad Bad Bad" and "Light It Up." If you need some chill vibes, play bops such as "Surf", "Lil Baby" and "I'm Scared." Also, for all those that doubt Thugga's ability to rap and drop bars, listen to "Mannequin Challenge", "Cartier Gucci Scarf" and "Ecstasy."


Starboy by The Weeknd

On Starboy, The Weeknd chopped off his famous look and further blurred the lines between R&B and pop music while incorporating some levels of dance and house music. It's The Weeknd in his braggadocious element and dips away from his characteristic dark sound. Hardcore fans may say that Starboy was their their breaking point with his pop-infusion while new fans may call it their mantra.


Anyway, Starboy regardless of what you think about the artist, is phenomenal. The productions is once again superb and all the songs will get you bopping your head. Starboy has it all. Songs to brighten up your day include "Starboy", "Rockin'", "Secrets", "I Feel It Coming" and "Attention." Some dance songs include "A Lonely Night", "Love To Lay" and "Ordinary Life." As usual, dark music is always incorporated into his projects and you can enjoy them on "Party Monster", "Six Feet Under", "Reminder" and "All I Know."



Take Care by Drake

When I say I miss the old Drake, this is what I mean. The old Drake gave us the bangers and the soulful beats we needed. Now he does it in a calculated fashion to achieve the biggest streaming numbers. Meanwhile, Take Care cemented his work as bonafide artist. It was concise, catchy and quite introspective.


Of course, you can't forget classic bangers such as "Headlines", "The Motto" and "HYFR." Listening to these songs instantly take you back to the beginning of the decade. Moody vibes include "Marvin's Room", "Crew Love" and "Doing It Wrong." In addition, the features on this album were very memorable as it featured artists such as Rihanna on "Take Care". Nicki Minaj on "Make Me Proud", Rick Ross on "Lord Knows" and Kendrick Lamar on "Buried Alive Interlude."



The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake

In 2013, when Justin Timberlake dropped this album, I was in a hurry to download it because I knew this was going to be a highly memorable project. The release of "Mirrors" alone just electrified the music scene that year. The 20/20 Experience is an R&B album that explores the theme of love and desire. It has the exquisite production and lyrics to allow you to be lost in JT's spiral.


The album contains classic love songs such as "Pusher Love Girl" and "Strawberry Bubblegum." Yet it contains upbeat songs that will force you to dance in your living room with "Don't Hold The Wall" and "Let The Groove Get In." Badass songs such as "Suit & Tie" and "Tunnel Vision make you feel like the shit. Nonetheless, he also has some underrated songs such as "Blue Ocean Floor" and "Spaceship Coupe" that will make you probably doze off into the wilderness.


The Black Album by JAY-Z

The Black Album is one of Jay-Z's most introspective albums of all time as it talks about the trials and tribulations of his life as he grows from a neighborhood dealer to a rap mogul. On this project, Jigga drops gems on catchy beats to create an enormous amount of pleasure to entice all his fans. Honestly, this album has served in helping me cope with all the stress that's been brought by 2020.


Where should I even start? Well, If you need to soak yourself up in some bangers, go straight up to "Dirt Off Your Shoulders" and "99 Problems." If you feeling yourself today, tune in to "Change Clothes", "Encore" and "What More Can I Say." Sometimes, I need to attain that nightime vibes and songs such as "Moment Of Clarity" and "Justify My Thug" serve me well.



To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

I never knew that in the year 2020, Kendrick Lamar's magnum opus would be my jam. It has literally become the most relevant hp-hop album of this year as it indulges in the issue of racism, violence against Black people and self-esteem. You don't need to skip between songs as each one is laced with incredible verve, deep lyrics and jazzy funk.


The first track, "Wesley's Theory" leads you into the world of Kendrick as it provides the basis of the project. One things about this album is that it only has a few standout songs such as lead singles "Alright", "King Kunta" and "These Walls." However, the rest of the album tracks flow together to such an incredible degree that it would only make sense if you listen to the album from beginning to the end. Songs like "Institutionalized" and "How Much A Dollar Cost" make you appreciate his style of poetry. "Jazzy beats are deeply sprinkled in songs such as "Complexion", "For Sale (Interlude" and "Mortal Man." Other songs that contain deep sentiments relevant to this year's turmoil can be found on "The Blacker The Berry."


Trilogy by The Weeknd

When I say that I love dark music, this is where I go. This is where I belong. In the dungeon, lost in a world full of mystery, fear, toxicity and deep obscurity. Of course, I mean this in a literal sense. The Weeknd gave the world his three classics; House Of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence and packaged them into a compilation album called Trilogy. To say the least, this album is for loners and people that can relate to the dark artistic expression of his music.


This album has been my friend for this year because I relate to the misery and sorrow expressed in this project. Songs that gave me good vibes are "The Morning", "XO/The Host" and "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls." Sometimes I break down and need to listen to some songs that relieve me of my pain. Thus, I tune in to "The Knowing", "Twenty Eight", "Montreal", "Next" and "The Birds, Pt. 2." In addition, I also like to dwell in his dark atmosphere as long as I can so I listen to "Outside", "The Fall", "Initiation", "Coming Down", "Thursday" and "The Birds, Pt. 1."



Une Main Lave L'autre by Alpha Wann

Alpha Wann was my favorite artists of 2019 and it was mainly due to the discovery of his classic album, Une Main Lave L'Autre. His album featured excellent wordplay, bars, fantastic production and relevant storylines. Alpha showed the world that he was ahead of the game and also delved into topics such as racism, hedonism, unity and Black pride.


After the death of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, I have been listening to songs that discuss police killings and the disregard for Black lives. On "Stupéfiant Et Noir", he discusses the issue of institutionalized racism and finds pride in being Black. On "Ca Va Ensemble", he goes further to talk about everything. I rage to some of my favortie songs ever such as "Macro", "Starsky & Hutch" and "1500." You can also shame your haters by tuning to "Pour Celles", "Parachute Chanel" and "La Lumière Dans Le Noir." Lastly, you can dwell to some dark shit on "Le Tour", "Langage Crypté", "Olive & Tom" and "Contrex."



WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish

I knew nothing about the singer until I decided to finally listen to her global hit, "Bad Guy", which had captured the hearts of many teens. I loved it and decided to also listen to her debut album. Afterwards, I fell in love with her aesthetic, dark sound, playful beats and weird music videos. When We All Fall Asleep. Where Do We Go? possesses all the lo-fi psychedelic beats that you can rage to with her whispery voice.


Badass songs like "You Should See Me In A Crown", "Bad Guy" and "All Good Girls Go To Hell" provide you with some energy to raise your middle finger to the hateful world and exist in your own bubble. My favorite songs off the album have to be "Bury A Friend" and "My Strange Addiction" due to their sweet melodies and low key dark vibes. More Lo-fi beats to read books or cuddle with your pillow include "Ilomilo", "Listen Before I Go", "Xanny" and "8."


YHLQMDLG by Bad Bunny

As a huge fan of Benito, I was caught off-guard when he actually confirmed that he was releasing his second studio album YHLQMDLG this year. And as it stands, Bad Bunny is 2/2 and actually made a better project with this album. This time, he noticeably delved into more sub-genres and added more features such as Jowell Y Randy, Myke Towers, Anuel AA, Sech, Arcangel and Yaviah. The album was fantastically made and all the songs blended together in such a way that it felt like moving up a hill when listening from start to finish.


If you need to bump to some trap hits, go straight to "Está Cabrón Ser Yo", "Puesto Pa' Guerrial", "25/8" and "P FKN R." These tracks possess a flaming energy that will take you to the streets of El Barrio to engage in some perreo. Of course, Benito never misses as he brings some revitalized energy to make you engage in some perreo with "Safaera", "Ignorantes", "La Santa" and "Yo Perreo Sola." Some nighttime vibes can be found on "Pero Ya No" and my favorite, "Bichiyal." You can also bump to some future classics such as "Vete", "La Difícil" and "A Tu Merced."


2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole

I have to say this again. J. Cole hasn't made another album better than 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The storytelling, soulful beats, fantastic wordplay and production make this a classic hip-hop album. This album makes me want to go outside and leave my phone at home to embrace life and connect with my people.


If I need to listen to some introspective songs, I visit songs such as "Intro", "January 28th" and "03' Adolescence." other songs such as "A Tale of 2 Citiez", "Fire Squad" and "No Role Modelz" give me the energy to work out or visit YouTube to watch his tour shows. Lastly, I need that nostalgic feeling of that time when he was on top of my music pyramid, thus I listen to fan-favorites such as "Wet Dreamz", "St. Tropez" , "Apparently" and "G.O.M.D."


Anyway, do not let dwell in the peaceful realm for too long because the world needs us all to spread awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement. Breonna Taylor's murderers have not been charged and it has been over 100 days since then. Please take the time to help by completing a list of tasks below;

  1. Sign a petition by change.org to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.

  2. Sign a petition by #JusticeforBre.

  3. Sign a petition by standwithbre.com to demand justice.

  4. Donate to Breonna Taylor's family.

  5. Call Mayor Greg Fischer (502-574-2003 / greg.fischer@louisvilleky.gov)

  6. Call/e-mail Attorney Thomas Wine (wine.jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com)

  7. Call Governor Andy Beshear (502-564-2611)

  8. Call/e-mail Attorney General Daniel Cameron (502-696-5300 / attorney.general @ag.ky.gov)

  9. Call LMPD Chief Steve Conrad (502-574-7660)