Top 20 Pop/Rock/R&B Records of 2018


20) Bruno Mars ft Cardi B - Finesse (Remix)

“We out here drippin' in finesse…it don’t make no sense… out here drippin in finesse… you know it, you know it...”

The video is inspired from In Living Color yet the music could be the best of NewEdition/BellBivDevoe/BobbyBrownSolo/RalphTresvantSolo/etc./etc./etc. and that’s about the best compliment I could give to another legend in the making in Bruno Mars. Meanwhile, I’m divided on the Cardi B feature as the record was more than good enough without her and truth be told I didn’t need it - yet at the same time the visuals were cool and I can understand why they’d capitalize on the moment. She does lose points, however, for not being able to add to the choreography (is she a dancer or ???) and if she doesn’t sustain then years from now we’ll look back at this video and wonder why the remix was necessary at all. Even still, the 24K Magic album is some of the best music to be released in the 21st century, and I’m just glad it’s still in rotation following its 2016 release.

19) Phonte ft Eric Roberson - Find That Love Again

“I used to jump in the whip throw on a beat and write bars to it, and get sharp to it, all summer long like I’m doing martial arts to it” smh 🔥🔥🔥 effortless delivery and these verses have been fucking up my rewind button from the first listen, where for some reason this one is reminiscent of his All That You Are flow from the Connected album, and even is complete with his patented outro cadence that will forever be synonymous with the Little Brother sound <<< one of the best movements in Hip Hop history point blank period.

18) Janelle Monae ft Zoe Kravitz - Screwed

“And I, I, I hear the sirens calling, and the bombs are falling in the streets we're all, screwed!” Produced by Nate ‘Rocket’ Wonder this record is full of sexual adrenaline and is damn near out of this world, as Janelle Monae went to another stratosphere on her latest album Dirty Computer, which is accompanied by its own 'emotion picture' that is one of the more exciting projects to be released this year. This track specifically happens to feature notable artist Zoe Kravitz and samples the legendary Prince, whose own unique sound seems to have inspired Monae substantially.

17) Lenny Kravitz - Johnny Cash

“Just hold me like Johnny Cash, when I lost my mother, whisper in my ear, just like June Carter, and though I fight these tears that I hide, just hold me tight for the rest of my life” An absolutely beautiful ballad that seems to be dedicated to Kravitz’s late mother, Roxie Roker who was also an actress with prominent roles in The Jeffersons, A Different World, Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, and Roots in addition to many others. Her role on The Jefferson’s of Helen Willis also happened to be the first interracial couple shown on primetime television, and that’s further significant considering her son Lenny’s impact on music years later, as a vibrant mix of cultures and religion that comes with being both Black and Russian Jewish. Yet regardless of all its symbolism, the song is an incredible work of art, though it seems as if the music industry in 2018 wasn’t ready to appreciate it.

16) Trey Songz ft Teddy Riley - Keep It Right There

“Ooh, she say keep it right there (That's what she said to me)/ You know, I'll keep it right there (Keep it right there)” Produced by Zaytoven and Teddy Riley the legend, this is easily the standout record on Trey Songz double disc ‘mixtape’ 11/28, of which overall is not Trigga Tremaine’s best body of work.

15) Cardi B ft Kehlani - Ring

“You don't hit my line no more, oh, oh, you don't make it ring, ring, ring, ring” In between all the generic all too predictable radio records this one provides a nice balance to the album, where once again the most flamboyant artist shows her most vulnerable side and for the most part it really works. Let’s be clear that Cardi B is not going to fuck up your rewind button, ever, but records like this do suggest that she might be more than just a novelty act, and if she plays her cards correctly then perhaps she’ll be around for a couple more summers.

14) Ella Mai - Naked

“Than somebody, who loves me naked, someone who never asks for love, but knows how to take it, are you that somebody who sees a wall and breaks it? are you ready to fight just to see what's lost behind my flaws? can you love me naked?” 🔥🔥🔥 Honestly my favorite record on the album, this is the new self-love anthem indefinitely.

13) RØMANS - Perfect

“I know you think you're so damn perfect, I bet you wish that you could go, yourself, I'm looking at you seeing nothing you're beautiful, but you know it all so well” 🔥🔥🔥 For those like myself just getting familiar, RØMANS is a London singer/songwriter who has penned records for Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Demi Lovato and Elton John just to name a few, in addition to having released 4 of his own EP’s under the Roc Nation imprint, with his 5th project entitled PEOPLE set to be released later this year. That’s where you’ll find this record that likely soon to hit Platinum status before long, this is the definition of a smash hit in every way.

12) THE CARTERS - FRIENDS

“My friends are goals, your friends are foes (foes), we fly, why cry? Our souls exposed, yeah, we smoke, we laugh, your stress, my stress, closer than kin, I'm blessed, you blessed (blessed)” Wasn’t easy to profile the very best song on what’s overall a damn near 10 out of 10 perfect album, and that in itself surprised me considering I was one of the few that felt both 4:44 and Lemonade somewhat lacked in that respect. Furthermore, their own collaborations had been more hit-or-miss in recent memory, though let’s not forget that some of their early moments together defined greatness in every way. Sure enough, however, this time around they combined their superpowers and put out a cohesive project that all hyperbole aside is almost flawless, 9 tracks that remind us all why they are two of the greatest entertainers of all time. The first Billionaire couple from music, period, who rarely if ever have compromised their quality to sell records, and somehow that remains true to this day even with Migos writing credits and multiple Chief Keef references. Even social media star Nav is credited as a producer on this particular record, though that’s a very loose interpretation of that line of work altogether. All the same, this is vintage Beyonce on this and definitely vintage Hov, who effortlessly delivers one of his finest verses in recent memory.

11) Jhene Aiko ft Rae Sremmurd - Sativa

“It's me and you and we makin' arrangements… it's you and me and we makin arrangements” Video treatment for one of the best records off Trip, the latest offering from rising star Jhene Aiko released late last year. This one was produced by The Fisticuffs and features the hitmakers from Rae Sremmurd, making it definitely something to vibe to… Swae Lee has done it once again 💯💯💯 🔥🔥

10) Justin Timberlake - Flannel

“Right behind my left pocket, that is where you'll feel my soul, it's been with me many winters, it will keep you warm…” The hipster anthem of all hipster anthems, and I mean that with all due respect, as this record right here is nothing but flames 🔥🔥🔥 - even in spite of its simplicity that relies on a soulful lullaby dedicated to a flannel shirt - if this came out in a colder winter the marketing behind this record could’ve been groundbreaking. Even still I know that while they drink their hot chocolate around campfires they’re playing this record, and if the stars align then this could be its own type of anthem for many years to come.

9) Ne-Yo ft Curtis “Sauce” Wilson - POUR ME UP

“I'm tipsy singing, oh, woah, oh, cause you don't know my life, and I'm within my right, man I'm faded singing, oh, woah, oh, don't talk about it just pour me up” Arguably the sleeper song of the summer can be found on Ne-Yo’s seventh studio album, produced by Maejor (formerly known as Bei Maejor aka Maejor Ali) and all the way hidden at track 18 is this infectious tune that reminds you of the dance floor and all those nights you never forget, this record is the vibe I’m chasing all summer long.

8) Lloyd- Caramel

“Caramel (ooh), dripping in my bed, yeah you know what's going through my head, I'm thinking bout... getting with you tonight, (I'm thinking bout) wifing you up for life” Lloyd has just released his 5th studio album Tru, and this single right here is one of the best R&B records of the year bar none, R&B just like it should be - credit due to Lloyd for keeping it alive.

7) Rico Love - Can’t Afford Her

“Man said he want to take my girl but he can’t afford her/ put her on game she can’t unlearn all the shit I taught her/ every other week said she want a new car/ I guess new car keys are the keys to my heart/ man said he want to take my girl but he can’t afford her” there’s not enough flame emojis to describe this record, Rico Love needs to be featured a lot more in the Top 40 so the world can appreciate his talent.

6) Toni Braxton - Long As I Live

“Long as I live…” This one is 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Toni Braxton got another one 💯💯💯 salute to one of the queens of R&B!

5) The Dream - Back in Love

"Back in love, back in love, back in love with you/ and now we're making love, making love like we used to do/ I took some time out, I took some time off, just to think things through/ Oh, now I'm back in love, back in love, back in love with you” The Dream released his sixth official studio album right before Christmas in 2018, and although the three-disc album, Menage a Trois: Sextape Vol. 1,2,3, is about 30 records too long and with plenty of filler, this one right here should one day be added to his Greatest Hits.

4) Lloyd- Excited

“There's no time to waste right now, give me all you have inside, if you let me I'll show you how, how to groove on this fantastic ride” Now this actually IS the best R&B record of the year to date, as it’s feel-good vibes make you think of the perfect day at the amusement park similar to Mariah’s ‘Fantasy’ record in all its glory. Unfortunately, this music video doesn't really capture the magic, however, and for some reason the credits aren’t listed for this album anywhere on the Internet, yet in any event, the production on this track is incredible and I'll be playing this through Thanksgiving.

3) Chris Brown - Undecided

“But I’m undecided, excited, ignited/ and I don’t wanna feel the way I do, but I like it” Produced by Avedon and Scott Storch who borrow the familiar “I Love Your Smile” sample by Shanice, this one showcases C Breezy at his best, where even in the dying days of R&B there are still some diamonds in the rough. For the most part, however, Chris Brown has not done a great job carrying on its celebrated and cherished tradition, although to his credit the final chapter to his story hasn’t been written.

2) Lady Gaga ft Bradley Cooper - I’ll Never Love Again

“Don't want to feel another touch, don't wanna start another fire, don't wanna know another kiss, no other name falling off my lips” Lady Gaga was destined to do major numbers for her role in A Star Is Born, the major motion picture that’s sure to be nominated for every major category including its soundtrack, led by this ballad that is sure to satisfy all her millions of fans.

Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry

"I just want you to come with me, we on another mentality, ain't got no tears left to cry..." A nice record for Ariana Grande who continues to grow as an artist and I’m here for every minute and every visual 🔥🔥🔥 this one directed by the legendary Dave Meyers is nothing less than cinematic.


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