Album Operator’s 10 Favorite Records of 2019

Including one new all-time favorite!

10. Tyler the Creator: IGOR {Review}

It’s not quite hip-hop, pop or soul. Whenever someone is making music that defies categorization like this, pay attention. It often means they’re single-handedly pushing music forward into the future.  

9. Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow {Review}

These songs are so strong that any arrangement would work for them, but I loved that Van Etten shot for a synth-based approach that sounded so new for her. 

8. Sudan Archives: Athena

Righteous and wise, just like the goddess herself. Been rocking with this violinist since jump and have loved to see how she’s developed as an artist.

7. Danny Brown: uknowwhatimsayin¿ {Review}

Felt a bit slow and clunky at first but after I acclimated I just couldn’t stop listening, unknowwhatimsayin?

6. Little Simz: GREY Area {Review}

The funnest hip-hop album of the year, no doubt! Beats! Rhymes! This is what it’s all about. 

5. Boogie: Everything’s For Sale {Review}

If you think money and drugs is all anyone raps about then listen to the heartfelt confessions of this young man trying to navigate the rugged emotional terrain of child custody, heartbreak and regret. 

4. Big Thief: U.F.O.F. {Review}

Unidentified Flying Object Friend is about connecting with the “other.” It’s a beautiful theme but one I had missed before reading about it because I just get completely lost in this gorgeous instrumentation every time and Adrianne Lenker’s vocals are just another perfect instrument. 

3. Jamila Woods: Legacy! Legacy! {Review}

Woods has found the perfect Venn diagram center between poetry, scholarship and R&B. And she reveals it over some truly fly instrumentals. 

2. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib: Bandana {Review}

The talent and style on display here is unmatched. Gibbs blows away anyone vying for rapper of the year, and Madlib… well… let’s just say I’m a stan. 

1. Helado Negro: This Is How You Smile {Review}

This floating, glistening collection of songs has shot beyond my best of 2019 and into the realm of my favorite albums of all time.