From ScHoolboy Q to Billie Eilish, we take a look at the best albums for pregame, in-game, and postgame listening that have dropped in 2019, while also speculating on some of our most anticipated LPs from enigmatic stars like Isaiah Rashad and Vince Staples.
Like it or not, We are halfway through the year. Back in February, we made a list of 2019 albums we were excited for that were football-related either because the artists were fans of the game or it’s music that we thought would be a good addition to any pregame or in-game playlist.
With the release of GoldLink’s Diaspora album earlier this month and Billie Eilish’s debut LP WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? in March, we have only two of the eight albums of 2019 that we were anticipating.
But there’s been some solid albums that we didn’t have our sights on back then that we are glad our ears have been blessed by.
Here’s a breakdown of what we thought was coming, what we actually got, and what we are looking forward to for the rest of 2019.
The Best of 2019 So Far
GoldLink – Diaspora
Just as we had expected, GoldLink delivered on his Diaspora LP. The project masterfully weaves together a cornucopia of sounds from across the world. The lead single “Zulu Screams” is definitely a standout with high-energy production from P2J. Maleek Berry and Bibi Bourelly join in on the fun offering joyful melodies. Fellow football fan Tyler, The Creator’s verse on the bouncy “U Say” is very welcome. “Days Like This” has a much darker vibe and brings out a mature eerie sound from pop star Khalid. GoldLink dives even deeper into the underbelly of society on “Cokewhite” where he surprisingly holds his own with coke rap king (and frequent kit sporter) Pusha T over looming production. There’s a little something of everything on here for any footballer to enjoy. We can’t help but think the pitch is where he got at least a little bit of his inspiration.
Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
Billie Eilish is truly turning the idea of a teeny-bopper pop star on its head. The 17-year-old phenom trades in the bubblegum pink imagery expected in the pop world for haunting greys and needles coming out of her back in the “bury a friend” music video. Keeping the eeriness throughout her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is creepy in all the best ways. “bad guy” has a weirdly catchy bass line as Eilish gives the Ying Yang Twins a run for their money with her whispering melodies. You probably won’t be hearing any of the album on the loudspeakers at a pitch near you any time soon — except for maybe the high-energy hook of “you should see me in a crown” — but the rest of it is great for mental prep and zoning out.
Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
We’re kind of giving up hope on Wang$ap from our original list. But Tyler, The Creator dropped a lovely album in the form of IGOR, which he wrote, produced and arranged all by himself. This project is a masterpiece from top to bottom and garnered the Odd Future ringleader his first No.1 album and an excellent case for one of the best albums of 2019. The gentle boom of “Earfquake,” the bravado of “New Magic Wand,” and the soulful synth of “Are We Still Friends?” — what more could you want?
The hidden guest features of Kanye West on “Puppet” and the sprinklings of Solange throughout just add to the goodness. Unfortunately, no room for Tyler’s cool kits in this retro aesthetic. But that’s ok. We will jam to this like Brazil in the 1970 World Cup (or Germany… something to celebrate the ‘70s vibes of the album).
Speaking of Brazil, Tyler recently tweeted that he recorded a Bossa Nova album back in 2012 that he won’t be releasing anytime soon. We’d love to hear what that sounds like…
Skepta – Ignorance Is Bliss
You can’t have a football playlist without some grime music and Skepta provides us with some perfect hype tracks on his latest offering Ignorance is Bliss, which he produced almost exclusively himself. Coming off the success of A$AP Rocky’s “Praise The Lord” (the song is certified platinum in both the United States and the United Kingdom), Skepta effortlessly continues the momentum with this project. “Greaze Mode” and “You Wish” are anthemic bangers — but the album is nicely balanced between this energy and some personal reflective moments like “Going Through It” and “Glow in the Dark.” Perhaps the most powerful song on the album is the opener, “Bullet From a Gun,” which details the battles of everyday life that never leave even with fame or money.
Little Simz – GREY Area
Further evidence of the greatness of London’s rap scene is Little Simz. She released her GREY Area album this year and it’s so good. The wordplay, the instrumentation, and the rawness are the perfect ingredients to be among the best albums of 2019. The lo-fi yells combined with a groovy bass line make “Boss” a must-listen. “Venom” is also a track that gets your heart racing with a haunting violin contrasting her spitfire bars. “101 FM” cools things off for a bit with a soothing beat and a more relaxed flow from Simz. “Pressure” with Little Dragon picks things back up with radio-friendly drums and a question about wanting to be rich. It all wraps very nicely together with “Flowers” where a crooning hook from Michael Kiwanuka gives Simz the perfect backdrop to reflect on her journey in life.
ScHoolboy Q – CrasH Talk
THis one wasn’t on our anticipated list, but ScHoolboy Q really brougHt sometHing special witH CrasH Talk. Lead single “Numb Numb Juice,” altHougH it’s sHort, was just enougH of a banger to get us Hyped for tHe entire project. And it did not disappoint. THe storytelling is elite and tHe dark narratives are perfectly balanced witH tHe catcHy lovey dovey singles. THe HigHligHt of CrasH Talk for sure is “Floating” featuring 21 Savage over a menacing beat from Cardo Got Wings and JoHnny Juliano tHat leads rigHt into the etHereal “Dangerous” witH some lovely Humming from Kid Cudi. AgH it’s so amazing. WHat’s great about CrasH Talk is tHat Groovy Q seems genuinely Happy witH tHe project. It’s music tHat He wanted to make and you can’t be mad at tHat.
What We’re Still Waiting On
These next few artists had us amped for an album release in 2019, but still have yet to drop a full-length project. We still have six months to go in the year, so we’ll stay optimistic because you can’t live this life any other way.
Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning
Isaiah Rashad hasn’t released practically anything since his 2016 album The Sun’s Tirade. Since we wrote about the potential of a new album at the beginning of the year, we’ve continued to be teased over and over and over again about new music. But so far, nada. TDE even posted a cryptic Instagram picture that got fans excited before they realized it was just a happy birthday message. Eye roll. However, Zay fans have a glimmer of hope because he announced on Instagram Live that his next album is called The House is Burning. So an album title is better than absolutely nothing, right? Oh, another new update we have is that he has a song with Mez, one of our favorite artists, so watch out for that.
J. Cole and Dreamville – Revenge Of The Dreamers 3
We should have known better than to predict J. Cole would be in the conversation of albums of 2019 after the success of KOD last year. The rap superstar usually makes fans wait at least a few years in between projects, but what can we say — his “Middle Child” single that dropped in January definitely had us hyped. Instead, Dreamville fans can keep anticipating Revenge of the Dreamers 3, which seems closer and closer by the day.
The camp dropped two songs, “Down Bad” and “Got Me” each with polar opposite sounds. The former is a rap anthem bolstered by Cole, J.I.D, Bas, Earthgang, and Young Nudy while the latter is a woeful love song featuring Ari Lennox, Ty Dolla $ign, Omen and Dreezy. From what we saw via social media, practically everyone was in the studio working on ROTD3, so we have incredibly high expectations. It better deliver a 13-0 victory and nothing less.
Vince Staples – Something?
Now that it’s the middle of the year, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Vince Staples’ FM! project, which dropped in November but really is the perfect summertime vibe. We are still anticipating something new from him. And we know it’s coming, we just don’t know when. He has a tendency to drop projects in June (Stolen Youth, Summertime 06, Big Fish Theory), but it doesn’t look like it this year. There is still plenty of hope because the Long Beach artist said he has four albums worth of material in the vault. So we will continue patiently waiting (shouts to 50 Cent).
What’s your favorite album of 2019 so far? Drop us a line in the comments below.