Music to Live By: 15 Albums That Got Us Through 2020


Source: AP/AURN Graphic Megan Thee Stallion, Teyana Taylor, Nas, Busta Rhymes
Source: AP/AURN Graphic
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The year 2020 has been a lot, but it’s good to know that music was the one failsafe thing to count on during quarantine time and COVID news. Thanks to these artists for providing a soundtrack to an unforgettable year.

Victoria Monet – Jaguar

Standout tracks: “Moment”, “Dive”, “We Might Even Be Falling in Love”

A great listen with earplugs during quarantine walks or Zoom happy hours.

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Lil Baby – My Turn

Standout tracks:“Emotionally Scarred”, “How”, “Hurtin”

A guide to the highs, lows, and stresses of trap life as told by one of the leaders of the next school.

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Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t

Standout tracks: “Can I”, “Water”, “Toxic”

With tales of heartbreak and its aftereffects, Kehlani’s storytelling style outshines her vocal abilities.

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T.I. – The L.I.B.R.A.

Standout tracks:“On the Hood”, “Horizons”, “Thank God”

T.I. successfully blends his trap and woke perspectives into one accord.

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Teyana Taylor – The Album

Standout tracks:“Made It”, “Come Back to Me”, “Still”

This album is conceived by Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, and Missy Elliot.

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Nas – King’s Disease

Standout tracks:“Spicy”, “Full Circle”, “All Bad”

Nas unnecessarily answers the age-old conundrum of delivering quality lyricism over up-tempo production in a superb fashion.

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Jhene Aiko – Chilombo

Standout tracks:P*** Fairy”, “One Way”, “B.S.”

Queen of Vibe music, this album represents mid-tempo moods—that perfect soundtrack for chill time.

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Saint JHN – While the World is Burning

Standout tracks:“Roses”, “High School Reunion”, “Gorgeous”

The diversity of this album sounds like it’s played on shuffle.

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Chloe & Halle – Ungodly Hour

Standout tracks: “Forgive Me”, “Do It”, “Lonely”

With each track, the duo paints vivid pictures using their skilled harmony and vocal flexibility.

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Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof

Standout tracks: “Famous”, “Where Would I Go”, “One Way Flight”

Supreme lyrical descriptions backed by a passionate voice.

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Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemists – Alfredo

Standout tracks:“Scottie Beam”, “Babies & Fools”, “God is Perfect”

Gibbs remains an underrated MC whose flow always rides comfortably over any beat.

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Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath

Standout tracks: “Don’t Be”, “Master Fard Muhammad”, “YUUUU”

Veteran MC Busta proves real artists get better with time and that his rhyme style is the most diverse in Hip Hop.

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Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

Standout tracks: “Shots Fired”, “Body”, “Freaky Girls”

Megan’s subject matter may be predicable, but that doesn’t discount her ability to own every song and rap with a confidence and carefreeness that sounds like chilling with the girls.

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Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

Standout tracks: “Ghost of Soulja Slim”, “The Neverending Story”, “A.P.I.D.T.A”

Despite the long wait and unfair Jay-Z assist, this album delivers a spiritually influenced perspective that’s more teaching than preaching.

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Royce da 5’9 – The Allegory

Standout tracks:“My People”, “On the Block”, “Overcomer”

Royce’s growth as an artist is matched only by his clever wordplay and diverse subject matter.

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Mulatto – Queen of Da Souf

Big Sean – Detroit 2

Pop Smoke – Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon

Queen Naija – Misunderstood

Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris

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