So far, 2019 might seem like a lackluster year for music, but a surprising number of talented artists have dropped new releases over the last few months. Although you may not have heard of some of these releases, we guarantee you’ll be paying closer attention to these artists after streaming their summer projects.


Favorite: “SUGAR”

The self-proclaimed hardest-working boyband is all grown up on this album, their fifth in three years. “GINGER” sounds like a therapy session for the already open and honest group as they deal with the events of 2018, when they kicked out a member of the group amid sexual misconduct allegations. Despite this, the album still has plenty of bangers, and it’s songs like the infectiously sweet “SUGAR” and the very raw “DEARLY DEPARTED” that stand out. In the end, the band’s ever-present chemistry shines through as usual to make this album one of the best of the summer.

“IGOR” — Tyler, The Creator

Favorite: “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU”

Tyler, The Creator is one of the few rappers who gets better with each release. Pair that with the fact that he has one of the most unique sounds and voices in rap, it was inevitable for him to put together an album like “IGOR.” “IGOR” sounds like the type of sound Tyler, The Creator has been building up to his whole career. An album that challenges the conventions of rap, he spends most of it singing, despite his high level of skill in the rapping territory, thereby showing off his true artistry. The album makes for one of the most emotionally resonant listening experiences you’ll have all year.

“Apollo XXI” — Steve Lacy

Favorite: “Like Me”

Fresh off The Internet’s last release, “Hive Mind,” Steve Lacy returns with his debut album, “Apollo XXI.” The album is a very interesting, yet laid-back experience. It’s the type of album to listen to on a nice, hazy summer day. Lacy is still trying new things, though: “Like Me,” is a nine-minute track that transitions from moods and topics with relative ease, which could be said about the album itself. Lacy impresses while still keeping intact the modern, creative thinking that he’s shown in his career so far.

“Angel’s Pulse” — Blood Orange

Favorite: “Tuesday Feeling (Choose To Stay)”

Blood Orange is somewhat of a recluse to the world — we know of his multiple talents, but don’t even know of the man himself. Despite this, his music feels personal and real. On his mixtape “Angel’s Pulse,” the follow-up to his striking 2018 album “Negro Swan,” he makes the soundtrack to your golden hour August day with a special someone or just your homies. It’s more laid-back than his aforementioned previous album, but it’s just the right vibe for your summer.

“85 to Africa” — Jidenna

Favorite: “The Other Half (feat. St. Beauty & Mereba)”

Jidenna is best known for his breakout single “Classic Man,” but since then has released his freshman album, “The Chief,” and an EP, “Boomerang,” in 2017. This summer Jidenna dropped his sophomore album, “85 to Africa. He said his aim was to make an album that took everyone back to their roots and combined both African and African American culture in a way that black and brown people could globally connect to. Between the afrobeats, bars and ballads that Jidenna drops in this album, there are also a lot of lessons and guidance with a hint of finesse.

“LEGACY! LEGACY!” — Jamila Woods

Favorite: “GIOVANNI”

“LEGACY! LEGACY!” is the R&B and soul artist’s sophomore album. Each track is named after a notable person of color, such as “EARTHA” for Eartha Kitt and “MILES” for Miles Davis, paying homage while still maintaining her own sound. The album is soulful, personal and poetic, making it a chill weekend vibe and a new addition to your study playlists. Woods’ sound on each track is unique and makes it one of the most calm album drops of the summer.