Best of the Month is decided by a number of different variables; voter counts from preceding posts, reader reaction ratings, gut feelings, and lots and lots of heated discussions.
Album of the Month
April was full of great new albums and that made this month’s winner an extremely difficult choice, but there was one project which’s impact was far and above anything else to release. J. Cole’s KOD has been almost all anybody has been able to talk about and it certainly has the numbers to show for it, but aside from the massive social/cultural impact it’s had, it delivered with the music. Following up4 Your Eyez Only, which was a divisive album to say the least, a lot was riding on KOD and he answered many of his critics and criticisms in resounding fashion with a project that delivered the more upbeat, energetic material fans have been clamoring for while still touching on all of the pertinent themes and issues in our culture and society, and all packaged in his trademark, relatable sound. It was a fantastic balance of what fans on both sides want from him and it just might be his best album yet.
We’ve said it many times already, but A24 might just be the most compelling production company out there, striking gold more often than not. Among their growing slate of upcoming new films, one caught our eyes more than most. The trailer for Hot Summer Nightsstarts out as what seems like just another cliche teen summer drama but things quickly escalate, as they typically do when you involve love, drugs, and teenage liberation, and the backing piano number and overlaid vocals really pull out the emotion and intrigue of it all. Not to mention, the lo-fi aesthetics really bring back fond memories of those ’80s/’90s summer escapades we’ve seen so many times on screen. We really can’t wait to get a chance to check this one out.
J. Cole sure knows how to make an impact when he releases a new project and while KOD has seemingly been all anybody has been able to talk about in hip-hop, sans Kanye, he capitalized on that with probably his best set of visuals yet. Wildly creative, imaginative, vibrant, and fun. All things that haven’t really been associated with Cole as of late, but he really took things in a 180 direction with his video for “ATM.” He managed to blend the fun and aesthetically pleasing aspects of a Busta Rhymes or Ludacris set of visuals with the deeper, message driven narrative he’s become known for. He’s knocked everything associated with the album out of the park and we hope he continues with this new found energy and direction.