Best of 2013: The Hottest Jams of 2013

50. Katie Got Bandz
“Pop Out”
Drillary Clinton (Self-Released)
Though many wrote drill off as a one-year wonder, 2013 proved just as fruitful for Chicago’s ever-growing stable of young hip-hop artists. The first lady of drill weighed in with her own excellent (and excellently-titled) mixtape, and its stand-out sees Katie let her hair down and smear her rosy disposition all up in your area. Riding a delirious, on-point beat from her go-to producer BlockOnDaTrakk, Katie and Chicago stalwart King L stunt with joyful abandon. It’s easily of the most fun songs of the year.

49. Lost Scripts
“I’ll Be Watching You”
YT2013/1 (Young Turks)
From football to Franco, Madrid and Barcelona aren’t known for agreeing on much, but that hasn’t stopped two of the country’s hottest musicians, John Talabot (¡Vamos Barca!) and Miguel “Pional” Barros (¡Hala Madrid!), from developing a formative partnership. The duo’s latest collaboration is a sweltering, bouncy disco-tinged house jam, pairing Pinoal’s warm vocals with a driving bassline and an addictive, almost “Lollipop”-ish (the Lil’ Wanye track) sashaying keyboard line. Their two cities might be rivals, but when the two sides team up, they tend to do pretty well — just ask anybody watched the 2010 World Cup and the last two European Championships.

48. DJ Rashad
“Let It Go”
Rollin’ EP (Hyperdub)
The fact that veteran producer Rashad Harden’s Double Cup was one of the albums of the year without including his best song says a lot about what kind of form he is in. “Let it Go” is footwork at its finest, somehow disjointed and frenetic while remaining smooth and groovy. It also serves as a reminder that there is more to Chicago than drill, and it’s great to see such a legendary artist getting his first taste of worldwide acclaim so late into his career.

47. Roger Robinson
“Sheets”
Novella (Self-Released)
The King Midas vocalist explained that his quiet 5-song EP was “about love gone wrong,” and the pain of moving on has scarcely been painted more vividly than on its stark opener. It’s a feeling that everyone can relate to — the overpowering urge to purge yourself and your life of everything that reminds you of that person. Rarely is such a universal emotion translated with such precision and in such simply poetic terms.

46. Shlohmo
“Bo Peep (Do U Right)” (f/ Jeremih)
Yours Truly Songs from Scratch Series
One of the biggest disappointments of 2013 was that we didn’t get a Jeremih LP to follow 2012’s outrageously brilliant, Late Nights With Jeremih mixtape. That said, the Chicago crooner did grace us with a number of singles, most notably this razor-sharp collaboration with Wedidit mainman and DJ du-jour, Sholohmo. The LA-based producer’s wavvy, ultra-deep bass and busy hi-hats form the perfect canvas for the 26 year-old’s virile vocals. A match made in freak heaven.

45. Koreless
“Last Remnants”
Yugen (Young Turks)
The Northern Coast of Wales isn’t necessarily known as a hotbed of electronic music talent, and that could be part of the reason that the Bangor-native (and current Glasgow-resident) makes music that sounds so unique. While percussion, heavy bass, and vocal samples are near ubiquitous in today’s scene, Lewis Roberts’ outstanding Yunger is often gleefully devoid of those aspects. Instead, the young producer focuses on creating swirling, trance-like synth-scapes that swallow the listener whole. This is 21st century new-age dance music, and it’s fucking brilliant.

44. August Alsina
“I Luv This Shit” (f/ Trinidad James)
Downtown: Life Under the Gun (Radio Killa)

Two things you need to know about me: I am always going to be partial to New Orleans artists, and I am always going to partial to artists signed to The-Dream’s Radio Killa Records. So, unsurprisingly, I am a vuuuuury fuckin’ partial to the 21 year-old and his inarguable breakthrough single. On “I Luv This Shit,” Alsina revels in the fast life, weaving effortlessly through a brilliantly wobbly arraignment (THOSE FUCKING HORNS) from rising, mostly trap-focused producer, Knucklehead. The track is so good that a Wiz Khalifa impression of a verse (NOT a compliment) from the newly personality-deficient Trinidad “The Anti-Lebron” James doesn’t kill his vibe — serving as an unintentional reminder of how great Alsina can be.

43. Sophie
“Bipp”
Bipp/ Elle (Numbers)
So much of what makes the mysterious London-based producer’s gloriously frenzied breakout single so brilliant is how fucking different it sounds to everything else. Instead of driving forward like most dance tracks, “Bipp” undulates like a glob of slime, hanging in space — expanding and contracting a seemingly random intervals in seemingly random places. Best of all, at its core, it is a simple song with a simple mission (to get you dancing), which it fulfills at every successive listen.

42. Fifty Grand
“Scary All Over”
Join You (The October Demos) (Self-Released)
Calling an album about the death of a close friend, “Join You,” is about as heavy as it gets. The anonymous LA artist’s EP is an articulate, affecting portrait of the questions, grief, and intense reflection that the death of a friend brings.

From its first crushing line, “Who saw you off? Who packed your bags? I wish that I could drop these stupid ideas from my head,” to its overwhelming climax, “Scary All Over” is an 150-second emotional powder keg, enhanced by its aqueous mood and Fifty Grand’s breathy, heartbroken vocals.

41. Active Child
“Evening Ceremony”

Rapor (Vagrant)
After his exquisite, ornate debut EP, Curtis Lane, Pat Grossi’s follow-up LP, You Are All I See, left me a bit cold. That said, the LA-based harp-master blasted back with the refreshed, experimental, Rapor. In just six songs, he touched on a multiude of genres, but nothing hit me quite like this unabashed power ballad. Grossi has never been afraid to embrace the cheese, and this is his “Beth/Rest” in all its cheddar glory.

Posted on by TP1.COM in Best Of '13, Featured

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