Mesfin Fekadu's picks:
1. Nas, "Life is Good": "I am a graphic classic song composer," Nas raps on the intro to his latest album. And he's right. You may disagree, but Nas is the best rapper alive, and with "Life is Good," he's got the year's top album, regardless of genre. On "Life," he's spitting rhymes about his ex-wife, Kelis – like the soulful "Bye Baby" – his daughter on "Daughters" and his childhood on "A Queens Story." He's a top-notch lyricist with a knack for storytelling, and it all makes for impeccable music. He knows life is good, and so is this album.
2. Of Monsters and Men, "My Head Is an Animal": The Icelandic fivesome have melodies that are eerie, jamming, groovy and overall epic. The voices of the male and female lead singers blend so beautifully that it sounds like magic.
3. Elle Varner, "Perfectly Imperfect": Her raspy and powerful voice, »
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