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Rewinding 2019 | The Deepest Grooves

The best and the rest of the year's most get-down-worthy offerings.

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Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about funk, R&B, soul, blues, disco, swing or some weird combination of them all. It boils down to this: A great song is a great song. But a great song with a great groove is a classic. Here are some of the most irresistible ones that came my way in 2019:


TINNITIST’S PICK

Sampa the Great
The Return

WHO IS SHE? Zambian-born, Botswana-raised, Australian-based rapper and singer-songwriter Sampa Tembo — who has also spent time in California, just in case you didn’t think she had enough stamps on her passport.

WHAT IS THIS? Her first proper album after a pair of critically lauded mixtapes, The Return is also an outstanding disc that simultaneously lives up to its title even as it marks the much-welcome arrival of a fully formed, groundbreaking artist — and one who easily lives up to her descriptive handle.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Music that crosses as many sonic and stylistic borders as she has in her actual travels. On 19 cuts that range in length from nine-minute epics to 54-second vignettes, Sampa fuses hip-hop and rap, neo-soul and R&B, funk and Afrobeat with casual confidence — then adds rich melodies and topical, uplifting lyrics voiced in an urgent rap, a mellifluous croon or an understated rasp. Despite the multi-culti origins, the mesmerizing and magnificent results exist in a world of their own.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AND HEAR THE ALBUM HERE


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Africa Express | EGOLI
Balthazar | Fever
Beast Coast | Escape From New York
Beyonce | Homecoming: The Live Album
Beyonce | The Lion King: The Gift
James Brown | Live at Home With His Bad Self
The Budos Band | V
Tanika Charles | The Gumption
Chinatown Slalom | Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
Combo Chimbita | Ahomale
The Eminent Stars | Bumpin’ On
Neal Francis | Changes
The Heavy | Sons
Ikebe Shakedown | Kings Left Behind
Durand Jones & The Indications | American Love Call
Muito Kaballa | Everything is Broke
Kele | 2042
Michael Kiwanuka | Kiwanuka
Labrinth | Imagination & The Misfit Kid
Lizzo | Cuz I Love You
Georgia Anne Muldrow | Vweto II
The O’Jays | The Last Word
Sarah Potenza | Road to Rome
Prince | Originals
Prince | 1999 Super Deluxe Edition
Saigon Soul Revival | Họa Âm Xưa
School of Language | 45
DJ Shadow | Our Pathetic Age
The Sh-Booms | The Blurred Odyssey
Simply Red | Blue Eyed Soul
Allen Stone | Building Balance
Tinariwen | Amadjar

TO FIND REVIEWS OF THESE ALBUMS, PLEASE USE THE SEARCH WINDOW AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE