Tom's Best of Summer '18 Playlist

Summer is over. That is both true, and entirely depressing. But let us not lean into the seasonal depression just yet! Instead, let us celebrate what was a great summer for music.

1. Wake Up - Travis Scott and The Weeknd

Astroworld, the newest release from Travis Scott, is easily my favourite album of the year. Featuring diverse yet focused productions and a litany of some of the best artists in the game, Astroworld represents Scott's most cohesive effort to date. Picking a favourite track was tough, as the album does lack the bangers like "Pick up the Phone" and "3500" that his previous efforts had, but I found myself hitting repeat on "Wake Up" again and again. Used to hearing Abel in a much more depressed and drug-addled context, it was a welcome change of pace to hear the Weeknd crooning over a light guitar.

2. Yes Indeed - Lil Baby and Drake

What can I say that I have not already said about Lil Baby? I have annoyed friends, family, colleagues, co-workers and anyone else who will listen with m,y insistence that Lil Baby's first full-length studio effort, Harder Than Ever, is one of the best albums of the year. I can't say for sure that it is, but Lil Baby has become daily listening for me. There is a carefree kind of joy in the music, nowhere more obvious than on the lead single featuring Drake. Produced by Wheezy, "Yes Indeed" has been a staple on the Hot 200 all summer.

3. 31 Days – Future

Pluto surprised us all, as is his won't, with the sequel to his beloved Beast Mode earlier this summer with Beast Mode 2, one of his most focused efforts to date. Following 2017 where he dropped Hndrxx and Future in the space of a couple of weeks, followed by a collaborative effort with Young Thug (or is Jeffrey again?), Super Slimey, Future had been mostly quiet by his standards. Produced entirely by Zaytoven, Beast Mode 2 has no misses, but "31 Days" is definitely a standout.

4. Reborn - Kids See Ghosts

Who would have guessed that Kanye and Kid Cudi would have found how to make magic in Wyoming, of all places? Of the four projects to come out of G.O.O.D Music's Wyoming sessions, the collaborative effort from Cudi and 'Ye was the most adventurous, given the history between the two. The album is mostly about the pair exorcising the demons from their past issues, and "Reborn" is the track that provides the most catharsis. Cudi hums have become a cultural meme, but it doesn't make them any less beautiful.

5. X - Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz and Saudi featuring Kendrick Lamar

Black Panther has been one of Marvel's most successful films to date, and the flick provided this decade's most revered musical talents, Kendrick Lamar, a chance to have his Prince moment and make a whole soundtrack. There is not one miss on the whole album, but "X" is a flat out banger that demands your full attention with razor sharp production from !llmind and Soundwave, and one of the best verses of the year from Schoolboy. We recommend wearing a seatbelt while listening to this one.

6. The Games We Play - Pusha T

If Kids See Ghosts was a surprise in terms of how good it turned out to be, Pusha T's DAYTONA was another entirely predictable gem from the former Clipse member. Since moving on from his work with Malice, Push has been making good if not great solo albums that could be accused of having just a bit too much filler. DAYTONA has not one wasted second, coming in at a blistering 21:08, featuring some of Pusha's best work in years. "The Games We Play" is a celebration of success and excess. Scored by a classic Kanye beat, it's one of the coldest tracks of the year.

7. Nice for What - Drake

There is a lot that can be said about Drake's year. The beef with Push, the lackluster double album he dropped, his reconciliation with Meek Mill. It's been a mighty complicated year for Toronto's own, and this track might have gotten lost. That's a shame because it's one of the best songs in his catalogue. Lauren Hill samples remain undefeated, and "Nice for What" is one of the few redeeming moments on Scorpion.

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