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CVLT Nation’s Top 10 Trap Soul/Alternative R&B Albums of 2020

#10 ROY WOODS Dem Times 

I love listening to this EP from Roy Woods but it’s too short. He teases me with his hooks and lulls me with his gentle voice and then it’s starting all over again. “What We Did” is like a whole album in one song. This is on the list because I’ve listened to it on repeat more times than I can count this year. I’m ready to start a new decade with a full-length from Roy Woods.

#9 SUGAR HIGH Love Addict

Sugar High is a project by two super talented and prolific artists, Kristina Esfandiari and Darcy Baylis. It’s been one of my favorite albums to listen to this year, period. It takes me out of dark places and it lets me cry; it’s romantic and gorgeously disturbing.

#8 BEAM Crimson Soundtrack

This new EP from Beam is apparently a soundtrack for an esports movie or some shit, don’t ask me, I don’t even own a TV. All I know is the Crimson Soundtrack EP had me hooked as soon as I heard it. He’s also dancehall legend Papa San’s son, but he grew up in Florida and makes addictive trap soul, with the occasional hint of patois.

#7 DON TOLIVER Heaven Or Hell 

I heard Don Toliver for the first time on Travis Scott’s Astroworld record, and his unique voice definitely stole the song from Travis. Heaven or Hell is his debut album and it’s not surprising that it’s so good considering who introduced us. It’s a bit psychedelic and a bit basic in all the right ways. Texas is making all the good music.

#6 PARTYNEXTDOOR PARTYMOBILE

Partynextdoor has kept me zen this year when I really needed it. If it wasn’t for Partymobile there were definitely times when my road rage would have gotten the best of me. This is a beautiful R&B album with a dreamy sound.

#5 RMR DRUG DEALING IS A LOST ART 

RMR came out of nowhere in February with “Rascal” and had us all singing “Fuck 12” through this whole fucked up year of 12’s fuckery. This isn’t “country rap” like Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, it’s like listening to country if White people never came in and appropriated Black music. DRUG DEALING IS A LOST ART is a brilliant record and makes me question this whole album ranking system because I could easily put this record at #1 but here it is in the middle. Also, RMR makes some of the most creative, most visually stunning, weirdest music videos I’ve seen in recent years.

#4 DWN2EARTH ATLANTIS

Imagine if Prince and Cocteau Twins got together to make trap soul for transcendence…that’s DWN2EARTH. I swear when aliens decide to do a meet and greet with humanity, ATLANTIS needs to be the soundtrack and we’ll be all good. There will be no nuclear war. Just peace and love and naked dancing into the Age of Aquarius!

#3 KAASH PAIGE Teenage Fever

As soon as I heard Teenage Fever I was like, who the fuck is Kaash Paige and why am I only hearing her now? Too much metal and punk taking up my time, I guess. And this is her debut full-length, which is stunning for an artist whose sound is so developed off of just one EP, Parked Car Convos (that just dropped on vinyl). I’m marinating in what she’s got out right now and excited about what’s to come.

#2 VORY Vory

VORY just dropped his self-titled album on December 9th and it quickly jumped almost all the way up the list. The production is on point, he definitely has one of the more unique and wide ranges in the game, and the songs balance light and dark perfectly.

#1 DEJ LOAF Sell Soul II

As soon as we heard Sell Soul II, we knew DEJ LOAF had made our anthem album of 2020. “Queen” makes me and my daughters and Sean feel majestic. She falls into both rap and trap soul categories, with inspired lyrics and an eerie but seductive voice, and I swear I hear the hints of deathrock and new wave creep into her production. I love this album to death; works of art like this are bringing us into a new paradigm ruled by divine feminine grace and power.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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