billdifferen's favorite songs from 2023 (so far)

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hello?

I'm sure you guys can tell by the amount of dust and cobwebs this website is emitting out of your screen right now, it's been a while! Just been dealing with life stuff - just working and all that monotonous boring shit that all of us gotta deal with daily, however, I've been itching like a sunnuva gun to get back on here and talk about music, and it's finally that time. Got a few "year so far" retrospectives planned over the next month or two on here, going over different scenes and artists that I really want y'all to learn about, but today, we gonna take some baby steps and just talk about my general favorite tracks of the year so far. Nothing too crazy, but it's just a big ol' music dump of a lot of really good tunes, whether popular or overlooked, that I've enjoyed throughout this year so far. I really hope y'all don't expect Pulitzer Prize winning blurbs from me here, but I'll try my best to convey my thoughts about all of this in the best way possible. First, I'm just going to informally list a few songs that I either didn't want to leave out or forgot about once I was done - Maybe a few thoughts about a few of them, but don't expect a lot there. After that, I decided to make a proper ranking of the rest of the tracks, just to make it interesting and fun to make - It's all over the place, so just bear with my rustiness and hope you discover some cool shit here. But yeah, without further ado, let's get this shit started!

Honorable Mentions

kynlary - thats how it is [Prod. symels]

kynlary's music is like those pictures of the wolves on the motorcycles driving in the moonlight

Oh Polêmico - Pitbull Envraivado

You know damn well they're saying some wild freak shit here, but man those drums are just so ridiculously insane - Pagodão is a crazy ass genre out of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil.

Chino Pacas - Los Verdes

Corridos tumbados videos with more guns than a cowboy church always get a pop from me, as this is one of the best tracks coming out of the genre in a while thanks to the LA native.

Destroy Lonely - if looks could kill [Prod. Carter Bryson, Clayco, & ssort]

The Ken Carson/Lonely sect of the "underground" is probably the first time I have ever felt kinda old when it comes to this shit, however Destroy Lonely's new album really got me to appreciate him more with this strung-out, tranquilized rockstar aura he emits over these Hinder/Stone Sour/Tapout-shirt-ass guitar riffs. I finally get him now and see why you got middle schoolers dressing up like 14th century monks at his shows. Ken Carson still fucking sucks ass though oh my god...

Tenkay ft. xaviersobased - Where You @ Dawg [Prod. Ksuuvi]

The ATHF sample here is so damn good lol


Music for lizard people who live in the sewers

Ethan Uno - pensando en ti [Prod. Ethan Uno]

Prince Royce sample + Jersey beat = pop perfection

DJ Manny - Ragga R&B

Smooth footwork from one of Chicago's greatest ever.

Kiko El Crazy & Angel Dior - Pa' Ti Ya [Prod. Leo RD]

Dembow artists make more noises in single song than a fucking Pokemon does in their entire life. 

RealYungPhil - Winners Circle [Prod. Gud]

Gud and Phil album is gonna be so damn good.

Enchanting - Walk (Kodak Black Freestyle)

Bodies the original by a country mile and savate kicks Kodak into the Gulf of Mexico

Hardrock - athome [Prod. nosaint]

Funnily enough, my little brother got me into this dude - Really like how this sounds like a glistening chandelier; Glockenspiels are so sick here.

Escobar Marion - VBE Only

One of the craziest Milwaukee beats I've heard - That section where the horns come in is otherworldly.

Duwap Kaine - Fuck The Streets [Prod. JOSHTXYI]

That flow towards the end with the stutter is one of the best I've heard from Duwap.

PinkPantheress & Ice Spice - Boy's a liar Pt 2 [Prod. Mura Masa & PinkPantheress] 

This song is so damn good I don't give a FUCK; Also gonna be real for a second and say that I didn't realize Ms. Panthress was saying "Liar" in the chorus until like a few weeks ago, so never look at me as a voice of authority in music.

Kwengface ft. Giggs - Water [Prod. Kill Bill, Jay Cactus, & Bassy]

Very cookie cutter UK Drill but the energy that Kwengface is giving to the scene right now is very hard not to mention; Also Giggs bodies this shit looking like a 5th Division football manager - He's got one of my favorite all-time flows ever.

Oruam - Assunto Particular [Prod. Ajaxx]

I hear a lot of popular Brazilian hip-hop/pop tracks thanks to funk music terrorizing my daily life, and this is probably the best one I've heard this year thanks to that. Gonna be crucified for saying this, but it gives me a How To Dress Well vibe, but if it was actually good lmao.

polo perks - BOYBAND [Prod. feardorian]

feardorian is seriously one of the most underrated producers in hip hop right now - These 00s emo/pop-punk guitar beats that he does are just done so well. 

1 800 PAIN - HSM

This is what my brain sounds like on a daily basis.

Wizz Havinn - New Wave [Prod. ???]

Wizz is so damn good but I can't get over this beat because it honestly sounds like a vaporwave tune in 2013 from this random dude named Television Nostalgia 1992 where you got old footage of the Weather Channel playing over it.

thr33 - Runitup [Prod. tdf & perc40]

This feels like there's a rocket launcher being pointed at you - perc40 and tdf are probably the best two producers going right now, as they mix absurdity and virtuosity to heights no one is reaching at the moment. 

Jim Legxacy - old place

Jim is continuing to be one of the most unique artists out of London right now, mixing various genres and influences to create a lush gradient of poppy bliss. His mixtape from this year is easily one of releases of the year so far.

Luh Tyler - Stand on Biz [Prod. WhatItDoFlip]

I told y'all last year he was gonna blow and look at how right I was - Like he already got onto a Fast and Furious soundtrack for fuck sake lmao. This is just the beginning though, as he still one of the slickest and smoothest rappers in the South right now.

Okay, now onto the "Ranked" portion of the list - Enjoy!

What a world we live in where we get cartoon characters over Yeat-type beats and it's somehow actually good. Oddwin is a producer from Richland, Mississppi who originally did this Spongebob Squarepants parody as a joke, but with its swift traction being cultivated through Tiktok, this has turned into a full-fledged side project, as all of these songs are honestly really well-produced, albeit fucking ridiculous. The vibratos here from Mr. Krabs and Squidward are Poland-esque, as they have this nicotine-riddled effect on my neurons (I can't believe that this is an actual sentence written without irony). Not a game changer, but something that has no right to be this good.

Yes, we're getting the stupid shit over with, but this shows that you can literally do anything over a smooth-ass pluggnb beat and it's still a hit. Tek lintowe is really one of the most innovative and interesting artists out of that weird Shed Theory-adjecent group of white dudes that look like they got questionable views, however this is just another joke track that has no right to be this good. The mindless Simlish crooning coming from Tek feels like a Jackson Pollock painting surfing over this velvety bed of pluggnb goodness, and the clash between the two extremes results in some surreal harmony that works so well. Send this to your crush to really show them how much you like them.

I will always preach that SoundCloud is one of the best sites on the internet because there's nowhere else where you find artists with less than 300 followers make shit that sounds like it's coming from another planet. drevenci is one of that folks, as his self-produced track "gtfo" sounds like your audio equipment is having a complete nervous breakdown. The off-tempo whiffs of those flat horns, the detached slurring of words from drevenci, and just the overall chaotic nature it has where everything feels like it's malfunctioning at a breakneck rate all make this a strangely alien obelisk that has just crashed onto Earth. A Glo beat made for 2063 lol.


This whole wave of dudes yelling over beats that sound like power tools is really one of my favorites right now, with artists like smokingskul, thr33, marrgielaa, among many others making the underground equivalent of grindcore, with these super short, high energy songs. Here, smokingskul and squillo team with lauded producer boolymon to maniacally ramble over a field recording of an alien spaceship blasting its death ray at a small town, as this is just a weapon of mass destruction. It's ferocious, industrially brutal, and just really fucking raw - All you need in a song nowadays.


After really diving into Dembow and its related music over the past year or two, I've really grown to appreciate Dominican culture immensely over that time, as they are making some of the craziest music in the world at the moment. While that bass-heavy, stank-facing sound of Dembow is taking over the worldly airwaves at a rapid rate, something that I've discovered and love over there is the music that they use for Carnaval. More specifically, I'm talking about Alíbanda or Alíbaba music, a breakneck, percussion-heavy sound that permeates the streets during that time, as you have these droves of drummers and horn players playing their hearts out where it feels like those instruments are going to catch on fire any second. Especially once Carnaval comes around, a lot of prominent rappers from the DR love to hop on these crazy beats, and as a result, you get crazy shit like this where some of the best of Dembow are making tunes that make you want to run down the streets of Santo Domingo faster than the Flash. It almost feels like this acoustically light version of Singeli music back in Tanzania, as those simple horn lines paired with the frantic pace of that percussion gives me that same feeling of my head wanting to pop off of my body that the experimental East African genre excels at so well. Crazy stuff. Just music to make you feel like Pio if he was normal height.

Sure, if you ask a 13 year old if Opium is finished, they're probably gonna start crying and say that isn't true, but with the actions of a lot of them, it's hard to be optimistic or just plain ol' fans of those dudes, however, there's someone in there that has to potential to make up for all of that, and he's like 39 years old. Okay yeah, maybe he's not 39 years old yet, but GAB3 is a SoundCloud OG, as Uzi is a great relic of that 2013/2014 era of internet rap, and he's still got it today as rage's cool uncle that lets you smoke and won't tell your parents. Especially since he's changed his moniker to GAB3, he's made some of the most ass, but good music I've ever heard and this is the same case. "DM" is like a song designed for a rave full of orcs, as the almost-incoherent GAB3 is just grunting and bellowing over this insane Geometry Dash-ass beat from F1LTHY and WARPSTR. Hearing a dude in his 30s talking about DMs while you got these Eurotrash synth lines grinding down your ears is pretty funny as hell, but it just works.

Alright, I don't think I've blown up any of y'all's ears yet, so it's finally time to do that thanks to this madwoman from Saint Petersburg, Florida. I discovered TANK JR. on a whim one day last year and this shit blew me away immediately, as this is some of the loudest and most absurd mutations of uptempo hardcore and hardstyle I have ever come across. You can tell she's from Florida because she makes music that is designed to be played in a wind tunnel where you get Category 5 hurricane winds blowing the skin off of your body. With "GOD OF HELLFIRE," it's just this constant cycle of a slight buildup that culminates to the most ridiculous sequences of distorted kicks and bass that even makes Oppenheimer afraid of the catastrophic damage that it causes. There's these quick glimpses of Tyler The Creator and even that shitty ass Hudson Mohawke song that Reddit folks still don't shut the fuck up about that bring you back to reality, but it's just those quick jumps to those thumping kicks that feel like a shovel smack to the head that has you seeing stars. A caustic weapon of mass destruction that can fuck up even the most distortion-poisoned music fan. Really recommend TANK JR's album from earlier in the year AUTISM HOUSE, as this is an apocalyptic masterclass of grimy Ed Banger-adjacent electro - A real sleeper hit.

Here's a statement that only like 6 of y'all reading know what I'm talking about: 800pts and amir are one of the best artist/producer partnerships in music right now. I didn't find out about this kid until a few months ago, but this tag team is making some of the most unique rap on SoundCloud at the moment. It feels like the both of them found presets from Earth 2 and brought them back to this planet to have an upper hand on everybody else, as their link ups feel so alien and one-of-a-kind, whilst also staying within the trends of the underground to stay fresh. A lot of amir's beats just sound so damn busy and have so many different little sounds creeping upon your ears and serves as a great backdrop for 800pts smooth and viscous flow. Their latest venture "useless" might be their best yet, as this feels like being stuck inside an ocean of sticky oil that's located in the middle of the desert. 800pts effortless accompanies this mirage of a beat with the aura of a teen heartthrob for fans of cough syrup, while amir has this beat drunkenly stumble to keep it altogether. The future is so bright.


There's a load of club rap practically everywhere nowadays but what the Upper West Side collective SweepersENT. is doing should serve as a blueprint to all of New York, as their foray with it over the past few months has been a true flagship for that marriage between drill and club music. Member Jay Hound's live performance of "Neaky" was probably my first glimpse of these guys and the way that they mix that deep and grimy murkiness that is so synonymous to NYC with the dancey, Roblox-character-throwing-hips-like trance of club music is just second to none compared to most artists delving in this subgenre. Now with "Neaky Pt.2," it feels like those same ominous motifs from the first are being revitalized, but with it being brought up and down the 9 circles of hell, as that downpitched sample from "Can't Tell Me Nothing" feels like a demon dead set on dragging you through the most horrifying things imaginable. The thumping kicks feel like they're coming from Satan's own personal drumline and Jay Hound is the drum major parading his baton around, guiding this army through hell with this forceful performance over the madness. Seriously, a group you need to get more familiar with.


When you got a song where you're saying some really deep shit like "You just gotta be yourself and you'll inspire" and then not even 2 bars later, you're like "Feelin like Quagmire fuckin' all these bitches," you are a special talent and that's exactly what London's phreshboyswag does with "inspire." Sonically on paper, you have your standard 16 year old kid "tiktok xaviersobased jerk type beat" serving as the backdrop (I mean no shit, they produced it, but you know what I mean), however it's the way everything here sounds so earth-moving and catastrophic that makes this song so special. It sounds just so fucking huge, and then you have that unique British drawl coming from phreshboyswag where it sounds like he tries to throw in an "Indubitably" any time he talks to someone in real life because he has a monocle that's surgically attached to his head. No, but for real, there's not too many people in the underground across the pond who truly embrace their accents (only one I can think is Lancey) and I think that gives this dude such a unique sound, because he just sounds so incredibly dejected and dissociated to the world around him, making it sound like he's transmitting himself from this hazy dark underworld that's inaccessible for mere mortals. Really really insane tune.


Makina is seriously one of my favorite guilty pleasures because it's the closest I can ever get to feeling like a Scottish person and I think those lads are pretty fucking cool from time to time. The whole energy that it emits is like if you took every single flavor of Red Bull and mixed it into a decanter, but for the chaser to go with your elixir, you just have a cup of rubbing alcohol to wash it all down, so now you're incoherently speaking like Scottish Soundcloud comments to everyone around you. Language deciphering aside, this chune just fills me up with so much happiness and is a great exhibition of how awesome makina is. Like for real though, look how insane these folks talk - I love it


I'm going to pretend that I have CTE for a second (aka pretend that I'm a RYM user) and say that Yuno Miles is the true pioneer for Post-Avant-Garde Michigan Rap, because what in the fuck is going on here. Over the past year, Miles has really made a name for himself, as he makes these Tik-Tok-friendly songs that are a cross between random Gen Z meme humor and the musical absurdity of Wesley Willis, whether he's rapping about American sedans or even dinosaurs. Lately, his sound has focused more towards Detroit-type beats, but that doesn't mean that he's turned down the absurdity because he does this weird ass flow that builds up to this unhinged vibrato that would even make an Italian opera singer cry. Like seriously, he does it almost every line and it never ever gets old because his bars are seriously laugh-out-loud hilarious. I yell "No Justin Bieber but I'm SorryyyYYyyyYyyYYy" almost once a day at this point. Then you got Miles's friend Yuno Marr who is just the Doodlebob version of him, as he has that same high-pitched flow, but with a much more chaotic approach. Real outsider music.

If the award academy delegation actually existed, they would've already given the "Best New Artist 2023" award to AyooLii, but everybody sadly quit, so I don't know when the hell I can send this dude the award. Regardless, the kingdom of Milwaukee has really shaped up to be a proper, full-fledged major regional rap scene over the past few years, as the city's charming, dance-heavy weirdness is one of the coolest things to hit hip hop in quite some time. In terms of weirdness, many obviously see Certified Trapper as the King of Slap City, but if there had to be a Prince, AyooLii would fit that role perfectly, as he takes those Trapper tendencies as influence but cranks it up to 11 with his own one-of-kind insane personality. Like this man could rap over an ancient Sumerian war hymn and make it slap harder than anything out today - it's stupid. Now bring in the unique sound of Atlanta producer feardorian, and you get a early 2010s Captured-Tracks-ass indie guitar Milwaukee banger that would've even gotten Pitchfork to put it on their top tracks of 2011. AyooLii's carefree style fits so perfectly over it too, as it's one of those shorter songs that you keep pressing play over and over again.

Get Dean Blunt to croon over any guitar lick and I'm there front row with a large bag of popcorn, eating that whole motherfucker about 30 seconds into the song. No, but I really like how Dean Blunt has been putting out music this year - Just a few song EPs out of nowhere with no announcement or anything and then it accidentally gets deleted or taken down after a few days so he's like gaslighting you, while also making some of his best songs to date. "Rinsed" is a small portion of his 7 minute EP Give Me a Moment where he sounds like he's singing to an empty, dimly-lit bar in the middle of nowhere, devoid of any care in the world. I believe that this is sampling an Alice in Chains Unplugged performance too, which is a pretty cool touch. Tyson sounds heavenly on this when they come in and Dean's giving real washed cool rockstar vibes the entire time. One of the greatest of all time.

Nyege Nyege is like the music equivalent of "You could put that on a flip flop and I'd eat it up," because all they do is showcase some of the craziest music in the world, whether it's Ugandan xylophone gabber, West Indian soundsystem culture bibles, or even industrial kuduro out of Lisbon - It's honestly all what they know how to do. Out of all of that, my favorite release from the Kampala outfit has been Beyond Gqom & Grime, a collab between London's Scratchclart and Durban's Menzi, as, obviously stated in the title, this is a truly futuristic mishmash of those two local sounds. You get those robotic-like, bombastically bellowing tones coming from Scratchclart's side but then it's met with the forceful groove and cavernous atmosphere of Menzi's might - It's like those crazy important one-on-one battles in animes where everything is serious and shit (I don't watch anime). If you need a quick reason why I stated something so incredibly stupid in that last sentence, check out "Q" as this is THE track that melds those 2 iconic style together. This is just 2 and a half minutes of bassy tension making you as uncomfortable as humanily possible because the primate EDM part of your brain wants that shit to have a big drop so damn bad but it never ever gets that, as it just keeps buliding and building that syncopated goodness. With a horn choir fit for a TNGHT song, enough coldness for an Eski Boy, and chants breathing down your neck like an angry white lady in the HEB checkout aisle, this is everything you want when you hear gqom and grime in the same sentence.

This is honestly what Sigur Ros would sound like if they were born in 2006 - tgwog and iji are two of, if not, THE TWO best producers right now when it comes to making ethereal soundscapes that coincide with eternal bliss. I know this is just an ambient instrumental, but I'm putting it on this list because it's that damn good. I play it all the time - Like I said before, this is just a fake singing language away from being Icelandic, so I really dig this. Very Valtari-like. Real ones know Valtari.

Atlanta really is the Florence of music because all they do is pump out talented artists out of nowhere. skypearleddat was someone who just blindsided me out of nowhere when I stumbled across them on SoundCloud, because this is some of the hardest music being made by anyone right now. You know that scene in a horror movie when you're minding your business, doing something menial like taking a shower and then all of a sudden, a motherfucker comes out with a machete and hacks you to pieces? That paranoia and fear is what "SHE AIN FWM!!!" feels like the entire time because you have that shrieking crescendo of strings giving you an anxiety attack, plus the bass is so blown out, they can probably feel that shit down in the South Pole - It seriously drowns everything out lol. Also, Sky just sounds so sinister here too despite her vocals sounding like they're in 240p. Real demon shit overall - My biggest fear now is giving this girl a sword.


D Sturdy still showing that he's the best goat of the Philly bunch, as his sound has matured so quickly, despite making music for barely a year now. Compared to the lightheartedness of "Shake Dhat," this tune here is part "Dark Superhero Movie End Credits Music," part "Philadelphia National Anthem," as this is probably the most serious song I've seen from him. Even the "A buh a buh a buh's" are serious! I just picture Sturdy looking over Philly from a tall building and he got a superhero suit on with a goat mask with this music on - It's time to get on it comic movie folks! Then you add in 40 year rap veteran Fivio Foreign, and you got yourself a hit. Side note, love Philly's appreciation of the 4-wheeler - Lowkey the greatest form of transportation.


Y'all can crucify me for this one, but Kasher Quon's trajectory kinda reminds me a lot of Paul George. Both had hot starts to their career then faded away for a bit due to setbacks (or snapped legs), but sooner or later, they came back with that same quality and drive from before. Ever since last year, Kasher has been putting out some of his best work to date, especially his collabs with producer Just Call Me Chris, as he's still one of the best in Detroit's dynastic scene. Sequels in music almost always fail to live up to the hype, however "Relocate 2" is just as good, if not better than the legendary original back in 2019. Both rely on beats that have these super melodious lines topped with crisp Michigan percussion that move and dictate, while Kasher does his trademark "say outlandish shit but still make it go hard" shtick that he's one of the greatest of all time at. Finesse is a great word to describe his music, as it's just so incredibly effortless how he throws quotables upon quotables upon quotables ("Sippin on that green you gon' turn into the Hulk homie" - "Bitch said can I text you Gave her 9 numbers"). The sequel really shows the growth that the Detroit native has attained over the past 4 years too, as he's really one of the many pillars who's made Michigan the powerhouse rap scene that it has become over the past half decade. 


I'm sure you expected some American Primitivism to be on here, so the gambling addict blog readers are going crazy right now. Overs and unders aside, Texan Hayden Pedigo is one of the greatest guitar players alive in my opinion. The way the Amarillo native emits so much depth from a single instrument is awe-inspiring - It's like those huge knitted blankets from grandma washing over you with cozy warmness. Ever since their partnership with label Mexican Summer began, Pedigo has leveled up greatly as an artist, pushing Americana to its absolute brink. Like most of his music, "Elsewhere" just envokes memories of driving through the piney backwoods of nowhere bumfuck Texas where blurs of deep greens and browns are continuously passing by. It's just such a particular feeling for me and his music does such a great job of materializing it as well. Hypnotic. Ambient. Homey. Comfy - I can go on and on. Also a really funny music video to go with it. Super underrated artist.


Oh man, now we're really getting into the good shit. anarchy is the hardest 13 year old I have ever heard in my entire life. He's like those kids that are born into Spanish football academies with the sole goal of becoming Messi-like prodigies, but instead, he was given a FL Studio crack, wizard robe, and a shitload of Mountain Dew. "shakin" sounds like there's this evil middle schooler emerging from a disintegrating black hole and he's doing Fortnite dances to taunt the doomed while the universe implodes. Also, I just picture anarchy as his profile pic which adds to the experience:

 Seriously though, seeing kids this young make "evil" music like this is always great, as it harkens to the days of the early 90s with Memphis Rap and even Black Metal where you had kids of this age delve into these darker sounds and create visionary things - Case in point: Three 6 Mafia. They were all teenagers (14-17) when Mystic Stylez was created, which is still so baffling to think about. Now I'm not saying anarchy is the next Juicy J or DJ Paul or anything (Fuck, maybe I am), but it shows the limitless and boundless creativity younger teens have when experimenting with music. This shit is geniunely incredible and a lot of anarchy's music holds up to that same standard. One of a kind and outright absurd. This kid is seriously shaping up to be an early candidate of the next chosen one.


When I say that this is the most insane slur track, that is a very serious claim to make regarding one of the most ridiculous artists in all of music, however, when you're sampling Knocked Loose to make some Stravinsky dissonant Dirty South shit (got AI to come up with that one - testing it out), it's just too good to be true. Then you got slur unbothered by the madness rhyming shit like Robitussin with pussy bussin' to add on to the ridiculousness (Season 71 now on streaming). It's like the geniune horror you felt as a kid seeing those black and white illustrations in the Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark books for the first time - Sends chills down your spine. Also this song is literally just an emoji, which is a billdifferen first. Will forever say that this dude is a serious genius.


Hitting the penjamin and just speaking in general hasn't been the same since I discovered the Tony Robbins for a vape-addicted generation, Fulcrum, as the Youtuber/Rapper is somehow one of the few internet personalities that I geninunely enjoy. He has this "School of Based" positive aura around himself that is just so invigorating whether he's getting OBLIVIATED OBLIVIATED OBLIVIATED OBLIVIATED OBLIVIATED or going to Dabbington City inside the Home Depot. It's harmless stupid fun. As for the music, it's pretty standard PluggnB, but it's Fulcrum's charm that carries "All at once" to the bop that it is. "I'm in Yodieland Can't Get Out" is the type of shit Confucius was saying back in the day. As for YouTubers (scary word), he's really one of the few who seems geniune and looks like they're having fun with it. Nothing better than getting faded than a hoe...


Metal is a lot like doing an essay for school - Most of the time it sucks and you have to do a lot of research, making bibliographies and shit, before even attempting to give it a try. With that being said, there's luckily loads of crazy music being made on that side of auditory pond, especially on the avant-garde, time-signatures-coming-from-hell-big-brain side of the spectrum.  

Sticking out on this list like a sore thumb, Thantifaxath (don't ask me how that's pronounced) is a Toronto band that came back out of nowhere this year, as their 2014 debut album Sacred White Noise was a teenage billdifferen classic, an anxiety-riddled rush of black metal being played from an abandoned insane asylum that sounded like nothing I had ever heard before at the time. Now fast forward almost a decade, these dudes come back to make an even more deranged follow-up, and if you stare at that cover showcasing a Francisco Goya painting (Dude was crazy for his time) long enough, you'll start to feel that uncomfortable-ness that this band invokes from the moment you press play. 

The first track "Solar Witch" feels like I'm on a mountainous, dilapidated roller coaster at Satan's Great HellLand State Fair, as the constant chromatic runs being warped by these manic tempo fluctuations give me vertigo. On top of that, not even Pat Metheny can decipher the time signature changes here, as this tune's laboring feel makes it seem like it was mixed by the remote from that Click movie. The vocalist is just grinding and disintegrating their vocal cords, as they are wailing over these banshee cries coming from the guitars that almost feel grandiose in a sense. Just crazy stuff - A few of y'all will totally skip this one and that's totally valid. Just that subset of dissonant complex metal, ala Krallice and Gorguts, has always had me like that Mbappe "I will be there no matter what" picture, so it never fails lol. 

Ganger is like that game they reveal during an E3 conference and you just know for a fact that it's never going to come out, yet Veeze insists that his debut album is coming out sooner than we know it. If the lead single "GOMD" says anything, then we should be prepared for a classic, as the Detroit part-time rapper, part-time funny man is finally ready for his coronation moment. The song itself almost feels celebratory in a way, as the sample tailored for a NFL Films video from the 70s heralds over Veeze making me feel like a broke piece of shit. "Ion got change for a 20; a 20 ain't nun but change." Like damn dude, I already live humbly enough as it is.  It finally feels like it's Veeze's time to shine, just like his good friend Babyface Ray who had an insane 2022 himself. If this album is truly coming out soon, then we might have a clear album of the year favorite, as this is one of the most anticipated rap albums in a minute. 

Kuduro/batida is a genre where quality tunes are always popping up like they're coming out of a minigun - The dives that you can do on just SoundCloud alone can result in some of the most incredible electronic music you'll ever experience; The depth is insane. A lot of the artists in this scene are mostly seasoned and respected, however Setúbal's D'Cantwo Junior is someone who I had no idea about until I discovered this tune and GOD DAMN. They're someone who loves to mesh that traditionally kinetic kuduro sound with drillishly bassy tendencies to create a groove that I hadn't ever experienced before. This collab with batida regular B I L L Y G and Weird Baile Brazilian maestro JLZ is the best summary of that concept as those alarmingly unorthodox horn tones coupled with that irresistible Lisbon drive are t-boning moving subbass lines and angelic vocal hits all the way in London (that's a big ass street). That part towards the end where it strictly transitions to a UK Drill beat that would make even M1OnTheBeat's head explode is just so damn good. D'Cantwo is someone you have to keep your eye on, as they are destined to be in that upper echelon of legendary Portuguese producers sooner or later.

There's not a single Chevy Silverado safe from this song, as this is one of the biggest corridos of year showcasing Mexican greatness. Jalisco's Peso Pluma has emerged as possibly the fastest rising star coming out of Mexico in quite some time, and teaming him up with possibly the GOAT of corridos tumbados, Junior H, and.....uh that other guy (I just know him from that AMG song and that's it lol) is going to result in some greatness. The song is wonderful though as the trio lively paint a picture of the realities of that hard life over the accompanying harmonious banda, fitting as that piece to glue this altogether. That hook where they're going "Paraeciaaaa dulceriaaaaa"makes me feel like I'm trotting down I-45 on a horse while wearing the gaudiest button down shirt possible. Heard this at a La Michoacana one day and it brought me so much joy. While it takes me about 5 listens to figure out everything that they're saying because my Spanish is a disgrace to both my family and my girl's family, this is still some of the best music being made in the world right now.

Also can we just appreciate that cover art one time. The Midnight Club callback and then the "HUMILDESTATION" on the side. One of the best of the year easily.

I'm convinced that they build talented artists in Atlanta out of test tubes because there's a new one I hear about almost every day. The most compelling ATLien I've discovered this year is easily VAYDA, someone whose music is the equivalent is taking every flavor of Starburst and eating them all at once. It's so bite-sized, but so incredibly concentrated with sultry smoothness, as VAYDA's carefree nature reminds me a lot of Awful Records icon and also ATLien Abra. "Gummy" is Atlanta through and through, as that decades-long city-wide drive to innovate is continued through this young artist, as this is a velvety 72 seconds of Vayda proving her own as real shit. Easily my favorite "new" artist of 2023 so far.

The Ot7QUANNY Formula is one of the greatest formulas of all time - up there with the Krabby Patty Secret Formula and the Quadratic Formula. 99.9% of the time, calling an artist formulaic usually has a negative connotation around it, however with the Philly rapper, he's that rare 0.1%. When you look at the formula, you have 2tbsp of dark choral samples, 3oz of crisp Michigan drums, a cup of despair, 3 cups of punchlines, and a pinch of low pass filter - Mix well and bake for 30 min at 215 degrees (Worst description of a rapper I have ever made smh). Seriously though, if you are unaware, Quanny has been on a roll this past year and a half, and this might be his best single yet. Leaf Ward's contribution is insane too because I don't think he breathed even once during his verse - It was like a damn laser. Quanny does his usual hillarious bars in such a serious tone with stuff like "My wrist all different colors; shit like the Dragon Tales"and "Pockets all blue; Look like the sisters off The Proud Family." It just always hits, especially with the stellar production Quanny always brings along. Really hoping for an album or mixtape soon, as he's probably my favorite rapper in Philly right now.

If this was 2003, Certified Trapper would've totally been a secret GameShark-exclusive character in Def Jam Vendetta and would've totally gotten a 3D platformer game about himself for the PS2. He's been one of the main catalysts in regards to the Milwaukee rap boom that has occurred over the past couple of years and he has not slowed down since, as with his popularity rising, so is his quality because he just keeps getting better and better. If you needed to show anyone unaware of Certified Trapper,  you should just show him the footage of him rolling and dancing on the floor at the gas station, as nothing describes the absurdity and fun of the Milwaukee sound better than that. The self-produced beat is another testament to his incredibly underrated production prowess, as those claps just linger inside of your head even when the song isn't playing and the gritty 808s feel like a tsunami wave washing over your ears. He's just such a stupidly singular artist, and while you have a few Milwaukee dudes who are similar to him, nothing can compare to the feeling that Certified Trapper's music exudes. "Finna go to Johnny and blow another fit" I say as my card gets declined in front of Johnny Dang and he then beats the shit out of me...

I guess you can leave an asterisk next to this one, because this is a whole ass hour long mix, but I just COULDN'T leave this out, as I have probably played this more than almost anything else this year. I've mentioned it a few times on here, but Zyzz YOU MIRIN' BRAH? ass hardstyle is one of my favorite genres just for the euphorically free feel it invokes, which is such a contrast to the subwoofer-demolishing nature of the music as a whole. Just playing this music while you're driving with the windows down is mandatory as the folks at the red light will look at you in jealousy because Megan Trainor is on the radio. However, this mix in particular, curated by Scottish producer GG12 is the premier collection of this style of music. From the angelic hardstyle remixes of pop songs to shuffling-in-those-big-ass-pants bangers that'll get you moving stupid. I'll forever shit on EDM culture but I'll continue to listen to this shit because it's just so incredibly good. Time to get into anabolic steroids....

The absurdity of SoundCloud is boundless, so you will never know what you'll find on there. For example, here's a dude rapping over Coldplay using a Turtle Beach headset. Ray R-15 (hard name) is outsider rap for folks who ran out of outsider rap to listen to, as that low quality, microphone-in-his-mouth roughness is hilariously refreshing and he loves to rap over the most absurd shit. With "i use to own a hi point," you get the hardest rendition of Viva La Vida ever created as Ray is accompanied by underground regular marrgielaa who brings in a bit more normalcy, despite still being so grating in his flow. The juxtaposition between the song tailored for Extreme Makeover Home Edition and the firey subject matter of both Ray and marr's raps is just so fucking funny. Need more "out there" stuff like this.

Tisakorean is easily the Leonardo Di Vinci of our time, as he's a multifaceted-artist who has probably made a flying machine at this point. Each year, we get a conceptual masterpiece from the Mo City native, and this year, he decided to dial it back to 2006 with Let Me Update My Status, an album that makes you want to buy a 9XL shirt and blow a rack on a Jamster ringtone bill. More specifically "uHhH HuH" feels like I'm in the menu for NBA Live 2005, about to boot up the Slam Dunk Contest mode for the first time. That excitement just brings me back to that time where I only discovered music by flipping through MTV, BET, and VH1 and watching boat loads of music videos (Already hearing the uncle comments). Tisa emulates that 2000s Neptunes/NERD sound perfectly here, as that pots-and-pans-riddled (literally) percussion is on point and he just carries that swagger throughout. The "106 and Silly" logo is so good too. Just another level of silliness achieved by one of the best in the world. Just makes you even more eager for future music from this man.

Y'all, I don't think he really gives a fuck about those 808s... Atlanta's wildkarduno is one of the underground's best rising artists over the past year, as his incredibly abrasive style is a perfect compliment to the mayhem that always follows him around. Just like his contemporaries Smokingskul, marrgielaa, and thr33, the insanity is always attributed to producers perc40, tdf, utrippin, and boolymon, who have all been making some of the best beats anywhere as of late. This is not even a minute long, but it has the aggression and catastrophic nature of about 5 nuclear explosions as those otherworldly 808s feel like they need their own feature stated in the title. You can write a whole ass joke book just revolving around perc40 808s because that signature earthshaking sound is legitimately one of the most absurd producer quirks I've seen from anyone in rap. wildkarduno gives himself a sore throat demonically yelling over that quaking bass, and it just all feels like an auditory warzone where all you can do is just duck and hide. Need someone to get their subs to destroy their car windows while this is on repeat.

The fact that this is probably like a 15 year old tune, and it still sounds so incredibly ahead of its time is just a testament of how important the godfather of footwork truly is. RP Boo is easily one of the greatest of all time, as the Chicagoan's contribution to electronic music is unfathomably immeasurable. A cut off his latest collection of tracks from the 2000s, Legacy Volume 2, "Under'D-Stat" is everything wonderful about this man's music: a ridiculous collage of samples that's more akin to plunderphonics rather than footwork, frantic grooves that have you moving your feet like you're holding onto the power lines, and Boo's charismatic voice echoing over the madness acting as a ringleader to the circus. The Underdog sample just boggles the mind as you're also being bombarded by groovy licks that sound like they belong in either a workout instructional video or a Jet Set Radio game. Much of Boo's music rely on these hypnotizingly loopy grooves and this one just hits the spot perfectly. Great track from one of the best releases of the year.

As more time passes on, xaviersobased seems to be the Lil B figure for this new generation. He seriously has everything that made the godfather of internet rap the influence that he is today (except the questionable desire for feet pictures). The positive, beat-by-my-own-drum attitude that the 19 year old has is what makes him one of, if not, the most compelling artist on SoundCloud at the moment. We've gotten a constant stream of quality releases from him throughout the year so far, however, the tune that has defined his dominance so far is "how i feel 2," another legendary link-up with producer kashpaint. This song is like falling out of the sky at the slowest speed possible - it's just so entrancing and dreamy; there's no other song this year that replicates that lucid feeling. Over the floaty beat, xavier lets us know how he feels about many things and then has an existential crisis towards the end, and you know what, are most of y'all even real? Am I real? Is this blog real? Is this list even real? All I know is that, as an oldhead SoundCloud veteran, xaviersobased is inching closer and closer to that Kray/Duwap tier of greatness, as I have not seen anyone this influential and forward-thinking in quite some time. He legit makes music fun again, and I'm always excited to see what xavier comes up with next. 

Ever since Argentina won the World Cup last December, the country has been doing incredible things: Messi is moving to Miami to become a Republican senator, Bizarrap is just a cooler Kenny Beats (who has me blocked on Twitter), and there's kids doing Chief Keef impressions better than cemeterial dudes in America who look like they never showered in their life. STIFFY looks like a young Maradona with those luscious locks, but he also has the soul of a Chicago rapper from 2013 as "SWAG DE SOSA" is a wall of boppy, maximalist mayhem where you have someone who sounds like they just got their gig at Kidz Bop about a week ago. The Chicago love is apparent and it just works so well in this modern Argentinian lens, as STIFFY sounds like he was waiting his whole life to sound like Chief Keef. And people actually say that that man isn't influential.... 

Sure, there's about a 32.6% chance that one of either these folks' parents have bombed a small country, but Snow Strippers has properly brought me back to my days in 2012 searching "What in the fuck is witch house," and man they have truly restored the feeling. I hate that most people are focusing on its obvious similarities to that one early 2010s synth duo, because they are much more than solely a remastered version of them. They really mesh that whole tumblrfied sound of the early 2010s with cheesy Eurotrash goodness and their addition to the Surf Gang team is a match made in heaven, as April Mixtape 3 is one of the best releases from this year. "Under Your Spell" feels like you could put it in the soundtrack for FIFA 12, and I wouldn't even have noticed that it came out a decade later - It just feels like a product of that time and I guess that's why my old ass likes it that much. The Detroit duo are never really focused on others as influences as they focus on their own visions to make these moody dance hits. I feel like it's just the beginning of these two, so I can't wait to see what they come out with next.

AyooLii is probably the only person on Earth who could manage to achieve world peace at this point and it can be honestly attributed to this song alone. In a time where interpolations of older tunes are a soulless cash grab, the Prince of Slap City saves us all by taking us all to Shmackin Town, as this might be Milwaukee's magnum opus. The sample use is genius, it's bumping more than a party full of elephants on speed, and AyooLii puts on that conductor hat to take us all for a bumpy ride. These dudes can make these same shmackin beats for the rest of eternity and it will never ever get old. Like this is the music we should be sending to outer space because maybe the aliens would actually fuck with us for once - They don't want to hear no fucking Beatles - AyooLii is bigger than the 4 of them combined.

Philly needs to get together with Wells Fargo Center and see if they can hang some Under Armor shirts next to Dr J's jersey to honor the impact the Philly Goats have had on the city and rap as a whole. The young group has really help set this worldwide club rap craze ablaze since the beginning and it seems that all of its members and affiliates are really thriving with this sound. Here, this On The Radar freestyle is like the Fishmans Long Season for club rap, as this is a 10 minute, 5 man battle royal that feels like the equivalent of those cartoonish clouds where it seems like they're all fighting each other because the energy here is just so damn chaotic, I feel like I have to frisbee my laptop out of the window and shake my hips until eternity. The always stellar DJ Crazy holds this mix down greatly, from the "Who Run It" callbacks to the more lush and grandiose beats towards the end; he never lets go of the throttle. The "2HUMPY" opener is an obvious standout as well, as that frantic, old-school energy could get me to charge my phone even if I was in Ancient Rome. These 5 have such an infectious boyband chemistry between them - Diddy would've had a ball with them if this was 2007. The Philly Goats Super Bowl Halftime show gets realer and realer by the day.

I was trying my absolute hardest not to choose a funk song or a joke song, but I just couldn't think of anything else this year that is even close to the insanity that is this tune. DJ Arana is Sao Paulo's young magician who has turned its funk scene upside its head over the past year, as there are not too many people in on this planet creating realms of absurdity greater than him. Team him up with one of funk's most important modern MCs, MC Lan, let them sample this Ultra Nate classic, and you got yourself a hit. The thing with this tune is that it just keeps growing and mutating through the 5 minute runtime, it's barely recognizable by the end. It starts off with that instantly recognizable sample (also think of the Headie One song) and gives Lan an upbeat energy to start off with, however, whenever Arana comes in, it instantly gets infected by an explosion of automotivo tones that sound like they're coming from an ancient ritual unseen by the modern eye. Once that transition into the more dancey, yet ridiculous bits commence, you are just thrown into fucking hyperdrive, as every 8-16 bars will introduce a concept that has you holding onto your head in disbelief. It gets more demonic, uncomfortable, and abstract as each new idea is being presented. It's chill-inducing, not of this planet, and a real ass statement as to why Brazil should be considered as one of the biggest music hubs in the world, just with their regional music alone (more on this soon). But for real, Arana is one of one. No one touches him right now when it comes to SP funk.

Damn that took forever, huh. Glad y'all made it this far, and hope that you were able to find something new today. Got 2 more of these things planned out over the next few weeks so be on the lookout. There's just so much I want to share with you guys, because there's always some incredible shit being made somewhere. But yeah, appreciate you guys checking this out after such a long hiatus and hope y'all all take care! 

Til next time....