You thought we were done with just astrxl.awards this year? Nah, we had to step that s*** up.
This year, we're launching a 'Best of 2023,' featuring our publication's picks for best releases of the year.
The categories include...
- Album of the Year
- EP of the Year
- Mixtape of the Year
- DJ mix of the Year
- Single of the Year
- Dance Track of the Year
- Music Video of the Year
- Video of the Year
- Album art of the Year
We also have two bonus categories including...
- Not this Year (a piece of art we loved but was not released in 2023)
- Fashion Statement of the Year
ALBUM: MCKINLEY DIXON - BELOVED! PARADISE! JAZZ!?
This is one of the best Jazz rap albums ever made.
The melodies on this project are so rich, coupled with amazing wordplay, and themes creating an album that is a sonic journey. Truly, a work of art (in every metric) and deserves your undivided attention.
Check out our interview with McKinley Dixon for more on this project.
EP: PERSONAL PROTOCOL - 8485
Personal Protocol was my soundtrack to 2023. I spent so much time throughout the year building COSMOS.PRESS, and it was often accompanied by this project. I rarely ever run into projects I can listen to front-to-back, over and over again, for hours on end.
If you want to learn more about this project, check out our interview with 8485.
MIXTAPE: SNOW STRIPPERS - APRIL MIXTAPE 3
The Snow Strippers are at it again with an excellent follow-up to their 2022 April Mixtape 2. This mixtape is stocked with bangers from front to back, and its vibes are immaculate.
Not a ton to say, I like it a lot.
DJ MIX: 100 GECS - BOILER ROOM
If I do not see the gecs live in 2024, I will cry. Not a soft cry but a really ugly cry. The gecs are doing gec things on this Boiler Room set, cycling through a mix of their hits and mainstream bangers from the early 2000s.
The Orange Soda (Baby Keem) and Satisfaction (Benny Benassi) blend was definitely one of my favourite parts of this set. The gecs are just doing strange things as usual, and I like it.
SINGLE: YEULE - DAZIES
I already talked about this song at length for our astrxl.awards portion for 2023. I thought about placing another song here, but no other singles had the same impact as Dazies did on me. The visuals were even in a run for our music video of the year.
Yeule is one of the notable figures in music and deserves more mainstream recognition for this masterpiece of a single and album (softscars).
DANCE TRACK OF THE YEAR: PEGGY GOU - (IT GOES LIKE) NANANA
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the biggest house music fan. However, this house track transcends electronic music, and had me dancing around my living room throughout the year.
It's so infectious, it will have you playing it over-and-over again on repeat 20 times a day minimum.
Peggy Gou has solidified her name in electronic music this year and has become one of my favorite artists in the genre.
MUSIC VIDEO: SORRY NOT SORRY - TYLER THE CREATOR
Sorry Not Sorry is a visual masterpiece and the personification of why Tyler the Creator has become such an impactful artist in the modern landscape. The visuals accompanying the track show each era of Tyler as an artist, with each figure depicting his ongoing evolution.
Tyler the Creator has come into his own on his last few projects, having some of the best art direction in the music industry. Sorry Not Sorry is a testament to how much Tyler has grown as an artist.
VIDEO: SCARING THE HOES - DLC PACK
I mean, this video has a robotic dog motorboating a stripper - is there anything else you could want?
In all seriousness, JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown are two of the most talented figures in rap right now. The DLC pack was a four-track addition to their wildly successful 'Scaring the Hoes' album and was accompanied by this VHS visualizer.
Nothing short of a masterpiece & the Jack Harlow KFC meal joke destroyed me.
ALBUM ART OF THE YEAR: RAVEN - KELELA
I’m not even joking I bought this album on Vinyl because of the cover. The editorial B&W tones of this image coupled with the Amharic script creates such a simplistic but impactful cover image.
★ BONUS ★
NOT THIS YEAR: BRUTALISMUS 3000 - BOILER ROOM
As someone who frequents Boiler Room sets from time to time, I was told to check out this mix from Brutalismus 3000. I have never in my entire life connected so much with a Boiler Room set, this set doesn't have sex, it f***s.
I drive down south in my state once (or more times per week), and I was an absolute menace in the car blaring this song. There are so many quality drops, and the live vocals make this set 100 times better.
I really can't accurately express my appreciation for this set, and I need to get my ass to Berlin to see a Brutalismus set live.
(Won't let me embed the video - Click Here)
FASHION STATEMENT OF THE YEAR: MSCHF BIG RED BOOT
You know I had to include the Mickey Mouse drip on this year's list. I saw everyone from JPEGMAFIA to Lil Wayne wearing these abominations of God.
All across Instagram I saw these things - in one of the most viral fashion campaigns this year.
I honestly need a pair MSCHF (send me an email).