MuRLi is a rapper and producer who is a part of the Narolane crew alongside Denise Chaila and God Knows. This year he appeared on tracks like ‘Water’ and released ‘Odyssey’ with Gemma Dunleavy and Boku.
Along with Kobina, he released one of the finest Irish albums of this year as Ra Gerra.
Kanye West ‘Moon’ feat. Kid Cudi and Don Toliver
First off, let me admit; the order of this list has been changing on a daily basis since I’ve been asked to put this together so the ranking is quite flexible. However, when I think of my favourite songs of the year, I often go to the songs that have been on repeat the most, and in a year of extended lows and few highs, I welcomed the return of Ye in the most Ye fashion possible and mainly because of the music. I actually enjoyed how flawed and chaotic both this Donda album and its release have been. I’ve stayed up for all but one of the listening events and one of the highlights is ‘Moon.’ Hearing Cudi do what he does best, supported by Don Toliver who has been one of the best melodies craftsmen of the year sing about escaping to the moon was timely.
Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music – ‘Jireh’
Anyone who’s visited me over the last year would have probably heard Maverick City Music playing in the background somewhere. These are the songs I’ve been waking up to, to help cope with the times and I’m grateful for these lot for helping me worship and praise and find words of comfort when I needed them and motivation when it’s hardest. If you find a group of people singing this anywhere, join in! it’s otherworldly. I’m just waiting for the Sunday Service crowd to do a cover now.
Little Simz – ‘Point and Kill’ feat. Obongjayar
Little Simz is a star and has been one of the best rappers out there for years now but what she delivered with this new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is incredible. It’s so musically rich and layered but not at the detriment of any of the flows and technical abilities she’s known for as an MC. ‘Point and Kill’ is a stand out for me for how refreshing it sounds. It genuinely feels like something new and Obongjayar was just the perfect feature for it too.
Mustafa – ‘Capo’ feat. Sampha
Honestly, just go and listen to When Smoke Rises in its entirety and you’re into a bit of folk music with R&B melodies and rap lyrics. It’s stunning and beautifully executed. I actually picked ‘Capo’ randomly because I have about 8 favourites from that project.
Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak – ‘Leave the Door Open’
I, certainly wasn’t expecting Bruno and .Paak to join forces to form one of the best duos ever but when it happened I wondered why they hadn’t done so earlier. The album is brilliant and it’s some of the best R&B I’ve heard in ages but this first single still hits. Now we’re just waiting for the remix album with Ghostface and it’s complete.
Anz – ‘You Could Be’ feat. George Riley
This has been my workout (dancing) anthem since I discovered it. Shoutout to Anz for keeping me fit this year. This don knows how to cook a banger. Just press play already!
Mdou Moctar – ‘Chrismiten’
I love me some good Tuareg Rock and Mdou has been releasing some of the best music from the region for years now but this most recent project hits differently. ‘Chrismiten’ actually reminds me of some of the music we’ve been cooking up in the studio this year. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean sometime later. This song at full volume is a whole experience.
Burna Boy – ‘Question’ feat. Don Jazzy
Amapiano has introduced most of us to log drums, that thundering bass you have never heard anywhere before. It’s very interesting to hear Don Jazzy who alongside D’banj, was instrumental in the crossover of Nigerian Afrobeats, borrow from the genre but in his own unique way on this cut for the now legendary Burna Boy. It’s a perfect matchup and at this point Buna is making songwriting look too easy. This ‘Question’ song turned out to be an actual answer. Guess what the question is then!
Ghetts – ‘No Mercy’ feat. Pa Salieu & BackRoad Gee
Ghetts. Pa Salieu. BackRoad Gee. What more can I say? A dark, spooky beat and that’s a lot of what I rate about the UK scene right now on one track. Everyone delivered and Ghetts stays one of the Top 3 doing it right now and he’s still getting better. I can never sit still when this comes on.
Kanye West – Life of the Party feat. André 3000
Who am I to say if this is the best verse of the year nor not? However, I can certainly say this first verse has been the most moving one to prick up my ears this year. André 3000 at his best on a flipped samples beat by Ye, was probably bound to do that but to actually be gifted this in 2021 made it that extra special. It’s a pity that its release got overshadowed my two of the biggest names in rap, beefing, but now that we have the final version I can still fully appreciate the phenomenal songwriting on display here.