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My Favorite Projects of 2021

2021 has very much been an up and down year for most, but it’s undeniably been a phenomenal year for music. In fact, I enjoyed listening to so many releases that I’d forgotten some even released this year. Not only has there been plenty of stylistic/genre variety, but also artists of all types (small, emerging, mainstream) actively releasing their art. To showcase my appreciation, I decided to put together a list of my favorite projects; (in no particular order) all of which remain in my rotation heading into the new year. I hope you discover an album, EP or mixtape that you might have missed! Last but not least, this list is also a token of gratitude to each and every person that has read a Lyrical Lemonade piece of mine. I wish you a happy and fulfilling New Year. – – – – – Issa Gold: Tempus (album) Genres: Introspective hip-hop, Conscious rap Favorite track: Cold Summer   Amaria – Bittersweet (EP) Genres: R&B Favorite track: Lose Control   Richie Quake – Voyager (EP) Genres: R&B, Indie Favorite Track: Sensitive   Jean Deaux – Most Wanted (EP) Genres: Hip-Hop, Modern R&B, Electro-Trap Favorite track: Stay Down Marlon Craft – How We Intended (album) Genres: Hip-Hop, Jazz …

Synecdoche [Tullis] x [Roddy]

“I know I’m not the special type, never really worth the hype, never worth the time at all, hard for me to sleep at night…” – Tullis Phoenix, Arizona based artist Tullis returns to Lyrical Lemonade with “Synecdoche,” which is the smooth opener off his new four-track EP The Space Between. The entire project was produced by Roddy, which contains a sonically appealing palette for a multi-genre listening experience. I chose the intro as the standout record because it brilliantly sets the tone for the next three songs. Moreover, Tullis pours the entirety of his emotions on the musical canvas; namely indecisive meditations on romance. For example, the contradictory words “when it’s all said and done I don’t need you” don’t align with “I can’t get your attention,” which serves as a fascinating exploration into the psyche of the burdened artist. Stylistically Tullis begins and ends with his softest singing voice with a tied rap verse in the middle. The rap portion is the most expressive whereas the singing is more meditative, as Tullis initially ponders before confessing a number of hard truths about himself. Moreover, the ambient, somewhat melancholy instrumental brings Tullis center stage as the listener is solely …

Matinee – [Tullis] x [Roddy] x [Ralston]

Phoenix, Arizona’s emerging star Tullis delivers yet again with a visual for his latest single “Matinee.” Produced by Ralston and his manager Roddy, the track pursues a contemplative route detailing Tullis’s virtue and accompanying flaws. Graced by a serene piano composition, there is a subtle-sound dichotomy to illustrate the ‘grass before the green.’ The hip-hop tones of the record are balanced with motifs, which are even more evocative and noticeable throughout the music video. According to the Oxford dictionary, a matinee is defined as “A performance in a theater or a showing of a movie that takes place in the daytime.” In this particular context, the performance is shown through a genuine lens of Tullis’s ‘exceptional’ life, which is painted over the low moments that naturally occur. Unafraid of handing out tickets, every new addition to his discography adds another element to the unfinished picture. Peep the fantastic visual shot by Tori; edited by Casper Masi and Matt Fuller below!

Careless – [Tullis]

Phoenix, Arizona based artist Tullis returns to Lyrical Lemonade with an eye-opening record titled “Careless.” The song is accompanied by a mentally expressive music video directed by Lucas O.M., where Tullis poetically weaves introspection with daily observation. Despite the production’s rapid tempo and refreshing sound, Tullis’s lyrics paint a much darker picture. The track specifically centers around the trending concept of policing/police brutality, which has tragically inflicted a wound in the psyche of his young generation. As Tullis reveals that he’s lost people left and right, he raises the eerie question: “Do you care about the plight of the black man living?” Even grimmer, while Tullis is grateful and blessed to see the age of twenty-three, his shunned anatomy brings upon doubt that he’ll reach twenty-five. Therefore, perhaps the title suggests that the black man cannot be careless if he is to live a long and unthreatened life. Watch the music video for Tullis’s song “Careless” below!

What Faces The Sun – [Tullis]

Communicating emotion as genuinely as possible has, and always will be, one of the defining characteristics of timeless music, in my eyes. Embodying this trait is What Faces The Sun — the latest project from an unbelievably talented new artist by the name of Tullis. Stumbling upon this release via Twitter, the versatility and advanced creative vision of this rising talent were the main two aspects of his music that caused me to keep clicking replay. Tullis’ style is refreshing in its undiluted devotion to pushing the boundaries of creativity, and in such a way, it also provides a perfected look into the intersection between music and life — a blurred line which Tullis communicates by translating his trials and tribulations directly into songs for listeners to resonate with. What Faces The Sun is a reflective, thought-provoking listen and a project that I would certainly encourage all of our readers to delve into. That said, be sure to check this one out at the link below and follow Tullis on Twitter here!