• Howard Butler

Burbs Music Awards: Q1 2020



Welcome to the first ever Burbs Music Awards! We are a bit delayed on this one, but we will continue to deliver these awards quarterly. For this first edition, we only considered music released between January 1-March 31, 2020 (sorry Pray for Paris; you got next). Without further ado, let's take a look at our nominees:

Best Rap Album


  • Eternal Atake / LUV vs The World 2 - Lil Uzi Vert

  • A Written Testimony - Jay Electronica

  • The Price of Tea in China - Boldy James and The Alchemist

  • Unlocked - Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats

Best R&B Album

  • After Hours - The Weeknd

  • Fuck the World - Brent Faiyaz

  • 3.15.20 - Childish Gambino


Best Alternative Album

  • The Slow Rush - Tame Impala

  • Man Alive! - King Krule

  • Gigaton – Pearl Jam

Best Artist


  • The Weeknd

  • Lil Uzi Vert

  • King Krule

  • Tame Impala

Best Producer

  • The Alchemist

  • Illangelo

  • WorkingOnDying

  • Wheezy

  • Kenny Beats

Best Instrumental

  • "The Ghost of Soulja Slim"

  • "The Contract"

  • "Bean (Kobe)"

  • "Snowchild"

  • "19.10"

Best Song

  • “Life is Good” by Future and Drake

  • "Chrome Heart Tags" by Lil Uzi Vert

  • "Snowchild" by The Weeknd

  • "12.38" by Childish Gambino

  • "Ghost of Soulja Slim" by Jay Electronica

Best Cover Art

  • Fuck the World - Brent Faiyaz

  • The Slow Rush - Tame Impala

  • Unlocked - Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats

  • Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World 2 - Lil Uzi Vert

  • A Written Testimony - Jay Electronica


Best Verse

  • Earl Sweatshirt on "Ion Rap Beef (Remix)"

  • Freddie Gibbs on "S.N.O.R.T"

  • Denzel Curry on "So Incredible.pkg"

  • Jay Electronica on "The Ghost of Soulja Slim"

  • The Weeknd on "Snowchild"

  • Royce Da 5'9" on "FUBU"

Best Music Video


  • One winner...

Robin Award Best Feature Artist


  • One winner...

THE WINNERS


Best Rap Album

Eternal Atake / LUV vs The World 2 - Lil Uzi Vert


Lil Uzi Vert’s multi-multi-multi-multi release of Eternal Atake and LUV vs. The World 2 in back-to-back weeks was reminiscent of his trap father Future Hendrix’s release of FUTURE and HNDRXX. EA was practically a solo album composed of every different persona Uzi has developed, while LUV2 was more of an Uzi-themed carnival with guests like Gunna and Young Thug hosting their own ferris wheel and pop-a-shot sections.


-Ralph James


Best R&B Album


After Hours - The Weeknd


The Weeknd has become more than just The King of the Fall and the face of XO with the release of After Hours; he’s become an untouchable global sensation. His only modern peers are Drake and Rihanna. That’s pretty much the list of “Somebody drops an album, it’s guaranteed to go #1.” But it wasn’t the mainstream singles that made this project stand out. It was the cohesive, mind-altering storytelling that made it a forever-memorable piece.


-Ralph James


Best Alternative Album


The Slow Rush - Tame Impala


To be honest, this year has been more stacked for alternative than I would have anticipated. However, the triumphant end of a five-year hiatus cleared the way for Tame Impala to take the cake on this one.


Tracks such as "Is It True," "Breathe Deeper," "Posthumous Forgiveness," "Tomorrow's Dust," and "Lost in Yesterday" made The Slow Rush a thematic and sonically-pleasing ride from start-to-finish. Considering that it had to follow up the beloved and critically-acclaimed Currents, Kevin Parker made sure not to miss on his newest opus.


-Evan Linden


Best Artist


Lil Uzi Vert


If we are looking at this from a quantity standpoint, there wouldn’t be any competition at all. The trap demon gave us two goddamn albums. 2!!!! If I could capitalize a number, I would be doing it to my previous statement. After a three year wait, Lil Uzi Vert gave us the long awaited Eternal Atake and just for shits and giggles, Lil Uzi Vs. The World 2. There are blockbuster features like Chief Keef, Future, Young Thug, and Yung Nudy. There are solo Uzi classics like “Silly Watch”, “Lo Mein”, and “Secure The Bag”. Hell, there is even a graceful Chief Keef production in “Chrome Heart Tags” and a Travis Scott sample in “Prices”. The expectations that were set for Mr. Uzi, which were astronomically high, were absolutely crushed.


-Marty Gross


Best Producer


The Alchemist


Uncle Al is back at it again. All of the nominees had excellent starts to 2020, but none of them had their brilliance as spread out as The Alchemist. To keep it short and sweet with you, he stayed busy. Al put out two entire projects with members of Griselda Records this quarter; The Price of Tea in China with Boldy James and Lulu with Conway The Machine. He also has production credits on Jay Electronica's "The Neverending Story", as well as Eminem's Music To Be Murdered By.

-Howie Butler


Best Instrumental


"The Ghost of Soulja Slim" - Jay Electronica


A Written Testimony had stellar production from front-to-back, but would we expect anything less from the legendary Jay Elec? If I were to describe this one with a word or phrase, I would have to go with "larger than life". The drums on this track boom along with a vocal sample of Louis Farrakhan in the intro before this Westside Gunn-esque gun ad-lib starts kicking it. It beautifully flows from the left track to the right and if you haven't gotten a chance to listen to this one with headphones, I'd highly recommend it. Check out the track and it's main sample below:


- Howie Butler


Best Song


Bronze: "Life is Good" by Future and Drake


Ugh. I’m torn. How this isn’t getting the gold medal will forever haunt me, but there isn’t much more I can say about the banger of the year. Future’s second half alone produces enough adrenaline in me to put my head and neck through a literal tornado of head banging, but also has the groove to inspire TikTok dancers across the world. Drake’s first half is memorable, rich and delicious, but Future’s portion of the track is what takes the song from a four-door to a Bentley coupe.


-Ralph James


Silver: "12.38" by Childish Gambino


Going into the Gambino album this year, I really didn’t know what to expect. Was he going to revert back into the Because the Internet days and start rapping like a maniac? Was he going to make a project similar to “Awaken, My Love!”? Where was he going to go??? Well, this track is the epitome of the direction he went. This exquisite six-minute and thirty-two-second eargasm takes on a psychedelic mushroom trip that is enchanting, to say the least. Kadhja Bonet’s bridge lives up to the name “bridge” by building momentum, filling my body with pleasurable angst. 21 Savage then takes that momentum and slaughters it with a vicious and interestingly-political monologue. Then to finish off the instant classic, Ink passionately bellows on a jumbled stew of warped instruments and distorted voices. It is just godly.


-Marty Gross


Gold: "Snowchild" by The Weeknd


Rap Weeknd. Need I say more? Abel Tesfaye only improves as a lyricist, and "Snowchild" is his most polished hip-hop product to date - a product of years of sharpening his most undervalued craft.


-Evan Linden


Best Cover Art


The Slow Rush - Tame Impala


An album as beautiful as The Slow Rush deserves a beautiful album cover. Luckily, Kevin Parker made sure that happened. Then again, has Tame Impala ever had poor art direction? No, sir.


Following up an absolutely iconic cover (and album) in Currents, The Slow Rush did not disappoint. The album's central themes of time and overcoming anxiety are well-encapsulated in this Neil Krug-designed cover.


-Evan Linden


Best Verse


Bronze: Freddie Gibbs on "S.N.O.R.T"


Gangsta Gibbs has been flirting with verse-of-the-year caliber bars every time he's touched the mic for the last several years. On Boldy James's February album though, he struck gold. He brings his comedic crimelord personality in full force over the gorgeous production from frequent collaborator, The Alchemist. His lyrical content stays constant. His flow does anything but, dynamically shifting multiple times. (I counted seven??) Go give this one a listen if you like Freddie and haven't heard this one yet, while I drop a gem of a bar down below.


"I'm checked in, vest in, big bounty rapper don-dada I remember when I seen a rapper do a spot for 1-800-CRIMESTOPPERS"


- Howie Butler


Silver: Jay Electronica on "The Ghost of Soulja Slim"


The opener, “If it come from me and Hov, consider it Qur'an, If it come from any of those, consider it Harām,'' is the simple definition of excellence. Simply, if it comes from Hov or Elec, believe it’s going to be fucking phenomenal. Religion, roasts and resoluteness are threaded into this verse as tightly as a prayer rug; rich with beautiful color and uniquely crafted wordplay. Intellect and delicacy swift upon you like a breeze of wind as Electronica’s raspy voice utters every syllable. Without mentioning this verse on this list, Burbs would be providing a major disservice to your ears. The verses’ complexity makes the 13-year (or 40 days and 40 nights) wait for this debut album just a little bit more justifiable.


-Marty Gross


Gold: The Weeknd on "Snowchild"


“Snowchild” is eerily similar to “Reminder” in the sense that it operates a literal reminder of the fact that, when he decides to be, The Weeknd is one of the best rappers in modern music.


From the unique and brutally honest storytelling... “I used to pray when I was 16 / If I didn’t make it then I’d probably make my wrists bleed” to the Scorsese references that Abel so often produces... “They couldn’t find me like I’m Hoffa / Cover girls jumpin’ out the page like they pop-ups”. This verse somehow evokes both melancholy from my core and rushes adrenaline down my veins simultaneously.


-Ralph James


Best Music Video


"Unlocked" by Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats


There's music videos, and then there's "Unlocked".


To coincide with their collaborative EP, the two musical masterminds put their brains together to create a 23-minute animated adventure starring themselves.


We've gotten a few other solid music videos (so far) this year, but "Unlocked" is heads and shoulders above the rest in terms of creativity.


-Evan Linden


Robin Award - Best Feature Artist


21 Savage


Nothing can help complete a song more than a perfect guest appearance. 21 helped prove this with his trio of exceptional efforts on tracks from Childish Gambino, G Herbo, and Lil Uzi Vert. His verse on Gambino's project was even decided as the next best entry for Best Verse, solidifying 21 and Gambino as another Atlanta powerduo. Some of my favorite bars are included below:


- Howie Butler

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