Burbs Music Awards: Q2 2020

The Burbs Music Awards are back! Our original squad of Evan Linden, Ralph James, Howie Butler, and Marty Gross reassembled to honor a solid three months of music. For this edition, we only considered music released between April 1 - June 30, 2020. Without further ado, let's take a look at this quarter's nominees:

Best Rap Album

  • Pray for Paris by Westside Gunn

  • Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist

  • High Off Life by Future

  • THE GOAT by Polo G

  • RTJ4 by Run the Jewels

Best R&B Album

  • It Is What It Is by Thundercat

  • It Was Good Until It Wasn't by Kehlani

  • A Muse In Her Feelings by dvsn

Best Alternative Album

  • The New Abnormal by The Strokes

  • Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

  • Notes on a Conditional Form by The 1975

Best Artist

  • Westside Gunn

  • Lil Baby

  • Freddie Gibbs

Best New Artist

  • Undisputed nominee...

Best Producer

  • Undisputed nominee...

Best Instrumental

  • "$500 Ounces" by Westside Gunn [prod. The Alchemist]

  • "Pain 1993" by Drake [prod. Pi'erre Bourne]

  • "1985" by Freddie Gibbs [prod. The Alchemist]

Best Song

  • "The Bigger Picture" by Lil Baby

  • "Living Happy" by Quelle Chris 

  • "God Is Perfect" by Freddie Gibbs

  • "327" by Westside Gunn

  • "3 Headed Goat" by Lil Durk

Best Verse

  • JID on “End of Daze”

  • Lil Yachty's first verse of “Split / Whole Time”

  • Freddie Gibbs on “$500 Ounces”

Best Feature Artist

  • Tyler, the Creator

  • Young Thug

  • Lil Baby

Best Cover Art

  • Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

  • Pray for Paris by Westside Gunn

  • WUNNA by Gunna

Best Music Video

  • "Lockdown" by Anderson.Paak

  • "The Bigger Picture" by Lil Baby

  • "End of Daze" by Spillage Village


Best Rap Album

Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

By all accounts, 2020 has been the oddest, most unfathomable and least enjoyable year of our lives. I’m not sure if it’s despite or because of the racial injustice protests and COVID quarantines that The Alchemist has transitioned from one of the best instrumental musicians in hip-hop to the undisputed title-holder. Alchemist teamed up with one of the five best bar-for-bar rappers in modern hip-hop, Freddie Gibbs (a.k.a. Gangsta Kibbs, a.k.a. Kane Train, a.k.a. Akademiks’s worst nightmare). Gibbs has solidified himself as a master of rhythmic delivery and flow switches through some of the most simultaneously challenging and graceful instrumentals known to man thanks to his two projects with Madlib (Piñata from 2014 and Bandana from 2019). On Alfredo, Gibbs contributes to his sequel of mob boss memoirs while his rugged Gary, Indiana, bred voice is juxtaposed against the conduction of Alchemist’s symphonic melodies that belong in The Godfather trilogy. It’s this project which truly proves that Gibbs is the closest hip-hop has come to producing another Jay-Z as far as tonality, unshakable swagger and lyrical talent go.

Ralph James

Best R&B Album

It Was Good Until It Wasn't by Kehlani

With her second studio album, Kehlani gave us a friendly reminder that she’s only tightening her grip on the game. It Was Good Until It Wasn’t is arguably her most polished release to-date, with cohesive themes, impeccable production, and perfectly-fitting features. Kehlani has already been one of the most consistent and appreciated R&B acts of recent years, but this album set her up for true stardom.

Evan Linden

Best Alternative Album

Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple is nothing if not challenging, contemplative and enigmatic. With her fifth studio album, Fiona returned for the first time since 2012 with a genre-blending sound that plays as both a masterful project and an example of Attention Deficit Disorder. The instrumentals are often chaotic and her vocal register often reaches catastrophic levels with shrieks and screams, but above all else, she is in utmost control of this craze. “Shameika” is both the project’s most memorable and best track.

Ralph James

Best Artist

Westside Gunn

Gunn wasn't necessarily the best musician or performer of the quarter, but as an artist? No question. He treats this rap shit like it's fine art. With Pray For Paris, not only did he bring coke rap to its most classy and polished, but he did it while bringing his team with him. Griselda Records puts out a lot of good music, but this quarter Gunn went the extra mile to ensure that this was going to be exceptional music; a turning point in the careers of the boys from Buffalo. If you haven't listened to Pray for Paris yet, please go do so!

Howie Butler