2020 in review: the singles

December 22, 2020

In a year that lasted a decade, there’s no shortage of singles that could qualify as the “best” of the year. Some burned bright and got us through that particular week, and some we found ourselves coming back to time and time again. The following are (in no particular order) the AFROPUNK team’s most memorable releases of 2020; the songs that etched their way into our psyche and defined the year.



King Youngblood – Yakubian Antics
Rooted equally in the activism of singer Cameron Lavi-Jones and the ethos of DIY culture, King Youngblood’s “Yakubian Antics” is a song that reckons with the dark complexities of American history and comes out swinging. (Nathan Leigh)

Jean Dawson – Devilish
Bouncing between and blending together rap, rock and indie, Jean is a rambunctious Jack of all genres. This particular track is what I’d call “emo singing in the shower music.” (Syron Townsend)

Ric Wilson – Chicago Bae
Ric Wilson perfectly captured how most of us found love and connected with loved ones during the pandemic. It’s Love In The Time of Quarantine as the Chicago rapper makes a long-distance love connection in this fun animated and live-action video. (Thembela Ngayi)


Buddy feat. Lucky Daye – Fuck Faces
Between and handful of singles and a mixtape collab with Kent James, it’s been a solid year of output for Buddy. One of my favorite things is the tounge-in-cheek sense of humor he brings to his music, which plays amazingly against the sultry R&B production of this track and Lucky Daye’s crooning vocals. (Syron Townsend)

GRAMN – Kitchen
Kitchen is a vibey, melodic alternative R&B tune from London based outfit GRAMN. A breezy song embracing how the kitchen can be used for literally anything apart from just cooking! (Thembela Ngayi)

FEVER 333 – Wrong Generation
Never a band to back down from a fight, FEVER 333 met 2020 with all the fury it deserves. “Wrong Generation” is an exhilarating celebration of rebellion and an exhortation to get in the streets and make change happen that stands among the band’s best. (Nathan Leigh)

Junglepussy feat. Ian Isaiah – Out My Window
Junglepussy is a shapeshifter and a seamless lyricist: one moment she’s empowering you, the next moment she’s humbling you, and the next seducing you. This track is already like 4 songs in 1, and then the Ian Isaiah vocals kick in to take us over into ascension. (Syron Townsend)


Shingai – War Drums
Released during the peak of the pandemic, this single gave us hope to keep on fighting. It’s a celebratory song that makes you want to pick yourself and face any adversity head on! (Thembela Ngayi)

Arlo Parks – Eugene
Arlo Parks shares tales of teenage heartbreak over a soothing bassline in this cinematic ballad. (Warren Bokwe)

Rebelmatic – Blood and Gold
NYC legends Rebelmatic return with a streetpunk anthem for the ages. It’s rare to find a punk band only get more essential with each new release, but the latest from Rebelmatic finds the long running hardcore act at their best, exemplified in the single “Blood and Gold.” (Nathan Leigh)