Best Rap of 2015

Now with Extra Mustard…!


IT’s not an original stressfreeparking revelation that the guy pictured above literally changed the game of hip-hop, rap, and R&B (and pretty much the whole landscape of pop radio) over the past several years…but never more than in 2015 did I find his work so infectious…so in my short list of 130 favourite rap songs of 2015, this guy is everywhere…

Other notable themes this year include the return of that quintessential west coast sound that I’ve always loved (again, partly thanks to stars like Mustard and all the guys he’s put on, YG, Pu$haz Ink etc. and separately, the whole TDE movement).  West Coast is killing right now, and I’m loving it. And while it might have taken me a little longer than most, I did indeed finally Fall in Love with Fetty. Also some returns to prominence of former greats (Dr. Dre, DJ Premier) and some long awaited reunions (JMT!)…It’s all there, every region represented, every sound captured: I did my best to try and leave no stone un-turned.

No particular order with respect the tracks chosen., however I do recommend that you put the tracklist on shuffle – makes the required 8.5 hours of listening that much more enjoyable.  Without further ado, download link is below***:

***Note: To unpack the file above, you WILL NEED Winrar for Windows or RAR Extractor for Mac.


stressfreeparking, stressfreeliving.



Best of 2014

After only a brief…ummmmm…. 378-Day hiatus, SFP returns better than ever!


Despite what many are saying out there, 2014 was pretty damn good in terms of music (as far as I’m concerned).  I’ve been reading a lot of things like 2014 sucked for rap (“Hip Hop is Dead” – Again?), but I don’t think that’s correct.  There is honestly too much music to keep up with these days…the internet is FULLY saturated. – and now on any given, day, in any given week or in any given YEAR, I find myself struggling to keep up – often missing entire albums that I wanted to listen to, but never got around to because I was too eager to listen to a new, and more recent album.  For example, I’m still trying to fully get through that new D’Angelo album which is supposed to be the bees knees, but alas, I haven’t gotten to it….yet.  So 2014 was like 2013 where I kept finding myself always forced (albeit with much delight) to catch up with another great album, band, group, song or whatever.Last year, I was able to narrow my favourites down to a Top  90 for Non-Rap songs and Top 70  for Rap (give or take) Songs.  This year, I think I went a little bananas and continued to throw being “choosy” out the window, so the number of songs on my list has expanded yet again – these are big lists..  You’ll most definitely notice that each list will absolutely contain several songs by the same artist, or off the same album: Why? I listened to alot of ALBUMS this year  – and had quite a few artists on repeat…in NR, notably The War on Drugs, Real Estate, Jessie Ware, LDR (still a fan!), Jungle, Robin Schulz, Spoon, RAC (again!), MØ and Broods (amongst many others).  Rap Artist Repeats include favourites such as Kevin Gates, Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples and Cam’ron.

Once again this year, I did not want to, and maybe even could not bring myself to choose just one song from one artist as I found merits to each an every song chosen from a repeated artist – that way, if you yourself are unfamiliar with an artist, you’ll certainly get a good variety on my list of what they are all about beyond one single track..The way I see it, we all come out on top.  And if you want, just delete the songs you don’t like – make a shortlist from my lists! Knock yourselves out!  Dropbox links to each playlist are below, ENJOY!

stressfreeparking’s Top (96?) Non-Hip Hop Songs of 2014:

stressfreeparking’s Top (81?) Hip-Hip Songs of 2014:

…And speaking of shortlists, stay tuned over the next few days as I provide my Top 5 songs form each list…! Happy Listening. SFP

New Music You Should Hear…


Just a quick upload of new tracks that I heard this week, a little all over the map..

First up, Sydney, Australia’s The Preatures.  This group really wowed me last year with their impressive single Is This How You Feel?  They are back in early 2014 with a new single entitled Better Than It Ever Could Be, and I think this song is even more excellent than the last one.  If they continue to release songs of this caliber, than I would expect that this band will no longer stay a secret.  Expect to hear big things from this group over 2014 and beyond…

Second.  Well, that didn’t take long.  One would think Interscope already had this one ready to go.  No, while I think Radioactive is/and always has been catchy as sin – it has still been just a tad overplayed (Is it just me, or does Demons sound extremely similar? I guess that explains it’s choice as single #2).  That aside, kudos to Imagine Dragons and their success this year.

Here’s the thing, I pretty much love everything Kendrick Lamar (and TDE), so I had to include this one.   Furthermore, I completely agree that this was the best performance at Sunday’s 56th Annual Grammy Awards.  Anyway, here’s the official remix of one of last year’s more popular songs.  This one includes the new verse written by Mr. GKMC (Best Rap Album of the Year, sorry Macklemore), and he kills it.  I apologize, however, as I’m sure you weren’t trying to go out of your way to hear Radioactive again.

Finally, and most importantly, I have included the second single of off Broken Bells’ new album After The Disco, aptly title After The Disco.  The album is one of my most anticipated to be released in 2014 as I can’t lie, I think Brian Joseph Burton aka Danger Mouse is an absolute genius.  He’s got the Midas Touch as far as I’m concerned.  I just listened to the free iTunes stream of the album today and it’s so totally sick – it’s met and exceeded my expectations even on the first listen.  While they just released the third single, called Leave It Alone, I actually prefer After The Disco out of the three released so far.  And that’s saying a lot because there isn’t one song on the album I don’t like….

Bonus: TDE’s newest signee Isaiah Rashad put out his first mixtape/album/EP today entitled Cilvia Demo earlier today.  It’s another great effort out of the camp – he truly fits in well with Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and King Kendrick (not to forget SZA).  I expect him to develop over time in the same way as the rest of the members, and if this today’s release is anything to go by, we’re all in good hands going forward.  Trust the TDE, I know I do.


SFP’s Old-Timey Song of the Week!


This week’s song comes courtesy of Mother Russia and one of the country’s Germany’s greatest exports of the early 1980s*, Dschinghis Khan.  With the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics right around the corner, I thought it rather appropriate.

Let’s face it,  the Sochi Winter Olympics remain controversial no matter how you look at them.  From homophobia, to the threat of terrorism, to Putin’s support of neighbouring Ukranian Oligarchs – this Winter Olympiad is steeped with contention.  Hell, the price tag is over ~US$50 BILLION to have the Winter Olympics take place in a region known for palm trees and warmer climates oft enjoyed by rich Russian vacationers; one would think that the money could have better been spent on helping many Russians who I am sure are in need, and won’t be attending any of the events at Sochi.

And don’t even get me started on the Orcas – horrible stuff. (See Blackfish…)

But this isn’t a political blog, it’s about the music, so moving on…

I thought I would harken back to a simpler time, when Russia’s The USSR’s most famous city was (apparently) all about laughter, love, music, disco, and rainbow outfits (the outfit colour scheme is now strangely ironic, yet appropriate given that the Germans are expected to attend Sochi in multi-colour rainbow garb in support of equal/gay rights just because….)

Take it away, Dschinghis Khan!

English Version Here:

Original German Version Here:

Oh, the first time I heard this song was off a Peruvian guy’s USB stick of “American Music” plugged into his car stereo in high-altitude and the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Peru on our way back from a copper project tour (the drive was 8-10 hours and only covered ~110 km of total distance, 4×4 was a must…).  Anyway, thanks That Guy!

*Oh BTW, I’ve heard that German exports have improved dramatically since 1980….Ha ah ah ah ah ah! Hey!

Concert Night: St. Lucia at The Hoxton


On Thursday January 23rd, I headed out to the house that Kenny built to a St. Lucia performance for the second time in the past 7 months.  The difference this time? Oh about 40°C to the negative. Nevertheless, the frigid temperatures (thanks Polar Vortex) didn’t stop St. Lucia’s ever increasing Toronto fan base from turning out for what turned out to be a great concert.

The last time I saw these guys was at NXNE at Wrongbar, a similar type venue.  It was a Saturday, however and they didn’t go on until midnight.  The crowd, including myself, had certainly had a few drinks at that point – St. Lucia seemed wise to that fact and kept their songs performed in the uptemo category.  The crowd ate it up, and I couldn’t find anyone who wasn’t dancing/jumping/arm-waving etc.

This time around, the band had a significantly deeper repertoire given the release of their/his(?) criminally underrated and overlooked album, When The Night back in September of 2013.  While most of the songs remain uptempo and catchy as shit, the crowd did seem a little bit more subdued this time.  That didn’t last long, by the end there was jumping, there was singing, and above all, general merriment abound.  Thanks to Jean-Philip Grobler and crew, mission accomplished. That said, the concert was fantastic (not epic, mind you), and if you have a chance to see them before they eventually hit the big-time (they were recently on Kimmel and will be soon opening for Foster The People on their upcoming 2014 tour (I’m going to try to make it for this as it will be at Toronto’s legendary Massey Hall)), do so as the tickets are still cheap and St. Lucia’s music is soooo “feel good” and ear-wormy, it can make anyone forget about the Polar Vortex and think they were actually IN St. Lucia.

Also, get your hands on When The Night if you can.  And tell your friends about it. It’s amazing. Here’s a taste if you don’t believe me…

My next concert will be Phosphorescent (Matthew Houck) on February 1st.  While likely to be more subdued, I’m expecting good things…

Rap You Need To Know Right Now! Kevin Gates and Schoolboy Q

Talk about two guys who couldn’t have more hype heading into 2014. Momentum indeed.

First, Kevin Gates released not just one, but two excellent “mixtapes” last year, if you could call them mixtapes.  The way I see it is that they were both pretty much two excellent ALBUMS.  If you haven’t yet listened to either The Luca Brasi Story or Stranger Than Fiction, stop what you are doing, download these albums FOR FREE and realize you’re listening to one of the best in the game right now.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana: respect.  I’m not going into any of his specific cuts from last year, as I’m here to focus on the now and on the future.

KG has come hard out of the gates in 2014 with recent street single, Don’t Know.  He expertly works autotune without making you roll your eyes. Could this be the song that pushes Gates into the mainstream?  I think it has a chance, but we’ll have to wait and see. If he never blew up and just kept on keeping on, I’d be happy, but that’s selfish so here’s to a successful 2014 for Kevin Gates – if anyone deserves it, he does. I’m expecting a new mixtape album announcement in the near future.

Next, do I really need to inform on you on Schoolboy Q? Didn’t think so.  Surf the web and it will take you NO TIME to find out that Oxymoron is on everyone’s most anticipated album list of the year – look near the top.  Anyway, he’s been patient and waited for Kendrick to shine (and boy did he ever) – and he’s officially the next up out of the (amazing) TDE camp.  His string of singles in 2013 was fantastic (see “Yay Yay,” among others) and it seems that having pushed out the album a few times (now expected on February 25, 2014) has only added fuel the the fire that is Q.  On his most recent single, Break the Bank, he’s teamed up with Alchemist for another street banger.  His best yet? Could be.  But if you need an education, make sure you check out his previous independently released albums Setbacks and Habits and Contradictions.  On to the show!

Oh by the way, here’s the deluxe edition album cover of Oxymoron:


It reminds me a lot of Young Buck’s deluxe edition Straight Outta Cashville album cover released almost 10 years ago (damn!) in August 2004.  I loved that album, so I’m going to take the similarity as a good omen…