With a lot more free time on your hands, (which I hope you’ve been washing) what better way to practice social distancing than to put in those earbuds and crank up the music? Whether Texas-raised or just Texas-friendly, these well-known artists have produced countless hits. Here’s a compiled list of tunes that deserve some love and recognition.
1. Drake, “Chicago Freestyle”
I first heard “Chicago Freestyle” when it was released simultaneously with Drake’s “When To Say When.” As one of the most successful artists in the world, Drake continues to prove he has what it takes to remain at the top. (He just recently set a new record for most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.) As a fan of nearly a decade, I’m inspired by his honesty and transparency in his music. With reflective lyrics, a catchy hook, and compelling beat, this song is clearly a hit, something Drake is no stranger to. On the track, Drake pays tribute to Eminem by referencing the song “Superman” with slightly changed lyrics. Even though this Toronto-based rapper isn’t necessarily from Texas, he has expressed his deep love for the Lone Star State, specifically, Houston, Texas (where he first met Lil Wayne).
My favorite lyrics: “Maybe I’ll love you one day, maybe we’ll someday grow.”
2. Megan Thee Stallion & Normani, “Diamonds”
Leave it to Megan Thee Stallion and Normani to embody women empowerment! I first heard “Diamonds” as the lead single off the Birds of Prey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). I personally love the catchy lyrics that immediately make you want to sing along. A line in the chorus reflects on the stars’ southern roots, with Normani being from Atlanta, Georgia, eventually relocating to Houston, and Megan being from Bexar County, eventually relocating to Pearland, Texas.
My favorite lyrics: “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Southern girl like me, I ain’t afraid to catch a case.”
3. The Weeknd, “After Hours” (the single)
The Weeknd continues to be one of my top favorite artists of all time. I first heard this Canadian’s standout title track sitting in my car after work in San Marcos, Texas. The haunting melody, chilling tone and eerie production is genius in every way, reminiscent of styles seen in his old music, but at all means not comparable. His constant evolution perfectly exhibits The Weeknd’s brand and what he represents, as a unique artist in his own lane. As a fan I can’t stop listening. I’m also excited to see him on tour when he comes to San Antonio August 19.
My favorite lyrics: “Where are you now when I need you most? I’d give it all just to hold you close.”
4. Jhené Aiko ft H.E.R., “B.S.”
Jhené Aiko is the epitome of living your best life peacefully and unproblematic. I first heard “B.S” off Jhené’s third studio album “Chilombo.” Lyrically the song is about bouncing back from a breakup. Featuring R&B singer H.E.R., the two respectively stunt on their exes. Empowering anyone else who can relate to remember that you’re doing just fine without them. As a fan of this Californian who I would make an honorary Texan (if it were up to me!), I’m excited to see Jhené on her Magic Hour tour when she comes to Austin May 23.
My favorite lyrics: “I am on my own now, I am in control now. I need you to go now, I can fix my own crown.”
5. Khalid & Disclosure, “Know Your Worth”
Straight from El Paso, Texas, Khalid continues to prove himself as a widely recognized figure in the pop world. In this electric R&B song, I really love the meaningful lyrics behind the catchy hook. The track encourages you to stay positive and not settle for anything less than what you deserve, a message everyone needs to hear at some point in their lives.
My favorite lyrics: “Find someone you know will put you first. Find someone who loves you at your worst.”
6. Demi Lovato, “I Love Me”
I just recently hopped on the loving bandwagon for this song and I can easily understand why it’s so popular. The powerful lyrics emphasize the importance of loving yourself, making it an empowering self-love anthem. Raised in Dallas, Texas, Demi Lovato has been through a lot in her lifetime. We’ve watched it unfold on the world stage, but regardless of what she went through, she came out on the other side and realized it is, in fact, greener. That is inspiring.
My favorite lyrics: “Why do I compare myself to everyone? And I always got my finger on the self-destruct. I wonder when I love me is enough.”
7. Selena Gomez, “Feel Me”
“Feel Me” was originally an unofficial track first released by Selena Gomez online back in 2016. The Dallas-native first performed the song during her 2016 Revival Tour. The final version appeared on Gomez’s deluxe studio album “Rare.” The lyrics circle around how she hopes her memory and presence will stick with her past lover, even after they’re no longer together. (Something most of us can relate to—well, at least I can.) I love supporting a fellow Texan who has gone on to become a megastar.
My favorite lyrics: “Every time your lips touch another, I want you to feel me.”
8. Travis Scott, “Houstonfornication”
How could I not mention one of the most popular rappers in the world that dedicated a whole album to his hometown Houston, Texas? When it comes to rapping and producing, I admire the blood, sweat and tears Travis Scott puts into all his projects. Much like the rest of the album, the song revolves around Scott talking about his experiences in his hometown. (The title is also a reference to the popular song “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.) For all the ragers out there, it looks like we’re going to have to keep Astroworld on repeat until Travis drops new music!
My favorite lyrics: “I might need me some ventilation, a little vacation, Houstonfornication.”
Cover photo Gabe Raggio from Pixabay
Leean Vargas is an Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.