Earlier today, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of conspiracy to entice a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, and sex trafficking of minors.

She was not found guilty of her sixth charge, which was enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, which would’ve gotten her a five-year sentence.

The charges were related to Maxwell recruiting victims for Jeffrey Epstein between 1994 and 2004. She is facing up to 70 years behind bars.

As we count down to 2022, let’s take a look back at the year that was and all the music we heard.

At the very top of the year, Olivia Rodrigo exploded onto the charts with “Drivers License,” and over the next 12 months, we saw chart records broken and/or extended by The Weeknd, BTS and Drake — and of course, Mariah Carey with her annual record-breaker. Lil Nas X proved that the “Old Town Road” era wasn’t a fluke and Adele returned to an audience chomping at the bit to overreact to everything she does.

Narrowing down to a list of 10 songs was tougher than expected, but we now have our winners — in no particular order. The list has just one prerequisite: a 2021 release date. As a result, even though The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” dominated the charts for a third calendar year and made history, and Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” was the biggest hit of 2021, neither song could be considered for this list because they were released in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

(Loophole Alert: Remixes of pre-2021 songs released this year were eligible for the list.)

Beyond the release date stipulation, there were no rules. Songs of all genres and all levels of popularity (including album cuts) were considered — with the obvious limitation being that I clearly haven’t listened to all the songs released this year. It never stopped the folks at Pitchfork and Rolling Stone from making shoddy lists, so lay back and let me cook. Also, as with all other lists, it is reflective of the author’s taste — and this author got good-ass taste. Keep scrolling for the best of 2021.

Doja Cat – “Get into It (Yuh)”
With the release of her third LP, Planet Her,  Doja Cat made it clear that she’s nothing to play with. That album gave summer ’21 a soundtrack with “Kiss Me More” (featuring SZA) and showed that Doja can ride an Afropop beat with “Woman”; but it is her Nicki-Minaj-inspired track, “Get into It (Yuh),” that stands above the rest. In two minutes and eighteen seconds, Doja paid homage to one of her idols while reminding us that few people can rap better than she can. The  song, which was supposed to include a verse from its inspiration, is currently without a music video despite months of viral popularity.

Tems – “Replay”
Nigerian R&B singer Tems had a breakthrough year. Her vocals are the centerpiece of WizKid’s “Essence,” she was featured on Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, and Rihanna seems to be a huge fan, describing her tone as “unmatchable.” How’s that for a co-sign?

The good news didn’t end there. In September, Tems signed with RCA Records, which was announced along with the release of her second EP, If Orange Was a Place. The five-track project is a brief but brilliant showcase of her singing and songwriting chops. Its third track, “Replay,” is a three-minute dragging of all the people who thought Tems wouldn’t make it — and one of the very best songs of 2021. If you’re aren’t already hip, thank me later.

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”
Due to the meme-y viral nature in which Lil Nas X rose to fame, it is probably easy for many people to think the kid isn’t legit, but we know better around these parts. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” the lead single and title track of the rapper and singer’s first LP, feels like four different genres at the same damn time, which is on-brand for an artist whose first hit was so ambiguous that it confused the people at Billboard. The song combines a strong melody with a catchy hook, and as you can imagine, that is a recipe that rarely fails — even with lyrics and a music video some have described as “controversial.” “Montero” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 64th Grammy Awards.

The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber – “Stay”
What happens when you take “Blinding Lights,” add a little bass, and speed it up a bit? You get “Stay” by The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber. In addition to the “Blinding Lights” similarities, Laroi’s emo vocal style is likely to remind you of Post Malone and Juice WRLD, the latter of which mentored the 18-year-old Australian. With so many familiar elements, it is no surprise that “Stay” is such a huge hit, ruling the Billboard Hot 100 for seven non-consecutive weeks over a three-month period and staying in the top 10 since July.

Ari Lennox – “Pressure”
The idea of R&B being “dead” is largely based on a variety of falsehoods and a commitment to ignoring good R&B songs made by Black artists. With “Pressure,” Ari Lennox gave us one of the best songs of her career so far and a reminder that R&B is very much alive. Unfortunately, the song failed to gain traction because the music landscape of today is particularly unfavorable to artists like Ari Lennox, but make no mistake, “Pressure” is among the year’s best.

SZA – “I Hate U”
SZA is yet to provide a follow-up to her debut LP, Ctrl, but in 2021, she kept us fed with a number of collabos and non-album singles. “I Hate U” was initially posted on SoundCloud in August, and in true SZA style, the song is clear and direct — “If you wondered if I hate you, I do,” she sings. The song quickly became a viral hit, and in December, the singer released the song on streaming platforms, allowing it to become a top 10 hit. If this is what we can expect from her sophomore album, we’re in for a treat.

Myles Yachts – “Walkthrough” (featuring BOS)
If you heard Myles Yachts’ “Walkthrough” (featuring BOS) and assumed it was Yo Gotti, just know you weren’t alone. It’s not clear if Yachts set out to go viral, but “Walkthrough” is just the kind of song to do so , and that it did. In an era where we’re getting fewer and fewer rap songs that are actually danceable, “Walkthrough” is a much-needed breath of fresh air.

The Weeknd & Ariana Grande – “Save Your Tears” (Remix)
The Weeknd’s After Hours campaign wasn’t just extended by the unprecedented success of “Blinding Lights.” In April, eight whole months after “Save Your Tears” was released as the album’s fourth and final single, a second remix of the song was released. This version was a duet with Ariana Grande, and we got to hear how much better many of The Weeknd’s could be if someone with a stronger voice sung them.

WizKid – “Essence” (Remix) [featuring Justin Bieber & Tems]
As mentioned previously, 2021 was the year of Tems, and it all started with “Essence,” the fourth and final single from WizKid’s fourth LP, Made in Lagos. Tems is only “featured” on the track, but she gets way more singing time than WizKid and is very much the reason why people love it so much. Though the song was made a single this year, the album was released in 2020, so the original version is ineligible for this list — its remix, however, is fair game.

In August, Justin Bieber was tapped to add vocals to the track, and while fans of the original weren’t too crazy about it, it helped expose the song to an even larger audience. ” Essence” would go on to peak at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is credited as the first Afrobeats song to crack the top 10 — this all depends on whether you consider Drake’s “One Dance” (featuring WizKid & Kyla) to be Afrobeats.

Tainy & Miguel – “Sunbathe”
The industry continues to sleep on Miguel, but despite that fact, he continues to deliver. “Sunbathe,” a collaboration with Puerto Rican DJ Tainy, is a reggaeton-infused R&B song with the kind of elaborate metaphors for which we know and love Miguel. The song was so ignored that no one has even taken the time to include it in either artist’s discography on Wikipedia, but it has the No Hipsters seal of approval as being one of the year’s best.


Honorable Mentions:
Ariana Grande – “Test Drive”
Coi Leray – “No More Parties”
Kamillion – “Fine Azz”
Rema – “Soundgasm”
Lost Frequencies & Calum Scott – “Where Are You Now”
Cardi B – “Up”
Post Malone & The Weeknd – “One Right Now”
Doja Cat – “Kiss Me More” (featuring SZA)
Busta Rhymes – “Where I Belong” (featuring Mariah Carey)
The Weeknd – “Take My Breath”
Mooski – “Track Star”
Ayra Starr – “Sare”
Silk Sonic – “Skate”

If you’ve been on the internet in the last 24 hours, then you’ve probably come across Britney Spears’ viral post that has (unfortunately) earned her some ridicule. Oh Britney.

Ms. Spears has never been known for her vocals, but one thing we can’t deny is that she has more than a few good songs in her catalog. One of such songs is her holiday tune, “My Only Wish (This Year),” which was released in November 2000 as part of Jive Records’ compilation album, Platinum Christmas.

We can all agree that Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the last addition to the holiday canon. However, if we were going to make room for one more, I’d vote for “My Only Wish (This Year).” Co-written by Spears, Brian Kierulf and Josh Schwartz, and co-produced by the latter two, the song is quite naked in its attempt to mimic Carey’s classic. Admittedly, it doesn’t quite measure up, but it is a solid track offers all the things I want from a modern holiday ditty.

Unfortunately, “My Only Wish (This Year)” never got a visual treatment (which is a crime), so in the meantime, we’ll have to use our imagination. Happy holidays!

For the third year in a row, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” tops the Billboard Hot 100, knocking Adele off the throne. The song rules the global chart for another week.

This makes “All I Want for Christmas Is You” the first song to rule the list in three separate chart runs and the third song to rule four different times — its reign was interrupted by Taylor Swift last year. 24kGoldn & iann dior’s “Mood” and Drake’s “Nice for What” both rose to the top four times apiece.

With “AIWFCIY” spending a sixth non-consecutive week at No. 1, MC now has five songs that have ruled the Hot 100 for six weeks or more, breaking her longstanding tie with Boyz II Men, Usher and Drake. And with an 85th cumulative week at No. 1, Mariah extends her record as the artist with the most weeks at the throne. The runner-up (Rihanna) has spent 60 cumulative weeks at No. 1.

Most of the TBT entries on this website are old songs I have a long-standing relationship with, but every now and then, I post an old song that is totally new to me. Today is one of those days.

I was deep in my new wave bag this week when I stumbled upon “Secret” by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), and I fell in love instantly. It had all the things I tend to look for in a good song, and I proceeded to listen to it at least 10 times in a row.

Released in ‘85 as the second single from the group’s sixth LP, Crush, “Secret” is sung from the perspective of an admirer who is keeping his feelings for his crush a secret. It’s not entirely clear why, which leaves the secretiveness open to interpretation. The song is nearly four minutes of synth-y goodness with layered, airy, somewhat solemn vocals.

“You make me sad as you make me glad” is one of the lines in the second verse, and in a way, it perfectly describes how this song will make you feel. Click play and thank me later.

No Hipsters Pod just reached a milestone — 50 episodes! Can you believe it?!

Belles & Whistles founder Alexis Garner stopped by to discuss the journey so far as well as some trending news. And for the first time, we were joined by an audience!

TLC is, first and foremost, an R&B group. However, on FanMail, they dipped into their rock bag to give us a gem called “Unpretty.”

Released as the album’s second single, “Unpretty” is a song about self-love in the face of a society that doesn’t miss an opportunity to tell you how imperfect you are. The song was first written as a poem by T-Boz while she was watching an episode of Ricki Lake where women on the show were being derided for their looks. The poem was handed to Dallas Austin, who put the lyrics to a melody and made the executive decision to produce a song that was alternative rock yet R&B-ish.

“Unpretty” would become TLC’s fourth and final No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Jussie Smollett has been found guilty of five out of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report to the police. A disorderly conduct charge for a false police report is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

In January 2019, Smollett reported a hate crime where supposed attackers assaulted him while calling him racist and homophobic slurs. The supposed attackers turned out to be Abel Osundairo and Ola Osundairo, two brothers who had worked with #Smollett on #Empire. They would later tell authorities that the actor paid them $3,500 to stage the incident.

Jussie Smollett took the stand for the second day in his trial and accused the Osundairo Brothers — who he allegedly paid to attack him as part of a hoax — of trying to extort him of $2 million. He says Abel and Ola Osundairo told him they’d recant their previous statements — and basically accept hate crime charges — if he paid them $1 million each.

Seems legit.