Sometimes, the best music is a get-out-of-your-life machine. It can transport you to realms beyond language, impossible retro-futures, alien atmospheres, Mongolia-via-Brazil. Other times, music can make mundane places — the streets of D.C., the basements of Baltimore, a MARC train ride from one to the other — feel profoundly enchanted. You see where I’m going with this. Here are my favorite pop albums of 2023.
10. Wifigawd, Gawd, ‘Been Bout It’
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Instead of wondering if the guy on the mic (Wifigawd) and the producer at the controls (Gawd) originally came into contact by Googling themselves, let’s start wondering whether D.C. has ever known a rapper more stylish, more omnivorous, more stealthily tenacious than the District native we’re listening to right here. Over the distorted tick-tick-tick of “Pocket Watchin,” when Wifigawd rhymes about feeling as “high as Clark Kent,” he sounds fully aware of his abilities, even if the rest of the world is still trying to figure it out.