The A to Z of Music in 2019

Scam rap, weird children with face paint and guitars, 'Old Town Road' – here's what happened in music this year.

by Ryan Bassil
19 December 2019, 9:00am

Lil Nas X, photo via Alamy

Keeping up with music is hard. There’s always a new streaming service, record label or Sam Fender (??) to know about. Then Ariana drops a single or Kanye does something confusing and, wait, why is everyone talking about Lizzo?

To help you sort the Lewis Capaldis from the Louis Tomlinsons, we’ve compiled a handy A to Z of everything that happened in music in 2019. Consider it a one-stop shop for the year’s huge acts, outrageously good new records and strange guitar fellas.

Alex from Glasto

This pasty lad stole Summer219 when he performed AJ Tracey’s “Thiago Silva” verse on stage with Dave. Fair enough, I guess. Just don’t tell GRM Daily about all the other kids who can do up one verse ;)

Honourable mentions: Arlo Parks, ‘Astroworld’

Billie Eilish

The queen of the e-boys and e-girls. 17 year-old Eilish slurped an Invisalign, sang atop Despicable Me-adjacent, trap-pop instrumentation, and in the process, became the biggest star of the year.

Honourable mentions: Banoffee, Beabadoobee

Copping a Mumble Rapper for Your Left-field Song

Mumble rappers have always been weird. Then they got huge; but in 2019, they got weird again. Solange recruited Playboi Carti for “Almeda”, from her psychedelic, drowsy funk album When I get Home, Lil Uzi Vert uncovered every vocal pocket Tyler, The Creator uses on “Earfquake”, and for some reason, Young Thug agreed to be on a single with Britain’s worst export: Ed Sheeran.

Honourable mentions: Clairo, Charli XCX


“I’m goin’ baby on baby!!!!”

Honourable mentions: D-Block Europe, Digga D, “DHL”

Every Time Ariana Grande Popped Up

Ariana solidified her pop star status with last year’s sweetener album. But in 2019, she cemented it. Kicking off the year with “7 Rings” she then surprise released an album, toured the world and did up the soundtrack for Charlie’s Angels.

Funkmaster Flex's Tyler, the Creator Interview

Here, Tyler, the Creator raps about him and Funk Flex looking for some hot butt sex. Considering how loudmouthed and close-minded the iconic, rap purist DJ is, every reference to hooking up with men made this a genuine (*BOMB SOUND*) landmark (*BOMB SOUND*) radio interview (*BOMB SOUND*)!!!!

Honourable mention: Fredo

Gecs, 100 Thereof

We’re talking 100 Gecs – the frankly batshit St Louis duo whose music is a chaotic blend of A.G Cook remixes, happy hardcore, that huge Cascada tune and 3OH!3, on a hyperactive dose of Adderall and Monster Energy drink. Try to get through their debut album or just whack on “Money Machine” and tackle their best song headfirst.

Honourable mention: Grimes

Having a Remix… and Then Another Remix

Lizzo popped Ariana Grande on the “Good As Hell” remix; Pop Smoke grabbed Nicki Minaj and Skepta for their respective bits on his NY by way of London drill track “Welcome To The Party”; Lil Nas X re-released “Old Town Road” no less than four times – this was the year the chart-baiting remix returned.

Honourable mentions: Hoodies All Summer’, Headie One, Hannah Diamond

It... Was a Huge Year For Women in Rap

You know the songs: Megan Thee Stallion's "Hot Girl Summer", City Girls' "Act Up", Saweetie's "My Type", to name a few. Now you also know it's been the most successful year for women on the Billboard Chart this decade.

Honourable mention: IGOR

Just, Like, This Song?

Also huge.

Honourable mention: jonatonleandoer, Jai Paul

Kanye West

Just gonna leave this here.

Honourable mention: Kim Gordon

Lewis Capaldi

Still yet to hear one of this lad’s songs, to be honest.

Honourable mentions: Loski , “Ladbroke Grove”

Megan Thee Stallion

Hot girl summer!

Honourable mention: M Huncho, MoStack

Normani's "Motivation" Video

Do you like music videos? Specifically, do you like early 2000s music videos? Normani had your back this year.

Honourable mentions: ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’, “NSide”

"Old Town Road"

This bloody song.

"Pang", by Caroline Polachek

You know when you look back on things in ten years and remember a time? This will be one of those albums.

Honourable mentions: Psychodrama, Peggy Gou, Purple Mountains

Scam Rap

Literally a genre about how to scam people, based mainly out of Detroit. Here’s the primer.

Honourable mentions: Slowthai, "So Much Fun", SL

The 1975

Bunch of guys singing songs about the internet and end of the world.

Honourable mention: Teejayx6

"U Was At The Club"

TikTok has a lot to answer for. Beside its apparent banning of LGBTQ content in a few countries, that’s mostly “U Was At The Club”. Not a bad thing though because this goes off and takes you back to 2004 on the way.

Honourable mentions: Unknown T, ‘?Uknowwhatimsayin?’

"Vossi Bop"

Arguably the best Stormzy song, this. It will be forever etched into memory as the time a whole Glastonbury Pyramid Stage crowd shouted, “Fuck the government and fuck Boris”.

Honourable mention: Vegyn


Yung, blud. Repeat after me: Yung, blud. Sickening, really, the state we’re in.

Honourable mentions: Yandhi, YBN Cordae, YNW Bslime


Sorry to the other letters this list neglected but couldn't let this one go without (for better or worse) mentioning Lizzo!