The Weeknd is my favorite R&B/Rap artist far and away. Rap isn’t exactly my thing, but popular dance songs do make it into my repertoire. That being said, before The Weeknd, I didn’t have a favorite artist in this genre, and I certainly didn’t own all of an artist like these records, and I certainly didn’t religiously memorize their songs or follow their career. He changed all that.

As some of you may know, he’s a friend of Drake’s who was featured on Drake’s last album. He’s also from Canada like Drake, and they’ve done a lot of work together; Drake is also on his last album. While he is similar to Drake, he is certainly not the same. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like him. His beats, lyrics and style are definitely a part of modern R&B.

That being said, he favors slow, soulful tracks, and his voice reminds me of more vintage music. There is a lot of soul in it; that’s the only way I can explain it. I believe the emotion he’s singing, even though he’s not a powerhouse kind of emotional voice, as we’ve become so familiar with through say Adele. Instead it is understated.

His lyrics are also usually dark, a little violent, somewhat haunting and curse-filled in the most beautiful way possible. It’s the kind of music that can play in the background while I do other things, or that I can purely focus on and lose myself in. This first song is my absolute favorite off his first EP House of Balloons, called “Wicked Games.” I love singing with this song; it makes me want to sit in a moving car with the window rolled down, wind in my hair, with a gigantic smile on my face, crying at the same time. How can you not connect to these lyrics?

This song is “The Morning,” also off his first EP.  A close second for me.

The last one I’m putting up is D.D. off his latest EP, Echoes of Silence. I swear he’s channeling a young Michael Jackson in this song with such an interesting beat behind him.

I promise you, he’s worth the exploration. If you’re in Chicago, he’s also got pretty high billing for this year’s Lollapalooza, and is frankly what sold me on going this year.  I’ve probably never been more excited to see someone perform. If you want to download his three free amazing EPs, those named above and Thursday, visit here and marvel at the lovely design of his albums and site and download him! Did I mention it’s free?? Do it.