There was a week in November when I began everyday with the sounds of the Bodega Boys. I’d grab my phone when the alarm went off, start up their podcast on my Soundcloud app, then roll over for that extra few minutes under the covers. Once I’d heard hosts The Kid Mero and Desus Nice do their intros, I knew it was time to get out of bed and get my day started. My morning routine was soundtracked by their banter: I brushed my teeth while they explained why the Bronx actually isn’t that bad ("shout out to French Montana"), walked out of my apartment while they showered Porzingis with love and praise, and cracked up on a silent, commuter-packed train as they ruthlessly condemned those who might seek out gluten-free Jamaican food. The podcast conveniently lasted right up until I got into the office and settled at my computer, leaving me with residual giggles that made it hard to relay the hilarity of what I’d just experienced. The Bodega Boys were my morning podcast pals.
Friends are indeed what a good podcast host can become to us—we give them our undivided attention, get to know the nuances of their voices and thought processes, and feel for them when they win or lose. As we head into 2016, here are seven podcasts we became BFFs with this year—or, in other words, seven podcasts you should make a resolution to get to know.
1. Megan Tan, Millennial
Megan Tan is a real person: a 20-something college graduate trying to figure out her life, just like the rest of us. She’s honest about her reservations, her dreams, her bad habits, her family, and her relationship—it’s almost as if we’re hearing her read her diary aloud. According to Megan, she’s just trying to help us learn “what people never teach you: how to navigate your 20s.” Need company while you’re lost in the sauce of life? Binge on this one.
2. Heben and Tracy, Another Round
I’m weak during the majority of the 45 minutes-to-an-hour I get to virtually hang with Heben and Tracy, hosts of BuzzFeed’s Another Round. They’re funny as hell while discussing everything from race and gender to pop culture—I was in bits when they compared a white TV character's complexion to yoghurt, riffing on the "chocolate skin" descriptions that black characters get lumbered with—and often leave me with an “I can’t believe they said that, I’ve been thinking that all week” feeling. The two hosts have a chemistry so real it leaves you wishing you were the third BFF that was cool enough to be kickin’ it in the “stud” and pouring another round of bourbon. I’m obsessed.
3. Taxstone, Tax Season
You’ve gotta listen to Tax Season, beloved. Brooklyn’s own Taxstone takes you inside the New York rap world's past and present, with a no-nonsense, #factsonly approach. There’s no censor and no filter—it's just the real shit he wants to discuss with his audience and his guests, who range from N.O.R.E. (listen above) to Combat Jack, Joe Budden, and beyond. Get to know him a little better here.
4. PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, Reply All
If you’re an internet-ass human (we all are), this podcast is for you. Hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman take you to the weird yet intriguing depths of the world wide web. From a prank email that led to an investigation of professional cookie-sellers through history to a guy who created a robot-run website to quell his crippling anxiety, it's brilliantly bizarre.
5. Kid Fury and Crissle, The Read
This one had a strong 2014, but there still doesn’t seem to be anything like it. Hosted by online personalities Kid Fury and Crissle, The Read is a weekly pop culture podcast that doesn't shy from shade. If you’re trying to keep up with what went down in the world this week—both awesome and unacceptable—this one’s for you. I’d recommend starting at their most recent episodes as the content is super current-event heavy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go back in the archives and sink into some vintage online ruckus.
6. Starlee Kine, Mystery Show
Listen to this podcast to live out your everyday detective dreams. Starlee Kine, host of Mystery Show, takes you on an investigative ride as she sleuths through a new, real-life whodunit every episode. From the origins of odd vanity plates to how Britney Spears ended up with a random book, there’s nothing that won’t spark Starlee’s urge to #solve. She's so good, she'll make you want to take on your own mysteries—like who’s been pilfering your hot sauce?
7. Desus & Mero, Bodega Boys
And finally, shout out Desus and Mero. Put simply, they rule. Though not new to the internet world, their Bodega Boys podcast takes their ridiculous brilliance to a whole new level. The two effortlessly bounce off of one another in conversations that lead us to topics such as Desus’ epic novel Dick 2 Bomb, the implications of leaving Red Lobster in an Uber, and an unforgettable Ben Carson impression. I'm not alone in my adoration: there’s a subreddit dedicated to their podcast. Did I mention Mero’s Ben Carson impression? Chiiilll chill chill.