Australian rapper and singer, Tkay Maidza, just released the final installment for her amazing Last Year Was Weird EP trilogy. As this is the final EP for the series, Tkay made sure to end off the trilogy with her best work yet. With the help from producer Dan Farber, Tkay Maidza takes us on a fun and pretty journey through the flower territory.
The first track off the EP, “Eden”, does a great job at not only setting the stage for the listener, but also transporting them into Tkay Maidza’s world. The flower territory if you will. The song title and lyrics refer to the Garden of Eden from the Bible. The Garden of Eden is a beautiful flower-filled paradise. In the lyrics, Tkay raps about how she is in a blessed position. She has garnered a lot of success and she doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon. I love how the instrumental gives off a heavenly feel to the song. The song starts off with some lushes strings. It is very dreamy and atmospheric. I love how the instrumental slowly start building up during her verse then explodes with some cool trap production once she sings the chorus. The following track, “Onto Me”, has this amazing earworm chorus. It is sticky like honey. In this track, Tkay Maidza and UMI raps about two different scenarios. Tkay is in a rocky relationship with a guy. Although things aren’t perfect, she is willing to try and work it out with him. UMI does the opposite. Instead of giving the guy who wants her back another chance, she tells him to move on. I think having these two different perspectives on one track was a very creative idea. The beat is amazing. The plucky guitar and scattered minimal production are fantastic.
“So Cold” is a summery dance track. The production here is so groovy. You know this is a great dance track when it is able to make my fat ass move. It is almost impossible not to dance to this song. On this track, she raps about how the guy she was with ended up being soulless. After she learns this, Tkay drops him quickly. I love the different flow switch up during her verse. Once again the chorus is very catchy. Stylistically, “Syrup” is a total 180. The second single to this EP consists of minimal yet hard-hitting production. I love how drowning and overwhelming the production is. Tkay is absolutely rapping her ass off all over his beat. Her lyrics are braggadocious. The chorus is pretty clever. She even dropped the quotable of the year with this line, “I go hard, I’m a boner”. Spoken like a true poet.
The next track, “Kim”, is not only another single, but it is another massive banger. Hard Tkay is thriving on this one. Her performance is absolutely wild. Especially with this hard-hitting, kind of industrial beat. The chaotic “bitch, I’m Kim” shouting is insane. Tkay’s verse is fire. I just love how confident she is. The same can be said about Yung Baby Tate’s performance. Her verse was very charismatic. I’m loving the Kim Possible references throughout the entire track. This track is absolutely amazing. “High Beams” is a nice transition point from hard to soft Tkay. This track is a lot calmer. It started with some angelic vocals. With that said, Tkay’s rapping is still vicious. There’s a lot going on within the production. There are these haunting vocals prevalent throughout the track. This is an amazing track that helps transition into the next track.
“Cashmere” is the third, and my favorite, single released before the EP. I love how dreamy and pretty the production is. Tkay’s vocals are delicate. She comes across as very vulnerable. She is talking about how she has been hurt so many times throughout this relationship that she is in. She knows that she can’t handle being treated poorly any longer, so she ends up leaving him. The outro to this song is one of my favorite moments on the EP. She really sounds relieved during this portion of the song. “Breathe” is a grand and emotional way to end off the EP. First of all, I love the call back from ”Eden”. During the intro, we hear vocal snippets of Tkay saying “Breathe”. This is the exact same way the final track starts off. Also similar to “Eden”, “Breathe” has a gorgeous and grand instrumental. The beat drop on this track really hits hard. It gives such an emotional impact that matches perfectly with Tkay’s lyrics. Tkay talks about how no one really believed in her. Although she did become successful, she did make regretful decisions on the way. In the end, Tkay is reminiscing about the good times and she doesn’t want to leave. She just wants to stay.
You can tell from the beginning this EP trilogy means a lot to Tkay. You can tell this is the case when you listen to the grand intro, the impressive performances, and the emotional last bow on the final track. Tkay Maidza and Dan Farber put a lot of love and energy into this project. Seeing how passionate they were on this EP, I can’t wait to see what they would do on a full-fledged album together. The sky’s the limit for these two.
Hello everybody! Happy June! I hope you are all doing well. This past month was pretty busy for me. My semester ended last month, so that means I had finals to worry about. Somehow I passed all of my classes so yay me! Now that my semester is over I can finally focus a bit more on music. Speaking of music, I’ve got some recommendations for you all today, so let’s jump into the honorable mentions.
Song Honorable Mentions:
Chimurenga Renaissance, King Britt, and Nadine Stoddart – Zimbabwe: I got to thank the homie Mates for this song recommendation. This track is fire! As you might have guessed from the song title, this track takes heavy musical inspiration from Zimbabwe’s culture. This hip-hop track has traditional Zimbabwe sounds sprinkled throughout the track. Nadine’s singing is not only great, but she sings in her native language which adds even more to the song in my opinion. The rap verse was tight, but I just wish there was a bit more. One verse wasn’t enough for me. Overall great track! Mates came through with this recommendation.
Bungalow Collect – Tell Me Where To Go: This might be the smoothest track of the month. Bungalow Collect consists of members Apollo J, Zay Suaz, Marcus Isiah, and Rshad. Each member absolutely killed it. This group is so charismatic. I promise after the first listen you will be hooked. The rapping from both Apollo J and Rshad are FIRE! The chorus from Zay and Marcus is extremely entertaining. I love the groovy production. It somehow feels old school and new school at the same time. This song is filled with great vibes. I can’t get enough of it. PLEASE GIVE IT A LISTEN! I AM BEGGING!
DMX – Bath Salts (feat. JAY-Z & Nas): This song is a must-listen for not only New York hip hop fans, but for hip hop fans in general. Three New York rap legends on one song. JAY-Z starts things off sounding hungry over this dark and grimy beat. He didn’t come to play. This man is spitting. “Every six months, I think I need a new bucket list” is probably my favorite line off the track. With that said both Nas and DMX had great bars and quotables. When Nas said, “Ha, let’s put success to the side, I’d still be this fly if I worked at Popeye’s, That’s a whole lotta spinach, whole game full of gimmicks, Make a fool out of yourself for a post on Akademiks”, I started geeking out. The late legend, DMX, went in. This line, in particular, got me laughing, “I’m taking half, it’s just that simple Or I can start poppin’ niggas like pimples”. Even in DMX’s later years, he was still able to give entertaining verses. This song is from DMX’s posthumous album Exodus. Give it a listen, especially if you are a fan of hip hop.
EP Honorable Mentions:
Paris Texas – BOY ANONYMOUS: This fiery duo just dropped some heat on this EP. Throughout this entire project, Paris Texas delivers some crazy moments. For example, the outro of “CASINO” is fucking insane! I love how it transitions into the following track “PACK 4 DA LOW”. Paris Texas has a lot of energy when they rap. Although I prefer their in-your-face rapping, when they slow things down on songs like “AREA CODE” the outcome turns out pretty cool. What stands out the most to me is the chemistry Louie Pastel and Felix have. Everything sounded so natural. Nothing sounded forced. I can’t wait to see what they do next. This is an exciting experimental rap duo that you should keep an eye out for.
Album Honorable Mentions:
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti: Mach-Hommy has been a fan favorite in the underground for a while now. Pray For Paris is the first project I have listened to from Mach. Although I wouldn’t say this is the best rap album of the year, I do see why he has such a dedicated fan base and has garnered the attention of JAY-Z and Drake. He is a great lyricist with several cool quotables like, “I’ll put that biscuit to your tee like it’s England”. Throughout the album Mach tributes Haiti which is where he is from. Thanks to Westside Gunn, who executive produced the album, this album has a grimy feel to it. If you are a fan of Griselda you will love this album.
CHAI – WINK: This album is the perfect example of not needing to know the language to enjoy the music. CHAI is a female Japanese band consisting of four members: Yuna, Kana, Mana, and Yuuki. Although there is some English in this album it is mostly in Japanese. I have no idea what they are saying, but the singing is so pretty. Pretty might be the best adjective to describe the album. From the singing to the production, each song is so pretty. Some standout tracks I want to mention include “PING PONG!” featuring YMCK. I love the video game-like production. “Maybe Chocolate Chips” has a great feature from Rick Wilson. He sounds a lot like JID to me. Although the closing track is only one minute long, I love the serenity “SALTY” provides. Great album! Give it a listen.
Tony Allen – There Is No End: Tony Allen is a drummer hailing from Nigeria. He, unfortunately, passed away last year, but his music lives on with this new posthumous album. There Is No End is an exciting album filled with amazing instrumentals and incredible features. Sampa The Great, Koreatown Oddity, Danny Brown, and Skepta did their thing on their respective tracks. Some of the features I didn’t know going into this album blew my mind like Zelooperz and Marlowe. I love the music off of this album, but I think the best part of the album is how Tony Allen started and ended the album. Tony Allen wanted to remind the listener that music never ends, it lives forever. I just thought this was a beautiful statement. Tony Allen’s work will definitely live forever.
Song Of The Month:
Lil Nas X – SUN GOES DOWN: I need to let the cat out of the bag. Lil Nas X’s music has been a “guilty pleasure” of mine since the release of the 7 EP. I basically love everything he has dropped and “SUN GOES DOWN”is no exception. The production on this track is pretty simple. It basically consists of some trap drums and a calm loop consistently playing in the background. It is simple but effective. Lyrically Lil Nas X is in a very vulnerable place. He basically talks about his struggle figuring out his identity growing up, his struggle with depression, and at the end, he reassures his younger self. Although I love “Montero”, I think “SUN GOES DOWN” is the best he has released this year. Dare I say, the best song he has released in his career.
EP Of The Month:
Audrey Nuna – a liquid breakfast: Audrey Nuna is such an interesting artist to me. On the surface, she seems kind of dull with her monotone delivery, but she is the complete opposite. Yes, her delivery on this EP is pretty monotone, but she can rap. Her flows can be very impressive from a technical standpoint. The combination of the monotone and impressive rapping with these dreary beats sounds so cool together. What surprised me the most is finding out she can sing. She has a nice voice. I wish she sang a bit more on this EP. Especially without autotune because she proves on “Long Year” that she doesn’t need heavy autotune. Overall I really liked the EP. I hope she will be working on an album soon.
Album Of The Month:
CZARFACE and MF DOOM – Super What?: The first time I found out CZARFACE and MF DOOM were working together I knew it was going to be awesome. They both are known for having a comic book-inspired persona. It’s a match made in heaven. Czarface Meets Metal Face was amazing and so is Super What? Although it’s predictable at this point, I absolutely love the cartoony production style and the comic book references in the lyrics. Esoteric, Inspectah Deck, MF DOOM, and the features rapped their asses off. With this album most likely being the last project MF DOOM would have his name on, I think this is a great album to end off his discography. This is exactly what I wanted from these guys. I can’t ask for more!
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
Hello everybody! Happy May! Sorry for not posting this article a lot sooner. Not going to lie, I have been slacking lately. This past month I didn’t listen to as much music as I would like. I’ve been too busy with work, studying and of course Animal Crossing. With that said I do think I’ve got a good monthly favorites for you all today. Lets just jump into it!
Song Honorable Mentions:
Tkay Maidza – Syrup: This will be Tkay Maidza’s year! I can see it now. Assuming Last Year Was Weird, Vol 3 is as good as Kim and Syrup, I can see Tkay blowing up even more than she has been. Tkay returns to a more aggressive sound. The production is pretty simple, but it slaps. I love how heavy the bass is. Tkay kills it as always. Her pen game is on point. She drops a lot of great one liners. I’m just obsessed with this track. I can’t wait for the new EP.
Rina Sawayama – Chosen Family (with Elton John): Although I have always enjoyed the original track, I did think there was something missing. I think the addition of Elton John fulfills the missing feeling. Not only is his performance amazing and grand, but I think the addition of his piano adds a lot to the production. I also think turning a track about friendship into a duet is such a great idea. I am so happy this exists. Rina and Elton sound so good together. It’s a match made in heaven.
Freddie Gibbs – Big Boss Rabbit: At this point there is no stopping Freddie Gibbs. Every time he is on the mic he reminds everybody that he is one of the best MC’s right now. He makes rapping seem effortless. In this track he is rapping over a cool trap beat with a Nas sample tying everything together. Although the beat is cool, Freddie can rap over nails on a chalkboard and that song will still be amazing. I know Gibbs is dropping an album this year, so I hope he continues his winning streak.
EP Honorable Mentions:
Dev Lemons – Lemontopia: I have mentioned in the past that Tik Tokers and YouTubers should know their place and never drop music because most of the time the outcome is not good. Dev Lemon is an exception. The quirky personality she shows off in her Tik Toks appears in the spacious bedroom pop production that is displayed on Lemontopia. The instrumentals make me feel like I am floating on clouds. I am surprised at how good of a singer she is. For some reason she sounds like Kali Uchis to me. This EP is only 4 tracks with a run time of 8 minutes. It is definitely worth a listen.
The Alchemist – This Thing Of Ours: The Alchemist is by far one of the most consistent producers out right now. I don’t remember the last time he has missed in recent history. In this EP he brings in guests to rap over these beautiful lofi beats. He got Earl Sweatshirt and Navy Blue to start off the EP. Both Sideshow and Boldy James kill it on their verse on the very next track. Pink Stiifu and Maxo did their thing on the third track. Earl shows up again on the last track. I think the Alchemist does a great job at providing the foundation needed for his guest to thrive. Give this EP a listen. The second half of the EP is the instrumentals from the previous four tracks, so if you didn’t like any of the features at least you got the beats.
Cordae – Just Until….: I forgot how good of a rapper Cordae is. Cordae is really spitting on this EP. Something that Cordae doesn’t get enough credit for is the way he can adapt into different rap styles. On the first track, Cordae is being introspective with Q-Tip. Two tracks later, Cordae is being braggadocious with Young Thug. In this short EP, Cordae is showing off his skill set and preparing the listeners for his next album. He said his next album is coming soon, so that’s good. I’m excited!
Album Honorable Mentions:
Thom Moot – Thomfoolery: This is by far one of the most unique albums I have listened to this year. Stylistically this album is all over the place. The first track is a fiery grunge cut. He has several other rock tracks, but there are also a lot of interesting detours. For example, “Alien Invasion Rag” starts off with an old western piano playing, but then an alien invasion happens around the midpoint. The following track sounds like an intergalactic space battle to me. Thom does a great job at making a story with his music. If you are interested in a weird experience give this album a shot.
Kenny Mason – Angelic Hoodrat: Supercut: Kenny Mason is someone you want to keep an eye on. He is such a breath of fresh air in the rap landscape. The beats he raps on are so dark and heavy. His rapping is insane. Although he could be laid back and monotone at times, when he wants to rap he raps. His technical ability is mind blowing. Believe it or not this rap album isn’t just a rap album. “Play Ball” is a straight up punk song. He is rapping over metal guitars on “Pup”. Although I do prefer the traditional rap songs, I do admire this album’s creativity. I really want to know what direction Kenny’s sound goes to in the future.
Flying Lotus – Yasuke: Yasuke is a pleasant surprise. I had no idea Flying Lotus was dropping an album this year. Let alone an album for a Netflix show. As always expect a weird, hypnotic, spacy, and serene ride when diving into a Flying Lotus album. Something that makes this album different is that since the album is for an anime based on Japanese samurais, this album takes influence from Japanese music. It’s a cool change of pace for Flying Lotus. I think he did a phenomenal job. Put on some good headphones, lay on your bed, close your eyes, and give this album a listen.
Favorite Song of The Month:
Little Simz – Introvert: If you told me before this song dropped that Little Simz was dropping an album I would have been excited, but now I am counting down the days until it drops in September. I literally can’t wait! This tack is one of the best songs I heard this year. It might be my favorite Little Simz song. As always, Little Simz kills it lyrically. I love how conscious and focused she is. With that said, I think the instrumentation is what steals the show for me. I love how big and grand it is. You can tell they took the time to perfect this instrumental. If Little Simz’s next album has amazing bars and instrumentals like these throughout the entire track list then its game over. Every artist should might as well pack their bags and take a break until next year because Little Simz will take album of the year if her next album is as good as Introvert.
Favorite EP of The Month:
Kero Kero Bonito – Civilisation II: With only three tracks, Kero Kero Bonito blows my mind with their second installment of their Civilization series. The trio are back with their signature cute and colorful musical styling, but with more of an electropop sound. The trio uses this cute style to sing about what the world is going through during the pandemic. The second track of the album is basically a day of their life during the very beginning of the pandemic. The innocent observation they give in “21/04/20” is very interesting. The following track “Well Rested” gives the listener some hope. Sarah reminds the listener the human race has gone through a lot already. At this point nothing will be able to take down the human race. The production is insane on this track. In February, I named “The Princess and the Clock” as my song of the month. I love that song, but “Well Rested” is even better. This EP is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough.
Favorite Album of The Month:
BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE: BROCKHAMPTON seems to never disappoint. The boys are back with the first of two albums they are releasing. Even if they end up not dropping a second album this year I will be happy because ROADRUNNER is amazing. They basically took elements from their past work and put it all together. If you miss their Saturation series and you want bangers go listen to “BANKROLL” with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. If you want to listen to something similar to Iridescence check out “BUZZCUT” with Danny Brown. If you love the GINGER era try out “COUNT ON ME”. Do you feel like crying? Go listen to “THE LIGHT”. I can go on and on. There’s something for everybody. Even if you don’t end up enjoying the entire album like me, I guarantee you there is a song for you in this album.
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
Hello everybody! Happy April! Somehow we are already one quarter done with 2021. How did that happen? This past month was jam-packed with great music. Although I did struggle finding a lot of good albums to write about, there were a lot of great singles and even EP’s released in March. There’s a lot of music I want to point in your direction, so let’s just jump into my monthly favorites!
Song Honorable Mentions:
Osay – How Many Licks: If you are a boring person who gets offended over songs like WAP, then you might want to sit this one out. Chicago-born rapper, Osay, dropped a short track about sex. With a song title like that, what else would this song be about? When listening to this expect some hot bars and impressive rapping. Although the beat isn’t amazing, Osay’s charisma is able to carry this song. Although it is easy to dismiss a short sexual trap song like this, I do admire Osay’s talent. After listening to this track, and some of her other singles like “Bad Girl”, “Off Brand”, and “Shimmy Season”, you can tell that she is passionate about her craft and hip hop in general. I can’t wait to see what Osay does in the future. Give her songs a listen.
Mello Music Group, The Lasso, & Open Mike Eagle – Gold Gloves: The independent music label Mello Music Group has been churning out tracks with several different artists and producer’s for an album called Bushido. It is out now! They’ve dropped several singles for this project, but “Gold Gloves” is probably my favorite. I just love how suffocating The Lasso’s production is at the beginning, but it quickly smooths out when Open Mike Eagle hops on. Both Mike and the track itself are pretty chill for the most part. The magical outro is really cool. It’s a hypnotic experience. Check out “Gold Gloves” and Bushido.
Aesop Rock – Long Legged Larry: Aesop Rock rapping about a frog named Larry saving the day is something I didn’t think I needed, but I am glad it exists. It’s such a cute song. I just love the innocence and child-like whimsy in the lyrics. If I had a kid, you best believe my kid and I will be bumping “Long Legged Larry” in the whip. Fuck “Baby Shark”! My kid will be bumping Aesop Rock thank you very much. Seriously though, the rapping and production are top-notch even though the lyrics are very playful. Aesop Rock has always been good at being a descriptive storyteller when he raps, so seeing this skill set being implemented in a song that is basically a nursery rhyme honestly makes sense. Out of all the rappers out there, he is probably the guy you would want making nursery rhymes. I genuinely wouldn’t mind more songs like this.
ZillaKami – Chains: For some reason, I don’t talk about ZillaKami as much as I should. He does have one of my favorite voices in hip hop. It is so rugged and animalistic. It pairs well with the trap metal fusion he has been doing on not only his material, but also with SosMula on City Morgue. “Chains” is a perfect example of the type of music City Morgue and ZillaKami are known for. On this track, ZillaKami is shouting and rapping over trap beats and energetic electric guitars. It’s abrasive and kind of catchy. I recommend checking this song out if you are curious about this weird trap metal fusion. If you do enjoy it check out City Morgue.
AG Club – TRUTH (feat. Sam Truth and redveil): I wasn’t really familiar with this rap group, but AG Club impressed me a lot. I love the rebellious energy in this track. This track starts off with a bang. Jody Fontaine sounds so focus while the beat sounds so hard-hitting. Jody’s pre-chorus is catchy and it segues nicely into the sung chores from Sam Truth. I love how the production transitions into a beat switch. I think the new beat fits well with redveils rapping style. I think everybody kills it on this track. It’s a great posse cut. Give it a listen.
Laura Les – Haunted: One-half of 100 Gecs, Laura Les, dropped “Haunted House” this past month. 100 Gecs is a guilty pleasure of mine, so you know I was excited when this song dropped. Like many 100 Gecs tracks, this song does a great job at blending cuteness with insanity. The beat starts off pleasant, but as soon as that inaudible chorus hits you get reminded its a hyper pop song. I absolutely love the crazy energy on the chorus even though I have no idea what she is saying. I think her verse was pretty good. The monotone delivery contrasts nicely with the crazy chorus. The only bad part about this song is that it is too short. I want more!
BROCKHAMPTON – BUZZCUT (feat. Danny Brown): BROCKHAMPTON, the best boyband since One Direction, are back with a FUCKING BANGER! I absolutely love this song. The instrumental sounds like something off Iridescence, but on crack. It is insane! Weirdly, Kevin Abstract is the only member rapping on this track besides the feature Danny Brown. They both brought in a chaotic, yet infectious energy to the track. For some reason, Kevin sounded like Denzel Curry to me. Danny sounded like he was in his prime form again. I also really love the outro. Joba’s beautiful singing and Merlyn’s adlibs finish off the song nicely. I can’t wait for their new album. I’M SO HYPED!
EP Honorable Mentions:
S. Reidy – I Started Grieving Today: Oklahoma rapper, S. Reidy just dropped an EP this past month. It is very short with it being only four tracks and it is barely over 7 minutes long. He comes across as a pretty angry, moody, and passionate rapper. His lyrical content are basically passionate rants half of the time. You can feel the passion on tracks like “Pity Party”. His voice sounds so bold on that track. I believe Die Cute is the producer. If he did produce the EP, I think he did a great job at making a very moody aesthetic for S. Reidy. Not a bad EP. I just wished the songs were longer. Check out this short gem.
JAHMED – ARMANI: This is such a fun and addicting EP. JAHMED is such an entertaining rapper. I love the different flows and vocal inflections he does on this EP. He reminds me a lot of rappers like Vince Staples, Baby Keem, ScHoolboy Q, and Ski Mask the Slump God. Like those rappers, JAHMED is good at being an expressive rapper. The hard-hitting trap beats suit his voice nicely. It’s hard not to be pumped up after listening to a lot of these tracks. Freddie Gibbs has a great feature on “GLIMPSE”. The skits are entertaining. JAHMED has a lot of potential. He is definitely a rapper you should keep an eye on.
Moore Kismet – Vendetta For Cupid: Moore Kismet is a very talented young individual. At only 16 years old, Moore Kismet is producing insane electronic dance music. The production on this EP can be harsh and abrasive, but at the same time, it can be very pretty. The hard-hitting beat drops are chaotic. The features are great as well. They add a lot to the music, but Moore Kismets’ production always shines through. I hope we get more music from them soon. If Moore keeps up the great work, I can see them becoming one of my favorite producers right now.
Michigander – Everything Will Be Ok Eventually: This one for my indie rock fans out there. This EP is my first introduction to Michiganders music. After giving this EP a listen, I instantly became a fan. Michiganders music is very relatable. This EP is about being heartbroken and trying your best to be better again. This man is in his feels big time. Although the subject matter is pretty sad, the music itself sounds pretty uplifting. The instrumentals are pleasant to the ear. Lead singer, Jason Singer, singing is filled with so much emotion. I can’t get enough of this EP. Pretty please with a cherry on top, give this EP a listen.
Benny The Butcher & Harry Fraud – The Plugs I Met 2: If you have listened to Benny The Butcher or Griselda in general, then you should know what you are getting into before listening to this EP. If you have never listened to a Benny project you should expect great drug rap and grimy beats on every project. This EP is no exception. Benny is dropping fire bars. Harry Fraud kills it on production. It sounds very classy. This is some high-class drug talk. Chinx, 2 Chainz, and Jim Jones were great features. I don’t know if I like this more than the first one, but The Plugs I Met 2 is a great rap EP.
Album Honorable Mentions:
Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram: Legendary rap duo, Armand Hammer, teaming up with legendary producer, The Alchemist, is a match made in heaven. Just like past Armand Hammer projects, Billy Woods and E L U C I D delivers great cryptic rapping, but this time it is paired with classy yet grimy production from The Alchemist. It is hard to decode what Armand Hammer is rapping about, but when a bar finally clicks your mind will be blown. I am actually surprised at how well The Alchemist is able to make Armand Hammer-like production, but it still has that elegant feel you expect from an Alchemist beat. You can tell this album was a team effort. This is no high school group project. Everybody put in the work. This includes the features as well. This is definitely one of the best rap albums of the year.
serpentwithfeet – DEACON: What a beautiful album. This is the first time I listened to serpentwithfeet and I am impressed. He reminds me a lot of Frank Ocean. They both have a similar chill and laid-back delivery. Serpentwithfeet sings with a bit more vibrato, but other than that I think they have a similar style. As the album’s description says, this album is about black gay love. Serpentwithfeet is in love and he is not afraid to show it. This album is very romantic. I love how pretty and heavenly the instrumentals are. If you want to listen to a good R&B album, then check this album out.
Kota the Friend & Statik Selektah – To Kill A Sunrise: Kota is back once again with another album. I was nervous before going into this album because I was afraid it was going to be more of the same chill raps. Although it is very chill, Statik Selektah comes through with lushes jazzy boom-bap instrumentals. The change in production helps spice up what Kota has been doing, but at the same time keep the chill aesthetic his fans love. I also like how Kota sounds more focused on this album. He is laid back for the most part, but he does sound energized in tracks like “Wolves”. I really hope Kota and Statik keep working together because this album is great. I would love to see more albums released from this duo.
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED 1.5: Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats ARE BACK BABY! Earlier this month, they dropped a remix album based on their 2020 album UNLOCKED. They had an assortment of guests to provide their own spin on UNLOCKED. Artists like Smino, Joey Bada$$, Benny The Butcher, Kenny Mason, and Arlo Parks, just to name a few, came through with great features. Most of the beats were remixed by other producers like Robert Glasper, Charlie Heat, The Alchemist, and Jay Versace. With all these people helping on the album, this remix album ends unbecoming a totally different experience. Although I do like the original album even more, if you are a Denzel Curry fan this is a must-listen.
Favorite Song of The Month:
Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open: Although there were a lot of great songs this month, nothing was able to top this masterpiece. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak came through with probably the best song of the year and we still got nine more months left. They really took aspects from 70’s neo-soul music and modernized it. Doing this makes the song sound nostalgic, timeless, and forward-thinking at the same time. I am surprised with how well these two sound together. Even though they are similar in many ways, they do still find ways to compliment each other. Anderson comes through with some smooth and charismatic bars, while Bruno kills it on the chorus. His singing sounds so powerful and grand. I’m expecting big things from these two. I’m on the Silk Sonic hype train. We might be hearing a classic pretty soon.
Favorite EP of The Month:
CHIKA – ONCE UPON A TIME: CHIKA IS AMAZING! She really is such a brilliant lyricist. This conceptual EP has a very creative fairy tale theme going for it. I absolutely love how she is rapping about serious topics while constantly making fairy tale references. Before this EP, I preferred CHIKA’s singing over her rapping, but that has changed. She is an amazing rapper! The flow switches on the first track alone is mind-blowing. Her rapping is flawless. She makes it seem so easy. If she is putting all of this work in a short EP like this, it makes me wonder what a CHIKA album would sound like.
Favorite Album of The Month:
Genesis Owusu – Smiling with No Teeth: Last month I said that Genesis Owusu was my favorite discovery of the year. I gushed all over “Gold Chains”. Now that he dropped his debut album, I can now gush all over more of his music. This album is fantastic even though it was not what I expected. “Gold Chains” was such a smooth and cool track, so I didn’t expect a track like “On the Move!”. This track sounds like a Death Grips song for some reason. I like it, but I just didn’t expect it. Surprises like that happens a lot on this album. Genesis can come across as smooth, chill, aggressive, cartoony, serious, and even sensual. Genesis is such an entertaining and diverse performer. Each song on this album sounds different yet the album is still cohesive. I am absolutely in love with this album. I can’t wait to see how his career unfolds. I expect big things from Genesis.
These are my monthly favorites! Let me know what you have been listening to!
Hello everybody! I hope you all are doing well. If anybody is wondering I am pretty happy. That is mostly because of this new Aesop Rock album: Spirit World Field Guide. HOLY FUCKING SHIT MAN! This album is AMAZING!!! Aesop Rock has been in the game for over two decades now and he is still able to make impressive albums like this. With this project, Aesop was able to make a last-minute run for album of the year.
Aesop is one of the most talented and consistent artists in the underground today. He is known for having a huge vocabulary. This man is a walking dictionary. Every Aesop Rock album has S-Tier lyricism and this album is no different. Spirit World Field Guide is exactly what it sounds like. It is a field guide for the Spirit World. The first track, “Hello From The Spirit World”, introduces the listener to the album. Aesop lets the reader know that this album will guide them through this weird, crazy, and dangerous world. This world has all kinds of weird animals, as mentioned in “Coveralls”. This place is not normal. I really like how Aesop was able to create some cool imagery with his lyrics. In the song, “Dog At The Door”, Aesop sounds paranoid as hell. He is basically narrating what is going on at the moment. He uses some onomatopoeias to help engage the listeners. I’m sure Aesop’s high school English teacher is very proud of him.
Let me not forget to mention how amazing Aesop’s rapping is. This man is a spitter. On “Crystal Sword” Aesop was flowing. He was spitting bars on top of bars on top of bars. Aesop was also rapping his ass off on “Gauze”. He is just rapping about the supplies he needs to survive, yet his flows on this track get me geeking. There’s a lot of moments throughout this album that gets me geeking. The way Aesop was riding the beat on “Holy Waterfall” was insane. This man got me doing the stink face for 3 minutes and 48 seconds with that beat. Speaking of beats, there are a lot of instrumentals that make me geek out.
The production on this album is out of this world. Like literally, a lot of these beats sound like aliens made them. “Button Masher” has these crazy electric guitar riffs. Like a lot of other tracks, the instrumental is very eerie. This song sounds like a spaceship landing on a planet. Don’t ask me how I know that.“Kodokushi” is very abrasive. This track sounds futuristic. There are also tracks that sound like they came from a video game like “The Gates” and “Jumping Coffin”. The instrumentals on each track does a great job of making the listeners feel like they are no longer on earth. You feel like you are in the Spirit World. What makes this even more impressive is that Aesop helped produce the entire album. Not only is Aesop a top tier lyrist, but he is also a top tier producer too.
This album is a little bit over an hour long. It has a total of 21 songs. I usually do not enjoy listening to albums over an hour-long, but the music off of this album is honestly jaw-dropping. This album is all killer no filler. Each trach is basically as good as the last. The weird imagery in the lyrics, impressive rapping, and out of this world production helps make this album an enjoyable listen. I really can’t emphasize this enough, Spirit World Field Guide is one of the best rap albums of the year. This album is an album of the year contender. I highly recommend it! This album is a MASTAPEACE BABY!