LAST YEAR'S POST SLEPT ON HIP HOP 2016 PLAYLIST SLEPT ON HIP HOP 2017 PLAYLIST
There has been a lot of music to digest this year so far, and with a wealth of high-profile releases, it's almost impossible to listen to everything, and things get glossed over. Don't worry, I've got you covered. I've been making a playlist all quarter with songs from almost every hip hop release this year (there's a lot of stuff I missed, especially near the beginning, but I think there's a lot of good stuff in here that either was ignored on HHH or not even posted). Here's the absolute best songs I've heard that you probably haven't.
I made a post on /hiphopheads
for the whole year of 2016 with some really good hip hop tracks that were slept on and had some pretty good reception. Since 2017 started, I decided to do the same - however, I quickly found out that there's so much good hip hop that it would be impossible to make an end-of-year post and keep it under 40,000 characters if I wanted to make it in-depth. So, I've decided to make a post every quarter or so. Before I begin, here's a few notes:
I don't have a real metric for exactly how popular the song is allowed to be. I usually go off of Spotify plays, but I don't really use a number because there are songs that are massive somewhere and aren't popular here. All My Friends has like 200 million plays on Spotify and yet no one in this damn country (US) knows it exists. However, I wouldn't post it on here because the general hip hop community has probably heard it. I also won't add anything that got a good amount of votes on this sub.
I kinda cheat. If you want to listen to really good stuff without any of the work, I recommend Spotify (if you're on another music service, you might be out of luck. I used to use Songza, which is now GPM, and their playlists were absolutely the best around) playlists, specifically Fresh Finds: Fire Emoji, and Discover Weekly (if you listen to a lot of hip hop). However, I find the best stuff so I'm kinda being an aggregator of aggregates, I guess.
The list is limited to one main artist, but if the artist is featured, they can be featured as much they possibly could. If there's a song you feel like I missed, it might be because of this. It also might be because I felt the song I chose was better than the ones left out.
Also, I have a playlist I update once every week or more often with every single damn hip hop song I come across, regardless of popularity. Like the Slept On Hip Hop playlist, it’s 1 song per artist, but I’m a little more lenient if there’s an artist who releases two times in one year but far apart, or if their features make it almost like an ensemble than the feat of a single artist (i.e. 1 Train). Here it is, sitting at 10 hours of music with 200+ songs so far.
2017 ULTIMATE HIP HOP
EDIT: I don't know if any of you are into indie and pop music, but I made similar posts for both those genres too. You should check it out if you dabble in either, because I spent a bit of time on those as well.
Q1 SLEPT ON INDIE
MARCH SLEPT ON POP
Roughly in chronological order:
THEY. - U-RITE
This song is actually pretty popular on Spotify, sitting at 2.7 million plays right now, and THEY. is getting some traction lately. However, y’all have kept deciding to sleep on them, so here they are. U-RITE is one of the most unique bangers I’ve heard this year, marked by an aggressive siren that permeates the whole track, flows that are as hectic as the start-stop nature of the song, and lyrics that are way better than they have any need or right to be. Their debut album Nu Religion: HYENA is 100% worth a listen as well, and They. are an artist to watch.
Busu - I’ve Been Coughing Blood
“Blood red stains, don’t worry about that,” Busu sings in a hazy, druggy disposition. Light guitar strumming makes up for the majority of the instrumental with a melody that would make the cut on an acoustic Beach Slang album. Busu raps like a more reserved Lil Uzi Vert on You Was Right, but with the dark, moody lyrical themes of something like Uzi’s XO Tour Lif3. In terms of bending genre, Busu makes it seem nothing but natural.
Loyle Carner - No Worries (feat. Rebel Kleff & Jehst)
Straight out of South London, Loyle Carner isn’t changing the game, but he’s giving us music that’s painfully real. Over a classic piano beat, Carner is joined by Rebel Kleff and Jehst and they each kill their verses, simply put. Favorite line in the song has got to be “Chasing payments is a blatant but we're staying patient, pumping product from this basement trying to make a statement.”
Cousin Stizz - Living Like Khaled
It’s not rare to have a song blow up based on hook alone, but it’s rare for that song to have verses that feel as good, if not better, than that hook. Cousin Stizz fills this song with one liners, and brings flames throughout the whole track.
Jonwayne - Out of Sight
Another artist that’s got quite a bit of hype on this sub, but nowhere near enough. Out of Sight is one of the highlights of Jonwayne’s new Rap Album Two - it’s an unwavering self-reflection that drones on and on, depressingly so, to a repetitive and simple beat nearly devoid of percussion that eventually makes way for a symphony of synths. Before that, however, Jonwayne struggles in his pondering, delivering phenomenal lines such as “This is my work but it was just a diversion/When I was kicking the curb/Feels like I'm sinning when I be seeing the light/Cause now I'm working on this living just to rap about life/That's some backwards commitment” and “I'm just a man playing god with my thoughts/Over pans and pots/These scotch rocks and acting like Novocaine” He then brings the heat with one-liners like “Pre-apocalyptic LA, everyday” and “And as I hit the nuke button once again I can see that I don't have a single friend.” Seriously, check this one out, it’s just beautiful.
Rejjie Snow - Crooked Cops (feat. Tish Hyman)
You might not be able to tell with the beautiful isometric art for the single cover, but Rejjie Snow is angry on Crooked Cops. Backed by a smooth instrumental to contrast his fierce delivery, Rejjie spits lines like "Black and white, ignite my rights, these crooked cops, they hate my sight." Tish Hyman brings a great bridge to the formula, and the song ends with Rejjie Snow giving a justified anti-All Lives Matter rant.
Kaiydo - Jumpin'
Kaiydo is straight up about to be the king of pop rap, and Jumpin' might be his finest work yet. He provides my favorite chorus of 2017 so far, doesn't skimp on the verses, and rides over a beat that was simply born for him. This track was destined to bless college parties everywhere, and it's absolutely criminal this track isn't dominating the airwaves.
Two-9 - Rackades (feat. Curtis Williams, Key! & Jace)
I kept going back to this track, wondering whether to include it because I had quite the hard time describing what made it so appealing to me. It’s got all the makings of a track that would bubble under the underground, with a simple yet recognizable beat, a catchy hook, and some fire verses. And, honestly, I think that’s all that matters sometimes.
Wifisfuneral - Three-4our
You’ve probably heard of this rapper on the come up. I got quite a few requests for this on my last post, and when he dropped When Hell Falls earlier this year, I knew I had to put him on. He’s not someone who gets talked about often, and Three-4our is one of my favorite songs this year so far, so I decided to throw it on the list. The instrumental is as dreamy as Wifisfuneral’s echoed vocals, and it’s absolutely a product of the 3-4 am setting the song describes.
The Last Artful, Dodgr & Neill Von Tally - Good / Gravy
Waviest synths on the list. I don’t know much about the artists who surround this track, but I do know it’s something to be reckoned with. Joining the trend of dance R&B, these musicians add their own weird brand of experimental pop to defy convention. The first half, Good, is a shaky, sloshed, and drenched mess. There’s a beautiful transition to the much happier Gravy, which explores this dizzying high-pitched instrumental that’s nothing short of heaven.
Blänk - Perfecto
The song starts off with a synth-drum combo that sounds more like a dance pop song than anything that would have rapping on it. One half of Blänk comes in, spitting something that sounds like a Latino-influenced Young Thug. This is quite the surprise coming from a group that spends half their time in Atlanta and the other half in Sweden. There’s a female vocalist, the second half of the group, the compliments the other’s verses. If you ever wondered what Young Thug would sound like on a dance track, here’s your chance.
Dave B. - Kandi
For those who like Smino, Goldlink, and Amine. Kandi is an inescapably smooth record, and it’s not just the beat. Dave B. delivers sultry vocals, which especially shine over the chorus where everything comes together. ”You just like candy, for me, you’re sweet enough,” he croons.
BROCKHAMPTON - Cannon
Yeah, I put BROCKHAMPTON in my 2016 post. I’ll do it again this year. Cannon is perhaps the most full-fledged track that BROCKHAMPTON has put out; I don’t say that because of the fact that’s lengthier than most songs on All-American Trash. I say that because Cannon sounds like a product of the suburbs, an entirely placeable vision, crafted with finality. Kevin Abstract’s been inching more towards pop music, but I saw him a few weeks ago, and he played an unreleased track that he described as his imaginary collaboration with Dr. Dre. That’s not a one-off exploration - on Cannon, it’s undeniable the west coast influence is there. But, the group hasn’t abandoned their foray into indie territory, and here, there’s a perfect union between the two. Rounding out the track is Bearface on the outro, delivering the teen angst that fits perfectly as the outro.
Father - Hands
HANDS ON SIGHT. Father’s starting to get recognition, and his album I’m a Piece of Shit helped him get a bit more. Hands may be one of the best things he’s done so far. Sparse instrumentation, an insanely hype yet mellow chorus, and some rapid-fire verses that are as odd as they are fluid.
Ecco2k - GT-R
Featured on Yung Lean’s Af1’s, Ecco2k makes his own brand of airy hip hop. It’s as braggadocious as Lean’s music, but decidedly more reserved. GT-R is something I dare to call soothing.
Azida - God & the Devil
God & the Devil begins with a pleasant piano instrumental, but that’s short-lived. In come the horns, the pitch-shifted laughs, and Azida’s angsty verses. Is this too cringey to be considered “good”? I still don’t know, but the Ariel cover simultaneously makes me laugh and ponder. Anyway, the bass slaps.
Saga - Karma (feat. Thelonious Martin & Freddie Gibbs)
This is the most slept on to artist popularity ratio I’ve seen. This song got a measly 10 upvotes in this sub, and it’s phenomenal. Classic soulful instrumental and just straight spitting, no chorus. Everyone kills their verses here, and while Gibbs is obviously the main draw, the rest of the song is no slouch either. I was ecstatic when this came up as a song suggestion on my Spotify, and it lived up to the hype.
The Sauceboys - Seth Klein (Ed’s Request)
“I fucked around the past six summers, kinda like a kid but the kid’s still running.” Seth Klein is a no-bullshit track, with a classic hip hop beat, and an extremely interesting use of sampling using tidbits from an old tv show recording(?) as layered vocals.
Thievery Corporation - Fight to Survive (feat. Mr. Lif)
Your first thought is probably either “Thievery Corporation released a new album this year?” or “who tf is Thievery Corporation?” Regardless of which camp you’re in, you gotta at least check this song out. “The energy might become infectious if you let this seep into your synapses and perhaps it’s just the birth of an era, a world much better than the one you found on the ground of your endeavor.” After you’re done, go delve into Thievery Corporation’s discography.
blackwave. - Flow (feat. Caleborate
Caleborate is a self-described “simple man, my pleasures consist of writing rhymes, drinking beers and sake bombs.” Reminiscent of Chance at times, channeling 80s hip hop at others, he graces the tracks with, well, flow. That’s what the song is about right, and his fragmented flow is a perfect foil to Jay.’s more periodic structure on the second verse. And it’s all over a quite complicated and quite nice instrumental.
Avelino - Energy (feat. Stormzy & Skepta)
Hopefully after More Life, HHH will finally realize there’s a world outside of the US. I’m 100% shaky on UK rap myself, but Energy needs no introduction. It’s a song that starts off at 100 and stays there. It’s a dream lineup, and it’s undeniable that they do nothing less than kill this monster of a beat. Avelino does more than hold his own here, and it’s rare than someone on the come up can hang with two established artists and not seem out of place.
Vice - Firetruck (feat. Sage the Gemini & TK Kravitz)
Um, yeah. If you guys aren’t familiar with the sample this is quite an odd song. The track in question is 11 by a K-pop producer who sampled a baby making random noises to create the unorthodox electronic track. It’s a crazy combination that works, but not without any contention. I’m very sure this song will either be annoying or amazing to you, and I think it works in small doses, like in this song. I definitely can’t take the original full song, but I think it’s a smart song that does a good job or breaking the mold of modern electronic music. To get back to the hip hop track in hand, Sage the Gemini is an obvious party-starter, and the chorus is just begging to be played at whatever weird club would play this.
Lasafro - Incantation (feat. Uno Hype)
Okay, this isn’t totally hip hop. Most of this indie R&B song is soft, immersive, and piano-dominated. However, there’s a verse that starts at around halfway that hits all the right notes. It’s part singy-songy, part regretful banger, and it might be one of the most natural guest verses I’ve heard, and it serves as the centerpiece of the track. It’s not a song with a verse tacked on, it’s a story that was written around this admission, and as a result, it’s not short, it’s not sweet, and it’s not awkward.
Tha Ynoe - King Cobra
I have a lot of unconventional and experimental hip hop on this list, but sometimes it’s good to just listen to something that plays around with the medium of just a beat and bars. There’s an underlying hunger here, and it’s quite possible to make comparisons to other rappers like Eminem, but it’s not necessary. There’s something about how Tha Ynoe enunciates that makes it sound like he’s inching closer and closer to the mic, skulking around with it with like a weapon. It’s unabashedly edgy, but endearing.
Teddy Fantum - Infinite / Vanishing Act
Another two-parter here. The first half, Infinite is a hectic cry for help, and Vanishing is an angst-fueled warning. The two dark hip hop tunes are linked together by a Travi$ Scott-esque autotuned plea followed by a horrifying local news tidbit about the harrowing life of a black youth.
Mojo - Old Me
By far the defining aspect of this banger is the brilliant sample of prog rock band Yes’s Roundabout, an absolute rock classic. If you’re not into that, you probably know it as the “To Be Continued” song. Listen to Yes even if you just dabble in rock, because they’re great. Aside from that, this song just slaps. “I can’t go back to being broke, that’s the old me,” the chorus barks.
Madijuwon - Hold Up (feat. Lordapex)
You probably recognize the sample here, it’s Childish Gambino on 3005! It makes for a great hook to make the composition around, and much like Mura Masa or Flume, Madijuwon creates something here that’s wholly dynamic and lush. Lordapex delivers some dope verses, and honestly, this track is just charismatic and fun.
Hovey Benjamin - Sweet Sixteen (feat. Marvel Alexander)
With a sugary hook (Sweet Sixteen!) and a guy who’s undeniable Drake influence is something explicitly mentioned here, it’s easy to draw comparisons to the wave of pop rap dominating the airwaves. And, there’s no contention there. What matters is how beautiful the instrumental is, and how well both Hovey Benjamin and Marvel Alexander ride it.
Gene Fisher - Static (feat. Kaytranada)
Spanning 1:31, Static is a brief track, barely enough to constitute a song. With that minute and a half, Gene Fisher and Kaytranada manage to expertly craft a rapid-fire hit that’s made for smashing that repeat button. Kaytranada does his magic as usual, and Fisher charges ahead, slowing down over the course of the song, but never wavering in level of hype.
Amazumi - V for Venom
I wish I was able to find more female rappers, because I’m a bit annoyed at the underrepresentation of women in hip hop. There’s obviously Nicki, and smaller artists like Noname and Snow Tha Product hold down the indie lane. That’s why I was so excited to share this absolute headbanger of a track from Belgian rapper Amazumi. From the get go, you know the heat is going to be bought, with a rough intro paired with some trap percussion. The chorus is an industrial cacophony, taking cues from dubstep and grime. Amazumi may not be the most eloquent, or deliver the greatest verses, but as a whole product it’s just fire.
J’von - yellow beanie
Like many of these tracks, I’m sucked in by the album covers. It’s counterproductive, but as record collectors know, if you don’t know the music, it can be the most inviting aspect of music. J’von’s yellow beanie features a cutesy style that looks like it’s ripped right out of Adventure Time, and the song doesn't sound that far off either. It’s a stripped down R&B song with some rapping, and it’s complimented by a soft guitar, an instrument almost impresent from hip hop at times. I’m reminded of Kevin Abstract, my own childhood (with a glorious reference to Camp Lazlo) and a track like yellow beanie represents a successful foray into what melding genres can do for hip hop.
Tennyson & Mr. Carmack - Thursday (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid)
This isn’t hip hop at all, but fuck it man, Miguel and BJ get posted here often anyway, right? Mr. Carmack produced the masterful I’m Juiced I featured on my last list, and you all probably know BJ the Chicago Kid. Thursday is the final song in Tennyson and Mr. Carmack’s Tuesday Wednesday Thursday series, and perhaps the best one. It’s a complex yet spacey blend of dance and R&B that takes a jazz lens to dance instrumentation, allowing for some crisp and fluid drumming to take place on the bombastic chorus.
London O’Connor - OATMEAL
This guy is the real deal. I saw him last month at Rough Trade NYC after stumbling upon him on my Discover Weekly playlist, and his level of vision for such a small artist is remarkable. He rapped and sang on top of a cube of light that changed colors and what faces of the cubes lit up when he jumped on it. The rest of the stage and room was in complete darkness, and when he performed this track, Oatmeal, the people knew every word. The track itself is a beautiful combination of chamber pop from someone like Porches, the sing-rap combo of Kevin Abstract, and the classic Roland electronic sound that both shapes the sound and identity of the music. It’s so happy, and I can’t help but dance to the tune of London talking about how something as trivial as someone eating his oatmeal could be on his life. London O’Connor was homeless for two years, roaming around from friend’s apartment to friend’s apartment. He wore the same yellow sweater every day, which he wore to the show. He talked about how he would bring a Tascam recorder to him at parties so he could pretend to be a captain and whisper into the recorder to help him dissociate from the sheer awkwardness of social situations. He shouted out a guy in the audience who gave London his Netflix password. There’s something here, a vision on the scale of rappers like Chance the Rapper and Mick Jenkins, who know exactly what they are doing and how to achieve it. I do not lightly say this, but London O’ Connor is going to be massive.
Parquet Courts - Captive of the Sun (feat. Bun B)
This is an absolute dream made in heaven. I know for a fact Brooklyn-based Parquet Courts are still ecstatic about this collaboration. They’ve teased it for a while, and it’s still shocking how cohesive it is. Captive of the Sun was one of the standouts in their 2016 record Human Performance, a record that felt decidedly Brooklyn, and what better fit than Bun B to spit a verse on an edited version of the definitive swan song to the sheer amount of New York noise?
Emay - Yesu (feat. Fae & L-SPEX)
“I’m the two shoes thrown at George W. that never missed, my freedom is something that I’ll never risk and if we entered severance, I would Mt. Everest, just to get back I would strap a stack of elephants.” Strap in, because those are just the opening lines of the song. It’s rare to hear such evocative lyrics from an upcoming rapper on an early project, but Emay holds zero punches. There’s more where that came from, and with a fierce beat to back it up, Emay is a Canadian rapper to watch out for.
Ella Mai - Anymore
Ella Mai’s had help from Ty Dolla $ign in the past, but on Anymore, the only thing she has to thank is her Rihanna-esque flow and a DJ Mustard signing. It’s a seamless mixture of R&B and rap, and it’s probably the standout on her new EP, Ready.
Cadence Weapon - My Crew (Woooo) [feat. Kaytranada]
Can Kaytranada be stopped? The answer to that is probably no. My Crew is Cadence Weapon’s return after five years of silence, and it’s not something to scoff at. Kaytranada throws up a slimy beat, and Cadence Weapon comfortably handles it. He switches between a speedy and a slow flow, and both make Kaytranada’s instrumental shine.
Jay IDK - Blame My Friends (The Gang)
Jay IDK and his HXLY movement have been winding up, and this year, he opened for Isaiah Rashad (and he was dope when I saw him!). On Blame My Friends, his fellowship with TDE is unmistakable. There’s definite Q influence here, and you’re almost waiting for him to drop a YAWK here or there. Regardless, Jay IDK drops some great verses and a hype hook.
NicX - The Sun (feat. 6LACK)
Y’all know 6LACK, right? He’s featured on a joint with Cleveland rapper NicX. It’s a glowing track with some sunny production, and both NicX and 6LACK sound quite nice here.
Ashnikko & Raf Riley - Bubblegum (feat. Avelino)
Ashnikko’s first single is a triumph. She spits like a chiller Charli XCX, and Raf Riley cooks up the perfect environment for Ashnikko to deliver a plethora of catchy one-liners. And when Avelino finally arrives, he brings the heat with a short but satisfying conclusion to the song.
Ty Senoj - Flirt (feat. Goldchain)
Tropical pop has been invading the music world, and it was only a matter of time before it really started getting played around with in hip hop. Flirt is a quite catchy exploration of this, with some dreamy autotune and an instrumental that helps the song reach the heights of rap pop.
Okay(K) - Love Six
Love Six is a cute little song with a chill beat. It has a level of innocent vulnerability that strikes you immediately, especially with the quiet, reserved delivery of the song. “Um, I saw you from afar, and um, I don’t know who you are, but you look beautiful to me, love six, a suitable disease,” Okay(K) raps.
Azizi Gibson - Nintendo King
PLAYING MARIO PARTY WITH MY THOTS. All of you are lying of you don’t love Nintendo. Gibson is one of the best new school rappers on the come up, and Nintendo King is just more proof of that. Videogame references are understandably popular in hip hop, but on here, Gibson uses it as a vessel of sorts, rife with metaphors that are downright hilarious at times (his use of Mario Kart: Double Dash is everything). Tuka & 8sho also get an opportunity to add some iconic Mario sound effects to round everything out.
Charli XCX - Lipgloss (feat. CupcakKe)
Okay, I really almost didn’t put this one on here. HHH is not one for explicit depictions of sexual actions as performed by women, but this needs to be heard. Charli XCX recently released the fantastic mixtape Number 1 Angel, a taste of what’s up next for her debut album. The outro, Lipgloss, is divisive even amongst the pop community, and CupcakKe is even more so. Bar for bar, however, it’s almost undeniable to write CupcakKe off as a meme rapper. On Lipgloss, she spits for her life over an extremely unconventional SOPHIE and A. G. Cook-produced beat. It’s what many fans have grown to call bubblegum pop, and it was only a matter of time before experimental pop darling SOPHIE produced a hip hop beat. The chorus is downright infectious, and if it’s a sign of what’s to come for all artists involved, I’m excited.
J.I.D - 8701 (feat. 6LACK)
“Your best shit ain’t better than my worst shit, yeah.” See a trend here? 6LACK has been everywhere recently. 8701 is a smooth hip hop track, blessed by a minimalistic yet beautiful guitar-driven instrumental from Childish Major. Both 6LACK and J.I.D. give some solid verses over the sub-2 minute track, and then it collapses into nothingness.
Ill Camille - Warrior / Sankofa (feat. Camp Lo & Deion)
“I said, this is for my queens and young Gs in every hood, no brakes lil’ homie, just push.” No brakes certainly describes how Ill Camille handles this song. Joined by familiar faces Camp Lo, and a new face, Deion. The three artists add flair to the already-incredible Ill Camille, and it makes for one of the standouts of her new album, Heirloom.
Yellow Claw - Stacks (feat. Quavo, Tinie Tempah & Cesqeaux)
A song two years in the making, Stacks is a hard trap song from the Dutch DJ duo. Famous for “Shotgun,” this time they’re joined by Quavo and Tinie Tempah, who honestly don’t deliver verses I would consider good, but I don’t really care because the song itself is made to be blasted at festivals worldwide. If someone doesn’t spill a pint of beer on you, it’s not the right environment to go crazy.
Jean Michael - Weed & Memories
Backed by an emotionally charged guitar, Weed & Memories is a song that could easily go awry, sounding more corny than sad. But, there’s something really painful about this, losing someone you love. And the lyrics really seal the deal, revelling in their potency, with lines such as “I’mma get smoked up till I don’t come down, Lord I ain’t afraid to fly now, wish I could go away so I can see my angel, trying to get high enough to see my angel” and “Me and my mama arguing like every fucking day, I think she seeing you every time she see my face.” Jean Michael really characterizes loss in this song, and you can feel it.
Devin the Dude - Are You Goin’ My Way (Feat. Tony Mac & Lisa Luv)
Devin the Dude has been in the game for a minute - more like, a few decades, actually. He joins a rare echelon of 90s rappers who still put out music constantly, and joins an even rarer group who release music that is still quality after all these years. Are You Goin’ My Way is not the most hype song on the album, or the most lyrically impressive, but what it lacks in complexity, it gains in style. This is possibly the smoothest song on this list, and I’m very impressed at just how visceral the production feels, and it’s clear that Devin the Dude still has a lot to say and I’m more than down to listen to it.
Murs - Shakespeare on the Low (feat. Rexx Life Raj)
If you’re unfamiliar with both of these artists, I’ll just say you gotta check them both out. Murs is a prolific rapper off of Strange Music who’s been rapping since the late 90s. Rexx Life Raj is rapper from Berkeley, CA, who just released an album last year, and has released a few solid singles since. The two collab on this ode to Romeo and Juliet, a winding track off of Murs’ newest album, Captain California.
A.CHAL - To the Light
To the Light is airy, spacey, and light-headed at times. It’s a song that’s clearly inspired by psych rock, but doesn’t wear its influence on its sleeves. It’s interesting to see such a guitar-heavy hip hop song, but I’m fascinated by the genre blending, as usual. On here, A.CHAL uses the hook as much as he can, droning on and on, creating a hazy mood that invades the entire track. It’s effective, because I’m spacing out even trying to finish this writeup.
mansionz - dennis rodman (feat. Dennis Rodman)
Yeah, that Dennis Rodman. He has a little cameo on the outro of this song dedicated to his name, from an artist that’s as ludicrous as its name. The duo mansionz is Mike Posner of “Cooler than Me” and “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” fame, and blackbear, a rapper who’s break into the mainstream comes in the form of writing Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend. That in mind, what the hell is this song gonna sound like with those resumes collabing with Dennis Rodman? The result is fire. The instrumental is an infectious one, funky and poppy, and Mike Posner surprises with some fitting verses. This is a song you can expect to climb up the charts, and rightfully so.
Apathy - Fly Joints
There’s a special place in heaven for producers who use unorthodox, rough samples in their songs and make it work. On Fly Joints, the hard-hitting drums and piano are accompanied by the scratching sound that sounds like a very loud wire tie being zipped. It’s nearly an instrumental, with a vocal sample being thrown in, but it’s one that’s compelling despite being repetitious.
Sean Leon - Charge it to the Wav
Sean Leon loves Travi$ Scott, and there’s no denying that. On Charge it to the Wav, however, he quickly makes you regret writing him off as a copycat. His flow zips around the song, making the instrumental and the listener feel slow for not being able to catch up. And even in the slower sections, there’s something really fascinating about the way he chooses to have his presence, as if he’s purposefully stirring up as much dissonance as possible.
Sadistik - Free Spirits
“Let’s put the cult in culture” about sums up what Sadistik is about, but only by name and lyrics alone. Free Spirits is a more rock-oriented take on cloud rap, and damn does it make for compelling music. At its best, it’s the entirety of Warlord turned up to 11, and Sadistik spits over the reversed, spacey beat, like he’s simultaneously got nothing and everything to lose.
Show Me the Body - In A Grave (feat. Denzel Curry, Eartheater & Pierre Botardo)
Last year’s Body War was perhaps the best hardcore album released in a long time. On Corpus I, they’re accompanied by other musicians, including a few rappers. In A Grave is a barebones track, channeling Death Grips through the lens of clipping. Somehow, this makes the track more raw than most Death Grips music, mixed in a way that makes it sound like it was recorded in a grimy Queens basement, with an aggravated Denzel Curry up in your face, spit flying as he spits fire.
WebsterX - Underground (feat. Dem Yuut)
Last week, WebsterX released his debut album, Daymares. It’s his chance to carve his way into the mainstream, and he uses it to craft a wealth of music that balances bangers and revelations. Underground is a reflection on fame, a prayer that he won’t forget his roots.
Daye Jack - Finish Line
Daye Jack raps like a red Puma tracksuit. Finish Line might be the most 80s thing I’ve heard out of the decade, and it’s very easy to draw comparison to Bruno Mars’ recent output. However, Daye Jack funnels the thumping flow of something like Rapper’s Delight and adds heavy synths, the only thing that dates the song.
Homeboy Sandman - Bamboo
If you got lost in the wave of singles and albums released on Friday, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Homeboy Sandman dropped an album called Veins on Friday too. Bamboo is a rapid fire slew of bars, a display of proficiency as much as it is a dope song. He doesn’t exactly ride the beat, instead using it as a loose basis for his insane repertoire of vocabulary. “Now the kid is sicker than Azazel with a nasal drippin’ into it, nervous at your service, motherfucker, free the slaves and save the union, move some units, keep it moving like a trucker,” he snaps.
Amir Obe - CIGARETTES
Amir Obe just dropped None of the Clocks Work, an EP that shows off his hazy singing and rapping over some deep synths and crisp drums. On CIGARETTES, he delivers what might be his most pure rap track on the project, a dark and smoky performance that perfectly compliments the subtle but catchy chorus.
Destructo - Renegade (feat. Freddie Gibbs)
Destructo has been delivering some rap bangers over the last here. His new EP features Problem, Ty Dolla $ign, ILoveMakonnen, Pusha T, and E-40 and Too $hort on my personal favorite track of his, All Nite. Renegade is a rare occurrence, with Freddie Gibbs going off on a rather electronic beat.
Joyner Lucas - Ultrasound
Ultrasound is a song that bounces around from flow to flow with a loose percussion-driven instrumental that allows Joyner Lucas to switch it up gracefully yet arrestingly many times on the 3 minute track. The instrumental itself is part tropical pop, part Father, and it’s all fire.
Tom Misch - Day 2: Feeling (feat. Novelist)
Tom Misch blessed us with a 5 song project called 5 Day Mischon, which obviously got completely buried by the onslaught of Kendrick and company. Day 2: Feeling is smooth, with the latter half being instrumental and the former including two brief verses from Novelist. If you don’t know Novelist, that’s okay. He’s a UK rapper that was featured on both Baauer and Skepta’s most recent albums and has been slowly climbing the rap scene. His verses here may be short, but they’re punchy and complete.