Hello guys, girls and everything in between and welcome to the first ever weekly round-up. Here is where I will talk about some of the notable things that have happened regarding hip-hop music. Due to the endless news cycle coupled with rap Twitter and Instagram, I will miss a few things, but I will make sure I get the important stuff. When I say noteworthy, I don’t mean tabloid topics; I mean things that actually concern the most important thing that sometimes gets lost in the circus: the music. The round-up is more of a freeform category; it’ll be less formal and more of a chance for me to get to flex on you bitches. Just playin’. I love all my readers. Without further ado, let’s cook up some hot takes!
More projects that came out that are worth listening to
This week was a big release album release week for hip-hop, and unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to sit with two projects from artists who have garnished a lot of critical acclaim over the course of each of their careers. Here they are so you can check them out on your own time, I’ll (hopefully) eventually get to them
Lupe was on a fast track to becoming a GOAT early on in his career, but label turmoil, unfortunately, steered his career well off of the greener pastures it was originally destined. Most of his projects since the release of The Cool have been met with mixed reception from both his fans and his critics, but one thing that has never been in question is his reputation of one of the greatest lyricists of his generation throughout the entirety of his career. If you’re all about the bars, I’m sure you’ll get plenty on this project.
This hip-hop “boy-band” is coming off a fantastic 2017 where they released three projects in what is known as the Saturation trilogy. All three of them were met with plenty of fanfare and were beloved by music critics for their unique approach to the genre. A founding member was kicked out for allegations of sexual misconduct and verbal/mental abuse three months before this release, so this will be the first release since Saturation III and the first without any contributions from Ameer Vann. If you like abstract, eclectic, different hip-hop, these guys are for you.
- Over half of the songs on the Hot 100 feature hip-hop artists
- 9 out of the top 10 songs feature hip-hop artists
- Eminem appears 6x as the most represented artist on the charts
- Other well-represented hip-hop artists include Drake (5x), Khalid (4x), Travis Scott (3x) Cardi B (3x) and Juice WRLD (3x)
What this means:
- In old news, hip-hop is the most prominent genre of music in the world, and it’s not even close.
- Eminem is still a huge deal even in as a hip-hop artist in his mid-40s and after a few low-quality album releases in the past few years. As the creator of the “Stan,” it’s hard to argue with the fact that his fans are among the most dedicated fans in the music industry by propelling him above the commercial titan that is Drake.
- Khalid is the next biggest star in contemporary R&B without even releasing an album so far this year. He’s been capitalizing off of the slow burn of his incredibly successful debut album American Teen by appearing on numerous movie soundtracks and releasing fire loose singles throughout 2018.
- Cardi B is the hottest artist in New York. She’s still dominating the top end of the HOT 100 even after Nicki’s album (and the media firestorm that came with it) blew over. A new queen is sitting in the sacred throne of hip-hop’s mecca.
- Juice WRLD is showing that Soundcloud Rap is a very viable subgenre despite what some radio personalities say by appearing three times on the chart months after Lucid Dreams was released. Proof that hip-hop still has a solid base in youth culture as it always has.
#TBT: 5 years ago this week, Drake released his third studio album Nothing Was the Same. It’s his best album ever.
The consensus is that Drake’s classic album is Take Care. I say different. I believe that the contemporary hip-hop media as a whole anointed Take Care as his classic album when there were questions about whether he actually has a classic or not following the release of his sub-par Views album. The only problem with anointing NWTS was that it hadn’t aged enough at the time. Now as it has been officially five years since it’s release, a generation concerning the hip-hop timeframe, it’s time to re-evaluate this masterful piece of work.
Let’s compare: NWTS was undeniably the album of the year in the year that it came out; it’s only real feasible competition came from his nemesis Pusha T’s My Name is My Name release. Yeezus was too divisive amongst the culture (fire in my opinion), and Born Sinner didn’t get the widespread acclaim from the hip-hop community that it might have deserved. Take Care came out in the same year as Watch the Throne, Section.80, Live.Love.A$AP, and Cole World: The Sideline Story. One could make a legitimate argument that it is not even in the top 3 releases of 2011.
NWTS is also Drakes most concise body of work. If you play that shit today, it sounds like one long song from top to bottom. The transitions are flawless, 40’s production is immaculate all the way through, and Drake strikes the perfect balance of rapping and singing, picking and choosing all of the right pockets to display his remarkable versatility as an artist. Take Care, while it’s many great moments are arguably just as great, is a bogged down, lengthy tracklist that doesn’t have much of an album flow to it. Take Care is more of a rap album, and while it displays some of his best rapping performances ever in “Lord Knows (feat. Rick Ross)” & “The Ride,” he cancels them out with the fuckboy anthem “Marvin’s Room” and “Headlines,” which contains multiple threats to catch bodies that would score negatively on a bout-that-life believability scale from 1-Bobby Shmurda.
Let this be known: I don’t hate Take Care. It is objectively a great rap album and the album that announced to the world that he was here to hover around the top spot of the rap game for years to come. However, Nothing Was the Same was the album that took him not only to the tip-top of the rap game but also crossed him over as a pop megastar with the release of “Hold On We’re Going Home.” It was after the release of NWTS that Drake became bigger than rap. He hasn’t released a project of the same quality since, and he hasn’t looked back, as you’ve already seen with the charts. Aptly titled, you can say that this was his plan all along.
Songs that don’t suck: loosie appreciation
This song got a lot of hype behind a snippet of Drake taking a shot at another rapper just like the last Drake/French Montana collab did, but this one actually lived up to it. French proves once again that he has one of the best ears for beats in the industry and brings Drake along for the ride for slightly longer than he needed to get his Yeezy diss off. French = architect + Drake = promoter. A fantastic formula pays off with practice.
An artist that is relatively new to the spotlight after being promoted heavily by Charlamagne Tha God, Pardison Fontaine drops his latest single with a long-time collaborator that happens to be the hottest artist in the biggest radio market in the United States. The Newburgh, NY native caught the perfect storm with this record; not his nicest performance bar-wise, but with his energetic delivery plus Cardi on her A-game, this record should help complete his ascendancy in the NYC hip-hop scene.
This young and hyphy Bay Area crew are back with another single preceding their next (and potentially last as a group) project Gangin II; a follow up from their well-received debut project Gangin that came out earlier this year. Every member of the crew has their own unique style, the hook is infectious, and despite the violent nature of the lyrical content, the song has an upbeat, feel-good Cali vibe to it all the way through. Hopefully, they can work it out and stick together as a unit to give us more than just this next album.
Album Releases Week of 9/28/18
Lil Wayne – The Carter V [EXPECTANT SCORE: 80-90]
Logic – Young Sinatra IV [EXPECTANT SCORE: 65-75]
Kanye West – Yandhi [EXPECTANT SCORE: 60-95]
Kevin Gates – Luca Brasi 3
SOB x RBE – Gangin II
Well, there you have it, the first hip-hop weekly roundup is complete. I won’t tell the lie that I’m going to do this round up this thoroughly every time. I will eventually cover all of this stuff in the podcast with maybe a segment or two spread out in-between album review drop days. Hope you enjoyed at least some of this shit. Thank you and have a happy and safe thirsty Thursday!