The Weeknd finally sheds his "mysterious" image and makes his best project in five years.
Earlier this week I came across a tweet from a music blog hyping a new artist as "mysterious," and for a second I thought I had travelled back in time to 2011.
With the release of this summer's Still Brazy, YG proved once and for all that he's more than just a very talented gangster rapper-- he's also one of the best album curators in hip hop. Those who thought the conceptual heft of My Krazy Life was just a fluke were silenced by a second consecutive album that mastered pacing, beat selection, and narrative skill.
Before we dive into Gucci Mane’s second mixtape in as many weeks, let’s take a quick look at just how much good Gucci has done for the world this year: there’s the way he pronounced Kevin Durant on “Good Drank” (or made bullets “tap dance” on Kodak Black’s “Vibin in this Bih”); “First Day Out Tha Feds” is a classic; the reunio
Fetty Wap hasn't exactly been quiet in 2016, dropping over 30 songs before this week (not counting the ones on Money, Hoes & Flows, his fun, albeit fleeting, July tape with PNB Rock). What he surely hasn't been though, is dominant, especially in comparison to his Rookie of the Year-worthy performance in 2015.
In November 2013, Q-Tip announced that A Tribe Called Quest's "FINAL 2 joints" would be a pair of opening slots on Kanye West's "Yeezus" tour in New York. Then this past March, Phife Dawg passed away at 45. Tribe seemed one commemorative box set away from a done deal, but here we are in the waning months of 2016 with the privilege of listening to and talking about a new album of theirs.
As of last week, it's been three years since French Montana first announced Mac & Cheese 4. Initially planned as a mixtape, then as a proper follow-up to his disheartening debut album Excuse My French, the project eventually plopped into our laps after years of delays as... a mixtape. This was supposed to be huge.
Tinashe's Aquarius, released over two years ago, stands as one of the most inspiring debut albums of the past few years, and it did well to cement singer/songwriter's place as one of the most promising rising artists in R&B.
Group albums and mixtapes are a bit like ensemble comedies: eclectic groups of stars are given equal screen time, plot and cohesion oftentimes take a backseat to laughs, and there's far more clunkers than classics in each category.
Rarely do rugs get pulled out from underneath individuals with the speed and brutality of Meek Mill's Summer 2015 L-athon.
Back in the day, the idea of the "rapper turned singer" was a tricky line to toe; a Cee-Lo Green or a group like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were just a few early examples of artists who excelled at blurring the lines of singer and rapper, but when say a Ja Rule or a Nelly got a bit too indulgent with their ability to harmonize, fans would seemingly always manage to turn on them and leave their care
Everybody Looking was an almost perfectly-executed comeback album. Everything about it, from its quick turnaround, to Mike Will Made It's elephantine stomp, to the clear changes in Gucci Mane's voice and rhymes, to his triumphant posture on the cover, painted it as a triumphant return of mythological proportions.
Since blowing up with XXX in 2011, Danny Brown's enjoyed an odd sort of fame. He's become a huge mainstay in the summer music festival circuit thanks to turnt anthems like "Blunt After Blunt," "I Will," and the second half of Old, which was entirely composed of EDM-adjacent bangers.
Nothing is as it seems with Mick Jenkins, the 25-year old ginger ale-loving, water enthusiast hailing from the Southside of Chicago.
For as many amazing concept and/or narrative-driven albums hip hop has produced, there are just as many that boldly proclaim ambitious themes but find it hard to stay on-topic.
If you had told me five years ago that one day, Mac Miller would be making expansive jazz-rap concept albums about dating one of the country's most talented and attractive pop stars, I would have either called you crazy or offed myself before I arrived in a future that held such a terrifying prospect.
It's all too perfect that, amidst a turbulent month for generational debates in hip hop, Isaiah Rashad dropped an album that's interspersed with skits delivered by an old head.
If there's one thing Travis Scott excels at, it's sounding cool. There was the grungy glam sound he lent to Yeezus tracks "New Slaves" and "Guilt Trip," his first introduction to many of us, and his defining moment in the Kanye West think tank spotlight.
Some artists pay homage to their idols with covers albums, Young Thug does it with No, My Name Is Jeffery, an album that actually features two of the heroes he names, but not on the tracks named after them.
Vince Staples' music has always been jarring and arresting, but that's usually thanks to his voice and his words more than any of the instrumentals he chooses. Sure, 2014's "Blue Suede" is built around a synth line that sounds like an air-raid siren, but is that more hair-raising than hearing a 21-year-old rap the line, "Hope I outlive the red roses"?
"Boys do cry, but I don’t think I shed a tear for a good chunk of my teenage years. It’s surprisingly my favorite part of my life so far. Surprising, to me, because the current phase is what I was asking the cosmos for when I was a kid. Maybe that part had it’s rough stretches too, but in my rearview mirror it’s getting small enough to convince myself it was all good.
With last Friday's release of his debut album I Told You, 24-year-old Tory Lanez has arrived at a crossroads after years of expanding his following and evolving his sound.
Whether you like him or not, Drake and his music has had a distinct sound, feel, vibe or lane, whatever you want to call it. And when an artist who sound like him emerges (e.g. Kirko Bangz, Tory Lanez, Bryson Tiller), instantly Drake becomes measured against them as some sort of standard.
When Rae Sremmurd emerged with "No Flex Zone" about two and a half years ago, they sounded like the newest and youngest thing on the block.
Were Lil Uzi Vert's last three mixtapes planned as a trilogy? That much is unclear, but the connections between them are.
All along, it seems like “Summer Sixteen,” Drake’s first single of the year, not included on VIEWS, was designed to be his heated opener during his tour of the same name, which hit Madison Square Garden last night for the first of four shows at the elite Manhattan arena.
When reviewing DJ Khaled's last album, I Changed A Lot, a mere nine months ago, I wondered how much longer the We The Best titan could keep up his album formula of "bright, of-the-moment beats, song titles that could double as all-caps Instagram captions and featured artist pairings that are awards show-level weird." The rap game Oprah ("You get a verse, you get a ver
I didn't listen to each and every one of the 32 projects Gucci Mane released during his three year stint in federal prison, but I can say that of the 15 or so I am familiar with, none have anything approaching how heavy the majority of his first post-prison release is.
Any conversation about 21 Savage has to begin with talking about his voice. It's a just-woke-up-but-haven't-cleared-my-throat-yet croak whose closest analog is probably Lucki Ecks' rasp or Father's monotone mumble, but unlike those guys' avant-druggy styles, 21's operating at the most violent end of Atlanta's trap spectrum.
"Every album I was dropping from Setbacks, to Habits, to Oxy, everybody was like, 'What's the album about?' It's like bruh, can I drop it first?"
Last year, Toronto's Roy Woods emerged with an immediately identifiable voice that stood out in his hometown's foggy-sounding R&B scene despite usually being paired with instrumentals that could've appeared on any OVO release.