Did EVERY SINGLE ARTIST on hiatus decide that this was the week to come back? Earl’s been gone for 3 years, Kaytranada’s been gone for 2, I can’t remember when the last Alchemist CD even was. What is it about this time of year that makes all the reclusive artists want to drop projects? Space ’em out guys, some of us run a blog by themselves and like sleeping occasionally. OK I’ll shut the fuck up because I just realized I’m complaining about having too much of my favorite music to listen to. Here is what should be on your playlist this week:
Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
Earl dives even father down the avant-garde rabbit hole with his latest full-length album. Well, full-length is a long word considering it’s only 25 minutes long. Despite the short running time, this thing is dense with metaphors and complicated soundscapes that music nerds like me will be dissecting for years to come. I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside was already a masterclass in brevity, this album takes that concept and gets real weird with it. Earl produced most of the tracks which feature looping soul samples that, at first, seem like a jumbled mess of chaotic noise. But on further listens it reminds me of MF DOOM back in the day, especially the raps. Most of them went over my head at first but I keep discovering more on every listen. The best albums take a long time to understand.
Eclipse, Azucar, December 24, The Bends
Meek Mill – Championships
If Earl’s new album is the indie film that critics love, Championships is the star-studded blockbuster movie directed by Michael Bay. Meek went all out on this one, both with his raps, the production values, and the who’s who of guest appearances. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Cardi B, Fabolous, Future, Young Thug, DRAKE, Kodak Black, 21 Savage, Ella Mai, Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremih, basically any artist that had a top 10 hit in the last 2 years is on this album. It’s way over the top, and a Meek Mill album this long tests your patience with how many Rolex references and high pitched, energetic flows you can stand. If there was any Meek album you were going to listen to, this is the best one.
Intro, What’s Free?, Respect the Game ft. Jay-Z and Rick Ross, Splash Warning ft. Future & Young Thug
The Alchemist – Bread EP
Hypnotic 90s New York hip-hop at it’s finest. I almost said “grimy” but that word is really fucking annoying to me when it comes to describing music from New York, it’s a lazy adjective. The beats on here are soulful, refined, and restrained. 70s soul samples, jazz horns and pianos, and some select guest stars all curate a vibe that makes me feel like I’m standing in NYC in the rain in 1997. The Earl Sweatshirt feature makes me wish him and Alchemist would just make a whole album together, they’re styles were made for each other. Anyway, the songs blend together seamlessly and the raps are old school, in-your-face classic New York hip-hop. If that’s your thing, you’ll love it.
Ray Mysterio, E. Coli
J.I.D. – Dicaprio 2
This came out on Monday because J.I.D said fuck the streaming numbers and album sales, and I respect that. This was the most surprising release of the week to me because I wasn’t familiar with JID at all or his previous work. I am completely blown away. This dude can not only rap his ass off like Kendrick Lamar (they kind of sound the same) but he can flow over any type of beat you throw in front of him. The production on Dicaprio 2 ranges from eerie to trap to old-school southern hip-hop a la Outkast. JID is versatile and exciting as hell. Listen to this immediately.
Slick Talk, Westbrook ft. A$AP Ferg, Off da Zoinkys, Despacito Too
Chance the Rapper ft. Joey Purp – My Own Thing
Chance has grown up and is focused on being a family man, and he wants us to know it. The beat has a piano riff similar to D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” and a hook that only works because Chance is silly and charming (“I’m finna buy a ringtone and let the phone ring”). He reaffirms his commitment to his family over a slightly above average, overwhelmingly positive song. His other single that dropped alongside this one “The man who has everything” is way too preachy to be even remotely enjoyable. Chance has always been a church pastor who can rap his ass off but I’m worried that his next major release will sound more like a sermon and less like a rap album. Either way, these songs provide something to hold us over until the Chance/Kanye, Chance 4, and Chance/Childish Gambino albums drop.
Kaytranada ft. Ty Dolla $ign – NOTHIN LIKE U
God I missed Kaytranada’s production. This track features some spacey synths, a futuristic funky bass line and these trippy clicks/snaps that oscillate between the speakers. It makes me feel like I’m an astronaut just floating through a psychedelic version of space. That may be a little much but it’s really good. Ty is syrupy smooth as always and delivers his signature west coast croon. This song is perfect for the summer, but since it’s winter, it’ll keep us warm until we get there again.