Friday has always been a day that we look to in anticipation. Before all of the streaming madness it was because Friday represented freedom, the end of school and work, the beginning of the weekend. These days Fridays have taken on a new meaning, Fridays are for a flood of new releases that you can drown in until next Friday when it happens again. This cycle has driven some people insane, but we’re here to be your life guard. This week the releases are particularly good, we have drops from big names like Vince Staples, Takeoff, Metro Boomin, Swizz Beatz (and so much more), and also from up-and-comers like IshDARR, Rich Jones, Pink Sweat$ and more.
Vince Staples – FM!
Long Beach native Vince Staples is following up his 2017 album Big Fish Theory with FM! Staples has made a name for himself through his clever word play, and gritty approach. The production on this album has that industrial West Coast sound that has defined Vince Staples’s music. FM! seems effortless, like a victory lap.
Featured Track: “Run The Bands” – This track is a smooth, night time track with Staples humblebragging throughout it while talking about his home town.
Takeoff – The Last Rocket
The final Migo has arrived. Takeoff’s The Last Rocket is full of radio-ready songs about spending money, strippers, and generally stunting on the game. As we’ve seen with earlier releases (especially Quavo’s Quavo Huncho) The Migos have put themselves in a box so it’s hard for them to make their own solo work not sound like Migos tracks that aren’t finished, but Takeoff has done the best job showing his voice.
Featured Track: “I Remember” – I love when rappers look back on their beginnings, Takeoff has a great take on this.
Jay Critch – Hood Favorite
The New York rap game is a complicated place. There’s an understandable resistance to change in the city that brought rap to the world, but New York will also always be at the forefront of new styles. Take Sheck Wes’s Mudboy or Jesus Honcho’s 7th Dimension as examples of the newest sounds coming out of New York. Add Jay Critch to that list too. This project lies in between so many different styles it’s hard to qualify it, but the Offset feature on “Quicker” works perfectly.
Featured Track: “Peso” – The beat is nearly a “lo-fi study beat” but the high-hat drives it and adds the energy kick that Jay Critch matches with his quick triplet flow.
Swizz Beatz – POISON
The features on this album are ridiculous. It’s so wild that we were blessed with two albums like this today (Metro Boomin is below). There’s nothing more Hip Hop than a DJ hitting up a ton of emcees to showcase their ability as a producer. Not that Swizz Beatz has anything to prove. The album is basically a Rolodex of legendary rappers with features from Lil Wayne, Giggs, Kedrick Lamar, Styles P, Jadakiss, Jim Jones, Nas, Pusha T, Young Thug, 2 Chainz and French Montana. With that many different voices it risks losing a unique sound, but Swizz Beatz beats bring a much needed consistency to the project.
Featured Track: “Something Dirty/Pic Got Us” – I think the only thing I need to say to show why this is the featured track is the name of the rappers on this one song. Kendrick Lamar, Styles P and Jadakiss. Plus the beat has horns, which is almost always a good sign.
IshDARR – Slow Down, Kid
Milwaukee based emcee IshDARR made a name for himself with tracks like “Too Bad” and “Mucho Mango”, which are both upbeat semi-psychedelic tracks. Slow Down, Kid is decidedly darker. A note to himself to take his time and make the best of his situations, Slow Down, Kid is IshDARR literally slowing down his approach to music, but don’t worry there are still some classic IshDARR on this album.
Featured Track: “Fuji Films” – Young nostalgia drips through this track which talks about saving moments in pictures.
Rich Jones – The Shoulder You Lean On
It’s hard to tell what parts of the album Rich Jones is rapping on and which parts he’s singing, but that’s kind of the rap game these days. Jazzy and sweet The Soulder You Lean On is an everyman tale, it sounds like any one of your friends could have made the album but only if your friend also had a great emotional intelligence and a candid way of expressing those emotions.
Featured Track: “Rolling Stoned” – A funky bassline, ethereal guitar work and a simple pun make the chorus. “Rolling Stoned” makes you feel like you’re driving around through the west side industrial district smoking a spliff.
Pink Sweat$ – Volume 1
Are you sad that there isn’t any new Frank Ocean? Well Pink Sweat$ has you covered. His crystal clear falsetto and down tempo love songs are a perfect way to start off cuffing season. Volume 1 is Pink Sweat$ debut project, showing his artistic depths. The first few songs are really soulful, but by the end he has entered the world of pop.
Featured Track: “Honesty” – Peep the falsetto at 1:01 and try to stay single.
Moneybagg Yo – Reset
Yo Gotti’s protoge Moneybagg Yo has dropped his debut album Reset. The 15 track album bucks the trend of short albums, and hopes to reset his place in hip hop. Even though this is his debut Moneybagg has been dropping mixtapes for years and has had some pretty big hits. The southern trap sound isn’t going anywhere and the Memphis rapper is just another example of that. Reset also has features from J. Cole, Future, YG, Jeremih, Kodak Black and Kevin Gates.
Featured Track: “Say Na (feat. J. Cole)” – Okay so the song is hot to begin with, but then you get J. Cole showing off his trap side, something fans don’t usually get.
Metro Boomin – NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES
Wow. Metro Boomin is one of the hottest producers around right now, and this album has some of the hottest rappers on it. These are the featured artists on this album in order of appearance: Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Swae Lee, Gunna, Young Thug, Wizkid, Offset, J Balvin, Kodak Black and Drake. It’s basically like Metro Boomin made a 2018 mixtape, he just happened to produce the whole thing, and damn did he go hard on the beats.
Featured Track: “Only You (feat. Wizkid, Offset & J Balvin)” – It’s so cool that there’s a Spanish language song on this album.
Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Fetti
This album didn’t actually come out today, but it was dropped this week and it’s so good. Freddie Gibbs and Curren$y both put out great music this year with Gibbs’s Freddie and Curren$y’s unbelievable amount of music The Spring Collection, Parking Lot Music, The Marina and Fire In The Clouds all coming out this year (somebody get this man a Gatorade). But Fetti is special. The two rappers trade bars effortlessly and The Alchemist hooked them up with beats that showcase their flows.
Featured Track: “The Blow” – When you think about it Freddie Gibbs and Curren$y getting together it’s kind of like Noriega and Escobar linking up, this song shows that.
Action Bronson – White Bronco
Action Bronson is one of the most consistent rappers out here. When you hear there’s new Bronsolinho you know what to expect. Hilarious imagery, savage word play and some hardcore New York rap. White Bronco is no exception. What is interesting to note is the difference in production compared to his previous albums and the album art. The beats are mostly jazz based, and in combination with the abstract cover art it lends to a more “cultured” experience than on Blue Chips or Mr. Wonderful. Yung Mehico, Meyhem Lauren, Big Body Bes and A$AP ROCKY all have features on the album as well.
Featured Track: “Ring Ring (feat. Big Body Bes)” – This is classic Action Bronson right here.
Styles P – Dime Bag
Styles P continues his reign with Dime Bag. One of the few old school rappers that’s still putting out quality tracks with regularity, Styles P brings the grime on this album. Dime Bag follows the release of his collaboration with Dave East last month on Beloved.
Featured Track: “Never Fight An African” – A politically charged track targeting the people at the top of the system that have been abusing their positions of power.
Chief Keef – Back From The Dead 3
If you saw that video of the floor collapsing at a Clemson party to Keef’s “Faneto” then you know how dangerously good Chief Keef really is. The third installment of his Halloween mixtape series Back From The Dead 3 has all of the energy you would expect from a Chief Keef release.
Featured Track: “Just What It Be Like” – Keef flexes on his haters and brings that street energy to the song.
That’s it for the new album releases but there are also a ton of notable single drops today.
Lil Durk – “Neighborhood Hero”
Kid Ink – “No Budget (feat. Rich The Kid)”
REALXTY – “Yo Soy Latino”