For the first time in history, Nas has released a full-length project under his recording company, Mass Appeal, with no ties to Def Jam. This 13-song, 39-minute masterpiece amalgamates all the desired qualities for a strong project from the 46-year-old elite. And whether it be the length, features, production, or lyrics, the execution is perfect. The King’s Disease tracklist simply screams talent, completely stuffed from head to toe with jaw-dropping performances from young stars like Lil Durk, Don Toliver, and A$AP Ferg, as well as from Hall-of-Famers like Charlie Wilson and the members of The Firm. From start to end, King’s Disease is captivating, whole, and refreshing. If you’re doubtful of how much Nas still has in his tank, give this project a listen and be easily dumbfounded.
Waking up on August 21st was like Christmas morning to me. As I unwrapped this four-and-a-half-minute present given by two of the most sensational artists of the last 25 years, I felt nothing but bliss. Centering Pharrell’s vocals, an upliftingly catchy beat, and lyrics of Black pride and success, this track provides an elevated sense of inspiration, peaking with a 16 from Hov that’s nearly too hot to handle. But what’s even more electrifying than the song is the video that coupled it. Amassing 2.5M views on YouTube in just four days, the Calmatic-directed short film displays Black entrepreneurs from across the world, providing an explanation and exposition of their business and success, and even included a moment of silence for entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle. This must-watch video stands as one of the most inspiring and ingenious pieces from two objective legends, and the song will continue to bump for the rest of time.
A wave of creative boogie music in the midst of what feels like the collapse of society, SuperGood is a breath of fresh air. A set of hip-shaking tracks that can either match your excited energy or lift you out of a bad mood, DUCKWRTH’s debut album is a bit all over the place in terms of genre. But his enduring charisma defines the project, eradicating the need to lock him down into any certain category. Highlights include the lustful “Kiss U Right Now,” the laid-back “Super Bounce,” and the dance-party duo later on the album, “Tuesday” and “World on Wheels.” If DUCKWRTH caught your ear with his gravitas at any point earlier in his career, you’ll want to give this album a full listen. Even if he hasn’t — this might not go down as a top-ten album of the year, but it’s sure to make waves as an easily replayable set of tracks.
Quickly off their surprise EP Watts, the electric duo dropped “Marigold,” the first single off what is likely to come together as a full-length project. The duo might not be able to be working together in person, but you couldn’t guess that off the seamless quality of this single — with production from longtime collaborator Kyle Walsh, Gonzo and Beez are back in form. A ringing, colorful instrumental evokes the album art’s autumn leaves, a romantic ode to the upcoming fall season. The pair’s ability to switch between rapping and singing without taking a breath is a skill on full effect here, building hype for what should be an exciting end of 2020 for Beez & Gonzo.
Another track that’ll lift your spirits, these three come together for a fast-paced ballad perfect for a socially distanced night out with good friends. The trio celebrates good times atop a positively incredible beat: an action-packed, inspired instrumental that pushes each artist’s rhythm to a fast pace without drowning them out.
Por la gran puta, let’s gooo! Maluma has returned with a surprise album, illuminated with a cover of neon pinks and blues along with a classic picture of Maluma smoking. He opens with a tribute “Medallo City,” singing to his beloved Medellin, Colombia. Maluma always brings a heavy reggaeton vibe filled with eclectic features, and this album is exactly that. Featuring Zion & Lennox, Wisin & Yandel, Myke Towers, Darell, and more, Maluma fills this album with sexy Spanish speakers from around the world. “Cuidau” featuring Yuma and “Me Acuerdo De Ti” create a spin on a classic perreo and are instant bangers. Maluma always makes for an easy dancing vibe, but he has outdone himself this time with a 22-item tracklist filled with upbeat and hopeful vibes about 2020 — something we all need to hear right now. Whether you’re a Spanish speaker or not, check out this album for a lively reggaeton vibe.
As his first solo project since the 2018 Hooligans EP, Vic Mensa’s 7-song, 27-minute V Tape is bursting at the seams with emotion, passion, stellar collaborations, and some of Vic’s best bars to date. Mensa comes out swinging with electric flow on the leadoff “VENDETTA” and backs it up with the combo of slick spitting, bumping drums, and Eryn Allen Kane’s feature on “MACHIAVELLI.” Sadly, the third and fourth tracks “DIRT ON MY NAME” and “XGAMES” just don’t land whatsoever, which is especially tragic considering the latter of which starred what could-have/should-have been a striking feature from Snoh Aalegra. Luckily, Vic is able to rebound with four minutes of heat over two remarkable beats in “BETHLEHEM/SC FREESTYLE.” The project ends on an intimate note with the final two tracks firstly centering Mensa’s history with mental health challenges and concludes with a personal “REBIRTH” for the 27-year old. These 27-minutes display a young star with his heart on his sleeve putting hard-hitting bars at the forefront of his sound.