September’s Best: Spillage Village, Gus Dapperton, Armani Caesar Shake Up AOTY Rankings

Spillage Village — Spilligion

The immensely talented and versatile collective, Spillage Village, released a soulful project focused on healing during these tumultuous times. Made up of core members J.I.D., EARTHGANG, Mereba, and Jurdan Bryant, these artists capitalized on the massive hype they grew on Dreamville’s latest Revenge of the Dreamers project. With good friends 6LACK, Ari Lennox, Hollywood JB, and Buddy, along with new collaborators Chance the Rapper, Masego, Lucky Daye, and Benji, Spilligion is stacked with talent. 

The album is so soulful and uplifting that it was able to bring out a good verse from Chance the Rapper on “Judas”  — something we haven’t heard in millenia. More highlights from the project include “Baptize,” “PsalmSing,” “Shiva,” and “End of Daze,” all tracks that center collective healing and empathy through spirituality. If you need a hand to hold or a big hug from your favorite family member, but can’t have that, Spilligion is your next best bet.

Gus Dapperton — Orca

With Orca, Gus turns a new corner in his career, cementing himself in the indie landscape as a household name that could define the genre for many years to come. His intellect for building a sustainable career is in full effect on this album — his transition from a few debut EPs, to a full-length effort last year, to Orca, what feels like Dapperton’s fullest, most strong expression of his musicality gives off the feeling of permanence and long-lasting success. 

But at the same time, Orca is best built for those new to his sound. It’s commercially viable, and doesn’t have the rough-around-the-edges charm that made him so special when he first burst on the scene. He’s already dropped two music videos, and several more would be helpful, especially for those that fell in love with his lanky dance moves in “I’m Just Snacking” or “Prune, You Talk Funny.”

From the harmonies on “Post Humorous” to the soul-searching “Bluebird,” this album contains a similar palette of emotions as any other Gus album, it just feels a little different this time around. And that’s a good thing.

Armani Caesar — The Liz

Armani’s latest effort as a part of the rising Griselda collective is hard-hitting, unapologetic, and a motivational listen. Her bars are on point throughout the project, showing off over a set of beats that range from signature Griselda, with frenetic piano sections and heavy hip-hop drums, to more bouncy instrumentals that see her flex an ear-catching flow. The Liz took me by surprise, and if you’ve been fucking with the Griselda drops this year, you’ll absolutely be into this one.

Fleet Foxes — Shore

Three years removed from their 2017 effort, Crack-Up, Shore is a beautiful arrangement of folk songs that re-set the standard for an acoustic album in 2020. Featuring the same sweet harmonies that made them famous over 10 years ago, the Fleet Foxes proved that they’re still genre leaders with this hour-long project. Some highlights include “Featherweight,” “Maestranza,” and “Going-to-the-Sun-Road,” but perhaps the best track on here is “Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman,” accompanied by a stirring horn section.

Check out some fantastic visuals from One Spalt Reviews on our page and his Instagram!

Sango — Da Rocinha 4

Sango is back with a full release, and just like that, the Da Rocinha series has resumed. Over 14 songs across 41 minutes with 12 features, Sango pushes countless bangers to both dance to and think on. This ability to weave across a spectrum of tones, feelings, and inspirations is something that Sango is proving to have perfected, and his August Sangozinho project was an early tease of this newly-improved skill. Altogether, Da Rocinha is an intimate look at Sango’s career progression so far, and one should look no further for a balanced menu of bumping-beats and soulful-vibes.  

Action Bronson — Only For Dolphins

Only for Dolphins contains everything fans have come to love about Action Bronson; his ridiculous vocabulary, undying love for all things food, and boisterous delivery are in full effect on this album, a 36-minute ode to a beautiful animal. “Capoeira” is a perfect introductory track, with an award-show-like instrumental arrangement and a sweet saxophone solo to bridge the track into the rest of the album. “C12H16N2” follows the grand introduction with several of his titles; “Author / Singer, dancer / Exotic olive oil taster / Actor.” 

It always feels as though Action Bronson’s music is purely an extension of his personality, and the rest of the album does well to continue that theme. The rapid pace of the first few songs on the album doesn’t keep up, but each instrumental provides new aspects to be excited about, with impeccable sample choices and cheeky punchlines.

Conway the Machine — From a King to a GOD

Criticisms of the whole Griselda squad have been founded in their oft-monotonous flows, repetitive lyrical content, and regressive beat selection. But with From a King to a God, Conway builds on groupmate Westside Gunn’s 2020 effort Pray For Paris, boasting a diverse set of flows, A+ production from contributors such as Murda Beatz, and complementary features that support Conway’s talents, keeping his voice interesting throughout the whole album.

“Anza” is one of the album’s biggest highlights, featuring labelmate Armani Caesar, rocking a stripped-down, bop-ya-head beat that Conway rides like a Lamborghini on the highway. Armani’s verse is just as smooth, completing the track as one of the most streaming-friendly tracks on the album. “Seen Anything But Jesus” silences the haters that say Conway can’t sing, as he takes on the hook and chorus, ceding room to friend of Griselda, Freddie Gibbs, for the verses. All in the span of 50 minutes, Conway plants the Griselda flag smack dab in the middle of the hip-hop landscape, demanding to be heard as the God he knows himself to be. 

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