Track 5. Hey Boy (feat. Kali Uchis) – Omar & Kali are romantically curious. The line “Hey boy, say babe” details the song’s persuasive and sensual attitude. Apollo lets us hear the instrumentation and the honey-like voice of Kali Uchis, as he only provides the short but sweet chorus.
Track 6. Dos Uno Nueve (219) – There is something really nice about hearing an artist rep their home. Being an Indiana native, he dedicated this prideful track to his geographic roots. A song sung in Spanish dedicated to the state of Indiana is a rarity, and it seems like Apollo knows that uniqueness.
Track 7. Useless – This track tells the tale of a boy that’s young and hurting. Realizing he got played by a potential lover, Apollo sings about his feelings of worthlessness over a catchy guitar-bass coalition.
Benny lives up to the hype in his second solo studio album, Burden of Proof, with head-banging, lip-snarling coke-anthems throughout the project. “Burden of Proof,” “Sly Green,” “One Way Flight (ft. Freddie Gibbs),” and “Timeless (ft. Lil Wayne and Big Sean)” are standout tracks. Also, in my favorite bar of the whole project and maybe the year, Benny raps, “The promotin’ I did, Pyrex should be givin’ me pots, yeah.” Benny is looking for a brand deal for his cocaine-whipping expertise, and I respect the hustle. And with Hit-Boy on the beats, this album contains absolutely no skips.
Black Thought is a constant in the rap industry — an immovable force that will never falter. His strength and ability to speak truth to power makes him an admirable figure within and outside of the music industry. Paired with an old-school flow that invokes conscious rap over the decades, his importance to the game cannot be understated. Streams of Thought, Vol 3 is another cornerstone for the Roots frontman, a pillar of lyrical rap over his signature boom-bap beats. This is the type of album that’ll be the best of the year in the minds of hip-hop heads over 35, though it might be lost on younger ears. iIf you fall under the latter category, take your time and appreciate the greatness.
The long-awaited collaboration between new and old faces of New York has finally come true — and while it’s clear neither Nas or Joey are trying to start a revolution with this track, it’s a strong one that hints at future success for that classic New York boom-bap style. A wonderful guitar selection from Gary Clark Jr. gives the track an energetic new dimension, and Statik Selektah is on point with a clapping instrumental.
KOTA fans are probably having a better 2020 than most — the New York rapper has been consistently updating the world with his positive presence, and “Dragon” is another welcome single. A guitar-led instrumental backs KOTA’s signature life-lesson lyrics, as he advises people to “appreciate what they have.”
The collaboration none of us knew we needed until we got it. Leon and Lucky link up for a beautifully sensitive track with bumping bass in a song dedicated to love and romance. It’s an easy fit into all kinds of playlists, giving it plenty of replay-ability. We can only hope for a full project from the two — Terrace Martin or KAYTRANADA on production, anyone?
The instrumental on this one bumps, and while Jazz doesn’t do a lot to jump off the page, he rides the beat effortlessly, creating a bass-bumping anthem perfect for a highlight reel. Repetitive heavy bass hits make this song hard to keep up with if you have a concussion, but those that haven’t hit their head extremely hard lately will be alright.