Lou Phelps — EXTRA EXTRA!
Releasing a project nearly exclusively produced by KAYTRANADA, the literal embodiment of all things perfect, is no joke. Granted, Kaytra and Lou share a mother and father, but their bond is pushed further than brotherly when this duo shares the studio. The Celestin genes are flying all across this featureless, 7-song, 19-minute breakout project, but it’s not just Kaytra that turned Lou’s bars to gold here, as Lakim and Tek.lun each clocked in to work with the 26-year old. To put it very simply, Lou pulled through on this album with seven tracks of flawless verses, confident flow, attractive choruses, and the flair of a poised elite. To put it more dynamically, think of Lou as the Sophomore who showed up after summer four inches taller and thirty pounds thicker with an updated skillbase and absolutely no intention of fucking around with Junior Varisty ever again.
WIZKID — MADE IN LAGOS
With the release of his fourth studio album, Made in Lagos, Afrobeat star Wizkid put forth a project that sounded like home. Originally, Wizkid was supposed to release this album earlier, but due to recent events, he had to drop it a bit sooner. As of recently, Nigeria has been experiencing civil unrest due to the protests calling to #EndSARS. The Nigerian diaspora has called international attention to the need for police reform and the corruption of its government. Wizkid made a statement on BBC Radio 1Xtra regarding the protesting saying:
“We are all just out there really speaking about the facts that are going back home.– The things that are going on back home and we just feel like it’s time for a change —– there is a need for a change, so I’m just using my voice to play my own little part.”
He’s been very vocal about his opposition for Nigeria’s Special Armed Robbery Squad. The problems are deep-rooted, and he’s acknowledging that through a number of social media posts and through his attendance and leadership in protests in London.
Wizkid’s album displays what he does best, musically, on this album. His feature roster is star-studded with artists like Burna Boy, Damian Marley, and H.E.R. They did most of the heavy-lifting throughout the album, though. Him and Nigerian London-based producer, P2J, came together to create a fun, romantic, and unapologetically Nigerian album. Much of the percussion on the album was parallel to Afrobeat, reggae, and r&b. His best tracks were his flirtatious ones. Hearing Wizkid’s vulnerability through his music is refreshing.
He’s known for being a flirt, obviously, but when he sings for the purpose of serenading a woman, his musicality shines. Songs like “Essence,” “Smile,” and “True Love” tell tales of a young successful Nigerian man and the love he seeks in the midst of mass attention and fame. Besides those, Wizkid tends to play it safe with this project.
The songs are good, but not entirely memorable. Wizkid is comfortable with his legacy in a genre he popularized immensely, and it’s apparent in this album. He maintains his Afrobeat royalty through easy-listening and danceable tracks.
Deante’ Hitchcock — Better (Deluxe)
Hitchcock tossed 10 new songs on his statement album Better, which originally dropped this summer. Re-imagining the tracklist, Hitchcock created a whole new narrative around the album, proving his ability as a conductor and visionary. The rapping ability he proved on Better remains in full effect, with new songs “Kenny G” and “My Bitch” serving as testaments to his flexible delivery and cheeky attitude. “I Got Money Now,” “Attitude,” and “Flashbacks” remain touchstones of the album, showing his depth of personality through diverse sound and message. It might not rank as one of the best albums of the year, but Dreamville stans are going to be all over this one.
Common — Say Peace (Pt. 1)
Outkast — Stankonia (Deluxe)
Ariana Grande — Positions
Jean Deaux – Watch This! (Deluxe)
Busta Rhymes — Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God
Trippie Redd — Pegasus
Alchemist — The Food Villain
Young Nudy & Metro Boomin – Vice City
Nudy and Metro prove to be a strong combination, as Metro serves up a melodically enticing track for Nudy to skate all over. “Vice City” sounds like a loosie that might not get tossed on a forthcoming album by either artist, but it’s a strong track to tide fans over until these talented Atlanta artists’ next release.
Tierra Whack — Dora
It’s been a while since Tierra Whack has dropped, but “Dora” is another reminder that she’s one of the most exciting young acts in the game. Her delivery is flexible and buoyant on this one, dedicated to childhood hero Dora the Explorer. Accompanied by a brightly colorful video, don’t skip over this release! The Tierra Whack hype train is gearing up and adding passengers, set to leave the station whenever she drops her next album.
Ric Wilson — Fall in Chicago
Dedicated to his beloved home city, Ric Wilson puts it on for his favorite spots in the city over a groovy instrumental. The song is full of Disco Ric’s friendly excitement, with plenty of ad-libs and lyrics about police abolition and stylish fall outfits. It’s just a sampling of what we’re going to hopefully be hearing more of from Disco Ric, carrier of the funk-rap torch.
It only makes sense that these two created a beautiful thing — each are on the top of their game. Kaytra whips up a ringing, bumping instrumental, and JID runs laps around it with his ever-incredible flow and lyrical dexterity.
Exceeding expectations, Big Sean actually came through on this song, making it an exciting new release dedicated to the 2020 NBA Championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers. And with Freddie Gibbs and Hit-Boy as LeBron James and Anthony Davis, respectively, who does that leave Big Sean to fill the shoes of? Kyle Kuzma? Sounds fitting. This performance from the Detroit rapper sounds like one of those games where Kuzma’s playing hard ‘cause his girl’s in the stands, as opposed to his bloated album from earlier this year. Nonetheless, “4 Thangs” is a banging track that’ll satisfy fans of all three artists.
JID – Cludder Freestyle
The first of JID’s freestyle’s from this past week, another loosie likely produced before he decided to turn his house into the studio for Spillage Village’s album this summer. JID rhymes circles around this dark, twisted beat, and the rhythmic complexity of this beat makes it feel as though there’s no beat JID couldn’t rap on.