Kali Uchis — Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)∞
Kali’s newest album is almost totally in Spanish, a departure from her mostly-English albums beforehand. Embracing her native language brought about new sounds all over the album, departing the more poppy sounds on Isolation and opting for a more grand, supervillain theme on Sin Miedo. The transition goes over beautifully, as Uchis is able to present a whole new aspect of her personality on the album. Sin Miedo proves Uchis as one of the best singers in the game right now, and her unwillingness to stick to one sound is exciting as to what the future might hold.
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 so much 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 sealed 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.
Megan Thee Stallion — Good News
From the drop of the opening track, “Shots Fired,” Meg showed the world she’s not here to play around. The song is an evisceration of Tory Lanez, who shot her this year and has acted like a complete asshole about it since. It’s the year’s best diss track without a doubt and samples the legendary “Who Shot Ya” beat originally used by Notorious B.I.G. Linking herself with the all-time great was a fantastic move that pays off — she keeps up her badass energy throughout the album with fiery raps that display her world-beating talent and confidence. It’s an album that proves to haters she’s so much more than a gimmicky TikTok star. She’s here to stay.
Friend Goals — Tank and the Bangas
The Friend Goals EP is inspiring, carefree, and vulnerable. The New Orleans group brings the funk and soul on this project, their first release since Green Balloons in 2019. A bite-sized EP at only six songs and 22 minutes, Friend Goals is chock-full of outstanding features, from DUCKWRTH, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Chika, and PJ Morton. Each track shines on its own, displaying a beautiful range of emotions, from the diss at airport security, “TSA” to the longing “Mr. Insta.” All the way through, this EP is just another reason to love Tank and the Bangas.
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.