Fundays 2019 was a hell of an experience. Seeing so many likeminded funatics in one room is always amazing. Even more amazing the one and only @hamillhimself who I still can’t believe I saw. Big nerd moment. 😂😂😂 Major shoutout to @originalfunko for putting all of it together for the fans. Next year can’t come soon enough.
Tonight’s the night boys. #funkofundays
My review of the newest Dreamville compilation album "Revenge Of The Dreamers 3" is out now on Thirstkey. This project is far from perfect but it's the most consistent compilation album I've ever reviewed. Honestly at the start of the year my prediction was that the Beast Coast album was gonna be better than this but here we are. Let me know your thoughts on ROTD3 in the comments. Enjoy!
My review of Daniel Caesar's "Case Study 01" is out NOW on Thirstkey! Really surprised by this one. I always expect great music from Daniel but this album just really hit for me. I've been listening to it pretty constantly right along with Bandana ever since both dropped. Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments. Have a fun and safe 4th of July.
With his latest EP “The Plugs I Met”, I do believe Benny The Butcher has solidified himself as my favorite member of the Griselda collective. (I know he had very little chance but it would’ve been so cool to see him on the XXL cover ) Everything from the title to the cover of this project completely does away with subtlety in regards to broadcasting its subject matter. I don’t say that negatively, it’s just to say this album doesn’t stir much curiosity as to what you’re gonna find. Nor does it have any reason to, if I do say so myself. (For god’s sake look at the cover of “Daytona” and that was my #2 pick for album of the year ) The project’s short length doesn’t make the lack of change in subject matter an issue for me. It’s actually often not variety that can pull me into a project, but presentation. The cleverness and sophistication with which Benny handles the less than pleasant anecdotes of drug dealing are the main appeal. As are the features which perfectly match those same qualities. Black Thought, Pusha T and Jadakiss are all artists I’ve praised time and again for the very things I praise Benny for now. Hearing him work with those artists is a dream brought to life. Especially because I can think of many talented modern artists who would still get completely washed on a song with the likes of the MCs I named. Benny is not one of them. He consistently holds his own on every track and never feels overshadowed despite the fantastic performances the guests put on. The production isn’t too flashy but this album would lose a little bit of its edge if it were. The beats sound nice but they never tear away attention from the literal truckload of bars every track has. Perhaps it’s too soon to call but “The Plugs I Met” feels like 2019’s equivalent to “Daytona”. (Except “Daytona” takes the W for production as it was, to me, easily the best produced album in Kanye’s summer run last year ) Not only in terms of subject matter but also quality. Both projects waste no time getting to their point, nor do they take up too much time to listen to, in turn giving them massive replay value. Griselda’s winning streak continues and I don’t imagine it slowing down anytime soon.
It's that time of the year again, folks. The 2019 XXL Freshman List is here. Like most XXL covers it's a mixed bag but I'd say I have more positive things to say about this line-up than I've had about the last 2 covers. Both of those covers had highlights but the negatives outweighed the postives too much not to notice. I at least feel like there's balance here. Most of the artists on here sit at mid-tier for me, meaning they could potentially deliver good verses and cyphers, but I'm not expecting too much. Usually the covers only have 1 or 2 top-tier artists but I see 3 here. Those being YBN Cordae, Rico Nasty and my vote Tierra Whack. I'm extremely happy to see them on this cover. Mid-tier for me is artists like Blueface, Megan Thee Stallion and DaBaby. They've given me some good verses in their short catalogues and I'm hoping they pull through for their Freshman performances. I'd honestly say Comethazine and Lil Mosey are the only artists here I have no interest in whatsoever. (I've only heard one song from YK Osiris so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt ) Only 2 artists I don't like is the best odds I've seen for a XXL list in quite a while and it's got me feeling very optimistic. As long as the artists I'm putting my faith in don't completely crash and burn, I think we're looking at an exciting set of freestyles and cyphers. I'll post my thoughts on those as they release. Let me know your thoughts on this class in the comments. Who did you vote for and did they make it? Who do you think should've been here? I usually don't ask this many questions but the Freshman Cover always makes for interesting conversation.
I don't ever really make posts like this but it only feels right to wish a happy 32nd birthday to a man who basically changed, and to a degree even saved, my life with his work. My favorite artist now and forever, Kendrick Lamar. The fact that we share a birthday is still the coolest thing ever to me. Hope it's a good one, wherever you are. (Hopefully take a nice break from cooking up new material for us )
Drake repeated his "Scary Hours" formula from last year with these 2 new songs and it worked just as well as it did the first time in my opinion. Much like "Scary Hours", Drake has given us 2 new tracks that appeal to each section of his fanbase. "Omerta" is the version of Drake I love. My favorite songs he's ever made are just like "Omerta". Not too flashy on the production but nice beats that give Drizzy room to really talk his shit. (Other recent examples of him pulling this off include "Diplomatic Immunity" or "Sandra's Rose", one of very few highlights on "Scorpion" ) My only issue with it is that it seems petty to be subliminally re-hashing his beef with Pusha T when he didn't even directly respond to "The Story Of Adidon". Drake has always had a talent for flipping his Ls into Ws in instances like this but I'm not really buying it this time around. I still really enjoy the song, I'm simply saying Drake isn't gonna persuade me into changing my views on that situation. "Money In The Grave" is more standard protocol material but it's executed better than any of the songs in a similar vein on "Scorpion". That's mainly because it has actual energy to it. The production bangs and even though there's not much going on lyrically, I can at least feel that Drake is making an honest attempt at flowing with the beat and delivering some hype. It's not phoned in the way songs like "Mob Ties" or "Nonstop" were. It also goes without saying that the Rick Ross feature boosts it up a bit too. I've never really heard Ross on a beat like this but he keeps up really well. ("I got the hookup but there's really no limit" is easily my favorite bar in the whole song. It, ironically, sounds to me like a bar that would come from Pusha T ) Overall, I'm not gonna let these two songs hype me up for his next album. You don't make that mistake twice. But it is really nice to hear genuinely enjoyable Drake material again. Major shoutout to the Raptors for A, being the reason this even dropped and B, earning their first title and actually making the Finals interesting for the first time in 4 years.
The Free Nationals new single "Time" is incredibly bittersweet but I absolutely love it. Hearing Kali Uchis and Mac Miller together is absolutely heavenly. They both performed brilliantly. Even though they put the documentary on hold, I'm glad Mac's family is allowing new music to be released. Hearing him again put a smile on my face, but admittedly there were also a few tears. I never discussed it but I also really enjoyed their previous single with Daniel Ceasar. If there's an album on the way, I'm getting really excited for it.
When people told me that Future's latest EP showed a more vulnerable side of him, I was intrigued. I've seen signs in some of his previous work that he could peel the curtain back and let his listeners into what he thinks and feels deep down, but I never really imagined he intended to do so. After hearing the EP, I still don't. Besides the short opener, the other tracks on this EP are in no way different from anything I've heard from Future before. But instead of reviewing the EP and going on about how much it bored me, I found it a better idea to highlight just the closing track, "Love Thy Enemies". Because although I find the claims that this project is a different side of Future greatly exagerrated, this song is a glimpse at what could've been. Optimistically speaking, what still could be if his next project focuses on this tone and sound. This song is somber in every way, a word I never thought I'd use in a Future review but it's the most fitting. Somber is also surprisingly fitting for Future musically. If he opted for R&B style production and balanced his vocals so as to not be comically overdramatic, he could craft a very dark, emotional project. Hearing this song makes me wish he had. This is the most interested I think I've ever been in a Future song, at least in a very long time. I'd really love to hear more like it.
This was stupid a a year ago when Nicki Minaj did it and it's just as stupid, if not stupider, now. This man Khaled has had a handful of #1 debuts for his albums that I'd say were pretty undeserved. For example his last record came out the same day as Vince Staples' "Big Fish Theory", which just about any hip-hop fan would tell you is a vastly superior album but Khaled was #1 nonetheless. The man has made more money off of basically just marketing songs to artists and throwing his name and ad-libs on them then most artists do carrying all the weight of their craft without help. My point is, the fact that he's this upset that his most boring record to date is sitting at a measly #2 is toxic in every sense of the word. There are gonna be people who think I'm only bothered by this because I'm a Tyler fan and I showered praise upon "IGOR" in my review but I promise you that's not the case. The artist who claimed the top spot isn't a factor in this case, because we're talking about his response, not the music itself. #1 or not, I've still been hearing that terrible Travis/ Post Malone joint blasting out of people's cars in my neighborhood and all the music videos he released racked up tons of views. Dj Khaled isn't gonna suddenly not be a rich internet celebrity anymore because his album didn't debut at the top spot. And he has to know that. Which leads me to believe that ego is the only reason he cares this much. With Nicki, I said she was acting out of fear that her relevance was slipping away. I don't feel like Khaled has the same problem because his music really isn't where his fame stems from at this point. Hip-hop being a competitve sport has always been a cornerstone of the culture and I'd never frown upon that. Hunger keeps the game alive. But just like any sport, good sportsmanship is a quality every player should have. Sore losers are good for a few quality memes but bad for the culture as a whole. A friend of mine once told me "Stay Humble, Stay Smart, Stay Hungry". To any upcoming artists following this page, hell, to anyone pursuing their dreams whatever they may be, I offer the same advice. Celebrate the achievements of your peers and let them inspire.
My review of Denzel Curry's "ZUU" is out now on Thirstkey and without giving too much away, it's a little more positive than others I've seen. Maybe I'm just too easy to please but I actually enjoyed this project quite a bit, although it's nowhere near being Denzel's best work. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Link to the review is in my bio! Enjoy!
My review of Beast Coast's "Escape From New York" is out now on Thirstkey! Link in my bio! This album definitely isn't what I went into it hoping for but I do still try highlighting the positives with this review, as I usually tend to. There are some bangers on here with pretty high replay value. The project as a whole is just way too inconsistent coming from a panel of such great artists. Let me know your thoughts on it in the comments.
“Apollo XXI” is the debut album from Internet member and steadily rising producer Steve Lacy. Steve has had a highly productive few years building up to this album. Not only managing to consistently release great material with The Internet but as I mentioned, gaining quite a bit of notoriety as a producer. He’s produced for the likes of Tyler The Creator, Big Sean, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar among others. With that workload it's no surprise we’re only now hearing a full album of solo material from him. But this album personifies the old saying “better late than never”. Not only is this the first full album we’ve heard from Steve, it’s also the first album we’ve heard ABOUT Steve. The central theme of this album is all the thoughts and feelings he’s kept to himself for quite some time. Mainly centering around him being bisexual and the relationships he’s been in. The song “Like Me” is definitely the one that not only pulls back the curtain but just rips it away entirely and tosses it aside. Steve is honest from beginning to end on this song. Even the hook reveals how he’s struggled with self-acceptance. But what I admire is the fact that through all that pain, Steve still takes the time to use his platform to speak to others who may be in a similar position. Songs like “Playground”, “Basement Jack” and “Guide” are short but sweet tunes that find interesting but relatable metaphors to articulate how Steve processes certain aspects of love. But past “cute” metaphors like on “Playground”, there are also some grim ones. Such as comparing his desire for someone to addiction on “Hate CD”. Honesty in the form of self-analysis makes a return on “Love 2 Fast”. It isn’t the closing track of the album but to me, it is the culmination of the songs leading up to it. Steve learns from all his past mistakes (the ones we hear about throughout the album ) and realizes he needs to slow down. “Only fools rush in”, I believe is the saying. Musically, Steve’s production skills are as sharp as ever on this album. My favorite track from a purely musical standpoint though has to be “Amandla’s Interlude”. The track is entirely instrumental which I’m usually not super into but..
DUCKWRTH is an artist I've only been getting into as of the last month or so and I've still only heard a couple songs. So it was fitting that his anticipated EP "The Falling Man" would release during my introductory period to his music. The main thing this project taught me overall is how versatile an artist DUCKWRTH really is. I knew he was a good rapper but his vocal talent had a strong presence on this EP and he's actually a very good singer. He reminds me a lot of someone like Saba or Smino on this project the way he balances rapping and singing on most of the songs. The music itself has a lot of versatility as well. This EP does not limit itself to hip-hop at all. "NOBODY FALLS" and "LOVE IS LIKE A MOSHPIT" feature production from Medasin who I've been told by friends is a good electronic producer. (I know literally nothing about the genre but those songs sounded pretty cool ) Then there's the track "A WILDFIRE" which is to me a rock song in just about every aspect. But being how I am my favorite tracks are honestly all in the first half of the project. Songs like "BOW" and "FALL BACK" may be viewed as more "basic" compared to the more genre-bending tracks but they're the songs DUCKWRTH himself performs best on. While I'm on the topic of versatility I gotta shout out Rico Nasty for her feature on "LOVE IS LIKE A WILDFIRE". She has been absolutely killing it lately and I love what she did here. She's not really someone I go to for smooth vocals (I wasn't big into the softer cuts on her "Anger Managment" project ) but I loved her performance. The EP definitely loses steam for me after "NOBODY FALLS" but none of it is bad, per se. I definitely reccommend giving it a listen. At 9 tracks it doesn't take too much time out of your day. 7/10.
This might be an odd opening statement but damn I feel bad this dropped the same day as "IGOR". I'm a huge fan of Tyler and seeing him succeed brings me a lot of joy. But Injury Reserve's self-titled debut album is really good and it's gonna be massively overshadowed. Sorta like how "Swimming", one of my favorite albums of last year, dropped the same day as "Astroworld". Suffice to say, the spotlight kinda got taken. Nevertheless, I hope those of you who have been preoccupied with dissecting "IGOR" set aside some time to listen to this album. It's well worth it. This album contains some of the hardest bangers of the year so far. "Jailbreak The Tesla" and "Biscuits N Gravy" are my personal favorites in that category. The production is top-notch and the rappers match it perfectly, really proving the great chemistry this group has. The features are perfectly selected too. Amine, JPEGMAFIA, Rico Nasty and Freddie Gibbs all destroy their features. (And Peggy's is just a hook. Damn Peggy ) It's not all hard hitting bangers though. Towards the end the album winds down for the deeply personal track "Best Spot In The House" and the almost poetic "New Hawaii". ("New Hawaii" features some killer DRAM vocals by the way ) After everything else the album had to offer, "Best Spot In The House" completely threw me for a loop. I always admire when artists open up and vent their thoughts and feelings that much. I was just extremely unprepared for it. I believe I've used this term in a previous review but it gave me what I call emotional whiplash. But it made for one of my favorite tracks. It's a pretty simple album to digest so I don't have too much to say about it but it's a great debut for a group that deserves more attention. The timing may not have worked in their favor but I hope this review and a couple others I've seen here and on Youtube guide more listeners to this album. You won't be disappointed. 8/10.
My review of Logic's "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind" is out now on Thirstkey! It's definitely more positive than my IG review of "Supermarket" so...there's that. Let me know your thoughts on the album in the comments and follow @thirstkey for more reviews and other dope content. Enjoy!