Half an hour of smackin’ instrumentals, bass-driven beauties. Producer DJ Smokey comes correct with his newest mixtape, Squirtle Sapphires. If you’re familiar with this iconic artist, it’s a great place to pick up where you left off. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s one hell of a mixtape to kickstart the journey. Don’t sleep on Smokey 666.
Minnesota’s own Bobby Raps brought the heat last year with his debut solo offering, Mark, and now he has returned with the fourteen track WeirdLilWorld. Handling production on a majority of the project, Bobby also recruits familiar names like Corbin, Chase N Cashe, and Chief Keef. He’s been producing for Keef and Young Thug and this project is a direct reflection of that auto-tuned style. Hard body. Press play on 40 minutes of wild.
Back in May, Richmond, Virginia rapper/producer Nickelus F released the album Stuck. I’m a bit late to the party on this one but I can’t stop spinning it. ‘Horace Hardbody the Statue’ is such a heater. Shout-out to Ka for putting me on to this artist and shout-out to Lil Ugly Mane, who released a project with Nickelus F back in 2015 titled Trick Dice.
Chicago’s Cdot Honcho first caught my ear on Joey Purp’s project, Quarterthing, and upon discovering his SoundCloud, I saw that he had just released a project. H4 is the ten song album from the Windy City artist with features from Chief Keef and Lil Durk. It’s driving over the speed limit, punching you in the face, and absolutely annihilating your ear drums. What a ride.
I found this project on a rap message board and knew it was worth checking out after seeing the POW Recordings affiliation. The eight song album, Do or Die, acts as my introduction to the Hammond, Indiana rapper, who has gained past acclaim with a series of grainy videos released through Elevator. Sounding a bit like the past and a bit like the present, Vince Ash is the newest Midwestern rapper to hold my attention.
Atlanta’s own Thouxanbanfauni (aka Thouxan) released the fourteen track project Requiem last week. Thumping down the street and steady energy, this is one that demands a good set of speakers or headphones. If you need more, be sure to check out the visuals for the track “Wide Awake”.
After releasing the EP 78 Season at the top of this year, St. Paul, Minnesota artist Lerado Khalil followed it up with the eight song album Shark Fin Soup. Blending trap music with video game vibes, the hashtag “Mildly Happy” is all too fitting with this release. The tracks “I Tried” and “Bark” go so hard. Sheesh.
Now this is an album! 25 unique tracks that blend lofi hip-hop with jazz and soul and rap. Pink Siifu did his thing here. While the Birmingham, Alabama artist has a LOT more music available, this is a fine introductory project, one that will have me browsing the remainder of his portfolio. But not until I’ve properly digested this dense, 60 minutes beaut. Shout-out GRiMM Doza, liv.e, Budgie, Pyramid Vritra. Shout-out this album. Damn.
Producers Squadda B and Badluck connect for the eleven track project Special Edition Instrumentals. The half an hour album blends cloud rap with hip-hop and synthwave. Tracks like ‘Another 6’ and ‘ABCG2’ hit the spot. If you like what you hear, be sure to grab a physical copy over at the Green Ova’s Bandcamp, which is a musical goldmine.
Rapper Key! spent a large part of 2018 teasing his collaborative album with producer Kenny Beats. The finalized album is 777, a 15 song run through of thumping intensity and electric bounce. Tracks like “Move” and “Toronto” demand to be played on loop at maximum volume. To top it off, Key! provided the visuals for the tracks “Hater” (directed by JimmyRegular) and “Kelly Price Freestyle” (shot by Miggy). The complete package makes 777 one of the most exciting hip-hop releases of 2018.