Every month columnists Lorena Cupcake and Torry Threadcraft compile a list of the most noteworthy rap releases for The Rap Round-up. Up this month, Compton’s Boogie, Young Thug’s sisters HiDoraah and Dolly White, and the triumphant return of Future.
If there was a Music Industry Handbook (and we sometimes wish there was), somewhere in the dusty pages would be an admonishment not to release new music in the 30 days following December 15. Everyone’s year-end coverage is already filed, press releases beget out-of-office messages and the Hot 100 is full of holiday schmaltz.
Of course, not everyone follows the rules. Puerto Rico’s genre-bending Latin trap star Bad Bunny dropped a surprise album Christmas Eve, while Jacksonville’s Foolio braved a January 2 release date. Mid-month brought a flurry of albums from young rappers like Fijimacintosh and Comethazine, with YNW Melly managing more polish and depth than most.
By the time Future hit the charts with a new no. 1 album, hibernation was officially over. Here’s looking forward to albums from Yung Baby Tate, Lucki and more next month.
Everything’s for Sale
If you can ignore the cringes of secondhand embarrassment as featured guest (and label boss) Eminem spit-stumbles over a jumble of thesaurus mumbo jumbo and 6LAXK (once again) gets defensive over his unpronounceable moniker, Boogie (no, not the one Wit Da Hoodie) overcomes his exhaustion with both the industry and his own bullshit to turn in an impressive debut album.
Fans of Vince Staples will find solace in the soulful sound and soul searching, Compton corner street smarts and smart-ass wit. Dense verses highlight his entanglements with women, his family and his block, proving blood ties are thicker than water. LC
As we inch towards a decade since the world was introduced to Future’s mechanized melancholia, it’s easier to trace how he’s influenced popular music than speculate on where he’s going next. Ever the philanthropist, the artist formerly known as Meathead hasn’t slowed his output much since ‘Racks’.
With a handful of new producers in tow, like ATL Jacob, Richie Souf and Dre Moon, along with regulars like Southside and Wheezy, The WIZRD isn’t a departure from Future’s tried-and-true formula. If anything, The WIZRD delves deeper into the blueprint, shuffling in new assistants to further strengthen an already solid recipe. TT
HiDoraah & Dolly White
On the cover art of their first solo release, Young Stoner Life Records’ HiDoraah & Dolly White — best known as Young Thug’s biological sisters — place their glistening, salon-fresh hands on top of each other, displaying tattoos and coordinating polish. It’s an excellent metaphor for how they present themselves as a cohesive unit, Auto-Tuned voices blending together like twined fingers.
Both artists use the elasticity of dialect to shift limitations of the English language; words like the casually Southern chil’ren is rhymed with a forceful and exacting children — and it works. While Slimestas isn’t the only release from YSL signees the month, it might be the most interesting. LC
Sada Baby’s Bloxk Party was one of the most impressive rap debut of 2018. Though he already had regional hits in the Midwest, his dance moves in the video stole the show, and subsequently, our hearts. He’s the most believable antihero in rap, the fully-realized version of the drunk uncle with hoop dreams deferred–sneering through verses like he’s cutting a WWF Attitude Era promo.
If you come for the bravado, stick around for Sada’s introspective moments. The production likely obscures it to those not actively searching for it. ‘On Gang’ features one such instance, where Sada recalls his adolescence with an air of resignation — “I made me better, Pops made his money, didn’t make me nothing. Mama drank her drank, beat me for her pain…” With stage and mic presence in spades, it’s only a matter of time before the game takes note. TT
wifisfuneral & Robb Bank$
Given the ballooning tracklists of major label albums, it’s not surprising to see the term “EP” applied to a hefty 11 tracks from the Sunshine State’s wifisfuneral and Robb Bank$. The two chant demented nursery rhymes and rap over Japanese-RPG-like flute instrumentals for an endearingly juvenile and refreshing ride.
Banks shows more versatility than Weef, whose flow sometimes sounds recycled from fellow Floridian Lil Pump’s biggest hits. It’s not hard to imagine Interscope’s Alamo imprint pushing ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ as the lead single for precisely that reason, like a pharmacist swapping in Alprazolam for name-brand Xanax. LC
We All Shine
YNW Melly’s second Round-Up entry, We All Shine, is the work of a class clown thoroughly entertained by his own inside jokes. Mid-verse on ‘Fuck PNC Bank’ — a sprawling joyride of a track — he suddenly realizes he doesn’t really like his Maserati truck, slams on brakes and veers into a ditch before the hook returns.
The 19-year old’s zany delivery belies his approach to songwriting, broad vocal range, and daring verbal contortion. ‘No Holidays’ is a fitting example; there’s the familiar jailhouse blues ethos, only through a culinary lens — inedible cafeteria food, the home cooked meals he’s missing on the outside. In the best way possible, he makes music in the vein of Florida street rap, if only it came of age during T-Pain’s Adult Swim/Lonely Island era. TT
On the last day of the year 2018 — his last full year as a teenager — Yung Bans released his Yung Bans Vol 1-5 EP series as one epic collection.
Faced with a 72-track playlist, it might be tempting to hit the recognizable features. Jbans$2Turnt channels raw, melodic emotion on ‘Mood Swings’; diamonds shine “wet like sink” on a track with Gunna; Dublin rapper Rejjie Snow refuses to milly rock.
If you skip around, though, you’ll miss the history of Bans’ family on ‘Wish I Had’, Beat Pluggz bells chiming like a drowsy trap cathedral on ‘Eye 2 Eye’ and the dreamy, hypnotizing spell of ‘Dead Faces’. With more gems among the deterius, you can’t help but wonder what Bans will do now that he’s jettisoned the weight of his past. LC
Lorena Cupcake writes about every facet of culture. Find their insightful coverage on music, food and more at lorenacupcake.com.
Torry Threadcraft is a Brooklyn-based breakfast food enthusiast, moonlighting as a freelance writer from South Georgia.
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