Every month, columnists Lorena Cupcake and Torry Threadcraft compile a playlist of the most noteworthy rap releases for The Rap Round-up. Up this month, Saweetie, Rico Nasty, reggaeton superstar Yandel and, of course, Lil Nas X.
The Yee-Haw Agenda is taking over and the only thing to say is yipee-ki-yay. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ country-fried remix of ‘Old Town Road’ sparked interesting discourse on genre demarcation, and Western went West Coast when a fellow viral video star dropped the full version of a cult snippet.
Freed from his deal with Atlantic, Lil Uzi Vert promptly matched his musical output from the past year or so. The prolific Atlanta rap scene also offered up new music from artists like Money Makin Nique, Sy Ari Da Kid and Lil Keed.
Rap is more than a regional phenomenon. Artists from different countries and genres are inspired to make the sound their own. Dominican R&B artist Melii showcases her Harlem-bred range while Yandel, half of the Puerto Rican reggaeton duo Wisan y Yandel, turns in a tequila-soaked turn-up anthem. Fellow urbano artist Natti Natasha’s ‘Oh Daddy’ seems destined for a Latin trap remix; no such treatment is needed for West London rapper BR3NYA, who channels her Ghanaian heritage on a lilting new track.
Melodic rap isn’t going anywhere — Iann Dior and Fredo Bang are names you should know — and there are other signs of the next generation taking over. NLE Choppa’s still riding his ‘Shotta Flow’ buzz into high-profile features, even linking with legends Juvenile and Birdman.
Hip-hop has not finished mourning Nipsey Hussle, whose Grammy nomination for Victory Lap and last spring’s opening of the Vector 90 coworking space was undercut by a violent, tragic end. A somber shadow was cast over 03 Greedo’s collaborative album with DJ Mustard, released while the rapper serves twenty years. It was a month colored by misfortune, and the end of our playlist reflects that.
Lil Nas X – ‘Old Town Road’ [Feat. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Noname – ‘Song 32’
The Boyboy West Coast – ‘U Was at The Club (Bottoms Up)’
Lil Uzi Vert – ‘Sanguine Paradise’
Money Makin Nique – ‘Mount Olympus’ [Feat. Key! & Reese LaFlare]
Shy Glizzy – ‘Ridin Down Slauson’
Lil Mosey – ‘Bust Down Cartier’
Lil Keed – ‘Move It’ [Feat. Offset]
Melii – ‘Gangsta Talk’
Yandel – ‘Tequila’
Ninety6 – ‘St. Louis’ [Feat. Valee]
Pivot Gang – ‘Mortal Kombat’ [Feat. Kari Faux]
BR3NYA – ‘Double Dutch’
Natti Natasha – ‘Oh Daddy (Spanglish Version)’
JPEGMAFIA – ‘The Who’ [Feat. Eyas]
Sy Ari Da Kid – ‘Free Agency’
Cuban Doll – ‘Mo Money’ [Feat. Ty Dolla $ign]
Iann Dior – ‘Molly’ [Feat. Bernard Jabs]’
Rasta Papii – ‘Waves’
Fredo Bang – ‘3:19’
Saweetie – ‘Hot Boy’
03 Greedo – ‘Grapevine’ [Feat. Trilliano]
Cee Kay – ‘Predator’
Key Glock – ‘Yea!!’
OMB Peezy – ‘One Me’ [Feat. Sada Baby]
Damjonboi – ‘Capers’
WNC Whop Bezzy – ‘Wig Off’
NLE Choppa – ‘Capo’
Maxo Kream – ‘Meet Again’
Birdman & Juvenile – ‘Dreams’ [Feat. NLE Choppa]
Yungeen Ace – ‘So Long’
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.
Read next: The Rap Round-up, March 2019