Every month, columnists Lorena Cupcake and Torry Threadcraft compile a playlist of the most noteworthy rap releases for The Rap Round-up. This month, Megan Thee Stallion charges the throne, Stormzy and Tyler, the Creator release highly-anticipated new music and DJ Khaled’s ‘Higher’ is a bittersweet testament to Nipsey Hussle’s power.
Whether artists hole up in the studio to bounce beats off each other or shuttle verses via Dropbox, sometimes collaboration tracks flourish… and sometimes they fizzle and fail.
Compton rappers YG and Boogie circle warily around the beat on their team effort, joined by Chicago rapper Valee and his infinitesimal-yet-influential pauses. North Carolina’s Stunna 4 Vegas and ATL’s Young Nudy sound like the South squared; Maxo Kream and Megan Thee Stallion represent Houston’s creme de la creme. A posse cut with representatives from interconnected collectives BandGang and Shredgang (plus the deliciously twisted Sada Baby) is as Detroit as a pair of woods.
Not every matchup is so predictable. J. Cole turns in a strong showing against Thugger and Travis Scott on ‘The London’, while A$AP Mob’s entry is only salvaged by its quotability (“ugly like Balenciagas”.) $uicideboy$ continue working with their favorite childhood icons; having checked Juicy J off the list, they’ve linked with members of KoRn and Blink-182.
Glimpses of the music’s future flash like sparks in the night. 10k.caash and Tisakorean show that Texas dance rap’s tech-fueled influence is unstoppable; Zé Taylor refuses to be anyone but himself. Young rappers like Jaydayoungan and Lil Berete are making hip-hop more melodic than ever, while rap verses find their way on cross-genre projects from artists like Tyler the Creator, Jamila Woods and Tank and the Bangas.
Hip-hop as a whole is still working through the loss of Nipsey Hussle and the marathon continues through his family and friends as they live out his legacy. DJ Khaled closes out this month’s playlist with a soaring dedication, the song’s proceeds going to benefit the late rapper’s children.
YG – ‘I Was on the Block’ [Feat. Valee & Boogie]
Stunna 4 Vegas – ‘Havin’ My Way’ [Feat. Young Nudy]
Schoolboy Q – ‘CHopsticks’ [Feat. Travis Scott]
Maxo Kream – ‘She Live’ [Feat. Megan Thee Stallion]
Blac Youngsta – ‘Cut Up’
Stormzy – ‘Vossi Bop’
King Louie – ‘Tesla’
Young Thug – ‘The London’ [Feat. J. Cole & Travis Scott]
BandGang Lonnie Bands – ‘Weird’ [Feat. Sada Baby, BandGang Mosoe & Shredgang Mone]
Queen Key – ‘RBA’
Mozzy – ‘Shine’n for Diamond’
Key! – ‘Miami Too Much’
Calboy – ‘Caroline’ [Feat. Polo G]
Quando Rondo – ‘My Yoppa’ [Feat. Shy Glizzy]
Denzel Curry – ‘RICKY’
DUCKWRTH – ‘Love is Like a Moshpit’ [Feat. Rico Nasty & Medasin]
$uicideboy$ & Travis Barker – ‘Killing 2 Birds With 22 Stones’ [Feat. Munky]
Blocboy JB – ‘Mercedes’
10k.Caash – ‘Mutumbo’ [Feat. Rico Nasty]
Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Cash Shit’ [Feat. Da Baby]
Young Dolph – ‘Crashin’ Out’
Money Man – ‘Get Out More’
A$AP Ferg – ‘Pups’ [Feat. A$AP Rocky]
Asian da Brat – ‘Double Burger’
Young Nudy – ‘Mister [Feat. 21 Savage]
D. Savage – ‘WYTD’
Z. Money – ‘Prolly Cookin”
Lil Berete – ‘Goat Cheese’
JayDaYoungan – ‘Hold Me’
Quando Rondo – ‘Dope Boy Dreams
Skinnyfromthe9 – ‘They Don’t Know Me’
Zé Taylor – ‘Rolling Stone’
Santi – ‘Demon Hearts’ [Feat. D.R.A.M.]
Tank & the Bangas – ‘Dope Girl Magic’
Chance the Rapper – ‘GRoCERIES’ [Feat. TisaKorean]
Jamila Woods – ‘SONIA’ [Feat. Nitty Scott]
Tyler, the Creator – ‘Puppet’
Supa Bwe – ‘Slippin / Apex’
DJ Khaled – ‘Higher’ [Feat. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend]
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: April 2019