The big-hitters were in full effect, vying to stake their claim to provide the perfect soundtrack for the summer…
Hermit & The Recluse — Orpheus Vs. The Sirens (Obol for Charon Records)
KA connects with producer Animoss for his sixth and arguably strongest release so far. The veteran emcee/NY fire-fighter weaves his mythological, coded storytelling intricately between the perfectly balanced sparse but intense production. A real stand out release from an artistically creative, boundary-pushing talent.
Le$ — Trouble In Paradise (Slfemp Music LLC., SxS)
Another great release from Le$ who utilises the smooth, at times luxurious production to lay-down well-executed bars which create an undeniable vibe perfectly suited for the warm weather.
Freddie Gibbs - Freddie (ESGN / EMPIRE)
The usual high-energy flows from Gibbs over Kenny Beats and other trap production, this is a frantic and recklessly brilliant display of modern hip-hop from one of its finest talents.
Knowledge The Pirate — Flintlock (TREASURECHEST ENTERTAINMENT)
Boasting a career that reaches back to the 90s and having rhymed over Teddy Riley and Neptunes production, Knowledge The Pirate has continually re-emerged on various Roc Marciano albums since 2010. His debut project is an impressively confident one which features the key traits of classic East Coast material, laced full of soul samples and street narratives.
Chris Crack — Being Woke Ain’t Fun (New Deal Collectives)
The eccentric Chicago rapper hits new highs with his latest 11-track album produced entirely by August Fanon. Beautifully flipped soul loops and charismatic bars from Chris and his flurry of guests make this short release, which clocks in at just shy of 30 minutes, an easily digestible and enjoyable listen.
Willie The Kid - Things Of That Nature (The Fly LLC)
7-track EP from the underrated emcee who drops yet another impressive display of well crafted lyricism densely packed with clever wordplay and alliteration over impressive beats from little-known producer Brady James.
Apollo Brown & Locksmith - No Question (Mello Music Group)
The Detroit producer heads West for his latest project, an 8-track release with Bay Area lyrical monster Locksmith. The battle-tested, punchline-heavy rapper shows versatility in tackling Apollo’s pounding drums and finely chopped samples with personal, heartfelt lyrics.
DJ Muggs — Dia Del Asesinato (Soul Assassins Records)
The legendary Cypress Hill producer makes a welcome return with a short but impressive release. Opting for stripped down, carefully-selected samples and an all-star guest list of predominantly East Coast rappers this is a dark and dusty release that will find itself in regular rotation in the colder months ahead.
WestSide Gunn — Supreme Blientele (Griselda Records)
With production from 9th Wonder, Pete Rock and The Alchemist and guest spots from eLZhi, Roc Marciano and Jadakiss this much-hyped slice of modern NY rap doesn’t disappoint.
Drake - Scorpion (Young Money / Cash Money Records)
It’s hard to ignore Drake whether you love or hate him. This bloated release features enough diversity with a mix of personal reflections and crossover anthems to ensure an engaging listen that will please his ever-expanding fan-base.
Knxwledge & Roc Marciano — dntaskmefrshit (Self-Released)
Having taken a short break unrelenting LA producer Knxwledge returned with a flurry of his signature lo-fi beat tapes, the most notable being a short 4-minute release featuring Roc Marciano. Hopefully this serves as a precursor to a full project.
Eto X Flu — Motion Picture (Self-Released)
Coming off the back of making serious noise with his collaborative project with V Don in 2017, Eto connects with producer Flu for a 5-track release featuring energetic, grimey beats and rhymes.
Estee Nack & Al Divino — VEDA / Nikola / Akira On Acid / Joan Manuel Serrap (Self-Released)
The prolific duo continue to release music at a rapid pace. Some of the music is just stripped-down raw East Coast-influenced hip-hop but they’re a duo who have also proven that they are willing to experiment with more abstract sounds which can lead to mixed results.
Code Nine — The Codex Leicester / Million Dollar Mink / ELCIRCULOVICIOSO (Self-Released)
Code Nine, part of the Tragic Allies camp along with the aforementioned Estee Nack, has also been on a relentless run of impressive releases over the summer months. Switching between slower, soul-tinged production and menacing boom-bap he is part of a group of artists who are starting to corner the increasingly niche market for dusty East Coast-inspired rap.
Nas — NASIR (Mass Appeal Records LLC / Def Jam Recordings)
The legendary rapper makes a welcome return after a six-year hiatus with seven Kanye-produced tracks and socially conscious rhymes. Although not as engaging as the majority of the music in his extensive catalogue there are more than enough moments to evoke nostalgia among his loyal and hungry fan-base, even though most will hope this marks his return rather than a fleeting appearance.
Future — BEASTMODE 2 (Epic Records)
The high-energy ATL rapper went on an epic run starting in 2014 and his collaboration with Zaytoven, Beast Mode, was a crucial component in elevating his status. The duo reconnect on BEASTMODE 2 for more reflective, soul-bearing chapters delivered with the charm and intensity that only Future can execute.
Other releases worth a listen:
Dom Kennedy — Addicted To The Underground (Self-Released)
Purpose & B.B.Z. Darney - The Quintessential (Self-Released)
Haze — Brookside Terrace (Self-Released)
Nine — The 9 Commandments (Smoke On Records)
Mytee G. Poetic - Com’n Wit Nuff Ruffness (Gentleman’s Relief Records)
Tuamie — Emergency Raps Vol. 2 / Emergency Raps Vol. 3 (Mutant Academy)
A.G. — The Taste Of AMBrosia (MEGATRON BRONX)
Denzel Curry — TA13OO (PH Recordings, LLC.)
Fly Anakin & Big Kahuna OG — Life & Times Of BigFly (Mutant Academy)
Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs — Frozen Angels (Soul Assassins Records)
Ankhlejohn - Van Ghost / The Yellow House (Shaap Records)
Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD (Epic Records)
$auce Heist & Jamal Gasol — Gasol Sauce (Self-Released)
Jay Rock — Redemption (Top Dawg Ent. / Interscope Records)
Young Thug - Slime Language (Young Stoner Life Records, a 300 Entertainment Label.)
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