2020 has been an unusual year in many regards. Today is no exception, as hip hop icons and rivals Nas and Jay-Z both dropped new music on the same day for the fist time in a very long time. However, today isn’t just a day to celebrate the new music of older greats; Vic Mensa, YG, Duckwrth and plenty of other young artists have released new music today that is ripe for listening.
Check out exactly who released what last night below:
Nas, Hit-Boy – King’s Disease
Arguably hip hop’s greatest lyricist is back in his fourth decade of making music, this time with a fresh approach on the production side. His lyrical ability is still as potent as ever, as Nas details his thoughts on society today while uplifting black communities and women around the country. His goal to make music for younger fans of hip hop seems to have paid off, as features from the likes of Don Toliver, Anderson .Paak, Lil Durk and others help Nas’s album reach across multiple generations of hip hop. Despite the more mainstream approach, Nas doesn’t hold back at all lyrically, and he is complimented on a track perfectly by fellow New Yorkers AZ, Foxy Brown and Cormega perfectly, just as he was back in the 1990’s. This album is a staunch reminder of why Nas truly is one of the greatest to ever do it.
Lecrae – Restoration
Don’t let Lecrae’s religiously based lyrics distract from the fact that the Houston based rapper has pure talent combined with great versatility. Able to bring the intensity on tracks like “Over The Top,” while also providing his own introspective realizations on “Self Discovery,” Lecrae is able to deliver on multiple levels with a steady flow and relentless energy. Restoration marks his third decade of music making, and he does not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. His spiritual approach may not be for everyone, but there is no denying his sheer talent as a rapper can match with the best of them.
Duckwrth – SuperGood
Los Angeles based rapper Duckwrth has an infectious charisma that shines through all of his music, and he is back bringing that same charm on SuperGood. Bolstered by strong production that plays perfectly with Duckwrth’s bouncy flow, the rapper delivers on multiple levels with a unique flow, tender lyrics and sheer talent. There is no shortage of features on the album, from names like EARTHGANG to Jean Deaux, and all of the artists featured on the album help Duckwrth deliver on just his second studio album. The rapper seems to be setting himself up for success throughout the coming decade.
Mulatto – Queen of Da Souf
For fans of “WAP,” look no further for strong lyrics and high powered female energy than Mulatto. The Atlanta native’s debut album is as high energy as anything released all year, and with features from established Atlanta trap rappers like Gucci Mane and 21 Savage, as well as from Miami’s City Girls, the album is chock full of dancy summer anthems. The production is forceful while playful, and every song is back with intense 808s and snapping high hats. The albums is undeniably fun, and Mulatto’s debut will undoubtedly help propel her further into the hip hop mainstream.
Vic Mensa – V TAPE
Vic Mensa’s career began strongly with his first mixtape in 2013 alongside fellow Chicago rapper Chance The Rapper, but he did not see the same success on his debut studio album in 2017. Three years later, Vic is back for redemption, and brings hard hitting bars and catchy punchlines that once garnered him a devoted fanbase. Making a comeback is never easy, but it is clear that Vic re-devoted himself to his craft and further refined his lyrics and his flow. The production perfectly supports Vic’s rapping style, and the EP seems to be a step in the right direction for Vic to recapture his appeal in the hip hop scene.
YG – 4 THE PEOPLE
Nobody embodies modern west coast rap more than YG; the bouncy, bass-filled production paired with the syncopated rhythmic figures combines for that west coast bounce, and YG effortlessly brings the production to life through his lyrics. Provocative, hard-hitting, and fun, YG always brings the energy and the charisma to his rhymes, and while his lyrics won’t be as thought provoking as some other west coast notables, his music will always keep the clubs bumping.
blackbear – everything means nothing
Florida based blackbear oozes charm on his music, and his latest EP is no exception. The playfulness on the production throughout the EP is evident, even when blackbear is tapping into his emotional side. His melodic lyrics are infectious, and whether he is pouring his heart out or pumping out a summer hit, blackbear is always bringing a high level of energy. His ability to touch on multiple subjects is strong, and by doing so he is able to produce music that appeals to a wide variety of audiences.
Mariah Carey, Ms. Lauryn Hill – “Save The Day”
A beautiful collaboration between two queens of the 90’s, both Carey and Hill still have an elite tenderness to their voices. Their vocal abilities are as strong as ever, and while Carey brings an effortless melody to the vocals, Hill brings powerful lyrics and an infectious energy to the track. The production is a perfect canvas that allows both Carey and Hill to shine, and it is clear on “Save The Day” that both artists are still able to bring their musical best to the table.
Pharrell, Jay-Z – “Entrepreneur”
A pure celebration of black success, “Entrepreneur” is an anthem for anyone who feels like they’ve achieved success in the face of adversity. Pharrell’s soprano melodic lines shine through the song, and his vocal harmonies are a pleasant texture for the listener. Jay-Z as always brings his best to his verse, and with playful lyrics further celebrates the success of black communities in America. The video is a perfect compliment, as it shares various stories of black success throughout the country.
Fivio Foreign – 13 Going On 30
Not only does Fivio appear on Nas’ new album this week, but he’s bringing some heat of his own as well. The Brooklyn drill rapper brings an undeniable energy to his music, but also comes with a solid flow and energetic lyrics. The production is both intense and melodic, which allows Fivio to shine throughout the track. Fivio has yet to release a studio album, but his singles and EPs prove that he has the talent and the charisma to carry the torch of Brooklyn drill that Pop Smoke left behind.
Not released: Travis Scott – “The Plan“
I have just completed my senior year at the University of Michigan majoring in international studies with an emphasis in political economics and development, with a minor in Chinese language and culture, and I have recently been accepted into the Berklee School of Music’s masters of music business program. Although economics, politics and history are all academic interests of mine, I consider music to be my true passion.
Music has always been my passion, and it is a driving force for the way I think, act, and conduct myself on a daily basis. I have been playing the clarinet and saxophone since the age of ten, and the ability to play music at a high level has allowed me to embrace music on a multitude of levels. I am both an avid player and listener of music, and I find myself constantly in search of new artists who bring something new and different to the art form, and writing about new music has become a new outlet for me to explore what is going on in the musical world.