It has been three years since Detroit native Big Sean released a solo project until last night. He has now returned with Detroit 2, which not only highlights the beauty and ambitions of his hometown, but features a litany of Detroit artists, like Boldy James, Tee Grizzley, Kash Doll, Key Wane and others. It also features big names like Travis Scott and Young Thug, as well as cameos from Dave Chapelle, Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu.
In addition to Sean, a slew of underground and indie artists released new projects, and other familiar artists put out fresh singles for the world to enjoy. Take a look at it all below:
Big Sean – Detroit 2
Sean is not pulling any punches on his new album; the 21 song project features a slew of artists both local and national, showcases a variety of different production styles, and sees Sean in perhaps his most versatile form as a rapper. The project is uplifting, and serves as a celebration of his city of Detroit, as he and the feature artists demonstrate the beauty and creativity that a city like Detroit fosters. Sean brings energy, emotion, passion and his undeniable charisma to the album, and provides a myriad of different flows and rapping styles to the project. His first album in three years is well worth the wait, and while the album may be longer than it needs to be, there is certainly no shortage of good music within.
Ovrkast. – Try Again
Lo-fi production, chill vibes and a mellow demeanor, east Oakland’s Ovrkast. has a distinct style that allows him to stand out. His lyrics are potent and flow effortlessly within the lo-fi style of production, and strong features from Mavi, Navy Blue and others add to the lyrical depth of the project. Although just longer than seventeen minutes, the album has no shortage of strong lyrical delivery and interesting production, and sees Ovrkast. combine a classic hip hop feel with modern production techniques. Ovrkast. is coming out strong and making soldi first impression on his debut studio album.
Tricky – Fall to Pieces
The English actor, rapper and record producer is back with his first new project in three years, and his fourteenth studio album since his music career began in the mid 90’s. This project is very ambient and spacious, as the musical detail in the production greatly stands out. The vocal features are strong and add emotional depth to Tricky’s production, but it is the production, as with any Tricky project, that stands out as the highlight of the album. The production styles and techniques vary not just from song to song, but even within the songs themselves, which allows for fresh listening throughout the entire album and provides a great deal of variety throughout the project.
Blxst – No Love Lost
Effortlessly mixing rap with an r&b approach, the Los Angeles based rapper and producer is continuing to make waves in the hip hop scene. His ability to flow easily between rapping and singing is among some of the best, and his production perfectly compliments his voice and lyrics. The album is not that long at just over eighteen minutes, but Blxst showcases his talent and artistic abilities across the entire project. Blxst provides a fresh west coast perspective and a classic blend of hip hop with r&b that works on multiple levels.
IV JAY – 5th Element
IV JAY, the Houston based r&b singer, is here with her debut studio album. Her vocal ability is evident across the whole project, and other than a strong feature from fellow Houston native Don Toliver, JAY is the only artist appearing on the entire album. Her beautiful vocal performance is only matched my her strong and emotional lyrics, as her voice soars over the production across the album. The production is fresh and fun, while JAY still provides deep emotional lyrics and passionate performances.
Dirty Projectors – Super João
Although just four songs, this EP from Brooklyn based indie rock band Dirty Projectors showcases another side to the band, as their tenderness and acumen for acoustic based music is on display. The Portuguese influence of the EP is evident from the first song, and the emotion and beauty poured into each song provides for an extremely pleasant listening experience. The acoustic guitar provides a great compliment for the vocal performances, as the EP embraces the acoustic musicality of traditional Portuguese music.
¡MAYDAY! – Minute to Midnight 00:57
Another four song EP, this Miami based hip hop group provides a very unique take on hip hop. All four songs are vastly different stylistically, while all of them showcase the versatility of the group as well as their lyrical ability and their cohesion as a group. The energy that the group brings to their music is undeniable, as they give their all to each and every second on this short EP. The varied production provides for four very different songs, and the group highlights their ability to rap over a litany of production styles.
SZA, Ty Dolla $ign – “Hit Different”
The lyrical performances alone between SZA and Ty Dolla is enough to make a beautiful song, but compounded with an enticing video provides a great overall experience. Ty Dolla’s vocals are an amazing compliment to SZA’s, while SZA provides her raw emotion and passion into each one of her verses. The visuals on the video are stunning, as SZA channels her inner Beyoncé and shows off her moves over a variety of different settings. The song is provocative and stunning, as the two artists’ voices pair perfectly with one another.
Lil Durk – “The Voice”
Between his hit single with Drake and appearing on Nas’ latest album, Durk is riding a wave of momentum into the release of his debut studio album. His lead single, “The Voice,” dropped last night along with the video, offering fans into a glimpse of his album. As usual, his rapping/singing combo is catchy and infectious, although this single shows nothing new in his abilities, or within the visuals in the video. While his new album may provide some unique perspectives and different musical approaches, the single doesn’t show the listener anything new that Durk hasn’t shown already. Nonetheless, the hype surrounding his debut studio album release will be heavy.
Bryson Tiller – “Inhale”
Since dropping his highly acclaimed album Trapsoul in 2016, fans have been waiting so see what rapper/singler Bryson Tiller does next. His upcoming album is already highly anticipated, as his lead single, “Inhale,” was released last night. His passionate lyrics and effortless vocal abilities are as evident as ever, as the video provides emotional visuals that add to his r&b appeal. While this single showcases the strengths of Tiller, it is tough to say whether his new album will show more of his versatility as a rapper and singer, or come across as music attempting to appeal to mainstream audiences. Regardless, there is no denying Tiller’s talent as an artist, as evident on this single.
NBA YoungBoy, Snoop Dogg – “Callin”
Another artist whose studio album is already highly anticipated, YoungBoy has already released several songs from his upcoming album, including one featuring the legendary Snoop Dogg. Listening to a collaboration between the old school and the new is always exciting, and while YoungBoy may not have the talent as a lyricist or musical knowledge as some of his contemporaries, his energy and charisma on the mic is palpable. Snoop adds his usual low key demeanor and classic west coast lyrics to the track, which provides a needed variety and depth to the song. Whether YoungBoy’s album will sound too redundant will be determined upon the album’s release, but strong features may help the album retain some of its life.
Ghostface Killah, Harl3y, Hue Hef – “Feds”
While the Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah is known for his lyrical ability and boom-bap approach, “Feds” sees him taking a new school, New York trap approach. Ghostface’s ability to effortlessly adapt to a different style of rap is highly impressive, as he easily holds his own with two new school rappers. The hard lyrics and gritty approach is typical of Ghostface, and while the style of rap and production is outside his normal approach, the subject matter is nothing new to the rap veteran on this unique track.
D Smoke, Jac Ross, Buddy – “It’s OK To Be Black 2.0”
The talent between D Smoke and Buddy is already immense, as the two west coast rappers show off their lyrical ability and effortless flow on this track. The strength and proud spirit the rappers bring to the track is infectious, and the lyrical potency is powerful. Jac Ross provides a beautiful lyrical performance to compliment the strong rapping of Smoke and Buddy, as the three of them contribute to an awesome anthem celebrating black culture and pride.
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.