New Music Friday: Who Dropped What? (Rap/Hip Hop/R&B)

Last night saw no shortage of big names releasing new music; rappers like JID, EARTHGANG, Bryson Tiller, Action Bronson, Dom Kennedy and others all released new full length projects, while a slew of underground artists also released new projects. Additionally, big names like Travis Scott, Young Thug, Vince Staples, Polo G and others released new singles to the world.

With artists mainstream and underground providing fans with a litany of new music to dive into, let’s get right into it and present this week’s edition of new music Friday, below:

New Albums

Spillage Village – Spilligion

Spillage Village, the Atlanta rap supergroup featuring JID, Earthgang, 6lack, and others, released their fourth studio album last night, and their first album as a group since 2016. Since their last album release, the group has seen the popularity of some of its individual artists increase significantly, raising the hype around the release of their new album. Not only does Spilligion see the lesser known artists of the group, Mereba, Benji, Jurdan Bryant and Hollywood JB, take a step forward and shine, but it also sees the group dive outside of their usual high energy style of in-your-face hip hop. Songs like “Hapi” and “Juptier” see the group demonstrate a surprising amount of versatility and tenderness in their approach that has yet to been seen by both the artists individually and together as a group.

Action Bronson – Only For Dolphins

The New York based rapper is often polarizing, but there is no denying the lyrical talent that Bronson possesses. Releasing his seventh studio album and his first since 2019, Bronson is back delivering potent lyrics over old school, soulful beats with a classic boom-bap approach. Although the album does not contain a slew of features to help highlight Bronson, the album is chock full of lyrical content and a variety of different production styles. The album contains clear Caribbean influences, a possible testament to the album title and an homage to the island lifestyle. Regardless, those looking for pure bars over interesting production need look no further than Bronson.

Bryson Tiller – T R A P S O U L (Deluxe)

Tiller has been teasing the release of new music, and in anticipation has released the deluxe version of his 2015 hit album T R A P S O U L. Although releasing his second studio album in 2017, his 2015 project is regarded as his best work, so his decision to hype up his new album with a deluxe edition of his 2015 album is not surprising. Although just containing four new songs, one of the songs sees a feature from The Weeknd, and adds more pristine Tiller vocals over interesting, lo-fi production. As fans wait for Tiller to release new music, they can at least continue to enjoy the album that intially launched Tiller’s career.

Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?

It is no surprise that classic hip hop duo Public Enemy chose to release their fifteenth studio album during a year defined largely by social unrest. Public Enemy has been at the forefront of social justice for decades, and their commitment to voicing their concerns over American government and society is admirable to say the least. With features from hip hop legends like Run-DMC and Cypress Hill, the album sees the first generation of hip hop continuing to voice their message to the next generation of hip hop heads. While the hip hop may not be the most fresh, there is no denying the importance of albums like this.

Dom Kennedy – Rap N Roll

Releasing his seventh studio album since 2011, west coast rapper Dom Kennedy is back for the first time since 2018 with Rap N Roll. While Kennedy is not a rapper pushing the envelope with unique production or rapping style, his consistent ability to deliver the west coast style of rap is among some of the best in the game, as he remains one of the west coast’s most influential rap figures of the decade. While the album does not contain a heavy lineup of features, Kennedy is left to express his own thoughts across the album, and perhaps separate himself from other west coast rappers with a more unique approach to the style.

Elzhi – Seven Times Down Eight Times Up

Detroit based rapper Elzhi is lesser known than some of the other names on this list, but the forty two year old former Slum Village member is far from a stranger to the game. His experience and poise can be recognized almost instantly on his fifth studio album, as his deliberate flow and pungent lyrics pack a great deal of weight. His easy going flow pair perfectly with the laid back style of production that is prevalent on the album, as his calm demeanor carries throughout the entirety of the album. Elzhi’s new album is certainly one of the best released today, and should be listened to by any and all fans of hip hop.

KB – His Glory Alone

Do not let the name of this album fool you; the Florida based rapper takes a highly aggressive approach to his Christian rap. Using heavy bass and distortion in the production, the beats on the album sound like they could be used in a Denzel Curry album rather than a Christian hip hip album. However, KB’s high energy and intensity add to the potency of the lyrics. While not everyone may appreciate KB’s style, there is do denying the energy that is present from start to finish on this album.

JL – The Devil Hates Sundays

Another style of Christian hip hop, this album by Tech N9ne student also sees high energy and intensity, as the energy is matched with lightning fast rapping. JL’s technical ability to rap quickly and string rhymes together is certainly there, as he spits bars from beginning to end of the album. The features, including one from Tech N9ne, highlight the talent of JL while providing some contrast to his rapping style. The intense production combined with the high pace and energy rapping across the album allow for a massive barrage of rap from start to finish.

New EP’s

John Gabbana – New Beginnings

While the Jacksonville based rapper has only dropped one studio album back in 2018, his latest EP is a perfect demonstration of his talent as well as his energy. Gabbana packs his lyrics with meaning in addition to just energy, and shows his vulnerability and introspection right off the bat on the first track of the EP. His ability to pair impactful lyrics with a fun energy is one that is not found often in rap, and makes it evident that Gabbana has the talent and potential to make a name for himself in hip hop.

Shay Lia – Solaris

Shay Lia has one of the most unique perspectives in music, as the Djiboutian-Canadian based in Montreal saw instant success after the release of her 2019 debut EP last year. Her new EP sees her continuing to combine her African roots with contemporary r&b, as syncopated rhythmic figures are ever present throughout the production of the album. The unique combination of musical styles and cultures allows Lia to hone her unique approach to her craft, and create a truly unique form of r&b that may provide her with a path to success.

New Singles

Travis Scott, Young Thug, M.I.A. – “Franchise”

People get excited anytime Travis Scott and Young Thug decide to join forces, but this single is not the best representation of their talents. The song is energetic and fun, but outside of some bouncy production and a fun music video, the song is more flash than substance. Both Scott and Thug have shown their knowledge of music in addition to just rap, so the fact that this song sees little to no musicality is somewhat disappointing. However, the energy and charisma of both artists still shine though, which will surely draw the attention of fans.

Reason, Vince Staples – “SAUCE”

Reason is coming fresh off the release of his latest single with another single featuring the talented Vince Staples. The slower, more mellow production is a bit different for Reason, but he still injects his passion and energy into the track and seamlessly bounces in and out of the beat, all the while providing potent lyrics. Staples’s higher pitched voice is a nice contrast to Reason’s more baritone tone, as the two of them provide unique, hard hitting verses that combine for a slow but hard single. The anticipation of Reason’s next album will surely continue to build up until its release.

Polo G – “Epidemic”

Polo G has been having himself quite the 2020, as the rapper released his second studio album and was named to the XXL Freshmen class of 2020. His latest single sees him taking a different approach, as the usual rapper shows off his stellar singing ability. The Chicago native not only shows a high sense of understanding of melody and lyrical delivery, but also does so while providing emotional lyrics that hit home. Polo’s charisma is still present through his vocals, while his vocal performance is strong and tender. The single allows Polo to show a level of versatility that some may not have been aware of.

YG – “Out On Bail”

YG has also has a busy 2020, as he is releasing his eleventh single of the year. The west coast rapper clearly has pad plenty to say this year, and the rapper is quick to voice his opinions about police and government in America. The mind behind such songs like “F**K Donald Trump,” YG is one of the most publicly vocal rappers who criticizes police brutality, social injustice and racism in America. Songs like “Out On Bail” continue to provide fans with different perspectives of American society, as YG’s infectious charisma oozes throughout the video as well as the song.

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