Earlier this week, rapper 21 Savage and producer Metro Boomin captured the attention of the hip hop world when they announced the release of SAVAGE MODE II, a follow up to the duo’s 2016 collaboration album Savage Mode, and the fourth collaboration album between 21 and Metro in addition to Without Warning and NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES. With the help of the renowned Morgan Freeman, the hype that was built around SAVAGE MODE II was rapid and intense, but how does the album actually stack up?
In addition to 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s SAVAGE MODE II, Westside Gunn, YG, Bryson Tiller, Smoke DZA, Yung Gravy, and plenty of other artists released new projects today. Check them all out below:
21 Savage, Metro Boomin – SAVAGE MODE II
21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s chemistry is well established, and their success together seems to continue on SAVAGE MODE II. With the help of Morgan Freeman adding his trademarked intensity and depth of emotion on the album’s skits and interludes, the grit, tension, and indeed savagery of the album is evident from start to finish. However, 21 and Metro don’t take the entire 44 minutes to show their dark side; songs like “Mr. Right Now” and “Rich N***a Shit” see 21 rapping over a different production style. not only is Metro able to provide the contrasting production styles, but 21 is able to rap over different production with ease, barely skipping a beat. While the album has plenty of energy and intensity, the softness that appears on the album is both surprising and remarkable.
Westside Gunn – WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE
Westside Gunn’s 2020 has already been one of great success, as the rapper has already released Pray For Paris and Flygod Is An Awesome God 2 this year. Now, releasing his third album and adding to the already highly impressive Griselda record count of 2020, Westside is back with another strong album of the year contender. Combining raw, gritty bars with a mix of production styles old and new, Westside and the usual cast of Griselda features keep their strong 2020 rolling, as the label is enjoying perhaps the most fruitful 2020 of any indy hip hop label.
YG – My Life 4Hunnid
The west coast rapper has already had a very busy 2020, releasing a slew of different singles and EPs that were largely responses to the social unrest and turmoil that have gripped America in 2020. Now, he has decided to release a full length project, and while his classic west coast style will be on display, so too will his commentary on American society. Features from Ty Dolla $ign, Gunna, Chris Brown, Tyga and others will help add melodic depth and a different stylistic rap approaches to the production on the album. While YG has never dropped an album regarded as a classic, the work he makes is relevant and reflective of the west coast musical culture.
Bryson Tiller – A N N I V E R S A R Y
Byrson Tiller put his name on the map when he released T R A P S O U L in 2015. Now, five years later, he has dropped what has been rumored to be the sequel to that album, as Tiller not only recently released the deluxe version of T R A P S O U L, but he also used similar cover on his new album to the original. The Lousiville r&b singer always brings his emotion to his tender vocals, and with help from a Drake feature, perhaps this album could be the one to cement Tiller’s place among the modern r&b greats. Combining rapping with singing, Tiller’s new project will attempt to recapture the magic that he once possessed on T R A P S O U L.
Smoke DZA – Homegrown
New York City rapper Smoke DZA has been in the game for three decades now, and still is able to lyrically hang with the best of them. Releasing his second studio album of the year, DZA recruited a slew of talented artists to feature on the album, from Jadakiss to Jack Harlow to Dom Kennedy to Curren$y. The slew of features adds a variety of rapping styles to the album, while an already diverse selection of production styles covers the album. Smoke DZA may not be the biggest name to release an album this weekend, but massive collaboration projects like Homegrown have an important place among the hip hop canon.
Yung Gravy – Gasanova
Hailing from the unlikely Rochester, Minnesota, Yung Gravy is an unassuming rapper who packs a full punch of charisma and energy into his raps. With help from Young Dolph, Chief Keef, Ski Mask The Slump God and others, Gravy brings a newfound intensity and grittiness to his music that previously was not present. The production is heavy and melodic, playing to the strengths of both Gravy and his featured artists. Gasanova works better than one would expect, and although Gravy employs an interesting slew of artists to feature on the album, the product is surprisingly fun and energetic.
Willie The Kid – Capital Gains
Willie The Kid has been rapping for more than ten years, but casual rap fans have likely never heard of the Grand Rapids, Michigan based rapper. His lyrically driven style is similar to that of Westside Gunn and the rest of the Griselda roster, as the slow, boom-bap style of the production fits perfectly with his intense lyrics. Willie not only holds down his album with his own strong lyrical delivery, but with help from rappers like Action Bronson and Curren$y, Willie is complimented by other lyrically-focused rappers. Capital Gains may fly under the radar, but there is plenty of strong lyrical content on this album to keep hip hop fans busy.
Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter
Hailing from Washington, D.C., Sa-Roc is relatively new to the rap game, but her lyrical content suggests she has been around for much longer. Her profound lyrical delivery is among some of the best in the game, as her confidence and frustration both emanate greatly throughout her raps. Although the production on the album is nothing too special, it is the lyrical depth of the album that is the most significant. With help from features from the likes of Black Thought, Chronixx and others, Roc delivers a strong, lyrical album that is unlike most other hip hop albums released this weekend.
Larry June, Harry Fraud – Keep Going
San Fransisco based rapper Larry June has teamed up with producer Harry Fraud to give listeners this chilled down west coast vibe. The production is not that of typical west coast rappers, as slower samples take the place of synth and bass-heavy higher tempo production. Features from Curren$y and Dom Kennedy continue to reinforce the west coast style that dominates lyrically on the album, while Fraud allows the production to be varied across the project. While the collaboration between June and Fraud won’t grab the attention that a partnership between 21 Savage and Metro Boomin will, the content of their product is just as strong.
Giveon – When It’s All Said And Done
The Long Beach, California based r&b singer is new to the music game, but it is clear from his vocal talent and delivery that he more than belongs. His baritone tone of voice is unique among r&b singers today, as his deeper tone allows him to stand out among a crowded r&b scene. His tenderness and emotional delivery of his vocals is up there among some of the best singers, as he effortlessly lets his voice glide across the EP. Expect more from Giveon in the future, as someone this talented won’t be far off from the mainstream for long.
Hus KingPin, Roc C – The Hidden Painting
This west coast EP is entirely different than the typical west coast sound. The gritty, slow production sounds like something coming from the east coast, but this west coast take sees a gritty and grungy approach that is unlike anything else coming from the west coast. With help from the classic west coast rapper Kurupt, the EP from KingPin and Roc C provide an alternative to the classic upbeat west coast vibe that dominates the region. While the EP may not be for everyone, the stylistic difference alone is enticing enough to draw in curious listeners.
Katori Walker – Idols
West coast rapper Katori Walker is lesser known than some of his contemporaries, but his lyricism and ability to put together a cohesive project are both on display on this EP. Not only does Walker clearly possess the talent, as he employs a variety of different flows and styles, but he also understands how to construct a project rather than just put together a series of songs. Walker is new to the rap game and has yet to release a studio album, but if this EP is any indication of what is to come then people should begin to pay attention to Walker’s music.
Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug – “Don’t Stop”
Megan Thee Stallion is continuing her lucrative 2020, releasing a new single featuring Young Thug. The energy and charm presented on the song is only matched by the video, as the colorful visuals are eye popping and attention-grabbing. The provocative lyrics are nothing new for either Megan or Thug, but the tried and true formula will likely continue to work for the two artists. Anytime two show stoppers like Megan and Thug decide to collaborate, the result will almost always be spectacular.
Fivio Foregin, Polo G – “Bop It”
The only thing more ridiculous than the song’s title is the music video, as the play on the classic kid’s toy the “Bop-It” is at full effect. The drill beat certainly is hard, but the comical lyrics and video take away from the intensity that Foreign and Polo usually provide with ease. The playful song does not take itself too seriously, but hearing Foreign and Polo use the Bop It actions to describe how the spend their time with their women is nothing short of amazing. Foreign and Polo G are bonafide hitmakers, and while their hits may not be full of substance, they do certainly contain the flare.
Dua Lipa, DaBaby – “Levitating”
Dua Lipa has become one of the world’s most famous and recognizable pop stars in the past year, and her infectious energy and funky approach are largely the reason why. Those aspects of Lipa’s appeal are once again on full display, as “Levitating” and its accompanying video is a fun ball of pop .DaBaby’s verse provides a nice juxtaposition to Lipa’s vocal performance, as his flow glides effortlessly over the funky pop beat. The video is vivacious and visually stunning, as the song provides a fun energy from start to finish.
Ari Lennox – “Chocolate Pomegranate”
One of r&b’s most prominent female voices, Ari Lennox’s velvety smooth vocals are on display on “Chocolate Pomegranate.” The slow, tender production perfectly compliments her beautiful vocal performance, as her emotional lyrics come to the forefront of the song. Lennox’s ability to match her stellar vocal performance with the emotion in her voice is one that few singers are able to develop, and Lennox is seemingly able to do this with ease. There are few singers who are able to deliver on the level that Lennox is, as songs like this are quick to display.