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

What does the Australian rock powerhouse AC/DC have in common with rap stars Future, Lil Uzi Vert and 2 Chainz? They’ve all released new albums today, of course!

AC/DC’s new album marks the band’s eighteenth studio album, and their first since 2014. This also marks the sixth decade of commercial music releases for the band, as they released their first studio album back in 1973. This level of success and longevity is extremely difficult to achieve in music, and AC/DC’s milestone should be appreciated and respected by music fans of all genres.

Check out what’s new in this edition of New Music Friday, below

New Albums

AC/DC – POWER UP

Good god. The band sounds like they haven’t aged a day since their debut in 1973. Brian Johnson’s voice sounds as fresh as it did when he took over as lead singer in 1980, Angus Young still shreds on the guitar with reckless abandon, and Phil Rudd on the drums is a potent and driving as ever. It is truly remarkable how much the band sounds like they did back in their prime, and while one may criticize the band for not musically evolving, it is much easier to simply enjoy AC/DC for what they are: the Australian kings of hard rock.

Future, Lil Uzi Vert – Pluto x Baby Pluto

The collaboration between Atlanta’s Future and Philadelphia’s Lil Uzi Vert was bound to produce some energetic trap anthems, but the album is surprisingly varied and dynamic. Future and Uzi both alternate between rapping over trap beats and heavy 808s, as well as highlighting their strengths as singers through their use of melodies across a lot of the album. The production is fresh and varied, and contributions from the likes of Zaytoven, DJ Esco and others allow for a myriad of different production styles on the album. Although feeling repetitive at times, Pluto x Baby Pluto is a great collaboration between two big name rappers that are more than capable of delivering.

2 Chainz – So Help Me God!

2 Chainz has largely expanded his brand outside of just music, but the Georgia rapper is more than capable of stepping in the studio and delivering. His lyrically driven style is always a healthy blend of confidence and perspective with a slight touch of humor, and the production on the album is more unique than what 2 Chainz has rapped over in the past. There are no shortage of strong features on the album, as artists from Lil Wayne to Rick Ross to Ty Dolla $ign to Lil Uzi Vert and more all make appearances on the album. The album contains more variety than perhaps could be expected, and is a great showcase of 2 Chainz’ ability in the studio.

Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

Aesop Rock’s lyrically driven style is among one of the most unique rapping styles that exist, and his new album is yet another display of his stunning lyricism. The production is also extremely unique, and it allows Aesop to effortlessly glide over the beat. Aesop’s lyrics are filled with layer of meaning, and one could spend hours dissecting his lyrics to decipher a variety of possible meanings. Regardless, those looking for a fresh sound in hip hop can start with Aesop, although be ready for a lyrical barrage.

Goodie Mob – Survival Kit

Like many other hip hop acts coming from the 1990’s, Atlanta’s own Goodie Mob is back with their first studio album of the decade, and their first since 2013. The group was a pioneering force that helped form the hip hop scene in Atlanta, and now, 25 years after dropping their debut album, the group is back reminding hip hop fans of the art form’s roots in Atlanta. The production is updated, while also reminding listeners of the classic 90’s Atlanta production that defined the group. This album is a fresh perspective of Atlanta hip hop, and is worth a listen for those who want to know more about the history of the art.

Salaam Remi – Black On Purpose

Classic hip hop producer Salaam Remi has produced for some of the best MCs of the 1990’s, including Nas, The Fugees, Black Thought and others. Now, in 2020, he is here with a spiritual and uplifting project. With the help of the likes of Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Bilal, Common, Nas and many more, Remi allows his soulful and classic production to pair with some of the best rappers to ever do it. The production is extremely varied and unique, and each song seems to take on its own unique style. Although just released, the project feels as if it’s a classic, and is a nostalgic reminder of another era in hip hop.

Mr. Lif, Stu Bangs – Vangarde

Boston based rapper Mr. Lif is here with producer Stu Bangs to release his first album in four years. Lif’s lyrically driven style is potent and flowing, and Bangs’ production pairs perfectly with Lif’s rapping. The album feels as if it could come right out of the 1990’s as both the production and rapping style favor the classic boom-bap style of hip hop over any modern style. The album is a lyrical triumph, and contains some great pairings of lyrics and production.

Pink Siifu, Fly AnikinFlySiifu’s

Rappers Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin are here with one of the most unique collaborations of the year. The lo-fi production, slow and deliberate flow, and lyrically driven rhyming all combine to create an extremely unique project. The vibes that the album gives off are quite chill, and each songs presents a sense of comfort and calming. Both rappers are great at complimenting one another, and each one presents a level of variety to each track. This album is definitely one of the most unique projects to drop all year.

New EPs

Masego – Studying Abroad

Speaking of chill vibes, singer and musician Masego is the living embodiment of chill vibes. His velvety smooth voice brings in the listener on nearly every one of his songs, and the slow and resonant production perfectly pairs with his voice. Masego is capable of delivering over a wide variety of different production styles, and his skills as both a musician and a singer allow him to be one of the most versatile artists making music today. His latest EP is just another demonstration of his masterful singing ability and musical understanding.

Ransom, Nicholas Craven – Deleted Scenes

Brooklyn based rapper Ransom’s style sounds more in line with Griselda than that of the Brooklyn drill scene, and his lyrically driven approach is potent across the whole EP. Craven’s soulful production is an excellent backing for Ransom’s rapping, and his flow effortlessly glides over the production. Although the EP is expectedly short, the potency of the rapping allows each song to carry its own weight, and the project leaves the listener wanting more from this duo.

New Singles

Kanye West, DaBaby, 2 Chainz – “Nah Nah Nah (Remix)”

Finally. The original version released by West showed that, while West’s musical understanding hasn’t seemed to go anywhere, his lyrical content has drastically shifted since the start of his career. However, with the help of DaBaby and 2 Chainz, the lyrical content over this unreal beat is more suited for mainstream audiences. Both rappers add both variety and an undeniable energy to the track, making it an instant hit in the clubs (if COVID wasn’t a thing at least).

Russ, Ab-Soul – “Who Wants What”

Atlanta singer/rapper teaming with Los Angeles’ Ab Soul is an unlikely combination, but one that definitely works. Russ’ melodic rapping style takes a back seat on this song, as he allows his lyrics to carry the bulk of his verse. Similarly, Ab Soul adds another lyrical dynamic to the track, and his precise flow fits in the production with ease. The video highlights the two rappers as they effortless spit their bars in the studio, and demonstrates the high level of lyrical ability both rappers have at their disposal.

DJ Scheme, Cordae, Ski Mask The Slump God – “Soda”

Cordae is one of the most versatile rappers in the game today, and his ability to hit virtually any style is once again on display on this track. DJ Scheme’s production is aggressive and bouncy, and allows Cordae to tap into his trap ability. While Cordae flows more deliberately over the beat, Ski Mask opts for a faster flow that picks the beat apart. The two different styles allows for two unique verses, and makes the track exciting and bumping from start to finish.

Problem Child 5, Young Thug – “Da Tooly”

Rapper Problem Child 5 is seemingly another Young Thug prodigy, as his style is extremely similar to Thug’s. Unsurprisingly, their combination on the same song is dynamic and intense, as both rappers inject their energy and charisma into the track. The production is a great backdrop that allows both rappers to bounce over the beat from start to finish. The beat is extremely heavy, and is a perfect representation of the Atlanta trap style that Thug has contributed so much to in the last decade.

Wynne – “In The Morning”

Although Portland rapper Wynne has taken a much more lyrically aggressive and intense approach in the past, her new single sees her taking a more romantic, r&b approach. Her voice is surprisingly soft and tender, and her melodic sense is extremely strong. The visuals are a great compliment to the lyrics of the song, and Wynne’s vibe is as contagious as ever. Be on the lookout for Wynne in the future, because she is just getting started in the rap game.

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