Before getting into what is new on this New Music Friday, I would like to take a moment and acknowledge that today would have been the 78th birthday of the great Jimi Hendrix. For those that have never listened to Jimi, if you want to break all of your preconceived notions as to what the guitar should sound like, go listen to his music. His creativity with the guitar is unparalleled, and his free spirit resonated through his playing.
Perhaps more impactful than his music was his ability to begin to break down racial barriers in the music industry. Other than Jimi, rock and roll was being primarily popularized by white bands and musicians, and although rock was rooted in black music and culture, it was mostly white artists that were becoming successful off of the new form of music. However, thanks to Jimi’s influence, people began to understand the roots of rock n roll, and white rockers largely paid homage to Jimi and other black musicians and artists like him.
Now that we have celebrated the legendary Jimi Hendrix, let’s get into this edition of New Music Friday.
Juicy J – THE HUSTLE CONTINUES
Three 6 Mafia co-founder Juicy J is a staple in the rap game at this point, and his latest album indicates he has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. With help from a number of features from Lil Baby, 2 Chainz, Logic, Megan Thee Stallion and more, Juicy blends his classic Memphis style of rap with a variety of different styles and over a variety of production styles. Juicy is just the latest out of a group of legacy rappers to drop new albums in 2020, and like Nas, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes and some of the other older that have dropped albums this year, it arguably over delivers on expectations.
Lil Yachty – Lil Boat 3.5
Back with yet another album named after his likeness, Lil Yachty is back to both over and under deliver. Yachty’s music is somehow both repetitive and fresh, as he somehow has the ability to pump out a few distinct songs in a sea of relative similarity in terms of production, flow and rap style. One of Yachty’s genuine strengths, his melodic understanding, is on display across the album, and with features from Playboy Carti, Vince Staples, Lil Durk and others, Yachty is able to contrast his style with other’s. All in all, the album, like most of Yachty’s work, is a little good and a lot forgettable.
Statik Selektah – The Balancing Act
Boston based hip hop producer icon Statik Selektah is truly a legend in the world of hip hop production, and his latest album sees him pairing his laid back beats with a dope variety of different rappers, old and new. From Black Thought, Nas, Method Man and Havoc to Benny The Butcher, Kota The Friend, Marlon Craft, Jack Harlow and Joey Bada$$, there is an awesome mix of different rappers from different eras, and they all deliver on the dope production from Statik. This album has a mix of moods and messages, and the main theme of balance feels especially relevant in the uncertain times we are currently living in. This album is a masterful display of both production and rapping, and is absolutely worth a listen.
Chavo, Pi’erre Bourne – Chavo’s World
Chavo, a rap prodigy of producer Pi’erre Bourne, is here with his first big time collaboration with his mentor. His style is not anything new in the trap scene, but with Bourne’s production at his back, his first big impression is not so bad. There needs to be more variety in terms of flow and rap style, but there is clearly talent that Chavo possesses. This album is a bit straightforward in terms of the rapping, but the production provides nice variety from song to song. The album is an interesting listen for those looking for a new face in the trap scene.
Flee Lord – No More Humble Fashion
New York rapper and protege of the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Flee Lord has a distinct flow and style that is most comparable to the style of the rappers of Griselda. Unsurprisingly, his new album and second new album of the year features Griselda’s Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine, among other rappers. The production is eerie, gritty and dark, and perfectly compliments Lord’s style of rapping. The album is one of the more unique albums by a unique rapper, and those looking for a darker and grungier tone from their rappers need not look further.
Donte Thomas – how you like them APPLES?
Portland based up and coming rapper Donte Thomas is full of talent. His latest album displays said talent, as his flow, rhyming, lyrical ability and narrative ability are all top notch. Moreover, the production perfectly compliments his rapping style, and his musical understanding and ability to create a cohesive album with a central theme is uncanny. Backed by a slew of features from redveil and other up and coming rappers, Thomas shows on his album that the future of hip hop is bright and in good hands.
Willie The Kid, V Don – Deutsche Marks 2
Michigan based rapper Willie The Kid and producer V Don are here with a dark and gritty album that takes a page out of the Griselda and Flee Lord book of rap style. Speaking of, Flee Lord is just one of the few rappers to be features on this project, as his style perfectly fits with the production and rap style of Von and Willie. Likewise, Von’s production perfectly compliments Willie’s rap style, and the two of them have an undeniable chemistry together. The album is definitely a change of tone, and an interesting pairing of production and rapping.
Curren$y, Harry Fraud – Bonus Footage
New Orleans based rapper Curren$y and producer Harry Fraud have a great chemistry, and it is evident on their new EP. Fraud’s chilled out production style is a perfect fit for Curren$y’s laid back flow, as Curren$y is able to flow with ease over Fraud’s production. With features from Cordae, Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher and Gunplay, the lyrical potency of the EP is bolstered. Overall, it is easy to wish this EP was longer, and the five songs all hit in terms of lyrics and production.
Saba – “So and So,” “Areyoudown? Pt. 2”
Releasing two songs earlier this week, Chicago rapper Saba is back to display his blinding flow and insightful lyricism. Opting for a chill approach and a more energetic one, Saba allows his flow to carry him on “So and So,” while he and fellow Chicago rapper/singer Tobi Lou joins him on “Areyoudown?” Pt. 2″ to bring the energy. The two songs are stylistically different, although both do a great job at highlighting the strengths of Saba. New music from Saba is always a welcome sight, and hopefully more will soon follow these two songs.
Cordae – “The Parables”
Cordae is one of rap’s biggest young stars, and songs like “The Parables” demonstrates ate the immense talent he possesses. His lyrical ability is among some of the best in the game, while his flow is extremely refined and precise. The accompanying video highlights Cordae’s simple yet effective style of rapping, as he is able to allow his flow and lyrical content to carry him to the top. Cordae will continue his rise into the mainstream music scene, as someone with this much talent and a good head on his shoulders is bound to succeed.
Young Scooter, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Zaytoven – “Dope Boys & Trap Godz”
Although Young Scooter may be a new name in the trap scene, with legends like Rick Ross and 2 Chainz at your back and Zaytoven on the beat, it is hard to fail. The beat, obviously, is very trap oriented, as Scooter, 2 Chainz and Ross each add their own unique styles of rap to the track. The song is bouncy and intense, and the driving production keeps the energy high from start to finish. The track is a classic old school trap track, and is as fun as it is aggressive.
Riff Raff, T-Pain, La Chat, DJ Paul – “Say What You Want”
This song is an immediate callback to 2000’s rap and r&b, as one may be able to infer from the artists involved on the track. While if this track was made fifteen years ago it would be considered just another rap and r&b song, in 2020 the now old school style is nostalgic, and brings the listener back to simpler times. T-Pain’s vocals are as passionate and strong as ever, while Riff Raff and La Chat both add their classic 2000’s brand of rapping to the track. The song is a lot of fun, and a great listen for those looking for an older sound.
Young Franco, Denzel Curry, Pell – “Fallin’ Apart”
Miami rapper Denzel Curry is known for his aggressive and intense style, but he effortlessly switches to a more fun and upbeat style on this track. The Latin style of production is a surprisingly perfect compliment for Curry, as his Miami roots shine through in his ability to adapt to the new music style. Likewise, Franco is perfectly able to flow over the fun production, and the two of them are great compliments to one another. The song takes Curry out of his element, but he successfully adapts and raps with ease over the beat.
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.