Archive for the ‘album reviews’ Category

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November 2020 Music Ratings

December 2, 2020

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God

Notes: Wow. I sure didn’t listen to much new music this past month. Half the albums that cracked my top 10 last month were still in my top 10 most listened to albums for November. Only three albums released in November even cracked my top 20 and two albums from decades ago found a way in. My friend Phil sent me a copy of his upcoming album and I listened to it many times through even though some of the songs are still unmastered. His album is due out sometime in December, but you’ll find his project in my #4 slot down below. I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. MC Eiht’s album jumped way up in my esteem and I’m now wondering if it’s one of the best albums of the year. I’m shocked by it. I liked it so much I added his last album to my current playlist and that project also cracked my top 20 last month. Hopefully, I will get back to doing some actual reviews in December.

Rating Scale

10 – Perfection
9 – Amazing
8 – Must Listen
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates November 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in November (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to over the past month.

1. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God – 7
2. Ty Dolla $ign – Featuring Ty Dolla $ign – 6
3. MC Eiht – LESSONS – 8
4. Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (unreleased) – 7
5. T.I. – The L.I.B.R.A. – 6
6. Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel – 7
7. Dej Loaf – Sell Sole II – 5
8. TQ – They Never Saw Me Coming (1998) – 7+
9. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof – 8+
10. Ariana Grande – Positions – 6+
11. *Goodie Mob – Survival Kit – 6+
12. *Berner & Larry June – Cooks & Orange Juice – 5+
13. Conway the Machine – FROM KING TO A GOD – 8+
14. Lil Wayne – Lights Out (2000) – 6+
15. MC Eiht – Which Way Iz West (2017) – 7+
16. Reason – New Beginnings – 7
17. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned – 5
18. Deante’ Hitchcock – Better (Deluxe) – 6+
19. *Future & Lil Uzi Vert – Pluto x Baby Pluto – 5+
20. Sam Smith – Love Goes – 6+

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

38 Spesh & Street Justice ft. Che Noir, “Overthrow”
Benny the Butcher ft. DOM KENNEDY, “Over the Limit”
Busta Rhymes ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Look Over Your Shoulder”
eLZhi, “Light One Write One”
Freddie Gibbs ft. Big Sean, “4 Thangs”
Goodie Mob ft. Big Boi, “Prey 4 Da Sheep”
Gorillaz ft. Fatoumata Diawara, “Desole”
Jack Harlow, “Tyler Herro”
MC Eiht ft.Havoc & Kurupt, “Neighborhood Looks”
MC Eiht, “U Kno”
MC Eiht, “Lessons”
Recognize Ali ft. Planet Asia & Shabaam Sahdeeq, “Elephants in the Room”
Sa-Roc, “r(E)volution”
Saigon, “Bullets-19”
Spillage Village ft. Ant Clemons, “Baptize”
Ty Dolla $ign, “Time Will Tell”

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October 2020 Music Ratings

November 3, 2020

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Benny the ButcherBurden of Proof

Notes: I spent a week in San Diego this past month and listened to zero music while I was there, but even so, I think the past six weeks or so have been the best stretch of the year as far as new music goes.  There seems to be some confusion about these rankings, so I’ll go ahead and clear that up.  These rankings are not in order of preference – they are ordered by the number of scrobbles for each album, with a scrobble meaning I listened to a song on that album.  So, for reference below, that means I listened to a song from Benny the Butcher’s new album sixty times in October.  Granted, this does somewhat reflect my preferences, but an album released at the beginning of the month has a much better chance of finishing near the top of the rankings than an album that is released at the end of the month.  I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is.

Rating Scale

10 – Perfection
9 – Amazing
8 – Must Listen
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates October 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in October (all ratings are out of 10)

1. *Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (60) – 8+
2. *21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II (55) – 7
3. *Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (51) – 8+
4. *Ty Dolla $ign – Featuring Ty Dolla $ign (50) – 6
5. *Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel (44) – 7
6. *Reason – New Beginnings (31) – 7
7. *Bryson Tiller – A N N I V E R S A R Y (29) – 5.5
7. *T.I. – The L.I.B.R.A. (29) – 6
9. *Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (28) – 7+
10. MC Eiht – LESSONS (26) – 7+
11. *Westside Gunn – WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE (25) – 6+
12. Big Sean – Detroit 2 (24) – 6.5+
13. Reks – T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied) (21) – 6.5+
14. Conway the Machine – FROM KING TO A GOD (20) – 8+
15. *Smoke DZA – Homegrown (19) – 6.5+
16. Berner – Russ Bufalino: The Quiet Don (18) – 5.5+
16. Spillage Village – Spilligion (18) – 7
18. Alicia Keys – ALICIA (17) – ?
18. *Joyner Lucas – Evolution (17) – ?
20. *YG – My Life 4hunnid (15) – ?

Top 20 Artists of 2020 (since late July)

1. Amine (115)
1. Spillage Village (115)
3. Nas (113)
4. Conway the Machine (105)
5. Eminem (94)
5. Che Noir (94)
7. The Weeknd (91)
8. Benny the Butcher (86)
9. Lil Wayne (85)
10. Big Sean (83)
11. Logic (78)
12. Blu & Exile (75)
13. Felt (72)
14. Black Thought (71)
14. R.A. the Rugged Man (71)
16. Dua Lipa (65)
17. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin (59)
17. CunninLynguists (59)
19. Pop Smoke (57)
19. Sa-Roc (57)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Benny the Butcher, “Legend”
Benny the Butcher ft. Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine, “War Paint”
Benny the Butcher ft. Lil Wayne & Big Sean, “Timeless”
Black Thought ft. ScHoolboy Q, “Steak Um”
Busta Rhymes ft. Rapsody, “Best I Can”
Busta Rhymes ft. Vybz Kartel, “The Don & The Boss”
Che Noir & 38 Spesh ft. Street Justice & Klass Murda, “Royalty”
REASON ft. Vince Staples, “SAUCE”
REASON ft. Rapsody, “I Can Make It”
Reks, “Miss Education”
Sa-Roc ft. Styles P, “Rocwell’s America”
Sa-Roc ft. Black Thought, “The Black Renaissance”
Sa-Roc, “Gold Leaf”
Spillage Village ft. Jurdan Bryant, “Oshun”
T.I. ft. London Jae & Conway the Machine, “1/2 Ticket”
Ty Dolla $ign ft. Future & Young Thug, “Life Me Up”

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September 2020 Music Playlist

October 1, 2020

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Conway the MachineFrom King To A GOD

Notes: So this is mostly how I listen to music these days. Every Thursday night at 9 PM (Pacific Time), I look at all the new releases and add anything I’m interested in to my library and throw it in my Brand New and Current Rotation playlists. I used to have one playlist for newer albums, but I started leaving stuff in there for too long and it got really bloated and I wasn’t giving the newest music the attention I wanted to. Now I use the Brand New playlist for the latest music and have a strict policy of removing it after exactly one month, unless I’m really not into an album and decide to remove it earlier. My Current Rotation playlist consists of music from the last 4-6 months, with my favorite albums lingering around even longer, plus I’ve decided to start throwing older stuff on there, like artists I feel I’ve overlooked or albums I want to revisit. I probably listen to my Brand New playlist the most, but I give my Current Rotation multiple spins throughout the week and I also have a Goats Doing Goat Shit playlist of all my favorite rappers and albums and a Rappers from the Old School playlist of rappers that mostly came out in the 80s that I listen to semi-regularly. You can follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add any or all of my playlists.

This has created a somewhat interesting dynamic in my lists below. Half the albums on my top 20 list for September… I have never listened to all the way through. Somehow one of those albums (Jaden Smith) cracked my top 3. I have never actually listened to that album other than when a song comes up on shuffle. Numbers in parentheses are how many songs I listened to on each album or from each artist over the past month and/or the year the album was released if it didn’t come out in 2020. I spent basically all month surprised that Big Sean wasn’t getting more spins and I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that I never put his album in my Brand New playlist. Whoops. He will be in there all through October now. Also, note how high Eminem is on my top artists list despite not having any album in my top 20. I’ve started the long process of doing a profile on Eminem, in the same vein as my DMX and Notorious B.I.G. profiles. Eminem’s discography is much deeper than either of those guys, so don’t expect me to publish something anytime soon, but do expect Eminem to be near the top of my artists list until I do. As of now, I’m still on The Marshall Mathers LP. I will publish my Em album reviews as I write them though.

* indicates September 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in September

1. *Conway the Machine – From King To A GOD (75)
2. *Big Sean – Detroit 2 (57)
3. Jaden Smith – CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3 (50)
4. Nas – King’s Disease (45)
5. The Lox – Living Off Xperience (44)
6. *Spillage Village – Spilligion (39)
7. Amine – Limbo (37)
8. Black Pumas – Black Pumas [Deluxe] (37)
8. Dua Lipa – Club Future Nostalgia [DJ Mix] (37)
10. Ransom – Directors Cut** (36)
11. Rich Brian – 1999 (33)
12. Dave East – Karma 3 (31)
13. The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive (31)
14. The God Fahim – After Every Dark Day Comes Sunshine (30)
15. Spillage Village – Bears Like This Too Much (2016, 28)
16. BUCKWILD – Music is My Religion (27)
17. Apollo Brown & Locksmith – No Question (2018, 25)
18. CunninLynguists – Southernunderground (2003, 25)
19. The Weeknd – After Hours (25)
20. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (2009, 24)

**Ransom actually released three Directors Cut albums this year. They weren’t on my radar until last month and I decided to make them all one album, but if you wind up searching for it, you’ll see that it is actually three shorter albums.

Top 20 Artists in August

1. Spillage Village (86)
2. Conway the Machine (77)
3. Eminem (68)
4. Nas (66)
5. Big Sean (59)
6. Lil Wayne (53)
7. Jaden Smith (50)
8. CunninLynguists (48)
9. The Lox (44)
10. Dua Lipa (38)
11. Amine (37)
12. Black Pumas (37)
13. Ransom (36)
14. Rich Brian (33)
15. Dave East (31)
16. The Streets (31)
17. The God Fahim (30)
18. Buckwild (27)
19. The Weeknd (27)
20. Apollo Brown & Locksmith (25)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Amine, “My Reality”
Amine ft. slowthai & Vince Staples, “Pressure In My Palms”
Amine, “Burden”
Big Sean ft. Nipsey Hussle, “Deep Reverence”
Black Thought ft. Pusha T & Killer Mike, “Good Morning”
Conway the Machine ft. Method Man, “Lemon”
Conway the Machine ft. Freddie Gibbs, “Seen Everything But Jesus”
Conway the Machine ft. Benny the Butcher & Westside Gunn, “Spurs 3”
Conway the Machine, “Front Lines”
Conway the Machine ft. Armani Caesar, “Anza”
Deante Hitchcock, “I Remember”
Felt, “Alexander F’real”
IDK & JID ft. Kenny Mason, “Cereal”
Jacob Latimore, “Love Drug”
Kaash Paige ft. Isaiah Rashad, “Problems”
Nas ft. Anderson .Paak, “All Bad”
Nyck Caution, “Demons Don’t Take Off From Work”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. M.O.P., Vinnie Paz, Chris Rivers, Onyx, Chino XL, Brand Nubian & Ice-T, “The Slayers Club”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Sarah Smith & Kelly Waters, “The After Life”
Ransom, “I Am Legend”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Lost”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Would You”
Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius, “Pain In My Life, Pt. 2 (On God)”
The Lox, “Gave It To ‘EM”
The Lox, “Loyalty And Love”
The Weeknd, “Too Late”
The Weeknd, “Snowchild”
The Weeknd, “Escape From LA”
The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights”
The Weeknd, “Missed You”

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The Weeknd – After Hours (2020)

September 18, 2020

The Weeknd – After Hours (2020, R&B/Soul)

Release Date: March 20th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. Alone Again – 4.5
2. Too Late – 4.5
3. Hardest To Love – 4

4. Scared To Live – 3.5
5. Snowchild – 4
6. Escape From LA – 4

7. Heartless – 3.5
8. Faith – 3.5
9. Blinding Lights – 4
10. In Your Eyes – 3.5
11. Save Your Tears – 3.5
12. Repeat After Me (Interlude) – N/A (dope though)
13. After Hours – 4.5
14. Until I Bleed Out – 3.5
Nothing Compares (Bonus) – 3.5
Missed You (Bonus) – 4
Final Lullaby (Bonus) – 3

Spin Rate: 10.8
Average Song Rating: 3.89/5
Good Song Percentage: 100%
Clear Cuts: 0
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: This is an album that really grew on me the more I listened to it and After Hours is now probably the album I’ve listened to the most in 2020. It’s an album I can put on almost anytime and want to listen to it all the way through. Since I’m not including the bonus tracks in my overall rating, I feel like there are no weak points here – every song is good and there are plenty of certified bangers. The mood and production on this album is a little dark, but I love the vibe. I’ll admit, The Weeknd comes across like a serious misogynist and that’s not something to be applauded, but I can’t deny the quality of the music and it is very high all the way through After Hours. This is easily my favorite non-rap album of 2020 and possibly the best album of the year… period. The Weeknd is probably already a legend and it doesn’t seem like enough people are saying that out loud yet.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)

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Eminem – Infinite (1996)

September 15, 2020

Note: I have finally decided to continue my series of Rapper Profiles. You can read my in-depth profiles for The Notorious B.I.G. and DMX by click on their names. My next profile will be about Eminem and since I’ve developed this new review system, I might as well post my thoughts on his discography as I go through it all again. I will include links to all these reviews when I post up the full profile whenever that may be.

Eminem – Infinite (1996, Rap)

Release Date: November 12th, 1996

Song Rating Scale

1. Infinite – 4
2. WEGO – N/A
3. It’s OK – 3.5
4. 313 – 3
5. Tonite – 3.5
6. Maxine – 2.5
7. Open Mic – 3
8. Never Too Far – 3.5
9. Searchin – 3.5
10. Backstabber – 3
11. Jealousy Woes II – 2

Spin Rate: 8
Average Song Rating: 3.15/5
Good Song Percentage: 50%
Clear Cuts: 2
Bangers: 1

Thoughts: Eminem released this album before Dr. Dre had ever heard of him, back when he was still completely unknown outside of Detroit – and maybe not even all that well known there – and before he had ever thought of the name Slim Shady. Infinite is more of a novelty item than an actual album I’d want to listen to with any regularity. It sounds like a demo and I can’t say it holds up all that well 25 years later. Eminem didn’t know who he was an emcee yet and while he has cited plenty of influences over the course of his storied career, the biggest influences I hear on Infinite are Nas and AZ. I do think there are good tracks on here and Em was already an extremely gifted lyricist in 1996, as this tape is littered with multisyllabic rhyme schemes and solid one-liners like, “come to battle me and you’ll get smacked as hard as you act” and “and leave this crazy world/ with at least a half a million for my baby girl/ it may be early to be planning this stuff/ cause I’m still struggling hard to be the man and it’s tough.” I think you did okay by your daughter, Marshall. The title track is easily the best song on here… one of the only ones I wouldn’t mind hearing on a regular basis. “Searchin” is also a favorite as it might be the only time we’ve ever heard Eminem write a heartfelt song about Kim with no lingering bitterness seeping through the message. Overall, this album is pretty cool and you can see glimpses of future greatness, but the sound quality is not great and Eminem’s mic presence and identity was a work in progress that was still in its infancy. Still, you should definitely check it out if you’re a fan of Em and have never listened to it.

Verdict: 6/10 (Light Recommendation)

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Amine – Limbo (2020)

September 13, 2020

Amine – Limbo (2020, Rap)

Release Date: August 7th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. Burden – 4
2. Woodlawn – 4

3. Kobe – N/A
4. Roots ft. JID & Charlie Wilson – 4
5. Can’t Decide – 4

6. Compensating ft. Young Thug – 3.5
7. Shimmy – 3.5
8. Pressure In My Palms ft. slowthai & Vince Staples – 4
9. Riri – 4

10. Easy ft. Summer Walker – 3.5
11. Mama – 3.5
12. Becky – 3.5
13. Fetus ft. Injury Reserve – 4
14. My Reality – 4

Spin Rate: 7.4
Average Song Rating: 3.81/5
Good Song Percentage: 100%
Clear Cuts: 0
Bangers: 8

Thoughts: Definitely one of the more surprising releases of the year. I’d heard of Amine but it’s not like I was really anticipating new music from him. I heard “Riri” before anything else and it grew on me enough that I think it’s a banger now and made me give this album a dedicated listen when I probably would have just heard songs when they came on shuffle otherwise. As you can see by my Spin Rate, I’ve given this album plenty of play and have found it to be one of 2020’s strongest releases. Amine is definitely not a hip-hop purist’s emcee, but I think it’s difficult to argue that Limbo isn’t quality music from top to bottom. The production on this album is really good and the songwriting is pretty elite, though I wouldn’t say Amine is elite lyrically or vocally. It doesn’t matter though. This album is full of bangers and Amine is plenty capable with the pen and on the mic. “Shimmy” is the closest thing to a skip and I still think it’s a good song overall. As I’m about to publish this, Limbo has the third highest average song rating of any 2020 album I’ve rated, so it’s definitely one of the year’s best and a clear must listen.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)

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Nas – King’s Disease (2020)

September 5, 2020

Nas – King’s Disease (2020, Rap)

Release Date: August 21st, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. King’s Disease – 3.5
2. Blue Benz – 3.5
3. Car #85 ft. Charlie Wilson – 3.5
4. Ultra Black ft. Hit-Boy – 3
5. 27 Summers – 3
6. Replace Me ft. Big Sean & Don Toliver – 3
7. Til The War Is Won ft. Lil Durk – 3.5
8. All Bad ft. Anderson .Paak – 4
9. The Definition ft. Brucie B – 3
10. Full Circle ft. AZ, Cormega & Foxy Brown (The Firm) – 3.5
11. 10 Points – 3
12. The Cure – 4
13. Spicy ft. Fivio Foreign & A$AP Ferg – 3

Spin Rate: 6.3
Average Song Rating: 3.37/5
Good Song Percentage: 54%
Clear Cuts: 0
Bangers: 2

Thoughts: I’m not really expecting Nas to blow me away in 2020 so I can’t really say this album is a disappointment but I also can’t say that it’s all that good. Sure, it’s enjoyable, but as you can see from my ratings, even though I don’t think he has any clearly weak tracks on here, I am pretty lukewarm on about half the album and only “All Bad” and “The Cure” were clear standouts to me. Nas is doing his thing on the latter and then the beat switch midway through certifies it’s banger status. On the former, Anderson .Paak’s hook just won’t leave my head and Hit-Boy’s production is also really good. The Firm reunion sounds like a banger until Foxy Brown gets on the mic and sounds absolutely terrible. Any hopes The Firm might come together to make another project are diminished by the fact that Foxy seems completely washed. AZ is great on the track though and him and Cormega are still two of the most underrated rappers of all-time. I’m a Don Toliver fan, but his hook on “Replace Me” makes the song less enjoyable than it should be. When I heard Hit-Boy was doing all the production, I wasn’t stoked about that, but he actually does a better job than I was expecting. Nas is still a good rapper and he has some good ideas here. I think this album is reasonably solid, but it’s definitely nothing special and certainly ranks in the bottom half of the legend’s discography.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

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August 2020 Music Playlist

September 2, 2020

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

AmineLimbo

Notes: As I mentioned last month, I’m using the Eavescrob and Last.FM apps to track the music I’m listening to. I love it! It paints a way more accurate picture of my current listening experience than what I was doing before. Unfortunately, during the last week of August, I accidentally clicked a button on one of the apps and it imported a bunch of duplicate listens and totally messed up my stats. I had to go into the app on my PC and manually delete as many duplicates as I could recognize. We are talking hundreds of listens! It was tedious and brutal, but I’m such a stat freak perfectionist it would bother me too much to have my numbers that out of whack. As is, they aren’t 100% accurate, but close enough that I feel it’s a solid representation of what I listened to and how much last month. I know I listened to The Weeknd probably more than anyone, but I must’ve deleted too many listens and I don’t get how Dua Lipa and Baby B are nowhere to be found on any of these lists as any album I review during the month gets a huge boost. Ah well. Things should be super accurate in September and when I look back on my lifetime stats a year from now, this will be a distant memory. I have to say… my efforts to stay up-to-date on current music absolutely dominates my playlists. My old school Album of the Month (The Chronic) is the only non-2020 album that cracks my top 20 listens for last month and this is probably what a typical month looks like for me. Granted, I enjoy staying current, but not at the expense of almost never listening to anything older than a few months.

* indicates August 2020 new album

Top 20 Albums in August

1. *Amine – Limbo
2. Apollo Brown & Che Noir – As God Intended
3. *Felt – Felt 4 U
4. The Weeknd – After Hours
5. *Nas – King’s Disease
6. Blu & Exile – Miles
7. Logic – No Pressure
8. *Kaash Paige – Teenage Fever
9. Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party
10. *03 Greedo & RONRONTHEPRODUCER – Load It Up, Vol. 01
11. *Boldy James – The Versace Tape
12. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
13. *R-Mean & Berner – The Warning
14. R.A. the Rugged Man – All My Heroes Are Dead
15. *Rich Brian – 1999
16. 38 Spesh – 6 Shots
17. *Dave East – Karma 3
18. Dr. Dre – The Chronic
19. *DaBaby – BLAME IT ON BABY (Deluxe only)
20. Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory

Top 20 Artists in August

1. Amine
2. The Weeknd
3. Apollo Brown & Che Noir
4. Felt
5. Blu & Exile
6. Nas
7. Logic
8. Kaash Paige
9. Boldy James
10. R.A. the Rugged Man
11. Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington
12. Pop Smoke
13. 03 Greedo & RONRONTHEPRODUCER
14. Phoebe Bridgers
15. R-MEAN & Berner
16. Eminem
17. DaBaby
18. Rich Brian
19. 38 Spesh
20. Brother Ali

Top 5 Songs in August

1. Amine – Roots ft. JID & Charlie Wilson
2. Amine – Riri
3. Anderson .Paak – Lockdown (Remix) ft. JID, Noname & Jay Rock
4. Apollo Brown & Che Noir – Freedom
5. Guapdad 4000 – Orgasm Full Of Pain ft. Deante Hitchcock

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Amine, “Woodlawn”
Amine ft. JID & Charlie Wilson, “Roots”
Amine, “Can’t Decide”
Amine, “Riri”
Amine ft. Injury Reserve, “Fetus”
Anderson .Paak ft. JID, Noname, & Jay Rock, “Lockdown (Remix)”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir ft. Skyzoo, “Follow the Wisdom”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir, “Freedom”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir, “Winter”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir, “’94”
Baby B, “Do You Better”
Baby B, “Like Girls”
Big Boi & Sleepy Brown, “Can’t Sleep”
Black Soprano Family ft. Benny the Butcher, “Grams in the Water”
Drake ft. Lil Durk, “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Dua Lipa, “Physical”
Felt, “Borbaleta”
Felt, “Sticks & Stones”
Jessie Ware, “Soul Control”
Markis Precise ft. Talib Kweli, “From a Distance”
Nas, “The Cure”
Sufjan Stevens, “Video Games”
The Lox ft. Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn, “Think of The Lox”
The Weeknd, “Alone Again”

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Che Noir & Apollo Brown – As God Intended (2020)

August 30, 2020

Che Noir & Apollo Brown – As God Intended (2020, Rap)

Release Date: July 10th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. Anti-Social ft. Blakk Soul – 4.5
2. Blood is Thicker – 4
3. Hustle Don’t Give ft. Black Thought – 5

4. Money Orientated – 3.5
5. 12 Hours – 4
6. Hold It Down ft. Ty Farris – 3.5
7. Daddy’s Girl – 3.5
8. Worth Gold – 4
9. The Apple ft. Planet Asia – 3.5
10. Freedom – 4
11. Follow the Wisdom ft. Skyzoo – 4
12. Winter – 4

13. Live by the Code – 3
14. ’94 – 4

Spin Rate: 8
Average Song Rating: 3.89/5
3.5+ Percentage: 93%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 9

Thoughts: Apollo Brown is a genius. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the best producer in hip-hop right now. I just absolutely love his sound. Almost every beat he makes sounds like an automatic banger to me. It almost doesn’t even matter who is rapping over his stuff, they basically always sound amazing. He dropped an album last year called Sincerely, Detroit that had a bunch of rappers I’ve never heard of on it and I was shocked how good it was. The man can do no wrong right now and his string of collabo albums with certain rappers (Joell Ortiz, Skyzoo, Ghostface Killah, Ras Kass, Planet Asia) have all been fire. This joint with Che Noir continues that stretch of major wins and it might be the best of the bunch.

I’d never even heard of Che Noir until the song with Black Thought leaked, but that’s one of my favorite songs of 2020 now and immediately put this project high on my interest list. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Che Noir has a solid mic presence and her content is really strong also. She’s not on here constantly exploiting her sexuality and is instead speaking on socially conscious topics or making crazy storytelling tracks (“12 Hours”). I don’t know if she has a lot of range in her delivery, but when the production is this good, I don’t care too much about a lack of variety vocally. Che’s rhyming skills are on point and Apollo makes her shine. Top to bottom, this might be the best rap album of 2020. I think it has my highest average song rating and the most bangers of any album I’ve reviewed so far. This is an absolute must listen for any serious rap fan, a potential personal classic, and easily one of the best hip-hop albums of 2020. Don’t sleep.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)

h1

Baby B – Text at 2 AM (2020)

August 25, 2020

Baby B – Text at 2 AM (2020, R&B/Soul)

Release Date: March 12th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

1. Slide Thru, Pt. 2 – 3.5
2. Do You Better – 4
3. Slow ft. B. Smyth – 3.5
4. Like Girls – 4
5. Wishlist (Interlude) – N/A
6. Baddest Girl – 4
7. Magical ft. Yung Bleu – 3.5
8. Truth – 3
9. She Know – 4.5

Spin Rate: 7
Average Song Rating: 3.75/5
3.5+ Percentage: 88%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 4

Thoughts: One of my nieces is in her early 20s and very in tune to the popular rap and R&B music of her generation, so we have a regular dialog about new music and even though I like to think I don’t let much slip past my radar, she is constantly sending me songs and albums from artists I have never heard of. For the most part, we have different taste (especially with rap), but there have definitely been artists she’s put me on to that I really like.

Baby B is one of those artists. I’d never heard of her, so if I did happen to see her album out there, it’s pretty unlikely I would even listen to it just because her stage name is… well… an absolute non-starter. I’m just never going to scroll through new music, see someone called Baby B, and think, “I probably need to listen to that person.” But I’ll at least check out anything that my niece co-signs.

I have to admit I was pretty confused when I listened to this album the first few times. I assumed that Baby B was a girl but I started questioning that perception when it was obvious she was crooning about women in all her songs. Then I wondered if it was actually a dude with a feminine-sounding, but amazing voice. Upon further investigation, it turns out Baby B is indeed a girl and her sexual preference is other women. Well, that makes sense. It’s kind of strange that in 2020 listening to the music of a gay female still feels new and/or surprising to me, but off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of many gay women I have listened to extensively. This feels kind of tacky, but I looked up “best gay female musicians” on Google and that led me to this list on Ranker.com and I’m really only familiar with the music of two artists in the top 50: Syd tha Kid and Queen Latifah. Not that an artist’s sexual orientation matters to me, I just didn’t expect a woman to be singing about other women.

This is actually a great little album. Baby B has a wonderful voice and I love the vibe of her sound. I could happily have this album playing on repeat in the background or while giving it my full attention. “She Know” is one of the better songs I’ve heard this year and I count half this album as legit bangers. “Truth” is the only song I was iffy on, as it sounds more like an interlude than the track that was actually labeled an interlude (and is actually really dope). Text at 2 AM is definitely one of the better R&B projects I’ve heard this year. I’m tempted to give this album a Must Listen stamp, but I’m going to curb my enthusiasm just a bit and say it’s a very strong recommendation. Check it out.

Verdict: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)