Posts Tagged ‘hip-hop’

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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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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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Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)

August 15, 2020

Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992, Rap)

Release Date: December 15th, 1992

Song Rating Scale

1. The Chronic (Intro) ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg – N/A
2. Fuck with Dre Day (Everybody’s Celebratin’) ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg & RBX – 4.5
3. Let Me Ride ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg & Jewel – 5
4. The Day The N****z Took Over ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg, Daz Dillinger, & RBX – 4
5. Nuthin’ But A G Thang ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg – 5
6. Deez Nuuuts ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G, Daz Dillinger, & Nate Dogg – 4
7. Lil’ Ghetto Boy ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg & Daz Dillinger – 4.5

8. A N***a Witta Gun – 3
9. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat ft. RBX & Snoop Doggy Dogg – 3
10. The $20 Sack Pyramid – N/A
11. Lyrical Gangbang ft. Lady of Rage, Kurupt, & RBX – 3
12. High Powered ft. RBX – 3.5
13. The Doctor’s Office – N/A
14. Stranded on Death Row ft. Kurupt, RBX, Lady of Rage, & Snoop Doggy Dogg – 4
15. The Roach (The Chronic Outro) – N/A
16. Bitches Ain’t Shit ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, & Jewell – 4

Spin Rate: 100+? I dunno. Heaps.
Average Song Rating: 3.96/5 (highest ever, as of August 2020)
3.5+ Percentage: 75%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 8

Thoughts: I bumped this widely accepted classic to the top of my review list because when I think about my all-time favorite rap albums, The Chronic usually doesn’t come to mind like it does for a lot of other rap fans. If you would’ve asked me a week ago why that is, I probably couldn’t have accurately answered. There are just numerous albums I know that I like more. Don’t get me wrong: The Chronic is clearly a great and revolutionary album with plenty of iconic tracks on it. I’m just not sure it’s a certified masterpiece and I was curious to see if it might be a little overrated.

As I listened to this again, and it started off with banger after banger and multiple legitimately great songs, I thought I was probably mistaken. But I don’t know how anyone can pretend like the middle of this album is elite. I had to listen to “N***a Witta Gun” three times before I bumped it from a 2.5 to a 3. It’s not a good song, but I think the hook is catchy (albeit kind of annoying) and the beat is nice enough that I’m giving it a pass. “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” and “Lyrical Gangbang” are in a similar boat, even with the latter’s loaded feature list. I can’t be the only one that wishes we could have heard a song with the melody that was playing at the start of “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat”. That shit sounds so smooth. “High Powered” is a good song even though it’s short and only features a verse from RBX, but it does make for a fourth straight song that is notably below the level of the rest of the album. I think this stretch of songs is why I haven’t considered this album the no-doubt masterpiece that a lot of rap fans do. Classic? Yeah, definitely. But perfect this album is not.

The rest of this album is absurdly good though. “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” is one of the best rap songs ever… not much else needs to said about that. I was hesitant to give “Let Me Ride” a 5 because the rapping isn’t exactly elite, but the production and hook are so next level that I had to cough it up. “Deez Nuuuts” is probably the forgotten banger on this album. The beat is soooooooo sick and Nate Dogg’s closing vocals are pristine. One of the most common and obvious trends on this album is that Snoop Dogg absolutely kills it. Dude sounds like a superstar in the making. I can’t wait to hear his solo album!

Dr. Dre has never been an elite rapper and upon revisiting this album, I was kind of surprised how many songs he doesn’t even have a verse on. But Dre can definitely hold his own on the mic and The Chronic has tons of classic tracks on it. The intro, outro, and skits make up 25% of the tracklist, but with the exception of “The Doctor’s Office” they are all pretty dope. I do think the middle sequence weakens the album a bit and prevents it from being a true masterpiece, but The Chronic is still an amazing album and definitely changed how hip-hop would sound forever. The best songs are so good and the production is so revolutionary that I wouldn’t fault anyone for saying this is a perfect hip-hop album, but for me, it’s still a notch below my very favorite rap albums of all-time.

Verdict: 9/10 (Sensational)

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July 2020 Playlist

August 7, 2020

* indicates July addition

Notes: I started using the Last.fm app in tandem with the Eavescrob app to track the music I’m listening to even more accurately. This might actually change the way I make these posts. For now, I’m keeping the adjustments I made last month, but I’m going to include a list of the artists I’ve been listening to the most since I started using these apps midway through July. I basically keep every album in my Priority Playlist for ~4 months – and for the purposes of these blog posts, I will include all new albums for the past month – but as far as older recent albums, I don’t see much point in making anyone sift through the vast majority of stuff that never make it past a Courtesy Rotation and will exclude them from all future posts unless they rise up later on. Also, it’s probably worth noting that any album I post a review for got a big boost in spins because I spent extra time thinking about it.

Top 20 Artists I Listened To The Most In July (in order, according to Last.fm)

1. Logic
2. Apollo Brown & Che Noir
3. Blu & Exile
4. Brother Ali
5. Pop Smoke
6. Dua Lipa
7. R.A. the Rugged Man
8. Baby B
9. Juice WRLD
10. Kyle
11. J.Cole
12. Lil Wayne
13. Black Soprano Family
14. Dr. Dre
15. Ellie Goulding
16. Phoebe Bridgers
17. 38 Spesh
18. Blackalicous
19. Flatbush Zombies
20. Lupe Fiasco

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

*Apollo Brown & Che Noir – As God Intended
Baby B – Text at 2 AM
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Flatbush Zombies – now, more than ever – EP
Jay Electronica (and Jay-Z!) – A Written Testimony
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
Run the Jewels – RTJ4
The Weeknd – After Hours

STRONG ROTATION (listened to most of album 3-4 times)

6lack – 6pc Hot EP
*CeeLo Green – CeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway
Childish Gambino – 3.15.20
Chris Brown & Young Thug – Slime & B
Conway the Machine and The Alchemist – LULU
Deante’ Hitchcock – BETTER
Freddy Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
Future – High Off Life
Grafh – Oracle 3
Jessie Reyez – BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
Jhene Aiko – Chilombo
*Juice WRLD – Legends Never Die
Lil Brick – Road to Ouroboros – EP
Lil Durk – Just Cause Y’all Waited 2
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake [Deluxe]
*Logic – No Pressure
Kota the Friend – Everything
*Pop Smoke – Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon
R.A. the Rugged Man – All My Heroes Are Dead
Sam Hunt – SOUTHSIDE
Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris

SOLID ROTATION (heard most of the album twice)

A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Artist 2.0 [Deluxe]
*Blu & Exile – Miles
Buddy & Kent Jamz – Janktape Vol. 1
dvsn – A Muse In Her Feelings
J Hus – Big Conspiracy
Jadakiss – Ignatius
Joell Ortiz & Crooked I – H.A.R.D.
Kemba – The World is Watching – EP
*Kyle – See You When I’m Famous!!!!!!!
Lil Simz – Drop 6 – EP
Lil Tjay – State of Emergency
Markis Precise – No Wings Without Scars
*Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Polo G – THE GOAT
Wale – The Imperfect Storm
*Westside Gunn – Flygod is an Awesome God 2

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

*38 Spesh – 6 Shots
*Black Soprano Family – Benny the Butcher and DJ Drama presents Black Soprano Family
*Ellie Goulding – Brightest Blue
*Lupe Fiasco & Kaelin Ellis – HOUSE
*Oddisee – Odd Cure
*RARE Sound & K CAMP – Rare Family

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

*Charli XCX – how i’m feeling right now
*Pink Sweat$ – The Prelude – EP
*Summer Walker – Life on Earth – EP

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

*Flee Lord – The People’s Champ
*MIKE – WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
*Nyck Caution – Open Flame – EP

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Apollo Brown & Che NoirAs God Intended

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

Apollo Brown & Che Noir ft. Black Thought, “Hustle Don’t Give”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir ft. Blakk Soul, “Anti-Social”
Apollo Brown & Che Noir, “Worth Gold”
Baby B, “Baddest Girl”
Blu & Exile ft. C.S. Armstrong, “Miles Away”
Blu & Exile ft. Jacinto Rhines, “The Feeling”
Jacob Latimore, “Come Over Here”
Joey Bada$$, “Shine”
Joey Bada$$, “The Light”
Lil Wayne, “Glory”
Pop Smoke, “Something Special”
Pop Smoke ft. Lil Tjay, “Mood Swings”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. David Myles, “Wondering (How To Believe)”
Run the Jewels ft. Pharrell Williams & Zack de la Rocha, “JU$T”
Run the Jewels ft. 2 Chainz, “out of sight”
Run the Jewels ft. Greg Nice & DJ Premier, “ooh la la”

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J. Cole – Friday Night Lights (2010) – A Classic?

June 30, 2020

I’ve decided to scrap the idea of making a single post the review albums for an entire month. I finally finished my February reviews last week and I just sit on these things for too long. Going forward, I’m going to post one album review at a time. Each month, I’ll post a review for two older albums, representing two different time periods: modern and old school. I consider the old school time period to roughly stretch from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. There is so much old school rap that I’m unfamiliar with that I really want to focus on listening to some of the more iconic albums and artists I have overlooked. Those are the projects I’ll be highlighting for the foreseeable future. So I’ll be going into those reviews with basically zero exposure to those albums. I consider the modern hip-hop period to stretch from the mid-1990s all the way up until now. I will mostly be highlighting albums that I really enjoyed during this time period and could post reviews from albums that dropped as recently as last year or as early as the late 90s. The rest of my reviews will be focused on 2020 albums, alternating between very recent drops and the ones I’m still trying to catch up on. I think my review system is locked in enough that I feel comfortable posting reviews after listening to an album 2-3 times.

MODERN ALBUM OF THE MONTH: J. COLE – FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (2010, RAP)

1. “Friday Night Lights (Intro)” – N/A
2. “Too Deep For the Intro” – 3.5
3. “Before I’m Gone” – 4
4. “Back to the Topic (Freestyle)” – 3.5
5. “You Got It” ft. Wale – 3.5
6. “Villematic” – 4
7. “Enchanted” ft. Omen – 3.5
8. “Blow Up” – 4.5
9. “Higher” – 4
10. “In the Morning” ft. Drake – 4
11. “2Face” – 3.5
12. “The Autograph” – 4
13. “Best Friend” – 3
14. “Cost Me A Lot” – 3.5
15. “Premeditated Murder” – 4
16. “Home For the Holidays” – 3.5
17. “Love Me Not” – 3
18. “See World” – 4
19. “Farewell” – 4
20. “Looking For Trouble” ft. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, & CyHi the Prince – 3.5

Spin Rate: 4.89
Most Played Track: “Blow Up” (9x)
Average Song Rating: 3.89/5
3.5+ Percentage: 89.5%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 9

Thoughts: This mixtape is largely considered a classic among modern hip-hop heads and I can’t really disagree. I thought almost every song on this album was good and it has the most bangers of any project I’ve reviewed so far. I believe this is Cole’s third mixtape and dropped before his debut major label album to hold the fans over. Mixtapes are hard to get your hands on, so good luck finding it somewhere other than YouTube. This is the only Cole tape I’ve listened to and I’m unfamiliar with his debut album, so I’m still trying to get up to speed on Cole’s earliest stuff as I assess his overall placement in the all-time lists. He’s certainly earned a spot in my top 5 rap artists of the past decade at this point and this tape only cements his legendary status among current hip-hop artists. Cole’s delivery sounds incredibly hungry and the production on this project is extremely strong. A massive win and an album that people still giddily mention today.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)

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January 2020 Album Reviews

April 23, 2020

First off, let me say… if nobody reads this, I’m going to be pissed. Yeah, this is a bit late. I’ve been working on this post for at least two months now. But I’ve been struggling with how I want to post my music opinions without feeling like I need to waste a ton of time thinking about what I want to write. I think I finally found a system that works for me. I’m going to rate every song on each album on what is essentially a 10-point scale and then I will average those ratings out to give an overall score. This isn’t necessarily my official rating for an album… but it’s a decent starting point. You will see some examples below where I think an album with a lower average rating is better than higher ones. Eminem’s album is the most obvious one. I gave seven of his songs a rating of 4 or higher – the most of any January 2020 release – but he also has, by far, the most songs I’d cut from an album, dragging his overall score down. So while his overall score is lower than some albums, I like it substantially more than, say, the Mick Jenkins project.

A good rule of thumb in order for me to rate an album is that I probably need to listen to it at least twice (hence no Pop Smoke listed below). Possibly the only exception to this rule is when I deem an album unlistenable and can barely (or can’t) even make it through the whole album the first time. Listening to and evaluating music is a pretty fluid process though, so all ratings are subject to change in the future as albums grow on me or I realize I initially overrated them. I’ve been sitting on most of these albums for about three months now, so I feel pretty good about these reviews. I will bold any song I added to my Bangers Playlist – usually at least a 4 on my rating scale.

5 – Perfection
4.5 – Great
4 – Very Good
3.5 – Good
3 – Cool
2.5 – Meh
2 – Bad
1 – Trash

BENNY THE BUTCHERThe Plugs I Met (June 2019, Rap)
1. (Intro) – N/A
2. “Crowns for Kings” ft. Black Thought – 5
3. “Sunday School” ft. 38 Spesh & Jadakiss – 4

4. “Dirty Harry” ft. Rj Payne & Conway the Machine – 3.5
5. “Took the Money to the Plug’s House” – 4
6. “18 Wheeler” ft. Pusha T – 4.5
7. “5 to 50” ft. India – 4

Average Song Rating: 4.17/5
Save Percentage: 100% (6/6)
Bangers: 5

Thoughts: A bonus addition to this month’s list because it’s just that good. This is a great example of less is more. Basically every song on here is really good. Black Thought and Benny absolutely murder the beat on “Crown for Kings” and I think that might be my favorite song of 2019. Benny is easily my favorite rapper that I wasn’t listening to a year ago. This is an elite project and one of the best albums of last year.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)

Mick JenkinsThe Circus (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Same Ol” – 3
2. “Carefree” – 3
3. “The Light” ft. EARTHGANG – 4
4. “Flaunt” – 3
5. “The Fit” – 3.5
6. “I’m Convinced” – 3.5
7. “Different Scales” – 3.5

Average Rating: 3.36/5
Save Percentage: 100% (7/7)
Bangers: 1

Thoughts: A solid, but unspectacular little project that’s a bit more accessible than Mick’s past work which I have admittedly mostly overlooked. I do like every song on here though with “The Light” being my favorite by a large margin and that’s mostly because EARTHGANG just knows how to make great music.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3 [Deluxe] (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Big Black Truck” ft. JID – 4
2. “Still Up” ft. EARTHGANG & REASON – 3.5
3. “Outta Pocket” ft. Bas, Cozz, and Girl Talk – 3
4. “Late Night” ft. Cozz, Omen, Buddy & Landstrip Chip – 3
5. “Spin Move” ft. Bas, Saba, Smino & The Hics – 3
6. “BUSSIT” ft. Ari Lennox – 3
7. “Passcode” ft. Ari Lennox, Buddy, Smino, Mez & Guapdad 4000 – 3
8. “Up Up Away” ft. JID, EARTHGANG & Vince Staples – 3.5
9. “No Chorus” ft. Bas, Dreezy, Buddy & Guapdad 4000 – 3
10. “Disgusted” ft. Cozz & Childish Major – 3
11. “Revenge” ft. Lute, Omen, Ari Lennox, EARTHGANG, Childish Major & REASON – 3
12. “Still Dreamin” ft. JID, Lute & 6LACK – 4

Average Rating: 3.25/5
Save Percentage: 100%
Bangers: 2

Thoughts: It’s important to understand what this is: a collection of songs that weren’t good enough to be on the official Revenge of the Dreamers III album. So these are all leftovers. Personally, I’d rather hear this stuff than not hear it, but when I listen to a project like this, I’m judging it on its own merit and not as a collective with the original release. It looks like every J.Cole feature made the official release because we don’t get any new Cole music here. Most of the songs on here are 3s, so while I like every track it’s a lot of stuff I’m pretty lukewarm about. I do think this Deluxe version is bookended by a couple of true bangers though.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

EminemMusic To Be Murdered By (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Premonition” – 4
2. “Unaccomodating” ft. Young MA – 3
3. “You Gon’ Learn” ft. Royce da 5’9″ & White Gold – 4.5
4. (Interlude) – N/A
5. “Those Kinda Nights” ft. Ed Sheeran – 1.5
6. “In Too Deep” – 2
7. “Godzilla” ft. Juice WRLD – 3.5
8. “Darkness” – 4
9. “Leaving Heaven” ft. Skylar Grey – 2.5
10. “Yah Yah” ft. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun – 4
11. (Interlude) – N/A
12. “Stepdad” – 2.5
13. “Marsh” – 3
14. “Never Love Again” – 3.5
15. “Little Engine” – 2.5
16. “Lock It Up” ft. Anderson .Paak – 4
17. “Farewell” – 3
18. “No Regrets” ft. Don Toliver – 4
19. “I Will” ft. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9″ & Joell Ortiz – 4

20. (Outro) – N/A

Average rating: 3.29/5
Save Percentage: 70.5% (12/17)
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: And here’s an example of more is less. Do I want to hear every song Eminem has ever recorded? Sure. But when you fill out an album’s tracklist with a bunch of weak songs, I’m going to hold those songs against the album as a whole. As you can see by my save percentage, I’d cut about 30% of this album. You take away those five songs and my average rating would jump up to a 3.7 out of 5 and I think that’s pretty close to elite status. His stuff with Ed Sheeran is embarrassing and I can’t stand Skylar Grey; she ruins what is an otherwise enjoyable song with an unbearable hook. I think the production on this album is actually pretty good and beat selection is usually a weakness on any Eminem album. Still, it could be better and you’d think this man would have access to the best producers on the planet. Alchemist was his touring DJ forever and they’ve made almost no actual music together. It’s a damn shame. Eminem is still elite when it comes to spitting and lyricism. Sure, he can spit some corny lines here and there, but he still astonishes me on a regular basis. I love every track Royce is on and it’s bad ass seeing them collab so much (Bad Meets Evil 2 anyone?). Seven bangers is a lot, so there’s plenty of gold on this album. This is probably Em’s best album since Recovery.

Verdict: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Mac MillerCircles (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Circles” – 4
2. “Complicated” – 4

3. “Blue World” – 3.5
4. “Good News” – 4.5
5. “I Can See” – 3.5
6. “Everybody” – 4
7. “Woods” – 4.5
8. “Hand Me Downs” – 5

9. “That’s On Me” – 3.5
10. “Hands” – 3
11. “Surf” – 3.5
12. “Once a Day” – 3.5

Average rating: 3.88/5
Save Percentage: 100% (12/12)
Bangers: 6

Thoughts: Mac Miller was really transcending as an artist. This is not a rappity rap album by any means… it’s just beautiful music… with some rapping. I like every song on this album and there are some real gems here. “Hand Me Downs” is just a perfect song. We lost one of the best hip-hop artists in the business when Mac died in 2018 and it’s kind of absurd that the average hip-hop consumer (that I know at least) doesn’t even listen to him. I’ve been thinking about doing a Top 25 Hip-Hop Artists Since 2015 blog post and in my preliminary rankings, I have Mac Miller ranked #6 on that list. That’s how highly I think of him. This posthumous release only strengthens his resume and Circles is an early Album of the Year contender.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)

Halsey – Manic (January 2020, Pop)
1. “Ashley” – 3.5
2. “Clementine” – 3
3. “Graveyard” – 4
4. “You should be sad” – 3.5
5. “Forever (is a long time)” – 2.5
6. “Dominic’s Interlude” ft. Dominic Fike – 3
7. “I HATE EVERYBODY” – 3
8. “3am” – 3.5
9. “Without Me” – 3.5
10. “Finally // beautiful stranger” – 3
11. “Alanis’ Interlude” ft. Alanis Morissette – 3.5
12. “killing boys” – 3
13. “SUGA’s Interlude” ft. SUGA & BTS – 3
14. “More” – 3.5
15. “Still Learning” – 3
16. “929” – 4

Average rating: 3.28/5
Save Percentage: 94% (15/16)
Bangers: 2

Thoughts: I really like Halsey’s voice, but I’m not much of a pop critic, so it’s not like I really know what I’m talking about here. I like almost every song on this album, but it doesn’t reach a lot of really high points. “Graveyard” and “929” are my only true standout songs, but I do think the multiple shots she takes at G-Eazy are pretty fun. I give this a recommendation but there are definitely better recent pop albums (Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa).

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi (January 2020, ??)
1. “Don’t Break The Silence” – 3
2. “Come Around” – 3
3. “Morrow” – 3.5
4. “The Pines” – 3.5
5. “Guilty Conscience” – 3.5
6. “Divorce” – 3
7. “It’s Forever” ft. The Ebonys – N/A
8. “Rocketship” – 3.5
9. “Microdosing” – 3
10. “Nice to Have” – 3.5
11. “Under the Moon” – 3.5
12. “Daydreamin” – 3
13. “Terminal B” – 3
14. “Flight319” – 3

Average rating: 3.23/5
Save Percentage: 100% (13/13)
Bangers: 0

Thoughts: I have no clue what kind of music this is. Apple has it listed as alternative and other places has it listed as hip-hop. It was released on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label, so there’s that. Hip-Hop Twitter seems to like this album a lot, but honestly, I don’t really get it. There are definitely some good tracks on here, but I count zero true bangers, and at least half an album of lukewarm music.

Verdict: 5/10 (Decent)

Lil Wayne – Funeral (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Funeral” – 3.5
2. “Mahogany” – 4
3. “Mama Mia” – 4

4. “I Do It” ft. Big Sean & Lil Baby – 3.5
5. “Dreams” – 3.5
6. “Stop Playin With Me” 3
7. “Clap For Em” – 3.5
8. “Bing James” ft. Jay Rock – 3.5
9. “Not Me” – 3.5
10. “Trust Nobody” ft. Adam Levine – 3.5
11. “Know You Know” ft. 2 Chainz – 2.5
12. “Wild Dogs” – 3
13. “Harden” – 3.5
14. “I Don’t Sleep” ft. Takeoff – 3.5
15. “Sights and Silencers” ft. The Dream – 4
16. “Ball Hard” ft. Lil Twist – 4
17. “Bastard (Satan’s Kid)” – 4

18. “Get Outta My Head” ft. XXXTENTACION – 1.5
19. “Piano Trap” – 4
20. “Line Em Up” – 3.5
21. “Darkside” – 3
22. “Never Mind” – 3
23. “T.O.” ft. O.T. Genasis – 3
24. “Wayne’s World” – 2.5

Average rating: 3.35/5
Save Percentage: 87.55 (21/24)
Bangers: 6

Thoughts: Lil Wayne is an all-time great and, like it or not, one of the most influential rappers ever. Who do you think inspired all these mumble rappers? I don’t group Wayne in with this new generation though and when I think about my ten favorite hip-hop artists ever, I often think about Lil Wayne for that #10 spot. That’s not set in stone for me yet, but he’s in contention. So the man is a legend… and some 22 years after I first heard him rap he’s still making music I want to listen to. Considering there are 24 songs on Funeral and I would only cut 2 or 3 of them, this is a really solid release. I prefer shorter albums and I can imagine a much stronger showing if he cut about 6-7 songs from this. I don’t think Funeral is better than any album in Tha Carter series, so this is middle of his catalog stuff. Wayne is still an elite rapper though and anything he touches is something you should be checking out.

Verdict: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Note: Now that I have this dialed in, it shouldn’t take me three months to write about the February 2020 releases. Expect that before the middle of May. *fingers crossed*

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January/February 2020 New Music

March 1, 2020

Notes: I was in LA the first week of February, so I decided to skip my monthly music post last month. After this post, I will be cleansing my Priority playlist of all pre-2020 albums (except maybe a few I really want to keep in rotation). In the next few days, I’ll have a post with some albums I’ve rated and reviewed, plus I post ratings for as many albums I’m taking off my playlist as I can.

* indicates second month on PRIORITY playlist

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

*Apollo Brown – Sincerely, Detroit (October)
*BENNY THE BUTCHER – The Plugs I Met (June)
Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World
Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By
*Griselda – WWCD
*Lana Del Ray – Norman F*****g Rockwell (August)
Lil Wayne – Funeral
Mac Miller – Circles
*Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory

STRONG ROTATION (listened to most of album 3-4 times)

*Black Pumas – Black Pumas (June)
*DaBaby – Baby on Baby (March)
Dreamville – Revenge of the Dreamers [Deluxe]
*Free Nationals – Free Nationals
*JACKBOYS – JACKBOYS
Mick Jenkins – The Circus
Mustard – Perfect Ten (June)
*Rich Brian – The Sailor (July)
*Tobe Nwigwe – FOURIGINALS (October)
*Young Thug – So Much Fun [Deluxe]

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

Andrew Kelly – Annex
*Denzel Curry – ZUU (May)
D Smoke – Black Habits
*Fat Joe & Dre – Family Ties
Halsey – Manic
*Harry Styles – Fine Line
*KAYTRANADA – BUBBA
Kota the Friend – Lyrics to Go, Vol. 1
*Polo G – Die a Legend (June)
*Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head
*The Game – Born 2 Rap
YGTUT – I.O.U.

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Artist 2.0
*BENNY THE BUTCHER – Tana Talk 3 (2018)
Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places (March)
Boldy James – The Price of Tea in China
*Cam’ron – Purple Haze 2
*DaBaby – KIRK (September)
*Flawless Real Talk – Every Second Matters
Kamaiyah – Got It Made
*Kevin Abstract – ARIZONA BABY (April)
Lil Baby – My Turn
Roc Marciano – Marcielago (2019)
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED
Green Day – Father of All…
Guapdad 4000 – Dior Deposits
*KXNG Crooked & Bronze Nazareth – Gravitas
K. Michelle – All Monsters Are Human
Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo 2
Tink – Hopeless Romantic
Twista – Lifetime EP
*XXXTENTACION – Bad Vibes Forever
YFN Lucci – HIStory

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

G Herbo – PTSD
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain
Young Nudy – Anyways

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Royce da 5’9″The Allegory – review in next post

Highly Enjoyable

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

Apollo Brown ft. Slum Village, “All Day”
Apollo Brown ft. Supa Emcee, Kuniva, & Alexis Allon, “Break the Code”
Boldy James ft. Vince Staples, “Surf & Turf”
Brent Faiyaz, “Rehab (Winter in Paris)”
Dreamville ft. JID, Lute, & 6LACK, “Still Dreamin”
Eminem, “Darkness”
Eminem ft. Royce da 5’9″, “You Gon’ Learn”
Eminem ft. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought & Q-Tip, “Yah Yah”
Eminem, “Premonition (Intro)”
Eminem ft. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9″, & Joell Ortiz, “I Will”
Eminem ft. Don Toliver, “No Regrets”
Fabolous ft. Lil Durk, “Cap”
Fat Joe & Dre ft. Eminem & Mary J. Blige, “Lord Above”
Free Nationals ft. JID, Kadhja Bonet & MIKNNA, “On Sight”
The Game ft. Anderson .Paak, “Stainless”
Harry Styles, “Lights Up”
Kevin Abstract, “Georgia”
Lana Del Rey, “F**k it I love you”
Mac Miller, “Good News”
Mac Miller, “Hand Me Downs”
Mac Miller, “Everybody”
Mac Miller, “Woods”
Mick Jenkins ft. EARTHGANG, “The Light”
Polo G ft. Lil Baby & Gunna, “Pop Out Again”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Ashley Sorrell & Benny the Butcher, “Upside Down”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Conway the Machine, “Fubu”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Sy Ari Da Kid, White Gold, Cyhi the Prynce & T.I., “Black Savage”
Royce da 5’9″, “Rhinestone Doo Rag”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Westside Gunn, “Overcomer”
Smoke DZA & BENNY THE BUTCHER, “By Any Means”
Stormzy, “Rachael’s Little Brother”
Stormzy, “Superheroes”
Young Thug ft. Gunna, “Hot”

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Album Reviews (December 2019)

January 5, 2020

A good rule of thumb in order for me to rate an album is that I probably need to listen to it at least twice. Possibly the only exception to this rule is when I deem an album unlistenable and can barely (or can’t) even make it through the whole album the first time. Listening to and evaluating music is a pretty fluid process though, so all ratings are subject to change in the future as albums grow on me or I realize I initially overrated them.

When I list the best tracks for each album, I will bold any song I added to my Bangers Playlist, meaning I think it’s one of the standout tracks of the entire year.

I only used this for the last couple of albums I rated, but here’s a scale I came up with for rating each song:
5 – All-Timer
4.5 – Super Banger
4 – Banger
3.5 – Keeper
3 – Cool
2.5 – Decent
2 – Weak
1 – Trash

Kanye WestJESUS IS KING (Gospel/Rap) – A full album devoted to Kanye’s… devotion to his faith? Ugh, no thanks. But we are talking about an all-time great musician here, so I’m obliged to listen and, well, it’s about as (un)enjoyable as I thought it would be. I think I’ve listened to it in entirety 4-5 times as I write this and most of it still doesn’t stick with me. This is the worst project Kanye has ever released. The direction of the album already turns me off, but I was hoping the music would still be good. I’m not a fan. I think I genuinely like two songs on this album.

Best Tracks: “On God” “Selah”

Verdict: No Thanks

Emotional OrangesThe Juice, Vol. II (R&B/Soul) – This is pure feel good music that you could have on in the background of a party and everyone would probably be content about it. The production on this album is pretty high quality and songs like “West Coast Love” and “Not Worth It” are pure fire. This a short little album that bumps the whole way through.

Best Tracks: “West Coast Love” “Not Worth It” “Don’t Be Lazy”

Verdict: Highly Enjoyable

03 Greedo & Kenny BeatsNetflix & Deal (Rap) – I was really impressed by this album. I think there’s maybe one song on here I didn’t really like. Greedo isn’t a super strong rapper, but he’s creative and clearly has a talent for crafting catchy and memorable songs. The production on here is also really well done and I’d be all over it if this duo put out another album together. I basically only listened to this album because of the strong list of guest features – Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples, Maxo Kream, Buddy – but I’m glad I did. It was a very pleasant surprise. I currently don’t have any songs on my Best of 2019 playlist, but that’s certainly subject to change. I think there are plenty of standouts, but I’m still unsure if any of them are certifiably amazing. This is a strong album with very few weak spots.

Best Tracks: “Disco S**t” feat. Freddie Gibbs “Maria” “Blue People” feat. Vince Staples “Brad Pitt” “Soul Food” feat. Buddy

Verdict: Highly Enjoyable

Brother AliSecrets & Escapes (Rap) – Once upon a time, I thought Brother Ali was one of the best rappers in the game. His first few albums all are amazing. If you haven’t listened to Shadows on the Sun, the Champion EP, and The Undisputed Truth, put them on your to do list. That’s a rapper operating at the highest level. Since then, I’ve become progressively less excited about Ali and this latest project is one of his least memorable. Ali usually works with Ant (of Atmosphere) on the boards, but on this album I believe Evidence (of Dilated Peoples) does most of the production and it is an unfortunate departure. I really like Evidence as a rapper, but Ant is a way better producer – at least for Ali’s sound. Ali can still rap at an elite level though and that makes things at least somewhat enjoyable. Still, if I were to introduce someone to Ali’s music I wouldn’t even mention this album.

Best Tracks: “Father Figures” “Red” feat. Evidence

Verdict: Decent

Little BrotherMay the Lord Watch (Rap) – Little Brother is a hip-hop collective out of North Carolina that had a run of great albums throughout the 2000s before disbanding in 2010. Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh reunite here on their fifth studio album, but longtime producer 9th Wonder is completely absent from the project. Still, May the Lord Watch manages to sound very cohesive and feels like a proper sequel to Little Brother’s 2005 album The Minstrel Show. Phonte is on my all-time underrated list and he’s still rapping at a nearly elite level here, although I prefer his solo album No News is Good News from last year. There’s nothing flashy here; this is mature grown folk music. There are a lot of good tracks on this album – and no real weak songs – but nothing that really blew my mind either.

Best Tracks: “The Feel,” “Everything,” “Sittin Alone,” All in a Day”

Avg. rating: 3.3/5

Verdict: Recommended

SiRChasing Summer (R&B/Soul) – This was the first album that I gave a song-by-song rating for and it was a little disappointing to me. I had listened to this quite a bit already and thought it was pretty good, but there are really only a couple of standout tracks on this. The lead single “Hair Down” has the best hook and beat on the album plus Kendrick Lamar absolutely destroying his verse while completely switching up his flow at least five times while doing so. It also happens to be the first track. “John Redcorn” is the second song and also the second best song on the album. That means that the album peaks very early and never comes close to reaching the heights of the first two songs. I think the album is mostly good though with only a couple songs I thought were merely decent. Worth a listen for sure.

Best Tracks: “Hair Down” feat. Kendrick Lamar, “John Redcorn,” “Still Blue” feat. Jill Scott, “Mood”

Avg. rating: 3.14/5

Verdict: Recommended

KembaGilda (Rap) – This has to be one of the most overlooked albums of the year, as I have hardly seen anyone talk about it, yet I don’t think this has a single weak song on it, while almost half the songs are certified bangers. It’s a bit of a dark album, with Kemba lamenting, ‘I learned metaphors before I knew what’s a credit score/ I’m sure that’s a bar that’s never been said before/ mail at my door offered me a new credit card/ cause if you poor they’ll make sure you forever poor‘ on “Captain Planet” and it doesn’t get much more bleek than his hook on the somewhat disturbing but absolutely beautiful “Dysfunction”: ‘I’m nothing more than insignificant/ all my hopes and my dreams, all my goals, my achievements, were pure coincidence/ I am but a speck… of dust.‘ Yikes. It’s truly haunting, but I can’t stop listening to it. The album ends on a higher note, with both “Last Year Being Broke” and “Alive” showing signs of optimism. This is a true piece of art and more people should be listening to it.

Best Tracks: “Dysfunction,” “Nobody I Can Trust,” “Exhale” feat. Smino, “Alive” feat. Eric Bellinger

Avg. rating: 3.68/5

Verdict: Must Listen

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December 2019 New Music

January 1, 2020

December Notes: I really expanded my horizons in December and listened to an exorbitant amount of music, adding a number of albums I missed earlier this year, plus some from last year, and even some super old mixtapes from current legends like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Travis Scott. It’s insane how much content I took in last month and you can see how that is reflected in the fact that I added 30+ songs to my 2019 Bangers playlist. I decided to start dropping thoughts on certain album as I give them overall ratings and the way I’m going to do that is in a separate post that will be published in the next few days or so. This way I can listen to albums and write about them as the month progresses while keeping organization on my blog nice and tidy. I always see Young Thug, JPEG MAFIA, Tyler the Creator, etc. on Best of 2019 lists, so I’ve been trying to understand what people see in their music… and something finally happened this month: I became a Young Thug fan. I’ve basically thought of Young Thug as the epitome of the kind of Mumble Rap I don’t like over the last few years, but I guess I finally see the appeal. I listened to his So Much Fun album until I had to admit to myself that it was actually good… and I’ll be damned if it isn’t. Jury is still out on Tyler and JPEG MAFIA. I can see Tyler’s appeal, but I’m not sure if I’m a fan or not. Meanwhile, I wanted to turn the JPEG album off after five songs… and I struggled to get that far.

Here’s what I listened to in December 2019 and how much:

* indicates second month on PRIORITY playlist

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

*BENNY THE BUTCHER – The Plugs I Met (June)
*Griselda – Wwcd
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
KIDS SEE GHOSTS (Kanye West & Kid Cudi) – KIDS SEE GHOSTS (2018)
Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial

STRONG ROTATION (listened to most of album 3-4 times)

*03 Greedo & Kenny Beats – Netflix & Deal
*Apollo Brown – Sincerely, Detroit (October)
Arin Ray – Phases II – EP
Black Pumas – Black Pumas (June)
*Brother Ali – Secrets & Escapes
DaBaby – Baby on Baby (March)
*Emotional Oranges – The Juice, Vol. II
*Gang Starr – One of the Best Yet
JACKBOYS – JACKBOYS
*Kemba – Gilda
*Lana Del Ray – Norman F*****g Rockwell (August)
*Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
Rich Brian – The Sailor (July)
Tobe Nwigwe – FOURIGINALS (October)
*Tyler, The Creator – IGOR (May)
Young Thug – So Much Fun [Deluxe]

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

*Earl Sweatshirt – FEET OF CLAY
Fat Joe & Dre – Family Ties
Free Nationals – Free Nationals
*Smoke DZA & BENNY THE BUTCHER – Statue of Limitations – EP (October)

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

*Action Bronson & The Alchemist – Lamb Over Rice
*Beck – Hyperspace
BENNY THE BUTCHER – Tana Talk 3 (2018)
*Bishop Briggs – CHAMPION
Cam’ron – Purple Haze 2
*CRIMEAPPLE – Viridi Panem
DaBaby – KIRK (September)
*Dave East – Survival
Denzel Curry – ZUU (May)
*Fabolous – Summertime Shootout 3: Coldest Summer Ever
*FKA twigs – MAGDALENE
Flawless Real Talk – Every Second Matters
Harry Styles – Fine Line
*IDK – Is He Real? (September)
KAYTRANADA – BUBBA
*Kembe X – I Was Depressed Until I Made This (October)
Kendrick Lamar – Kendrick Lamar EP (2009)
Kevin Abstract – ARIZONA BABY (April)
*Kota the Friend – Foto (added in November, released in May)
*Larry June – Product of the Dope Game
Polo G – Die a Legend (June)
*Queen & Slim Soundtrack
*Rod Wave – Ghetto Gospel
*Salaam Remi & Joell Ortiz – BoxTalk – EP
*The Game – Born 2 Rap
Travis Scott – Days Before Rodeo (2014)
*Trippie Redd – A Love Letter to You 4
*Various Artists – Queen & Slim Soundtrack

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

Atmosphere – Whenever
Azizi Gibson – Chimera Act
Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve (May)
J.Cole – Friday Night Lights (2010)
JPEG MAFIA – All My Heroes Are Cornballs (September)
Juice WRLD – Goodbye & Good Riddance (2018)
*Jvck James – DETOUR – EP (October)
Kendrick Lamar – Training Day (2005)
KXNG Crooked & Bronze Nazareth – Gravitas
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You (April)
MAVI – Let The Sun Talk (October)
*Smoke DZa & Curren$y – Prestige Worldwide
Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head
Sunday Service Choir (& Kanye West) – Jesus Is Born
*Tory Lanez – Chixtape 5
XXXTENTACION – Bad Vibes Forever

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

Kendrick Lamar – C4 (2009)

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Roddy RicchPlease Excuse Me For Being Antisocial

I have to admit Roddy Ricch wasn’t even remotely on my radar (despite appearing on Nipsey’s “Racks in the Middle” and Meek’s “Splash Warning”) before this album dropped and his stage name made me think he was probably just going to be run-of-the-mill trap music. But I ended up being shocked by Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. It’s a solid album with multiple standout tracks and “The Box” really sets things off and immediately put me on notice with its incredible instrumentation and Roddy bringing some impressive vocals with a catchy hook. There is plenty more heat, with “Bacc Seat” being a particularly good track, with Roddy and Ty Dolla $ign spitting verses about their sexual conquests over a smooth ass beat. Production on this album is a major strength and Roddy is clearly a solid songwriter that understands how to tailor his lyrics and vocals to the mood of the beat. Roddy isn’t a great lyricist, but he does everything else really well. I rated every song on the album on a scale of 1 to 5 and the 15 songs averaged out to just under 3.5, but there are six tracks on here that I gave a 4+ (certified bangers) and that’s a strong showing for anyone. I’m a big fan of this project and it could have been even better by trimming off a little bit of the fat (especially towards the end), but this is a very solid debut studio album from an artist whose stock is going to rise rapidly.

Highly Enjoyable

2019 Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Apollo Brown ft. Fatt Father, Journalist 103 & Valid, “Oh Lord”
Apollo Brown ft. Clear Soul Forces, “Deception & Woes”
Arin Ray, “A Seat”
Benny the Butcher, “Took the Money to the Plug’s House”
Black Pumas, “Know You Better”
Black Pumas, “OCT 33”
Brent Faiyaz, “Rehab (Winter in Paris)”
Boogie ft. Snoh Aalegra, “Time”
Conway the Machine ft. Westside Gunn & Benny the Butcher
Dave East ft. Ash Leone, “Daddy Knows”
Dreamville (J.Cole & Lute ft. DaBaby), “Under the Sun”
Dreamville (JID, Bas, J.Cole, EARTHGANG & Young Nudy), “Down Bad”
Emotional Oranges, “West Coast Love”
Griselda, “DR BIRDS”
JACKBOYS ft. Don Toliver, “WHAT TO DO?”
Kemba ft. Eric Bellinger, “Alive”
Kemba, “Dysfunction”
Kemba ft. Smino, “Exhale”
Kota the Friend ft. Saba, “Solar Return”
Lana Del Rey, “California”
Maxo Kream, “Meet Again”
Mustard ft. Nipsey Hussle, “Perfect Ten”
Rick Ross ft. Drake, “Gold Roses”
Rod Wave, “Poison”
Roddy Ricch ft. Meek Mill, “Peta”
Roddy Ricch, “The Box”
Roddy Ricch ft. Ty Dolla $ign, “Bacc Seat”
Roddy Ricch, “Roll Dice”
SiR, “John Redcorn”
Wale ft. Jeremih, “On Chill”
Tobe Nwigwe ft. The New Respects, “HELLA BLACK”
Tobe Nwigwe, “IVORY”
Tobe Nwigwe, “I’M DOPE (NPR MUSIC’S TINY DESK CONCERT)”
Travis Scott, “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM”
Young Thug ft. Future, “Sup Mate”
Young Thug ft. Travis Scott, “Hop Off a Jet”
Young Thug ft. J.Cole & Travis Scott, “The London”
Young Thug ft. Machine Gun Kelly, “Ecstasy”
Vince Staples, 6LACK, & Mereba, “Yo Love”

h1

November 2019 New Music

November 30, 2019

I always hear people complaining about how bad music is nowadays and they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, there is more quality music flooding the industry than ever before. It’s impossible to listen to it all, but… I try to. I give everything a chance and at the end of every month I’ll post everything I listened to and how much, what my favorite album was, what the other must have albums are, and what songs I added to my 2019 Bangers Playlist.

Stop complaining and take some guidance!

Because some albums come out later in the month and I don’t get much of a chance to listen to them before making my post, I’ve decided to make my new music posts containing all albums I’ve listened to over the last two months.

November Notes: Midway through the month, a great hip-hop Twitter account I follow – @HipHopNumbers – started a countdown of his top 15 albums of the decade and I spent a good portion of my month either relistening to those albums or giving a few I skipped past another chance (I’m looking at you IGOR). It’s a list I have a good amount of agreement with, so I’ll put it at the end of this post. Also, if you’re on Twitter, you should give this account a follow. He does all sorts of statistical analysis of pretty much any relevant hip-hop release and I’ve found his work to be very entertaining.

Also, check out my 2019 Albums page. I added rankings for D Smoke, Danny Brown, Emeli Sande, Raphael Saadiq, and Emotional Oranges… and one of them is an Album of the Year contender.

* indicates albums I added in October

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

*D Smoke – Inglewood High
*Danny Brown – uknowwhatimsayin?
*Emeli Sande – REAL LIFE (added in October, released in September)
Griselda – Wwcd
*Silas – 1998 (added in October, released in August)
Tyler, The Creator – IGOR (added in November, released in May)

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

03 Greedo & Kenny Beats – Netflix & Deal
Brother Ali – Secrets & Escapes
Emotional Oranges – The Juice, Vol. II
Gang Starr – One of the Best Yet
*Kanye West – JESUS IS KING
Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

Action Bronson & The Alchemist – Lamb Over Rice
Apollo Brown – Sincerely, Detroit (added in November, released in October)
Beck – Hyperspace
BENNY THE BUTCHER – The Plugs I Met (added in November, released in June)
Bishop Briggs – CHAMPION
Earl Sweatshirt – FEET OF CLAY
FKA twigs – MAGDALENE
*G-Eazy – Scary Nights
IDK – Is He Real? (added in November, released in September)
Kota the Friend – Foto (added in November, released in May)
Lana Del Ray – Norman F*****g Rockwell (added in November, released in August)
Larry June – Product of the Dope Game
Rod Wave – Ghetto Gospel
Salaam Remi & Joell Ortiz – BoxTalk – EP
Smoke DZA & BENNY THE BUTCHER – Statue of Limitations – EP (added in November, released in October)
*Summer Walker – Over It
*Tobe Nwigwe – THREE ORIGINALS (added in October, released in March)
Trippie Redd – A Love Letter to You 4
Various Artists – Queen & Slim Soundtrack
*Wale – Wow… That’s Crazy

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

*Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
CRIMEAPPLE – Viridi Panem
Dave East – Survival
*Flawless Real Talk – 24Flaw7 (added in October, not sure when released)
Jacquees – King of R&B
Kembe X – I Was Depressed Until I Made This (added in November, released in October)
Tory Lanez – Chixtape 5
*Tuxedo – Tuxedo III (added in October, released in July)
YNW Melly – Melly vs. Melvin

Out of Rotation (removed from my current playlist)

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

Fabolous – Summertime Shootout 3: Coldest Summer Ever
Jvck James – DETOUR – EP (added in November, released in October)
Smoke DZa & Curren$y – Prestige Worldwide
The Game – Born 2 Rap

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

GriseldaWwcd

I was having a tough time coming up with a truly standout album from the November releases, but then Griselda dropped a genuine banger at the buzzer. Normally, I don’t get around to listening to last minute album drops before making this post, but I must have listened to this album five times in a row the day after it dropped. Let me note something real quick: historically, I have not been a giant Griselda fan. They have tons of content and I’ve listened to a decent amount of it, but I’ve never thought of them as the second coming of Wu Tang like their biggest fans seem to think they are. However, I hadn’t ever listened to BENNY THE BUTCHER before this month and I’m definitely a fan of his and the more I listen to Conway the Machine, the more I like him. Westside Gunn is my least favorite in the group and he’s also the guy I’ve had the most exposure to, which could explain why I was lukewarm on the collective as a whole before this album dropped.

I was pretty shocked when I heard these dudes signed with Shady Records and you have to give Eminem some credit because Shady now has two huge wins this year (Boogie being the other). This album is 13 tracks deep but only ten of them are actual songs. However, all ten songs are pretty damn good and even the non-songs have a vibe to them. This album has only been out a few days and I’ve already added two tracks to my Bangerz Playlist and I expect more to be added in the future. I don’t think this is an Album of the Year contender like I’ve been reading from some people, but it’s undeniably good from top to bottom and has no real weak spots. The thing about Griselda, in my opinion, is that they make good songs and execute above average in all the key areas of making rap music, but I don’t really think anything about them is exceptional. Still, I give Wwcd a very strong recommendation and it’s probably the best new album I listened to in November.

2019 Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

BENNY THE BUTCHER ft. Black Thought, “Crowns for Kings”
BENNY THE BUTCHER ft. Pusha T, “18 Wheeler”
Brother Ali, “Father Figures”
Danny Brown, “Combat”
D Smoke, “Lil’ Red”
D Smoke, “Honey Jack”
EARTHGANG & Tiana Major9, “Collide”
Emeli Sande, “Honest”
Emeli Sande, “Human”
Emotional Oranges, “Not Worth It”
Gang Starr ft. J.Cole, “Family and Loyalty”
Gang Starr ft. Group Home and Royce da 5’9″, “What’s Real”
Griselda, “Cruiser Weight Coke”
Griselda, “Freddie HotSpot”
Kota the Friend, “Foto”
Larry June, “Something Gotta Change”
Michael Kiwanuka, “Rolling”
Raphael Saadiq, “This World is Drunk”
Raphael Saadiq ft. Rob Bacon, “Something Keeps Calling Me”
Raphael Saadiq, “Rikers Island”
Tyler, The Creator, “IGOR’S THEME”
Wale ft. 6LACK, “Expectations”

@HipHopNumbers Top 15 Albums of the Decade:

15. Rapsody – Eve
14. Joey Badass – ALL AMERIKKAN BADASS
13. Lupe Fiasco – Tetsou & Youth
12. Jay Rock – 90059
11. Mac Miller – Swimming
10. Pusha T – DAYTONA
9. Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’
8. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
7. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
6. Mac Miller – Watching Movies With the Sound Off
5. Kid Cudi & Kanye West – Kids See Ghosts
4. Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade
3. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kidd M.A.D.D. City
2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly