Posts Tagged ‘j.cole’

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January 2022 – Music Edition

February 2, 2022

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Che Noir – Food For Thought

Top 25 Most Played Albums of January 2022 (* indicates new album in January)

  1. *Che Noir – Food For Thought
  2. *The Weeknd – Dawn FM
  3. J Dilla – Donuts (2005)
  4. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  5. Roddy Ricch – Live Life Fast
  6. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter II (2005)
  7. *Gunna – DS4EVER
  8. Baby Keem – The Melodic Blue
  9. Mos Def – Black On Both Sides (1999)
  10. Nas – Magic
  11. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele (2000)
  12. *Cordae – From a Birds Eye View
  13. Roc Marciano – Reloaded
  14. *FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS
  15. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (2008)
  16. Nas – King’s Disease II
  17. Ghostface Killah – Ironman (1996)
  18. Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales
  19. Lil Wayne – SQ4 (2004?)
  20. Adele – 30
  21. Big Boi & Sleepy Brown – The Sleepover
  22. Lil Wayne – Sorry 4 the Wait (2011)
  23. Labrinth – Euphoria Soundtrack (2019)
  24. The Roots – Undun (2011)
  25. Mac Miller – Circles (2020)

The 25 Most Played Artists of January

  1. Che Noir
  2. Lil Wayne
  3. The Weeknd
  4. The Roots
  5. J Dilla
  6. Nas
  7. Little Simz
  8. Ghostface Killah
  9. Roddy Ricch
  10. AZ
  11. Gunna
  12. Baby Keem
  13. Mos Def
  14. Cordae
  15. Roc Marciano
  16. FKA twigs
  17. Mach-Hommy
  18. Westside Gunn
  19. Jazmine Sullivan
  20. Adele
  21. Big Boi
  22. Conway the Machine
  23. Labrinth
  24. Mac Miller
  25. Ransom

Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020s Bangers Playlist
January 2022 Additions:

AZ, “Jewels for Life”
Baby Keem, “trademark usa”
Big Boi & Sleepy Brown, “The Big Sleep”
Che Noir, “Brains For Dinner”
Che Noir, “Communion”
Che Noir, “Table For 3” (feat. Ransom & 38 Spesh)
Dr. Dre, “Eta” (feat. Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, & Snoop Dogg)
Dr. Dre, “Gospel” (feat. Eminem)
FKA twigs, “careless” (feat. daniel caesar)
FKA twigs, “tears in the club” (feat. The Weeknd)
Lute, “Birdsong” (feat. JID & Saba)
Lute, “Overnight”
Nas, “Speechless”
Nas, “Meet Joe Black”
Nas, “Wave Gods” (feat. A$AP Rocky)
Nas, “40-16 Building”
Ransom & Rome Streetz, “Claudine” (feat. Che Noir)
Roddy Ricch, “rollercoastin”
Roddy Ricch, “don’t i” (feat. Gunna)
Wale, “Poke It Out” (feat. J. Cole)
The Weeknd, “Take My Breath”
The Weeknd, “Sacrifice”
The Weeknd, “Out of Time”





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2021 Year In Review – Music Edition

January 2, 2022

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together

Top Albums of 2021 (in alphabetical order)

Adele – 30 (Pop)
Benny the Butcher – The Plugs I Met 2 (Rap)
Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together (Rap)
Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning (Rap)
J.Cole – The Off-Season (Rap)
Kanye West – Donda (Rap)
Nas – King’s Disease II (Rap)
Nas – Magic (Rap)
Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR (Pop)
Silk Sonic – An Evening with Silk Sonic (Pop)
Tyler, the Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST (Rap)

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

AZ – Doe or Die II (Rap)
Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson (Rap)
Conway the Machine – La Maquina (Rap)
Grip – I Died For This!? (Rap)
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (Rap)
Lute – Gold Mouf (Rap)
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti (Rap)
Skyzoo – All the Brilliant Things (Rap)
Tash Sultana – Terra Firma (Alternative Rock)
Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: sides A & B (Rap)

Top 25 Most Played Albums of 2021

  1. J. Cole – The Off-Season
  2. Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning
  3. Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
  4. Kanye West – Donda
  5. Nas – King’s Disease II
  6. Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti
  7. Benny the Butcher – The Plugs I Met 2
  8. DMX – Exodus
  9. MC Eiht – LESSONS (2020)
  10. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (1997)
  11. Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (2020)
  12. Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
  13. Conway the Machine – La Maquina
  14. Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket (2020)
  15. Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
  16. Grip – I Died for This!?
  17. Toby Ganger – Free Machine (unreleased)
  18. Pink Sweat$ – Pink Planet
  19. Drake – Certified Lover Boy
  20. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Country
  21. Ghetts – Conflict of Interest
  22. Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – Side B
  23. Nyck Caution – Anywhere But Here
  24. Vince Staples – Vince Staples
  25. Courtney Bell – Poverty Stricken (2020)

The 50 Most Played Artists of 2021

  1. J. Cole
  2. Benny the Butcher
  3. Isaiah Rashad
  4. Nas
  5. Eminem
  6. Kanye West
  7. DMX
  8. Scarface
  9. Dave
  10. Kool G Rap
  11. Lana Del Rey
  12. The Notorious B.I.G.
  13. Big K.R.I.T.
  14. Boldy James
  15. Vince Staples
  16. Sa-Roc
  17. Conway the Machine
  18. MF DOOM
  19. Mach-Hommy
  20. KOTA the Friend
  21. Westside Gunn
  22. Drake
  23. MC Eiht
  24. Outkast
  25. Yelawolf
  26. Dua Lipa
  27. Kendrick Lamar
  28. Mac Miller
  29. Tyler, the Creator
  30. Tash Sultana
  31. Jessie Ware
  32. Lil Wayne
  33. Tyrone’s Jacket
  34. Grip
  35. Pink Sweat$
  36. Toby Ganger
  37. Adele
  38. Freddie Gibbs
  39. Ghetts
  40. Nyck Caution
  41. Snoop Dogg
  42. Elzhi
  43. Jadakiss
  44. AZ
  45. BROCKHAMPTON
  46. Courtney Bell
  47. Devin the Dude
  48. Emotional Oranges
  49. Evidence
  50. Kali Uchis

Top 25 Most Played Artist of December (* indicates released new album last month)

  1. Nas *
  2. Elzhi
  3. The Beatles
  4. Lil Wayne
  5. DJ Quik
  6. Adele
  7. Roddy Ricch *
  8. Big Boi *
  9. Dave
  10. Brother Ali
  11. Kanye West
  12. Russ *
  13. Westside Gunn
  14. Benny the Butcher
  15. Boldy James *
  16. Silk Sonic
  17. Porter Robinson
  18. Khalid *
  19. Big K.R.I.T.
  20. Cozz *
  21. LE$ *
  22. Young Thug
  23. Ghostface Killah
  24. Isaiah Rashad
  25. J. Cole

Top 50 Most Played Artists of All-Time (since like late summer 2020) [last year’s ranking in brackets]

  1. Eminem [1]
  2. Benny the Butcher [2]
  3. Nas [10]
  4. J. Cole [unranked]
  5. Conway the Machine [4]
  6. Lil Wayne [3]
  7. Kanye West [unranked]
  8. MC Eiht [6]
  9. Scarface [unranked]
  10. Isaiah Rashad [unranked]
  11. DMX [unranked]
  12. Black Thought / The Roots [5]
  13. Sa-Roc [24]
  14. Che Noir [7]
  15. Boldy James [29]
  16. Lana Del Rey [unranked]
  17. Toby Ganger [16]
  18. Westside Gunn [26]
  19. Dave [unranked]
  20. Kool G Rap [unranked]
  21. Amine [9]
  22. Outkast / Big Boi [unranked]
  23. The Lox / Jadakiss [37]
  24. Dua Lipa [30]
  25. MF DOOM [unranked]
  26. 38 Spesh [14]
  27. Spillage Village / Earthgang [8]
  28. Mac Miller [48]
  29. Dueling Experts / Recognize Ali [15]
  30. Ty Dolla $ign [12]
  31. The Notorious B.I.G. [unranked]
  32. Ransom [31]
  33. Tyrone’s Jacket [44]
  34. KOTA the Friend [unranked]
  35. Berner [11]
  36. Big K.R.I.T. [unranked]
  37. Jessie Ware [unranked]
  38. Elzhi [49]
  39. Busta Rhymes [13]
  40. Vince Staples [unranked]
  41. Kid Cudi [46]
  42. The Weeknd [17]
  43. Drake [unranked]
  44. Kendrick Lamar [unranked]
  45. Pop Smoke [28]
  46. Blu [22]
  47. Flip Huston [19]
  48. Mach-Hommy [unranked]
  49. Freddie Gibbs [unranked]
  50. Brother Ali [42]

Dropped Out: R.A. the Rugged Man [18], Big Sean [20], 21 Savage & Metro Boomin [23], Felt [25], T.I. [27], Goodie Mob [34], Ariana Grande [35], CunninLynguists [36], Jaden Smith [38], Dinner Party [39], Future [40], Kaash Paige [41], Deante Hitchcock [43], Rich Brian [45], Dave East [47], Ice Cube [50]

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist





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August to November 2021 Music Ratings

December 10, 2021

ALBUM OF THE PERIOD

Adele – 30

Ratings:

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 25 Albums from August 1st to November 29th

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

**indicates November release

  1. Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning – 7+
  2. Kanye West – Donda – 7
  3. Nas – King’s Disease II – 8
  4. Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together – 9
  5. Grip – I Died for This!? – 7
  6. Drake – Certified Lover Boy – 5+
  7. Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti – 6+
  8. Travis Thompson – BVLD BOY – 6+
  9. Big K.R.I.T. – It’s Better This Way
  10. Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson – 6+
  11. AZ – Doe or Die II – 7+
  12. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – 7+
  13. Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR – 7
  14. **Adele – 30 – 8+
  15. DMX – Exodus – 6
  16. Baby Keem – The Melodic Blue – 5+
  17. Benny the Butcher – Pyrex Picasso – 6+
  18. Big K.R.I.T. – A Style Not Quite Free
  19. *Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – An Evening With Silk Sonic – 8+
  20. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B – 6+
  21. D Smoke – War & Wonders – 6
  22. Skyzoo – All the Brilliant Things – 7+
  23. Lute – Gold Mouf – 7+
  24. Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – 7
  25. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf – 6+

The 25 Artists I Listened To the Most last three months

  1. Kanye West
  2. Isaiah Rashad
  3. Nas
  4. Dave
  5. Big K.R.I.T.
  6. Eminem
  7. Grip
  8. Outkast
  9. Westside Gunn
  10. Drake
  11. Benny the Butcher
  12. Travis Thompson
  13. AZ
  14. Mach-Hommy
  15. Boldy James
  16. Lana Del Rey
  17. Little Simz
  18. Adele
  19. Olivio Rodrigo
  20. DMX
  21. Halsey
  22. Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak)
  23. Baby Keem
  24. D Smoke
  25. Skyzoo

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist





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June & July 2021 Music Ratings

August 16, 2021

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together

Ratings:

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 25 Albums from June 1st to July 31st

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

*indicates June/July 2021 release

  1. *Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together
  2. J.Cole – The Off-Season
  3. *Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
  4. *LLoyd Banks – The Course of the Inevitable
  5. *Evidence – Unlearning, Vol. 1
  6. DMX – Exodus
  7. *Vince Staples – Vince Staples
  8. Scarface – My Homies (1998)
  9. Kool G Rap – Return of the Don (2017)
  10. *HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest, Ras Kass) – The Last Ride
  11. *Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning
  12. BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE
  13. *King Blitz – THINGS NEVER GO AS PLANNED
  14. Yelawolf & DJ Muggs – Mile Zero
  15. *H.E.R. – Back of My Mind
  16. *IDK – USEE4YOURSELF
  17. Kool G Rap – Riches, Royalty & Respect (2011)
  18. Kool G Rap – The Giancana Story (2002)
  19. *Smoke DZA – The Hustler’s Catalog 2
  20. *Sy Ari Da Kid – Sy Ari Not Sorry
  21. Kool G Rap – Roots of Evil (1998)
  22. Wu-Tang Clan – Wu-Tang Forever (1997)
  23. *Emotional Oranges – The Juicebox
  24. Kool G Rap – Live and Let Die (1992)
  25. Kanye West – Late Registration (2005)

Comments: Recent albums that are absolutely must listens: J. Cole, Tyler the Creator, Isaiah Rashad, and I think Dave just dropped the 2021 Album of the Year so far.

The 25 Artists I Listened To the Most in June & July

  1. Kool G Rap
  2. Scarface
  3. Dave
  4. J. Cole
  5. Yelawolf
  6. Tyler, The Creator
  7. Lloyd Banks
  8. Evidence
  9. Benny the Butcher
  10. Vince Staples
  11. DMX
  12. Wu-Tang Clan
  13. Isaiah Rashad
  14. Kanye West
  15. Ransom
  16. Lana Del Rey
  17. Eminem
  18. HRSMN
  19. Sa-Roc
  20. BROCKHAMPTON
  21. H.E.R.
  22. King Blitz
  23. Pop Smoke
  24. IDK
  25. Smoke DZA
  26. Sy Ari Da Kid

Comments: My biggest focus over the past couple months was going through the discographies of a couple of hip-hop legends: Kool G Rap and Scarface. I’ve always been a casual fan of KGR, but I have to admit I’ve never really dug into his music too much and it’s hard to have a valid opinion on someone’s place in hip-hop history if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Old school heads love to put G Rap in their top 20 so not being able to debate that claim intelligently is something I felt like I needed to fix. After listening to basically every project he’s ever made, I think KGR is a great rapper that deserves more credit from the current generation, but I’m not really seeing someone I’d seriously consider for my top 20. He’s vocally nice and lyrically great, but I wasn’t blown away by his discography – it just doesn’t have the versatility or emotional depth I’d like to see from someone I’d consider in my all-time favorites. Scarface, on the other hand, is a fringe top 10 rapper of all-time. His discog is amazing and he’s someone that has evolved with the times and was still completely relevant as recently as the mid-to-late 2010s. The Fix is an absolute masterpiece of a rap album. Every song is a pure banger. It really looked like Covid and the pandemic might take Scarface away from us, but he fought through it and survived and hopefully he will bless us with more great music eventually.

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

You can click the link above to see my most recent additions to either playlist, but I’m not going to list them here because it’s the middle of June and I don’t which songs I added in May and which ones I’ve added in June, so I’ll just post them all in my next writeup.





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May 2021 Music Ratings

June 16, 2021

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

J. Cole – The Off-Season

Ratings:

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended
5 – Decent
4 – Lackluster

3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Trash

Top 20 Albums in May

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

*indicates May 2021 release

  1. *J. Cole – The Off-Season – 8+
  2. *Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti – 7+
  3. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (2015) – 7+
  4. Westside Boogie – Everythings For Sale (2019) – 8+
  5. *DMX – Exodus – 7+
  6. *Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (Deluxe) – 8+
  7. *BROCKHAMPTON – ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE – 7+
  8. *Benny the Butcher & 38 Spesh – Trust the Sopranos – 6+
  9. Eminem – Kamikaze (2018) – 6+
  10. Pink Sweat$ – Pink Planet [17] – 6+
  11. Mac Miller – Faces (2014)
  12. *DJ Khaled – Khaled Khaled
  13. JID – The Never Story (2017)
  14. Tash Sultana – Terra Firma – 7+
  15. Yelawolf – Mud Mouth
  16. JID – Dicaprio 2 (2018)
  17. Toby Ganger – Free Machine – 8+
  18. Inverse – So Far (2008) – 7+
  19. Devin the Dude – Soulful Distance – 6+
  20. Guapdad 4000 – 1176
  21. Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the Country Club [20] – 6+
  22. Mello Music Group – Bushido

Comments: Almost no holdovers from the previous month, as I continued to work older albums into my regular rotation. May belonged to J. Cole though. I listened to his new album so much already that he went from unranked in my top 25 most listened to artists of 2021 to #1 on the list below. I’m a big fan of the album. I think every song is good. I can’t say I had high expectations for a new DMX album since he hasn’t made good music for like 15 years now, but this new album is pretty damn good. Certainly anyone that’s been a loyal fan all this time will enjoy it and even those of us that abandoned ship long ago should give it a listen. The production is substantially better than on any of his most recent releases and while X is far from sounding in prime form, his vocals are improved. Plus he also has some stellar features on the album. Imagine Benny the Butcher going half a year without releasing a new project. I’m officially starting my JID and Vince Staples anticipation phase.

The 25 Artists I’ve Listened To the Most in 2021

  1. J. Cole [unranked]
  2. DMX [unranked]
  3. The Notorious B.I.G. [1]
  4. Benny the Butcher [5]
  5. Eminem [2]
  6. MF DOOM [4]
  7. MC Eiht [3]
  8. Sa-Roc [14]
  9. Conway the Machine [unranked]
  10. Mac Miller [25]
  11. Tash Sultana [8]
  12. Lana Del Rey [18]
  13. Tyrone’s Jacket [12]
  14. KOTA the Friend [15]
  15. Dua Lipa [13]
  16. Pink Sweat$ [unranked]
  17. Toby Ganger [unranked]
  18. Kali Uchis [23]
  19. Kendrick Lamar [unranked]
  20. Kid Cudi [6]
  21. Courtney Bell [7]
  22. Snoop Dogg [unranked]
  23. Scarface [unranked]
  24. Boldy James [9]
  25. Nyck Caution [10]

Comments: Since I last updated this two months ago, J. Cole released a new album and DMX passed away and then released a posthumous album so they went from outside my top 25 through March to my two most listened to artists of the year. Conway also got a similar bump thanks to yet another new project. I’ve been listening to a lot of TDE lately since all their artists are due to drop this summer. Almost all of them fell shy of my top 25 here, but Kendrick cracked the list and I expect him to keep climbing it, especially if his long overdue follow-up to 2017’s DAMN. finally drops.   

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

You can click the link above to see my most recent additions to either playlist, but I’m not going to list them here because it’s the middle of June and I don’t which songs I added in May and which ones I’ve added in June, so I’ll just post them all in my next writeup.





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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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July 2019 New Music

August 4, 2019

HEAVY ROTATION (3+ listens)

BJ the Chicago Kid1123

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3

NasThe Lost Tapes 2

SOLID ROTATION (1+ listens)

Big KRITK.R.I.T. IZ HERE

Blood OrangeAngel’s Pulse

Chance the RapperThe Big Day

YBN CordaeThe Lost Boy

Devin the DudeStill Rollin’ Up Somethin’ to Ride With

Ed SheeranNo. 6 Collaborations

Maxo KreamBrandon Banks

SOME ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

Berner & Curren$yPheno Grigio

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquireMr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire

Murs and 9th WonderBrighter Daze

Purple MountainsPurple Mountains

Various ArtistsThe Lion King soundtrack

TOO NEW

DJ Muggs & CRIMEAPPLEMedallo

NFThe Search

Scarlet ParkeFlight Risk

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3 – There’s a chance that YBN Cordae made the best album of July (it’s dope), but I’ve only listened to it once all the way through so far, so I guess I’ll go with the album I listened to and enjoyed the most. J.Cole and co. just make good music. Buddy, JID, and Cozz are all over this album and if you’ve been sleeping on them, it’s time to go check out their last projects because all three of these dudes can RAP. It’s possible that Dreamville has even taken over Top Dawg Entertainment as the label I’m most excited about.

TOP FIVE

2. YBN CordaeThe Lost Boy – This is a smooth ass album with solid production. YBN Cordae sounds at home on the mic and has plenty of content. I’ve only made it through the album once so far, but I really liked it and I can see multiple songs making my Bangerz playlist. The track with Anderson.Paak is already on there. I’d never heard of this guy and wouldn’t think to check for him, but I read some good stuff and he has really surprised me by making a very enjoyable and cohesive album.

3. NasThe Lost Tapes 2 – This is some unreleased material from a top 10 rapper of all-time and it’s pretty good. His first Lost Tapes was an instant classic and this one doesn’t match up to that, but there’s still plenty of good stuff on here.

4. Maxo KreamBrandon Banks – Another dude I’ve never heard of that is pretty damn good at rapping. I’ve only listened to this once through so I’m still digesting, but there wasn’t much I didn’t like the first time through. A definite recommendation.

5. Devin the DudeStill Rollin’ Up Somethin’ to Ride With – 21 years and 10 studio albums in and Devin is still going strong. I’m not a weed smoker so I’m not vibing with Devin’s music on that level, but it hardly matters. This is chill background music that’s perfect to have one while playing poker. “Somethin’ to Ride With” is insane. It has about a two minute stretch in between vocals with just the beat playing and it is AWESOME.

2019 Bangerz Playlist Additions

Berner & Curren$y ft. Kokane, “Gangsta S**t”
BJ the Chicago Kid ft. JID and Buddy, “Get Away”
Devin the Dude, “Somethin’ to Ride With”
Dreamville, “1993”
J.Cole (Dreamville), “Middle Child”
Nas, “Tanasia”
Reason and Cozz (Dreamville), “LamboTruck”
YBN Cordae ft. Anderson.Paak, “RNP”
YBN Cordae ft. Arin Ray, “Family Matters”

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J.Cole, A Tribe Called Quest, BJ The Chicago Kid, The League s3, Fuller House s2

December 14, 2016

J.Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only – I had immense expectations for this album, hoping J.Cole could cement himself as #2 in the current hip-hop chain of command. Instead, Cole opts for a concept album that tells a good, cohesive story, but is an undeniable step down from Forrest Hills Drive in just about every aspect, particularly the production. It’s a very subdued album, with ballads to a love interest and a baby daughter – in fact, half the album is Cole doing more singing than rapping. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want from one of my favorite spitters in the game today. “Immortal” is the only true hip-hop banger on the album and “4 Your Eyez Only” does a great job of tying the whole concept together. It’s interesting that Cole attacks Kanye on “False Prophets” just before this album’s release implying that ‘Ye’s The Life Of Pablo is “half ass shit he dropped,” but there are roughly 4-5 songs on Yeezy’s latest that are better than everything on this Cole album. Initial disappointment aside, this album is growing on me and “Foldin Clothes” is the only track I don’t really like. It’s not what I wanted, but I’m appreciating it for what it is: a solid concept album from a rapper that is capable of much more.

6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service – 18 years after their last project, ATCQ manages to sound both contemporary and vintage at the same time. It feels like something they could have released in the 90’s but addresses topics of today, particularly Donald Trump’s run to POTUS. “We The People” is a great song with a catchy hook that tells all the minorities of the nation that “you must go.” Obviously Tribe is speaking for Trump here and don’t feel that way themselves (in fact, Q-Tip says “put so much in this muthafucka feel like we shouldn’t leave” on “The Space Program”). It feels dirty singing along uncontrollably with such a terrible message, but that’s how contagious the music is. The core members (Q-Tip, Phife Dog, Jarobi) all give great performances throughout the album, but Busta Rhymes might be the MVP as he seamlessly hops in and out on “Dis Generation” and then absolutely demolishes the best beat on the album on “Mobius.” Tribe also gets a short but fantastic feature from Kendrick Lamar on “Conrad Tokyo.” The big feature that didn’t work for me as well was Andre 3000 on “Kids.” I just can’t get into the production on that song. In all, it’s totally absurd that A Tribe Called Quest is putting out an album as good as this in 2016. It’s a project that is enjoyable all the way through, fits in perfectly with the rest of their discography, and is one of the best rap albums of the year.

8/10 (Essential Listening)

BJ The Chicago Kid – In My Mind – I finally listened to this from front to back a week or two ago and there is virtually nothing to complain about. I can’t remember a song I didn’t like and there are numerous tracks that have made my Best Of 2016 playlist, including “Shine,” “The New Cupid,” and “Church” – and really, I could just keep adding on. “Shine” has become the mantra for my marriage with its theme of a couple surviving through thick and thin and shining together. Having bottomed out multiple times in my life, the past few years have really been spectacular and things only keep getting better, so BJ’s lyrics of “when I shine, you shine with me baby” really resonate with me. It’s incredibly satisfying to succeed as a team with my wife and this song expresses those feelings perfectly. This album is very good from front to back and is probably my favorite R&B album of the year.

7.5/10 (Highly Enjoyable/Essential Listening)

“Fuller House” s2 – This show is definitely a guilty pleasure that is mostly enjoyable for nostalgic purposes. The writing and acting are frequently cheesy. While it doesn’t seem terrible for DJ to say her catchphrase of “Oh Mylanta,” I cringe every time I hear Stephanie say “how rude,” it just feels so horribly forced. I can only imagine what it would be like if they actually got the Olsen twins to come back. Would they really have a fully grown Michelle saying things like “you got it dude” and “no way Jose?” Even though Kimmy Gibbler’s ex-husband Fernando can feel like a rip-off of Fez from “That 70’s Show” a lot of the time and her brother Jimmy looks and kind of acts like an Ashton Kutcher clone, I have to admit both characters are a good addition to the second season, with the former taking on a much bigger role this time around as he moves into the house. These two characters provided most of my laughs in the second season. There are a lot of call backs to the previous series that didn’t resonate with me because I didn’t remember them, but I imagine they are fun for serious fans of “Full House.” Danny Tanner’s mid-life crisis that found him living with reckless abandon and doing that whole old white person using hip-hop slang like no one in the world does routine was absolutely terrible. I really don’t get that. It’s never funny and it’s actually quite insulting. Kimmy Gibbler is probably the series highlight. Her character is usually the funniest and finds herself in the best situations – like co-hosting the morning show with Danny Tanner. I couldn’t help but note the Lance Bass reference in the high school reunion episode, saying DJ was voted most likely to marry Lance Bass or something of that nature. The girls graduated in 1995, but N’Sync didn’t become popular until 1998. Just a weird thing that the entire cast and crew overlooked but immediately gave me pause. I’m not disappointed with “Fuller House” because I know exactly what to expect and I’m watching it anyway. It’s a cheesy sitcom that is moderately enjoyable and offers some decent chuckles. I can’t imagine fans of the old series wouldn’t like it.

2.5/5 (Not Recommended/Decent)

“The League” s3 – I thought this season started off terribly and I hope the show isn’t jumping the shark already with four more seasons to go. I honestly found it appalling that the group would conspire behind Ruxin’s back and neg on his #1 overall pick. First off, that is extremely foul play. Secondly, it’s not like a #1 pick even comes close to guaranteeing a league title. The season did start to pick up with the hilarious guest spots from Keegan-Michael Key in “Carmenjello” and Jeff Goldblum as Ruxin’s dad and Sarah Silverman as Andre’s sister in “Thanksgiving.” I thought Taco had some pretty funny moments in the first season, but he’s easily becoming my least favorite character on the show. Andre remains my favorite. Hopefully season four is a step forward because another step back and I might not be able to make it through this whole series.

3/5 (Decent/Good Stuff)