Posts Tagged ‘new music’

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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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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)

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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)

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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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May 2020 Music Playlist

June 8, 2020

* indicates May release

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Jay Electronica (and Jay-Z!) – A Written Testimony
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory
The Weeknd – After Hours

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

Boldy James – The Price of Tea in China
*Chris Brown & Young Thug – Slime & B
Grafh – Oracle 3
Lil Baby – My Turn
Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Artist 2.0
Buddy & Kent Jamz – Janktape Vol. 1
D Smoke – Black Habits
*Deante’ Hitchcock – BETTER
Jadakiss – Ignatius
Jessie Reyez – BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
Jhene Aiko – Chilombo
Kamaiyah – Got It Made
*Kota the Friend – Everything
Lil Tjay – State of Emergency
R.A. the Rugged Man – All My Heroes Are Dead
*Sam Hunt – SOUTHSIDE
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

Berner & B-Real – Los Meros
Childish Gambino – 3.15.20
Conway the Machine & The Alchemist – LULU
DaBaby – BLAME IT ON BABY
Drake – Dark Lane Demo Tapes
dvsn – A Muse In Her Feelings
*Freddy Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo
*Future – High Off Life
G Herbo – PTSD
J Hus – Big Conspiracy
*Kehlani – It Was Good Until It Wasn’t
*Lil Durk – Just Cause Y’all Waited 2
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake [Deluxe]
*Lil Wayne – Funeral [Deluxe]
*Lil Simz – Drop 6 – EP
*Polo G – THE GOAT
Tory Lanez – The New Toronto 3
YFN Lucci – Corona Pack – EP

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

Car Seat Headrest – Making a Door Less Open
*Dej Loaf – It’s a Set Up! – EP
Don Toliver – Heaven Or Hell
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
*Geniio – Days B4
Guapdad 4000 – Platinum Falcon Tape, Vol. 1 – EP
*Gunna – Wunna
*Hailee Steinfeld – Half Written Story – EP
*Jacob Latimore – C3
Joyner Lucas – ADHD
Justin Bieber – Changes
K Camp – Kiss 5
*KSI – Dissimulation
*Larry June & Cardo – Cruise Usa
*Lucky Daye – Painted [Deluxe]
*Markis Precise – No Wings Without Scars
PARTYNEXTDOOR – PARTYMOBILE
*Pete Rock & Camp Lo – 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s II
Rod Wave – Pray 4 Love
Skyzoo & Dumbo Station – The Bluest Note – EP
Tech N9ne – Enterfear
Thundercat – It Is What It Is
Twista – Lifetime EP

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

*Joell Ortiz & KXNG CROOKED – H.A.R.D.
*Lady Gaga – Chromatica
*Problem – Coffee & Kush, Vol. 1

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Freddy Gibbs & The AlchemistAlfredo

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

A Boogie wit da Hoodie ft. Young Thug, “Might Not Give Up”
A Boogie wit da Hoodie, “Calm Down (Bittersweet)”
Berner & B-Real ft. Paul Wall, “Prevail”
Boldy James, “Slow Roll”
Deante’ Hitchcock, “Growing Up/Mother God”
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats, “So.Incredible.pkg”
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats, “‘Cosmic’.m4a”
Dua Lipa, “Levitating”
Dua Lipa, “Love Again”
Jay Electronica ft. Jay-Z, “Flux Capacitor”
Jessie Reyez, “ROOF”
Joyner Lucas ft. Will Smith, “Will (Remix)”
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh, “Snake Charmer”
R.A. the Rugged Man, “Life of the Party”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Novel, “First Born”
Sam Hunt, “Kinfolks”
Tech N9ne, “On the Outside”

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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