The theme this week is spotlight: Ty Dolla $ign. Thought I'd switch from 4 tracks to feature an artist and another side of him. It feels like he's mainly seen when he's being featured on a pop song (like Work From Home by Fifth Harmony). But he's been releasing quality content for many years. He also released an album today, Beach House 3 and that's our first feature, Droptop In The Rain. The lyrics are roudy and nasty, a trademark thing for Ty $.
The second track is a boast track, Stand For. This is back in late 2015 where Ty had gained followers and was about to release one of his bigger projects, Free TC. The album sold just above 30,000 copies and reached new trap audiences with the hit single Blasé with a feature from the trap king Future. From the same album, he had a feature from Kendrick Lamar as well. The track was titled LA and is our third feature this week.
He's always been featured by huge artists; Kanye, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick, Future, Lil Wayne, Wiz, Meek Mill, Gucci, T.I. and many more. It might be because of his label paying enough cash, but it might be - and probably is - a feature-for-a-feature kind of thing, which is where I'd put my bet. He has a perfect voice for doing the hook and for many rappers, the hook is where they need a feature. Hence, Ty is often providing a hook for a verse. This takes us to the last track, It's A Vibe. It's one of the main singles from 2 Chainz hugely popular album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.
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The theme this week is collaboration. This theme fell in my lap. We got three great collaborations today. One of the biggest in rap, Future, just released an album with well-known Young Thug. And we have the up and coming duo Earthgang. The popular british duo, Krept and Konan, also released a new album today. Lastly, we got Young Dro. He's basically two people in one since he can keep up with the Xanax and rap at the same time. Should be impossible.
Earthgang is practically new on the larger scene. They just arrived and we'll see how far they'll manage to go. They recenly signed to J Coles label Dreamville Records which might give a boost.
Future and Young Thug has worked together in the past. Both have a lot of interesting collaborations supposedly upcoming; a collaboration album with Migos, one with Kanye, another with Gucci Mane. Which - if any - will see the light of day is an answer for the future.
Krept and Konan is back with a follow up album 7 Days, to their recenly released album 7 Nights. On previous album they brought some american features, while on this one they bring some of the key rappers from the UK scene: Skepta, Stormzy and rising star J HUS (that was featured here recently.
Young Dro is a legend in the rap scene, just based of the single FDB. He's been working a lot with T.I and his label this past year and is now releasing singles for what might be an upcoming album.
The theme this week is collaboration. We have Wu-Tang who has been around since... well, what feels like the beginning. Gucci who has released at least 100 mixtapes and albums (have you ever tried to scroll down his discography?!). I want to dedicate this weeks newsletter to Wu-Tang clan who with their latest album sold it as an auction. Just like any great artpiece, Picasso, Basquiat and more, Wu-Tang sold their album as a work of art and rightfully so. They tried to elevate the role hip hop has in the art scene with another way to deliver an album - pushing the genre forward and raising the bar of how hip hop is perceived.
Wu-Tang Clan doesn't need an introduction. Legends of the trade; masters of all trades, master of all, kind of group.
Eddy Fish brings Gucci Mane to the table this week. Gucci who also releases his own album will for sure give Eddy some extra hype.
Gucci Mane has literally seen it all; he's been imprisoned number of times but always swings back. Looking at the progress he's doing now, he might be in the shape of his life. Nothing seems to be able to stop him; he's on every front and he's doing really good. Might be because he quit the lean. Good looking out, Mane.
Hoodrich Pablo Juan is another Atlanta legend. For his album he brings them all; Migos, Gucci, etc. He's been a rising star outside of Atlanta for a long time, but seen as one of the best in his area. Recently signed to Gucci Manes label.
The theme this week is to get famous. After years of hard work, a small clique of artists manage to break through the clutter and gain enough followers to reach radio, playlists and fame. Some hip hop producers get famous by DJing at strip clubs, some by actually being the next track that is automatically playing after another track and some perhaps more based on their profile and fashion than their rapping abilities.
AJ Tracey has been featured before. He's been on tour and have created this at the same time. Regarding last weeks theme: mans got to work to stay on top.
Metro Boomin has produced for everyone. All the big artist today. Some are his own tracks with some of the greater names in hip hop. Metro became famous after being the resident DJ at the legendary strip club 'Magic' in Atlanta.
Giggs became extra famous after being featured on Drakes latest album. Today he released a new album. He has featured from some of the bigger names in hip hop. Athough I can't resist to feature the track with the not-as-famous but should-be-extra-famous Dave.
The theme this week is new styles. These artists bring the current most popular styles in hip hop. Rich got the trap triplet flow (like Migos), K.A.A.N comes with the combined bars with added speed in the flow. Smokepurpp brings the huge trend with lo-fi beats and chopping flow (like Lil Pump, XXXTentacion, Skimask, etc.) and KYLE has the pop sound (like Amine, DRAM, Lil Yachty, etc.)
Rich The Kid, Atlantas very own, released the most goosebump-worthy track this week with an epic feature from Kendrick.
K.A.A.N was featured recently, and randomly he just released a new album. There's not a single track which isn't good.
Smokepurpp supposedly had a terrible start of his rapping career: nobody wanted his beats, nobody wanted to feature him nor be featured on his tracks. So he started rapping on his own beats. And here we are. Just signed to Travis Scotts label.
KYLE has been getting a lot of attention this past year. Latest addition to fame is his upcoming original movie with Netflix. He released 3 tracks today with some of the bigger names in hip hop.
The theme this week is no rest. As a musician, you'll have to keep your audience happy by releasing new albums, EPs, LPs, singles, features and what not. The amount of mixtapes and albums that are released each year is mental. Kevin Gates releasing an album from prison is a proof of how hungry the audience is, and how much is expected from a musician today: you can never stay away for too long.
Kevin Gates was the single source for my work-out music a few years back. The Luca Brasi Story is still in my rotation. This new album is conjured by his wife, since Kevin still is locked up.
Young Thug & Carnage released this EP today. I'm pretty sure Thugger can rap on any kind of beat, and this EP confirms it.
Rapsody, encouraged by Jay Z and more, known for her lyrics and New York vibe, released an album today. I couldn't decide between these two great tracks so I'm featuring both.
The theme this week is time to shine. So you've created a great mixtape, but what now? It can be tough to get in the limelight without proper advertisement. Some artist never breaks through and make it big, but still creates great work. This week is a tribute to you; the talented, the hungry, the greats unknown.
Kembe X almost signed to Kendrick Lamars' label, TDE, a year ago. He's been an up and comer since 2011 but has never made it big. He keeps delivering though, and this track is an example of that.
K.A.A.N gained my attention with this track. This track is like a statement track: I'm here to rap, and I'm going in 100%. You can feel it in his voice, delivery and bars. He'd go 110% if it was possible.
Ka, the unknown legend. Praised as one of the greatest by Wu Tang Clan father, RZA. Ka actually quit rapping but came back recently with this rough, minimalistic EP. He's not a jack of all trades type, he's more like a master of them all: he produces, writes and raps - but perhaps the only thing he's lacking is PR, because he never made it big.
Chaz French averages 30k per track on his Spotify with the one or two exceptions where features made the tracks go viral. But the man has raw talent and has been going in for a couple of years.
The theme this week is under 33. I can't stand the lists that are just even numbers like "Most Famous Under 20". We need to stop the OCD of even numbers. Anyhow. These guys are relatively young. The industry doesn't really keep the older rappers in focus as much. It's a young person genre. Of course, some keep up, like Jay Z who is "old" compared to the rest of the scene. How old can you go in hip hop? Many seem to have a limit at 35, like Drake and more, but with his latest album, Jay Z seem to prove that there's a space and interest for the elder wisdom. We need to have a 30+ theme sometime soon.
Lil Uzi Vert finally dropped a new tape. Last big drop was 31 july 2016. Apparently he didn't drop anything new since his last tape still received over 2 million plays a month. I absolutely love everything Lil Uzi Vert creates.
Brockhampton seems to be a household name here now, and it almost feels bad to write about them again. But! They released a new album, shortly after their first album, and it's just as good. They're changing the rules of hip hop with their unique style, creativity and hard work.
Action Bronson is a rapper, entertainer and a chef. Check out his cooking show if you haven't. He's back with a new album and this smooth track is just everything I need for an easy weekend.
XXXTentacion may be the weirdest guy at it. And has the most troublesome name to write. And history. He's just weird, still this track is something else.
The theme this week is summer is about to end. There's often a lot of albums dropping pre-summer - so the artists can get the radio plays. Now, with autumn approaching, a lot of new albums are incoming. Also, I'm leaving for my summer vacation to Italy so there won't be an update next week. Arrivederci!
A$ap Mob are releasing a new album in a week and this is the first single. Calm track with a New York vibe to it.
Dave East is my favourite New York rapper. Although this album got a bit trap generic, this track stands out more since he's leaving his comfort zone which makes it more interesting.
Jazz Cartier has been getting attention from Drake and many more, but he's een calm and sure of his oncoming success. This track produced by Mike Will Made It is the first in a while. Jazz Cartiers previous albums and mixtapes are stunning - don't miss out.
A$ap Ferg just released his new album. It's heavy hitters only - he learned from his previous album that this is what he's good at. Really good at.
The theme this week is the birth of hip hop. It's a special day. The 11th of August in 1973 DJ Kool Herc held a party where he mixed tracks together to create the first hip hop track. One of the tracks he mixed is featured today, Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose. It's come a long way since then, with a lot of new sub genres, artists and styles. Here's some of them.
BROCKHAMPTON has been featured before. They keep delivering a different type of sound with playful ways of creating beats. This new track is no exception. They got a new album on the way, even though they just recently released one. I can't complain.
Sean Price and MF DOOM, two legendary rappers released new music, Negus, and it has that villain sound; raw and nasty.
James Brown wasn't something I thought I'd feature here, but as this song (and another one of his, Sex Machine) were the ones to lay the foundation of hip hop, I can't see how this isn't a perfect fit.
MadeinTYO has been getting a lot of attention the past year or two. Only this year he received the XXL Freshman title. He's part of foundation of the calmer rapping wave that many young rappers do now.
The theme this week is England versus America. The english rap scene, the grime scene, has been growing in popularity in recent years. We got two young rappers who has been getting a lot of radio attention versus a newcomer in America and a more experienced one. What's your favourite scene?
J Hus calls himself a "doughnut hustler". He got his name from making playground deals. He bought doughnuts and sold them for a profit to the other kids when he was 10.
AJ Tracey grew up surrounded by musicians: his mother a DJ, his father a rapper. This UK grime rapper has been featured by Drake, Stormzy and more and has never been afraid of being political.
YoungBoy Never Going Broke Again may have a complicated name. He actually recently changed from NBA YoungBoy because of legal problems with, yeah, the NBA. He recently got released from jail and has now released his debut album.
A$ap Ferg has been around for a while. He has now linked up with some of the bigger names in hip hop for this remix of his track.
The theme this week is pass the torch. All the artist have a "bigger brother" to surpass. Kirk and Nyck have Joey Bada$$ as the frontman for their group. Eli Sostre is from Marcy, just like Jay Z, whom Eli keeps mentioning. YGTUTS grew up in the same block as Isaiah Rashad and has the same vibe.
As founding members of the Pro Era crew, Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution has been in the spotlight for a while. As both producer and rapper, Kirk has made a collab album with Nyck and it has that New York sound.
Brooklyn born Eli Sostre is a make-it-all artist; producing, rapping, writing, mastering. All from his home in Marcy Projects. This is from his new album.
I remember in 2015 when I first heard YGTUTS album Preacher's Son and kept it on repeat for weeks. Give it a try; a soulful, calm melodic feel. He's back with this new single.
Milo is an acronym for maybe I like owls supposedly. He creates that soothing Sunday music.
This weeks theme is soundcloud based. A lot of famous rappers today gained their fame through Soundcloud. Probably the most vital platform for new rappers to promote their work. One of this weeks artist, Chance The Rapper, also one of the biggest names in music today, credit his success to this platform. And it's sinking. Hope it survives. Hip hop needs it. This week is a tribute.
He's been around the A$ap mob forever, A$ap Twelvyy, without releasing a proper mixtape or album. But now he's announced his debut album 12.
Aminé skyrocketed last year with Caroline. After his recent XXL feature, he's about to try to go big with his upcoming album release.
Jalen Santoy had a hit recently with this Bobby Herp-sampled track. The mixtape is a tribute to his cousin who was a victim of police brutality. Let's see if he's a one-hit wonder or more.
We all know Chance. He just released this track in hopes of keeping the drowning Soundcloud alive. Let's see if the track can help out.
This weeks theme is self produced. It's common to work with different producers and create different synergies between rapper and producer. That's one thing I like with hip hop. But I also appreciate when the rappers produce themselves; it usually feels like there's a greater connection between the track and the rap style. The rappers this week have all produced the tracks themselves.
The first artist this week is J.I.D who signed to J. Coles label Dreamville earlier this February. His release album was a sweet combination of what to expect from a rapper from Atlanta signed to a more conscious label.
With his upcoming album Tyler, The Creator has received a lot of attention already, and this track gives another glimpse of what to come. I never really stuck with Tyler previously, but from all we've heard from his album, it feels like this is the kind of music he's been trying to create all along. I'm very excited.
The Cool Kids is a high school flashback for me. I remember the first time I listened to their mixtape Gone Fishing and album The Bake Sale and was mesmerized: could hip hop actually sound like this. And it was amazing.
Dave is hands down my favourite british rapper. He's always bringing something different. I highlighted his previous single, 100M's, and now he's back with this british-american track.
This weeks theme is no features. There's a meme surrounding J Cole and his "went platinum with no features" after his album release. The genre is known for inviting features on tracks. It can be too much as well though, something that The Game got heat for when he released the album 'Jesus Piece' - 21 features over 12 tracks. I wonder, how does his live performances work? Anyhow.
The first artist this week is Zombie Juice from the NY group Flatbush Zombies. He has received a lot of shit for being the weakest member of the group (of three). Which is true, usually, hence they probably decided to release a solo track for Juice to promote his rapping skills. And he does deliver on this Erick Arc Elliott (third member of Flatbush Zombies) produced track.
Next up: Joey Bada$$ released a couple of singles this week. Also known as Jay Z's favourite, Joey has received a lot of attention for his albums as well as his acting in the series Mr Robot.
Skepta never settles, and he keeps delivering after his successful album release last year. I'll always favour Skepta after his performance a couple of blocks from my office, view it here.
The meme generator himself, 21 Savage released his album this morning. The title of the album is based on a meme of himself. 21 originates from Atlanta and you can see him being interviewed about his personal life in a great documentary here, where he talks about losing friends and getting shot 6 times on his birthday.
This weeks theme is larger than music. Jay Z said "I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man!" which is something as true today as it was when he said it. He's running Tidal, investing in a lot of startups, has his own sports agency, previously co-owner in the NBA team Brooklyn Nets (which he sold to a record sum) and much more. Likewise Tyler, who has his own clothing label, Denzel who's been part of running a musical group and Meek who is more known for his drama than music nowadays. This weeks first artist is no other than Jay Z who released his album this morning. Unfortunately exclusive to Tidal (thanks for the trial though, Hov), it's something I've been longing for a long while; Jay Z delivering bars - and a lot of them. Throughout the album there's some profound soulsearching, while also taking shots at Kanye West, this album seems to deliver it all. This track is 4:44, also the title track to the album, to which he commented: "It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written." This album will be on repeat (til' that trial ends). Tyler The Creator might not be my favourite but he does deliver a heavy Friday track here with A$ap Rocky. Tyler is always cooking up some weird stunt. This has led him to being banned from the UK. Denzel Curry is only 23 but has already released a great album and a couple of quality EP's. This track is from his latest EP, "13". While being linked as political as 2Pac, he doesn't hold back his love for Dragon Ball Z and Mortal Combat in his lyrics. Meek Mill, what does one say... a man of controversy. He has a lot to rebuild after the Drake drama, getting dumped by Nicki Minaj and more. But he keeps on delivering quality music, and this track, Young Black America, is no exception.
This weeks theme is The Rookie and the Vet. We got rappers from all eras, newcomers from the east coast, like Dave East, to oldies like Rocye Da 5'9 (shoutout to his new mixtape, the Backseat Freestyle/Mask Off is crazy). Vince Staples released his album this morning. Mr Staples believes Ray J is one of the most influential figures in pop culture today. And today Goldlink released a remix of his hit 'Crew' with an additional feature from the legendary Gucci Mane. The iconic producer Rick Rubin has taken Goldlink under his wings. Trae Tha Truth releases a bi-annual super mega mix with a lot of great rappers on the "I'm On" series. This episode has great features from the new star Tee Grizzley to classics like T.I. Jarren Benton has been an "up and comer" for a while, his previous XXL Freshmen title gave some exposure, with this new album to gain him even more attention.
This weeks theme is Atlanta, the city where all of the weekly artists originates. The city has been the epicentrum of hip hop for a couple of years. 2 Chainz released his album this Friday and it was epic. 2 Chainz was a doctor student prior to rapping. The group Brockhampton released a ridiculously fantastic album last week. They are a collective of about 5-9 people. Little is known about the full list of members. Sahbabii is another up and coming Atlanta rapper, with co-signs from Drake, Young Thug and more. Prior to this single his previous releases has gone so bad he now has a bald spot on his head due to stress, according to himself. Last but not least, Young Thug is one of the most popular Atlanta rapper today and he released a new album this week. He didn't show up for the scene for one of his music videos once, something which still didn't prevent the director from shooting it.
6LACKs popularity is increasing each week, after a successful release of his EP 'FREE 6LACK'. SZA just released her new album 'CTRL' with great tracks (also check out 'Drew Barrymore' amongst others) including this track with a feature from Kung Fu Kenny. Vince Staples is about to release his next album and released this, his second single, featuring Ty Dolla $ign. IshDARR recently released a new EP after his debut album last year.
2 Chainz is about to release his next album and prepares us with this single. Berhana released this single late last year to promote something that is coming. Dave got famous after Drake suddenly featured on one of his tracks, and this new single shows why the UK rapper received a lot of attention. Brockhampton is a large group who last week released their sophomore album, and this single is a great introduction to the album.
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