Not going to lie, March sucked for a myriad of reasons. From an objective standpoint, the world began it’s descent into the abyss thanks to a catastrophic virus that continues to wreak havoc daily (I still blame climate change and mind boggling incompetence from our world leaders). On a personal level, I won’t be able to have a proper college graduation, though that’s the least of everyone’s worry. I pray that anyone who has the virus finds a full recovery; and to those who’ve perished, rest in peace. My heart goes out to those families.
On a brighter note, the music world is one of the few forms of entertainment that’s not left on hold for the time being (at least completely-there’s still no concerts and many artists are delaying their albums). March contained some stellar hip hop/R&B releases. Here are a few of them to get through these horrendous times. Hope everyone stays healthy!
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
I’m not the one for celebrating 30-plus song albums, but even with the apparent over-saturation, Uzi has somehow showcased the full breadth of his artistry while simultaneously obtaining worldwide appeal from rap fans of all ages. Even the hardheaded Ebro found himself apologizing for questioning Uzi’s longevity (and most of the post-regional rappers from 2016). Eternal Atake is essentially Uzi’s masterpiece-his magnum opus; the granddaddy of them all if you will.
Comically, there’s rumors that he only released the deluxe version the week after the actual album because Rich the Kid released Boss Man, and Uzi wants to do everything in his power to bring down Rich for all of the apparent label problems (Uzi was originally supposed to sign with Rich). Regardless of the situation, I continuously have a new favorite track every week. That’s when you know a project is great.
Quin NFN – Quincho
Sometimes an album is great because it simply goes hard. This is one of those exhilarating scenarios. Texas’ own Quin NFN belts his way through hard-hitting production, utilizing his outspoken southern drawl as a tool for rambunctious town foolery. The project’s apex is “All Blues,” an amalgamation of Quin’s various flows and melodies. I love when albums never take their foot off the gas, especially when there’s little room for filler. This happens to be one of those scenarios. Keep an eye out for Texas’ next great star.
Rio da Yung OG – City On My Back
In my opinion, the best type of “lyrical” rap is the kind that can stretch sub solar boundaries without being offensive. An artist can be as vulgar as possible so as long as they don’t make us cringe. Flint underground legend Rio da Yung Og excels in this pocket. If you half paid attention to this album, you’d probably think every song sounds the same-which is a fair observation I suppose. This definitely isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve ever listened to Rio in the past, you already know he has an encyclopedia of metaphorical insults stacked somewhere in his brain.
City on My Back finds the wordsmith extending his monotone delivery to coldblooded choruses and ass-shaking dance moves. Not every one-liner hits, but when it does, it’ll drop your jaw.
Zayland – Nobody Knows
A gorgeous piece of R&B from Tokyo-born, Dallas-based crooner Zayland as part of the Nu Wave SOUND collective. I was happily introduced to the artist by Passion of the Weiss, and haven’t stopped listening ever since. There’s a dream-like aesthetic exuding off of these downtrodden soundscapes. Zayland crafts melodramatic choruses that will careen in your head for days. I love his syrupy outros as well. They sound as if your entering a whole new world in preparation for the next song. Music is at its best when it functions as a full escape from reality. In this day and age, there’s nothing better than that.
KeiyaA – Forever Ya Girl
While we’re on the topic of R&B/rap, here’s the album I highlighted in the last roundup. It’s a beautiful venture into the mind of someone who’s trying to find the difficult balance of being genuinely loved while securing that liberating feeling found in stark individualism. We all need time for ourselves, but we also want human connection. If this quarantine has taught me anything, it’s to not take these hierarchy of needs for granted.
Drake the Ruler – Free Drakeo
Another masterpiece from one of Cali’s greatest underground legends. He’s unfortunately still stuck in jail waiting for a trial for a crime that he never committed. This has been a three-plus year process that sadly doesn’t have an end in site. The court continues to mistake the Stinc Team as some unlawful gang-a sentiment that’s blatantly racist and quite frankly immoral. Here’s the latest on what’s been happening with regards to the situation, including details about the historically corrupt justice system in the state of California. Spread the word by bumping this project, and never forget that your voice matters.
Sada Baby – “Skuba Sada 2”
Need I say more about this guy? If you haven’t immersed yourself into the world of Skuba Sada, you’re a lame.