Slept On: The Latest in Rap and R&B (March 26, 2021)
Here are today's overlooked new releases...
With the weather finally starting to turn, summer releases are starting to heat up.
Lil Nas X has returned with what very well could be his next hit song, and T-Swift once again released another rework from her "Vault." For the soulful and the rap heads, Rod Wave returned with a new album today, along with Gallant and serpentwithfeet, the latter of which is the talk of the town today.
Here are other great releases you might have missed along the way today as we get our playlists ready for summer.
Young Dolph and Key Glock – Dum and Dummer 2
Dum and Dummer 2
One of the last standing true independent artists, Young Dolph has remained one of Southern rap's most consistent emcees. A prolific presence in his hometown of Memphis, it made sense that Dolph sought to collaborate with the rookie Memphis talent Key Glock, who at the time of 2019's original Dum and Dummer release had only a few tapes to his name. But the collaborative tape, which merely consisted of Dolph and Glock trading braggadocious bars over gliding trap beats, made sense merely because of the duo's shared magnetism.
On Dum and Dummer 2, much of what made its predecessor great is repackaged and presented again with a few more pandemic-based rhymes to show its timeliness. The resulting tape is just as charismatic as the one that came before, with Glock and Dolph kinetically swapping bars about mass weed consumption, hot women, and popping their opps like aspirin.
NF – CLOUDS
The Michigan-born Christian rapper has accrued an intense amount of hype over the last few years, mostly because of his frenetic likeness to Eminem. He raps with unshakable energy, exhaling technical prowess at every junction by trying to cram as many syllables together as possible.
NF was no doubt born from the same school of rap as the very man he actively imitates, and on The Cloud the pacing remains juiced up to Crank levels. He spits quickly (and loudly) about his cryptic obscurity and underdog reputation within the rap game, and he rarely lets off the gas. "I'm not on your radar? You're radar's broke," he raps on "THAT'S A JOKE." His frustrations are well-deserved, considering this is the same man who outsold Chance the Rapper on his "Big Day."
Armand Hammer – Haram
After three excellent albums in just four years, Armand Hammer's wavering conscious raps have developed a cult fanbase that deciphers the group's padded tracks as if they're scholarly texts. But Armand Hammer's serpentine rhymes are right at home with The Alchemist's laminated backdrops, the latter helping the former become more digestible to the naked listener.
On Haram, The Alchemist's knotty synths and meager drums wobble behind the group like a gentle breeze, as billy woods and ELUCID break down proscribed tropes such as...human sacrifice? Regardless of whether you can follow their stream of consciousness, the project remains a smooth ride from start to finish.
Trap Manny – In Trap We Trust
Trap Manny In Trap We Trust
Vivacious trap rapper Trap Manny returned today with In Trap We Trust, an oily new tape that finds the Bronx, NY emcee slithering between grainy rap beats and melodic pop songs. The versatility is no surprise; Trap Manny previously flexed his pop star prowess on 2019's TRAP SEAZON, which featured guttural NYC raps alongside smooth rhythmic melodies.
Manny has slowly honed in on his star power. Tracks like "50k," featuring a verse from the late Pop Smoke, are heavy in Brooklyn Drill's grittiness. But on the flip side, tracks like "Drip" and "Bonnie N Clyde" are slick enough for radio play. In Trap We Trust is a refreshing batch of multifaceted rap records.
24kGoldn – El Dorado
24kGoldn – El Dorado
Advertised as an album to help change the world, 24kGoldn's debut had a lot riding on its shoulders. "Mood," the melodic Cali emcee's debut single, had already gone 3x platinum, an inimitable feat that is so grandiose it inevitably invited "One Hit Wonder" threats. While it remains to be seen whether El Dorado will meet "Mood's" level of acclaim, 24kGoldn's debut is undeniably fun.
"Coco," with its light guitars and infectious hook, is as jubilant as summer vacation, and "Breath Away" will inevitably have a TikTok dance attached to it at some point. Other tracks like "3, 2, 1" feature more of the emo rock flavorings that fans have gravitated to, and "Love or Lust" is so pop-ladden it begs for a feature from YUNGBLUD.
ELHAE – My City (Feat. Masego)
The soulful Georgian singer ELHAE has been teasing a new project since we spoke to him last May, but it seems that AURA III is finally on the horizon. "My City," ELHAE's latest single with Masego, is a smooth slice of contemporary soul that is drenched in summertime yearning. ELHAE's smooth vocals glide alongside gorgeous piano keys and slinky trap drums, all while Masego flexes about being the king of his city.
Anders & FRVRFRIDAY
It's a partnership many have yearned for since Anders and FRVRFRIDAY both quietly emerged back in 2016, but Canada's seediest R&B singers finally linked up on "What I Like," a brooding late-night track saturated in galactic synths and ghostly drums. Both Anders and FRVR have really started to have a moment these last few months, the latter having released a buzzing track with Lil Baby back in 2020 while the former is fresh off an EP release and is getting ready to finally drop his debut project.