Slept On: The Latest In Rap (May 21, 2021)
After coming off a number of A-list releases last week, this new music Friday is relatively tame.
After coming off a number of A-list releases last week, this new music Friday is relatively tame.Lil Nas X and BTS sprinkled out some new singles, and fans of Olivia Rodrigo are eating well today as she just put out her new debut album. Twenty One Pilots put out an album too, if you're into that sort of whiny thing. For rap fans, though, there is plenty of new music. Benny The Butcher, Young M.A., Hoodrich Pablo Juan, and 42 Dugg all returned with new projects, and Pooh Shiesty and Yung Baby Tate put out deluxe editions of their hit albums Shiesty Season and After The Rain. There are also many more releases that went under the radar. Here are this week's other slept-on records.
"Fine Art" by Caskey
While he has a steady stream of albums and collaborations to his name, Cash Money's Caskey remains the label's most undervalued emcee. Over the years, the rapper has experimented with COVID-themed wordplay, autotuned sing-song warblings, and emotional pop tunes in the key of Drake with admittedly mixed results. In turn, Caskey's following has remained relatively stagnant as he's toyed with his sound, but it was clear through it all that a vicious talent for the microphone always lurked just beneath the surface.
On Fine Art, the rapper comes armed with some of his fieriest bars in recent memory, and on tracks like "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" and "Witchita," he attacks his doubters from every angle over producer Tony Choc's granulated soul samples. But Fine Art isn't all noxious flexes. Caskey is painfully aware of how stagnated his career has been at times, and uses the project's softer moments to admit these frustrations: "Feel like my life is some type of parody," he raps on "Blue Moon." "God really playin' jokes on me / He brings the wins so close / and then they turn out like my old homies / When it's tough, they get ghost."
Fine Art's humble anecdotes and spitfire bars hope to change our perception of Caskey, and they just might.
"Dr. Ev4l" by Young Nudy
Young Nudy's exploratory production and hypnotic bars have always helped him stand out from Atlanta's crowded trap scene. On Dr EV4L, the album art finds Nudy playing the role of the menacing ringmaster, and in turn, his unsettling musical persona takes on a more literally villainous hue.
"Surgical with this shit, no type of training," Nudy grumbles like a mad doctor on "Mini Me." "I get wicked with this shit, man." On "Yellow Tape," Nudy doesn't even try to hide his murderous intentions. Instead, he sings an opulent melody about it. "Murder, murder, kill on my mind, I just wanna murder," he coos. The project is as unnerving as it is soothing in its anesthetic sound, and finds Nudy leaning even further into his grimmest nature.
"Borrowed Time" by Dark Lo & Harry Fraud
Sinister Philadelphia rapper Dark Lo tapped Harry Fraud to manage the production of his latest work Borrowed Time, and it was a good decision. "Premonition's" lurking piano keys sound as creepy as Halloween and the hypnotic guitar plucks of "Missing Summer" lay the perfect groundwork for Lo and Boldy James's unsettling bars on the violence and late-night dealings that surrounded them. "Survival of the fittest, for my name God is my witness," he raps. "I glide like physics, shorty chew me like gizzards, I brought the toolie it's a blizzard."
Fans of Lo's have been salivating for the release of Borrowed Time, with many expecting this project to send him to stardom. It will be interesting to see how the rapper's career plays out from here, especially as he currently is embroiled in two federal cases.
"Neighborhood Poetry" by FCG Heem
After a long wait, Florida's melodic FCG Heem finally let go of his debut project Neighborhood Poetry. Here, Heem proves the versatility of his voice across the project. On tracks like "Shinin" and "Believe In Me," the emcee's voice is often full of passionate yearning as he wails into the mic, but then on tracks like the Pooh Shiesty assisted "Beef," his flow is ruthless, his voice guttural and ominous as he initiates orders like a colonial. "Told lil' bruh he better not come back until all them n***as dead," he raps. Neighborhood Poetry is a compelling debut from the young and charismatic emcee.