Here are some new Juneteenth releases worth noting
John Legend surprised the masses this morning with the release of Bigger Love, his first release in four years.
Meanwhile, Tiana Taylor unveiled The Album, an expansive powerhouse that builds on the sleek R&B melodies of 2018's critically lauded K.T.S.E. Justine Skye also released her highly-anticipated album BARE WITH ME (The Album) to already glowing reviews.
For those who are staying far removed from the growing feud between Noname and J. Cole, there remains plenty of fresh hip-hop releases. Tee Grizzley released his first work since his aunt was gunned down last year, and Curren$y returned with a smooth collaboration alongside 808 Mafia's Fuse. All the while, Pi'erre Bourne released part 4 of his Life of Pi'erre series, and The Black Eyed Peas released their reggaeton-infused Translation with features from Latin icons like J. Balvin, Ozuna, Nicky Jam, Shakira, and Maluma.
Suffice to say, there is plenty of Black creativity to celebrate this Juneteenth. Here are a few more noteworthy additions for your playlist list in this edition of Slept On.
Newly sober and healthy, Famous Dex surprised fans with the underground release of a new mixtape Where's Dexter. The rapper's first release since 2018's Dex Meets Dexter; Dex sounds refreshed and energized. He's not nearly as rambunctious as he once was and instead appears calm and leisurely. The result is a mixtape that's brief and easily digestible, with well-placed features from Warhol.SS, DC2Trill, and others that elevate the project's glossy vibe.
Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Luh Soldier is just 20 years old but comes across gruff and hardened as he crafts contemplative trap music. On his viral hit "Securing The Bag," he sounds like a muzzled bulldog, clawing to escape and let loose on anyone in his path: "Securing the bag, I'm not asking for sh*t, yeah I had to get up and go get it." On Thug Luv, he sounds motivated and free, finally able to sink his teeth into his opponents. The mixtape is brash and snappy, with Luh Soldier doing all the heavy lifting without a single feature.
Despite a long-standing career in hip-hop, Young Chris faded into obscurity after a slew of underwhelming solo releases. But on "Yellow Flag," the rapper attacks the harrowing DJMoney instrumental with the vivacious energy of a young hustler with something to prove. With a compelling feature from Wale, Young Chris presents himself on his new release as an artist ready to redefine himself entirely.
The Sacramento screamo quartet's new project Squalor is a brief but heavy-hitting 8-minute EP. Produced exclusively by Kenny Beats, the project is crunchy and ferocious, and an unapologetic call to war. "Drop the old propaganda, a boot to lick, knee-deep in sh*t, I commit to total warfare" growls Lee Spielman. The EP also finds Kenny Beats traversing new territory in his producing, mastering the gurgles and crunches that have come to define the band.
Marked by many as the next young hip-hop superstar, StaySolidRicky has had an amazing 2020, and continues on his upward trajectory with "Vacant Heart." While more melodic than his breakout "Party Girl," the new single has all the makings of another viral hit. StaySolidRicky somehow strikes a balance of being completely sincere while being innately goofy. "They say I'm accomplished; I feel like I lost it," he raps right after he told a girl to drop it low "like a midget." It's hard to see where StaySolidRicky will fit into such a bloated genre, but if he stays on course, the journey will be fascinating to watch.
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The hit musical will drop on Disney+ July 3rd.
Lin Manuel-Miranda's Hamilton has taken the theater world by storm since its 2015 Broadway premiere.
A hip-hop musical about America's founding fathers doesn't sound immediately appealing, but Manuel-Miranda's brilliant song writing and diverse casting not only captured the attention of audiences, but proved that major change is possible within an art form as encumbered by traditions as musical theater.