Whilst 2018 has been a pretty solid year for hip hop and seems like it will go down in history for the Pusha/Drake beef, as well as Nicki and Cardi’s, one week has outshone the rest for me. The week commencing 29th October saw some absolutely solid releases and it’s actually pretty ridiculous how many there was.
Let’s start with Alchemist, Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs’ joint project Fetti. A project that has been years in the making, something that has had fans salivating since their track Scottie Pippen dropped back in 2011. Fetti does not disappoint, and how could it? Alchemist’s production has always been of an elite tier and has always been quite eclectic on any multiple song release he puts out. Just check Willie Lloyd’s harrowing piano loop and compare it to New Thangs’ feel good guitar sample, it’s got that amazing feel only Alchemist can bring. Of course, this is not to undermine neither of the rappers’ credentials as they both bring the fire they’re known for, for example: “Mimosas on different coasts and these n***as ain’t even close, They don’t want no smoke, Them n***as broke they wan’t hand outs, I’d rather hand them a rope” is some of the best rhymes I’ve heard this year. It’s been a bit of a disappointing 2018 when you consider joint projects, Kids See Ghosts wasn’t what it was hyped up to be and neither was Drip Harder, but this is an album that slaps and already has fans pining for a follow up.
Speaking of projects that slap and getting follow ups, isn’t that pretty much every Chief Keef release? He’s got multiple series of mixtapes and albums but perhaps none better than his Back from the Dead series, and we got part 3 of it last week too. The series has seen multiple hits spawned from it, including I Don’t Like and Faneto, and Booty Call might be added to that list – we just need to give it time. It’s been a very interesting year for Sosa, with this being his 8th project of the year he’s also been involved in a high profile feud with 6ix9ine but he’s managed to put out a fire release here and should be commended for doing so.
Another act Keef’s had beef with is Migos, and guess what? One of their members put out a project last week too. Takeoff has been a bit ridiculed in recent years due to many people feeling he’s a weak link in The Migos, especially since he was infamously left off Bad and Boujee (or at least the official release of it). But people seem to forget Takeoff was the one really flying the Migos flag when Offset was incarcerated, just look at their Y.R.N mixtape and see how much heavy lifting he did then. It was only a matter of time before a solo release from him and it follows on just a few weeks after Quavo’s QUAVO HUNCHO project, and I’ve gotta say Takeoff has done the ting here and really bested Quavo with The Last Rocket. Just listen to Casper, he nonchalantly flows through what could be one of 2018’s best songs. Please don’t sleep on this.
If one Migos member isn’t enough for you then just check Metro Boomin’s latest offering NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES, as Offset is featured on two of the tracks. Alongside his name on the tracklist there is also Kodak Black, 21 Savage, J Balvin, Young Thug, Gucci Mane and more. But I have to say, Gucci Mane’s intro 10AM is a very special song, it feels like it’s going to be one of those that people remember for a long time and will go a long way in cementing Gucci’s status as a legend. Metro has the ability to bring out the best in so many artists – 21 Savage is a prime example of this, both 10 Freaky Girls and Don’t Come Out The House see 21 at his best; laidback, comedic but threatening and all with the ability to ride the beat so well. Metro’s production is getting better by the project and I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m so grateful he didn’t retire, he is just so sonically different from other producers despite making the same music. For example his horns section on the aforementioned 10 Freaky Girls is used perfectly whereas you hear so many producers using them in the most corny fashion, this is really one of the albums of the year.
Another producer who dropped an album last week was Swizz Beats and he rivalled Metro for features in every sense; Kendrick, Pusha T, Giggs, Nas and more. Swizz’s greezy New York sound is unmatched in every sense of the word and the magnitude of these tracks is unparalleled, just like Metro has been able to get the best out of his collaborators Swizz has done the same here, Nas’ single Echo is much better than anything on his album from earlier this year. However, it’s Peckham’s own Giggs who steals the show, his verse on Come Again is the standout on the album – “yeah I’m loca, lightskin pussy on my sofa, man straight boss it I’m a sosa, man straight popping I’m a toaster” are you mad?! All this come after an 11 year absence in terms of solo records from Swizz and if rumours are to be believed, the 60 other tracks recorded for this that didn’t make the cut need to come out soon – unfortunately that infamous track with DMX, Nas, Jay-Z and Jada is seemingly amongst them 60.
Another artist who’s apparently got a lot more in his locker is Vince Staples, the Long Beach rapper dropped his album FM! with two days’ notice, and it is honestly a contender for album of the year if you ask me (alongside Pusha T’s – DAYTONA). Styled like it’s on Big Boy’s Neighbourhood radio show, the album gives us that real west side feel so much so he’s even got snippets from Tyga and Earl on there. Run the Bands and Don’t Get Chipped (the latter with Jay Rock) have a dark, synth infused melody to them that need a fast paced rapper on them and Vince fits the role perfectly. Production is primarily handled by Kenny Beats throughout the album and he’s done an excellent job making sure everything is just right, a truly standout album!
Speaking of standout things, Action Bronson sticks out like a sore thumb in the rap game and has done since he kicked down the door 9 projects ago. Now after releasing his latest offering White Bronco, it seems as if he’s back on course to be where he was in his Blue Chips days. Following his unofficial separation with Vice, the new age renaissance man has seemed on a mission to create something to make them miss him, and whilst White Bronco isn’t his best work it’s certainly a positive reflection of what he’s able to do. A wide range of beats come from; La Musica de Harry Fraud, Knxwledge, Party Supplies and more are showcased with Bronsoliño able to spit over them so masterfully and whilst he might not have snapped like he did earlier this year on Alchemist’s Hopeless Romantic it’s just a taste of what’s to come. Speaking on Open Late with Rosenberg, he said he’s got new music, a new book, new TV shows and more coming soon so you better keep an eye and an ear open for him. Oh yeah, who else can rap “Just did my first scene with De Niro, just did my first scene with Scorsese”? Bronson does it all!
If this wasn’t enough for you, Trinidad Jame$ brought the heat with a cloud rap mixtape Daddy Issues, Yung Lean’s return to the music world was as wild as ever with Poison Ivy and Styles P delivered his second full project of the year Dime Bag. I’m sure there’s a wealth of projects I missed out too! It certainly was a crazy one for hip hop, one might argue the best week in recent history – I certainly can’t think of a more release-packed week in terms of rappers who are trendsetters and tastemakers. Add into this the live event that happened in memory of Mac Miller and it’s clear to see this is a week that will go down in history. What was your favourite project from last week? Let us know below!
Words and playlist by Rohan Parmar.