As the crisp Autumn season rolls in, the academic year starts back up and no one wants to leave the house in the cold mornings – new music is still pumped out. Here are the 10 essential hip hop releases from the past month that you should listen to.
LIL DICKY/BRAIN – THE BRAIN EP
After the success of Pillow Talking it was only a matter of time until Lil Dicky brought back his brainchild, Brain. An animated, well, brain rapping went viral with his nonchalant flow and funny punchlines and the Brain EP has been well received and the tracks were all pretty good. Game jumping on the last track was a nice surprise and added a lot to the EP. Here’s to more from Lil Dicky, and well Lil Dicky I guess.
FREDO SANTANA – FREDO KRUGER 2
One of drill rap’s originators just can’t seem to fall off. Fredo Santana is a Chicago icon and the long awaited sequel to Fredo Kruger only helped to further cement his place in Chiraq folklore. The project has a plethora of features from Fredo’s cousin Chief Keef to Kodak Black (both of whom happen to feature on High Off Gunpowder – arguably the standout from the album). As the drill scene becomes even more competitive, Santana proves his worth here and it’s definitely worth your time.
JHENE AIKO – TRIP
A pleasant surprise from Jhene Aiko came in the form of Trip, her first solo album in 3 years. What an album it is too .Ever the heartfelt and sincere artist, Aiko excels here and the drug infused project is one that can transport you to a different place with the amount of different sounds going on. Sativa featuring Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee (who has been on fire this year) is one of the best songs on Trip, with their vocals complimenting each other in a wonderful way. Jhene came back to peacefully reclaim her position atop the female food chain and it’s projects like this that will ensure her legacy carries on and is intact, she’s without a doubt an awe-inspiring artist and deserves a lot of respect for her releases.
ALEX WILEY & MIKE GAO – SYNTHIA PART 1: DIAL TONES
The Chicago native Alex Wiley has been on my radar for a while, since his Village Party mixtape a few years ago he’s been someone I keep an ear open for. The SaveMoney member has teamed up with Mike Gao to put out quite a special, original album here. The beats are unique and you won’t find anything else similar to it in most places, its synthy overtones make it the perfect accompaniment for these upcoming months.
SMOKEPURPP – DEADSTAR
Another bright upstart from Miami is Smokepurpp. Rising to fame through internet popularity and things such as NoJumper vlogs, Lil Purpp managed to carve out his own path and prove he’s more than just cheap throwaway hooks. Deadstar has been a highly anticipated release and has well known hits like Audi already on as well as new bangers like Krispy Kreme and I Don’t Know You which features Yo Gotti and an on form Chief Keef. Having signed to Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack label, bigger things are sure to come for this guy – check it before he blows!
G HERBO – HUMBLE BEAST
The artist formerly known as Lil Herb technically dropped his debut album (everything else before has been mixtapes and EPs) this month and it left a lot of heads spinning. The second Chicago artist on the list has had the game by the scruff of its neck for a while and Humble Beast is another solid release from him. His aggressive nature mixed with his impressive lyrical ability and incomparable flow make him a talent to behold and it’s thoroughly shown throughout. Perhaps my favourite song is Man Now, once again – just like hits before it this year – a flute is prominent through the song, but it sounds like a classic Dipset beat with this new school Chiraq sound over the top – so good.
INJURY RESERVE – DRIVE IT LIKE IT’S STOLEN
The Arizona trio put out yet another good project with Drive It Like It’s Stolen and prove yet again ‘local hip-hop’ is loved worldwide. A consistently improving and evolving sound like nothing else, Injury Reserve has really honed their craft with this project. ’91 Cadillac is testament to their talent; back-to-back bars, flows that tell stories, with some comedic approaches in there as well, it’s really beyond me how they haven’t blown more. At only 7 tracks long this won’t take up too much of your time, so go out of your way for it!
PARTYNEXTDOOR – SEVEN DAYS
PND is a star, no doubt about it. You can squabble over when he became a star – arguably with Break From Toronto – but I digress, this project proves his stardom. You don’t put out something this good as a seemingly throwaway EP without being extremely talented. His soothing voice mixed with a fantastic production make for a wonderful listen. Also add in that sick Rick Ross feature and you gotta give time for this.
WARHOL.SS – WHERE’S WARHOL?
Yet again another rapper hailing from Chicago (it’s not a Chicago list I swear) Warhol.ss has been on a path of destruction as he rises to the top. Bringing that grimey trap back, he knows what the game has been missing and is able to deliver amazingly. It may not be your cup of tea but you’ll want to listen because he’s sure to be a massive name soon enough having already featured with a variety of big names. Whilst he may not be the most lyrical, he’s entertaining and there is breaks needed from ‘pure hip-hop’ every now and then. Staccato handles production on every track and deserves massive props for some of the best beats I’ve heard in a while.
ALQAE – THE SURFACE
Peckham’s own Alqae have been making their own path for a while, not your typical Peckham sound they’ve managed to blend everything from trap to grime to hip hop to RnB for a quite astounding project. The chemistry between the three is on point and deserves to be recognised as does everything else on here really. Content, ability, production – everything is on point and these guys could be UK’s next big thing. Check 4AM for one of the most real tracks you’ll hear. Jonno AQ, Floss AQ and Jiggy Jim have impressed me here and I’m sure they’ll do the same for you.
Next month should hopefully bring us that long awaited Gucci Mane project so let’s see! But for the meantime keep checking the Soundcloud for new music!
Words by Rohan Parmar.