Rolling Loud. If the name conjures images of Supreme clout bags, mud-caked Vans and large crowds of 19-year-olds elbowing each other to get a better view of their favorite rapper’s Gucci outfit, congratulations. You were probably there. Swap out the Vans for Yeezy 700s and you were probably backstage.
From the joys of Meek Mill's surprise performance to the gut punch that was Lil Wayne deciding at the last minute to pull a no-show, just know that whether you were there or whether you were watching from home—or even if you weren't watching from home and didn't give a shit—Rolling Loud is as close to a 2018 hip-hop Mecca as you'll find, a three-day gathering of love, unity, and Juuls where even Lil Pump fans and J. Cole fans can find common ground in the fact that heavy rains fucking suck.
I’m happy to report that I’ve returned from the humid depths of Miami Beach, suffering Miller Lite withdrawals and feeling the effects of a three-day diet of Doritos and Backwoods, to bring you the 10 songs you need this week. (And for those who enjoy simplicity and hate reading, here is the full list in a Spotify playlist.)
Playboi Carti — “Shoota” ft. Lil Uzi Vert
With two albums in 13 months, Playboi Carti has transformed himself from the Jay Electronica of mumble rap to the JAY-Z of mumble rap. His second full-length, Die Lit, is a 19-track exercise in infectious repetitions and blown-out bass. And yet, buried in the warped sounds of the mostly Pi’erre Bourne-produced album sits “Shoota,” a gorgeous, gleaming collaboration with fellow punk-minded convention-breaker Lil Uzi Vert. Amidst the sumptuous haze of the rest of the project, “Shoota” sounds like a moment of clarity.
André 3000 — “Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)”
On its own, “Me&My” is an emotional and graceful—if not surprising for longtime fans of André the Rapper—ballad reminiscing on better times. Coupled with André’s Instagram posts and the weight of Mother’s Day in the wake of his mother’s passing in 2013, it’s devastatingly heartbreaking.
Lil Baby — “Yes Indeed” ft. Drake
Whether you call it "Yes Indeed" or call it "Pikachu," Quality Control’s rising star grabbed a tight Drake verse for a quick jaunt in twin yellow Ferraris.
Ski Mask the Slump God — “RUN”
In just over 20 minutes, you could listen to the entirety of Ski Mask’s oft-delayed BEWARE THE BOOK OF ELI—a longer version was leaked two weeks ago, but immediately taken down by management—and understand why he is a singular talent in his own twisted rap universe. “RUN” is a good place to start.
Lil Peep — “4 Gold Chains” ft. Clams Casino
RIP Peep. Having teased the song in one of his final tweets, Lil Peep’s “4 Gold Chains” finally sees an official release, and Clams Casino’s ethereal production is a perfect match for Peep’s disaffected singing. That said, hearing Peep’s musings on losing friends, not feeling right, and drugs numbing the pain is nothing less than haunting in the wake of his passing.
Junglepussy — “Ocean Floor” ft. Wiki
Junglepussy’s JP3 is a lush, declarative, and self-loving album, and “Ocean Floor” is a laid-back ride in a “pink submarine” to “the part of Pussytown you’ve never seen before.”
Armani White — “casablanco freestyle” ft. Sango
After dropping off some lively bounce a couple months back, Philly spitter Armani White links with Sango for a menacing new freestyle.
Buddy — “Trouble on Central”
“Trouble on Central” sounds like a windows-down cruise through ‘90s Los Angeles.
KYLE — “Ikuyo” ft. 2 Chainz & Sophia Black
I’m not quite sure how KYLE still doesn’t have an album out to capitalize on the success of “iSpy,” which was released in 2016. What I do know is that “Ikuyo” pairs him with addictive production from Bossman (f.k.a Marvel Alexander) and AyoAyo, an intoxicating hook from Sophia Black, and a typically praiseworthy 2 Chainz guest verse.
Money Makin Nique — “Bonafide”
If, like me, you’ve been patiently awaiting some new Money Makin Nique, the Atlanta native’s new single “Bonafide” brings welcome raps about hustling until you can “pull up in shit that sound like Darth Vader.”
Album of the Week:
Playboi Carti — Die Lit