One week out from what has become one of the most anticipated release weeks of the hip-hop year, the tension is palpable. "Drop Astroworld" is finally becoming a reality as Travis Scott stans lace up their Cactus Jack 4s. YG stans are prepping their finest dress shoes and camo shorts combo. I'm not quite sure what Mac Miller stans are doing, but I'm sure they are excited too. [Editor's Note: A Mac Miller stan reached out to assure me they were preparing by "feeling bad for myself as usual."]
First, though, it's time to reflect on what's already been an excellent week for music. Now that I've made a blood pact with Z to not include DJ Khaled's "No Brainer," a contrived, unnecessary piece of manufactured pop that I will pretend not to enjoy until I'm four drinks in at the beach, let's get to the good stuff.
Knxwledge x Roc Marciano — “jstletmebme_”
The single flaw of Knxwledge’s latest drop-off on Bandcamp—three and a half minutes of silky brilliance with Roc Marciano—is that it isn’t longer. The title dntaskmefrshit almost certainly demands of a full-length.
Innanet James — “Bag”
The Innanet James takeover has commenced. The DMV native and former DJBooth Top Prospect's new single is as breezy as it is hard-hitting. As an added bonus, you can find the record on the exclusively hip-hop Maden '19 soundtrack.
Denzel Curry — “VENGEANCE | VENGEANCE” ft. JPEGMAFIA & ZillaKami
As much as I appreciate Denzel’s more melodic experimentation, I’ll take the unrestrained aggression of TA1300’s “Black” third act.
Tyga — “SWISH”
Does Tyga have two smash hits on his hands in this here, the year of our Lord, 2018?
VanJess — “Rewind Time" ft. Little Simz
Nigerian-American sisters Jessica and Ivana Nwokike, better known as the duo VanJess, have released their debut, Silk Canvas, a crisp late-night soundtrack with nostalgic vocals and sultry electronic flourishes. “Rewind Time” is the album’s seductive closer, featuring an Auto-Tuned Little Simz and a coda that will make you want to run the entire album back.
The Alchemist — “Universal Studios” ft. Wiz Khalifa
Imagine a world where Wiz Khalifa rejects the temptation to give his polished pop debut a 90-minute sequel in favor of living out his first-class stoner boasts over the exotic, smoked-out samples of The Alchemist for a full-length collab.
G Herbo & Southside — “Catch Up” ft. Chief Keef
Two of Chicago's hardest over one of Atlanta's premier trap architects for a standout from Herbo and Southside's Swervo project.
DJ Muggs — “Contagion Theory” ft. Mach-Hommy
A Mach-Hommy verse that won’t cost you $87.76 atop fluttering trumpet and sun-dried dust from DJ Muggs.
Cantrell — “Keep Yappin”
Albany, GA native and recent Mass Appeal signee Cantrell drops the first single off his forthcoming Stardust 2 Angels EP and it’s all boiling adrenaline.
Ruthven — “Hypothalamus”
While Jai Paul remains hidden in the surely dystopian recess of the Paul Institute laboratories, his synth-loving signee Ruthven comes through with his obligatory one great song per year.
Album of the Week:
Denzel Curry — TA1300