Lil Yachty — Michigan Boy Boat
Find someone who loves you like Yachty loves Michigan. For the last few years, the Atlanta eccentric has been embedding himself in the MI rap underground, churning out breathless verses over hectic beats with the best of Detroit and Flint. Michigan Boy Boat is a full-length spotlight on a talented but under-appreciated scene from a major-label star, a move that should be applauded even if it weren’t this fun and full of quotable punchlines. An all-star MI list—Tee Grizzley, Sada Baby, Icewear Vezzo, Babyface Ray, Rio Da Yung OG, YN Jay, Baby Smoove, Veeze, RMC Mike, BabyTron, Louie Ray, Krispy Life Kidd, and Slap Savage—provides features, along with Swae Lee.
Wacotron — Smokin Texas
Wacotron’s voice is cut with grit and shaped by a thick Southern drawl. Overtop booming 808s, his laid-back charisma commands attention. Smokin Texas is the Waco rapper’s debut mixtape, released via Pick Six Records (home to fellow buzzing talent Morray) and 808 Mafia. Southside—along with marshmello, CuBeatz, and more—provides a backdrop of mechanical, bluesy trap beats, while G Herbo provides the sole guest feature on single “Umbrella.”
Lord Apex — Smoke Sessions 3
“More of a stoner than a rap star.” Meditative UK rapper Lord Apex drops off a 4/20 gift: the third installment in his Smoke Sessions trilogy, released two years after its predecessor. True to its name, the 14-track project is a warm hug of laid-back raps from the London rapper and friends like Smoke DZA and Wiki over soulful lo-fi loops and jazzy beats.
Read our feature interview “Lord Apex Is East London’s Meditative Rap Swordsmith.”
Topaz Jones — Don't Go Tellin’ Your Momma
It’s been five long years since Arcade, Topaz Jones’ breakthrough project released in the wake of his viral single “Tropicana.” Since then, the New Jersey artist has remained mostly quiet aside from a set of 2018 singles, redefining his identity as an artist and working on a follow-up album. Paired with a Sundance-winning short film, Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma is well worth the wait, a vibrant mix of hip-hop and funk that examines the experience of a young Black man in America.
DijahSB — Head Above The Waters
Toronto rapper DijahSB thrives in honesty and vulnerability. Head Above The Waters, their new project, follows last summer’s debut 2020 The Album and the November EP Girls Give Me Anxiety, putting resilience and casual coolness at the forefront. Cheap Limousine and Harrison handle production and provide a bright, groovy backdrop of jazzy and electronic hip-hop beats.
Read our feature interview “DijahSB Turns Struggle Into Feel-Good Bounce.”