Tyler, The Creator — CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
Tyler has been living out a mood board. A master of reinvention, his career evolution has seen him transform from juvenile provocateur to abstract pop auteur. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST brings rapping back to the forefront after 2019’s IGOR found him stretching the limits of his singing voice, and he sounds rejuvenated both as a lyricist and a human being. Hosted by DJ Drama in true Gangsta Grillz fashion, Tyler’s seventh album is all about plush, aspirational living: passports, fresh seafood, a fleet of transportation options, stays at hotels that look like Wes Anderson film sets. “It’s opulence, baby,” he sneers to end “BLESSED,” and he makes it sound pretty fantastic.
Ski Mask the Slump God — Sin City The Mixtape
In 2018, Ski Mask the Slump God released his major-label debut album, Stokeley. Tragically, that release’s commercial and critical success was bookended by the deaths of XXXTENTACION and Juice WRLD, two of Ski’s closest friends and collaborators, and it would be three years before a follow-up project. One of the breakout artists from South Florida’s late-’10s underground rap renaissance, the now-25-year-old has cultivated a dedicated fanbase through blistering flows, colorful wordplay, and sheer weirdness. Sin City’s 18-minute runtime contains two tracks of alternative rock but consists mostly of the manic, oddball raps over pulsing beats for which fans have been waiting.
Justine Skye — Space and Time
Space and Time is the “bad bitch manual,” according to Justine Skye. The Brooklyn singer’s new album—her third following last year’s Bare With Me (The Album)—was produced entirely by Timbaland after the two collaborated remotely for a series of Instagram sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s Skye’s most assured music to date, 11 tracks of confident, sensual R&B with elements of pop and Afrobeats. Justin Timberlake and Nigerian Afropop star Rema provide guest features.
KiDi — The Golden Boy
In 2017, KiDi solidified his status as one of Ghana’s most promising artists with “Odo,” a breakout hit that would tap Davido and Mayorkun for an even bigger remix. KiDi’s 2019 debut album Sugar proved he was just as adept at crafting full-length projects, and after the release of a five-track EP named Blue last year, he returns with the highly-anticipated sophomore follow-up. Featuring Patoranking, Joey B, and Kuami Eugene, The Golden Boy is a set of polished love songs that blend Afropop, R&B, Highlife, dancehall, and reggae.
Bfb Da Packman — Fat N****s Need Love Too
At two separate points in “Wendy Williams,” the opening track to Fat N****s Need Love Too, Bfb Da Packman extols the benefits of rocking swimming trunks: they’re fresh as fuck, only $6 at Wal-Mart, and pick up women just as easily as $1,200 Amiri jeans. He says a lot more, too, that I won’t be transcribing. The Flint-raised, Houston-based rapper has no filter but owns his vulgarity with self-deprecation, over-the-top humor, and a lovable blue-collar authenticity. His viral “Free Joe Exotic” was one of the best songs of 2020, and Packman hopes his debut album—which features Sada Baby, Coi Leray, Benny the Butcher, and Zack Fox, to name a few—will be successful enough for him to quit his job at the post office.