Sean Paul — Scorcha
Sean Paul is an international icon. The reggae superstar may have accolades galore, but at his core, he’s just happy to still be here. As he told Audiomack World back in March 2021, “Being able to write another song is an accomplishment to me. The awards are just cream on the top.” His latest album Scorcha arrives just in time to soundtrack a hot summer, with appearances from Nicky Jam, Shenseea, Ty Dolla $ign and more. The album’s centerpiece is classic reggae single “Light My Fire,” which features Shenseea and Gwen Stefani.
Khaid — Diversity
Khaid broke out in the Afrobeats scene with a pair of singles (“WITH YOU” and “Ski”) that flirted with everything from Amapiano to trap music. Today, he makes good on his talents with Diversity, a brisk EP primed for kickbacks. Khaid’s tinny voice makes“AKPAKO” a feel-good opener, while his vocals on “FIRE” somersault over the polyrhythms driving the production. Diversity is a fun debut for an artist laying the groundwork for a long career.
Joony — Pretty In Black
DMV rapper Joony refuses to be complacent. He opens his new album Pretty In Black singing, “I done came a long way from last year.” After 2021’s definitive Silent Battles and a Brent Faiyaz cosign, Pretty In Black takes Joony’s sound further by stepping into various subgenres without sounding aimless. “ZOOM ZOOM” has that signature ballad-like quality, while the wobbly “ON DAT SHIT” sounds like Joony taking any potential chips on his shoulder and stomping them into dust.
Li Heat — 3400 Degreez
10 Rappers alum Li Heat hails from Alabama and brings a menacing and muddy punch to all of his music. This stuff is gruesome and plodding, and it fucking slaps. His newest tape 3400 Degreez is 20 minutes of straight horror (“Vroom”) and blues (“Selfish”). PGF Nuk, Lul Bob, and others lend guest verses.
Dehd — Blue Skies
Three-piece Chicago band Dehd rock in that slinking way that reminds me of howling early 2000s indie, with an eye towards the future. In 2020, they released their critically acclaimed Flowers of Devotion album, and today they return with Blue Skies. Dehd’s world is enchanting, and the new album is driven by full-bodied guitar riffs that pool beneath deceptively clean writing and yearning vocals.