Barnaba Classic — Love Sounds Different
Barnaba’s fifth album, Love Sounds Different, landed on August 17, marking a new dawn for the street performer and poet-turned-singer. True to its name, the album is filled with romantic ballads and a prevailing desire to show off all the good sides of being in love. Equally important is the feature list, where Barnaba brings together the who’s who of East African music: Diamond Platnumz, Alikiba, Nandy, Rayvanny, and many more rising and established stars.
Aitch — Close To Home
Manchester’s Aitch broke out in 2018 with a barreling freestyle that put the playful young artist on UK rap’s radar. Fast forward to 2022’s charting hit “Baby,” it’s clear in the last four years Aitch has gone from rapping for sport to rapping with purpose. His debut album Close To Home is more focused than preceding projects as he wraps his mind around being famous in his early 20s. Emotional highlight “My G,” dedicated to Aitch’s younger sister, reveals a softer side of the artist—and a good head on his shoulders.
M.I Abaga — The Guy
M.I Abaga is The Guy. Since 2008, Abaga has been one of Africa’s biggest rappers, propelled by tough flows and eagerness to big up younger artists. “I been a legend way back, since when I was, like, 13,” he raps on “The Hate.” The Guy follows 2021’s The Chairman, and features a newfound ferocity in Abaga. Softer tracks like “Crazy” and “Soldier” are key introspective moments, showing the real pain behind M.I Abaga’s fame. Nas, Olamide, Wande Coal, The Cavemen. and many more join as guests.
OMB Peezy — MisGuided
Alabama native OMB Peezy follows in a long line of Southern rappers making lyrical, blistering pain music despite moving to California on the cusp of his teens. Since his breakout “Lay Down,” Peezy has established himself as a staple artist who cannot be tied down by region. On his Gangsta Grillz tape MisGuided, Peezy gets the coveted DJ Drama cosign. On “Straight Up” Peezy raps, “Don’t know how I live with these problems… This shit in my blood.” The way he stacks pained confessions with his elastic voice makes them so harrowing.
- Watch OMB Peezy spit an exclusive freestyle for Bless The Booth.
- Read our 2020 feature interview: “OMB Peezy’s Next Chapter”
- Watch OMB Peezy perform “Try So Hard” for Fine Tuned.
yvngxchris — VIRALITY
Virginia’s yvngxchris went viral off his aggressive flow, gruff voice, and penchant for switching flows over funhouse instrumentals. Rapping about decorating the block with bullets on “DAMN HOMIE,” the young rapper’s style quickly flips to his status as the high school champion, before whipping back to the roster of women he’s attracted. This scattershot approach makes chris’ new project VIRALITY a grim rap roller coaster.