Bella Shmurda — Hypertension
Nigeria’s Bella Shmurda debuted in 2020 with High Tension, and in the years since has kicked his career into hyperdrive, becoming the voice of the streets from Lagos to London. Released earlier this week, Hypertension is Bella’s new album and mission statement. Featuring Simi, Phyno, Omah Lay, Victony, Popcaan, L.A.X, Not3s, and Backroad Gee, these street-hop anthems brim with ferocity. Bella’s never sounded so clear. “I want you to enjoy yourself, but at the same time, I am passing a message to you,” he told Audiomack World in 2021.
Blaqbonez — YOUNG PREACHER
Blaqbonez’ music deals with the full range of emotions. “I feel like you cannot know what to expect from Blaqbonez, and I think that sense of unpredictability is important in keeping the audience around for the ride,” the young Nigerian artist told Audiomack World in 2021 to celebrate the release of Sex Over Love. Today, Blaqbonez assumes the role of YOUNG PREACHER, bringing Cheque, Tekno, Lojay, Amaarae, and more along to continue his dominant spree.
Polo Perks Is Building a Future From Pieces of the Past
We talk to the Surf Gang artist about microdosing alternative music in his raps.
Smino — Luv 4 Rent
St. Louis’ Smino has one of the most inventive vocal deliveries in hip-hop. The way he turns syllables into putty while flowing from word to word is alchemic. He broke out by blending fun with sly romantics (“Netflix & Dusse”) and then cemented himself with a windy sophomore album. It’s been over four years since NOIR, but Smino has not lost touch with his new album Luv 4 Rent. With Monte Booker, Groove, and Phoelix at the production helm and features from J. Cole, Lil Uzi Vert, Lucky Daye, Doechii, and more, Luv 4 Rent is the best of Smi’s vocal tricks and player wordplay.
Ankhal — ANKHALINO
Ankhal is a survivor. Following the aftermath of a tragic shooting from February of this year—one that left him in a coma for over two weeks—the Puerto Rican star has found healing in family and music. ANKHALINO is a raw listen, opening with audio from a reporter on the scene of the shooting, and follows the artist as he questions his faith and tries to understand his second chance at life through a series of genre experiments from rock to mambo.
Bandmanrill — CLUB GODFATHER
Is Bandmanrill the face of Jersey club’s resurgence in rap conversation? Maybe, but if you ask him, he’s bigger than talk—he’s the CLUB GODFATHER. The Newark, NJ artist has captured a critical moment in time—the blend of raw bars and danceable beats—with songs like “Real Hips” and “Lurkin.” On CLUB GODFATHER, the club samples are bigger than aesthetic choices; they’re a guide through Bandman’s Jersey admiration and history, with some added rap sauce on top, as on “BEAUTIFUL DIAMONDS.”