You already know how this one starts…
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
Does sex sell? Of course, and I’m sure Cardi and Megan are not only well aware of that, but doing a damn good job of it as well. “WAP” is fun, and a celebration of two top female MC’s collaborating in an industry that constantly tries to pit them against each other.
When it comes to the “controversy,” there’s a massive double standard here. Look what it takes for female rappers to get attention in an industry where Drake can slide from left to right in his sweatpants and become a Tik Tok sensation. There’s legacy to this as well, bringing to mind Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Khia, and other rap female pioneers that prove that this kind of “sensation” isn’t anything new.
Black Thought – “Good Morning” with Pusha T, Killer Mike, and Swizz Beatz
As we wait for the release of Black Thought’s Stream of Thought Vol. 3, the Philly MC, top five alive, offers up “Good Morning” to tie us over, featuring other heavy hitters like Pusha T, Killer Mike, and Swizz Beatz. “There are many parallels between me and other MCs from the same graduating class, the same era. It’s good to be received in that same light,” Thought told Variety. “I don’t feel as if everyone is worthy of a collaboration. Everyone doesn’t get to fight with the champion. Everyone doesn’t get a shot at that title.”
Boldy James – “Nu Wave” produced by Jay Versace
Who knew Jay Versace the Vine star could produce? He’s got a keen eye for samples, and the perfect lo-fi loop aesthetic for the Griselda crew’s sound. He does the whole tape for Benny, and I’m excited to see who he works with next. The boom bap fan in me really wants the kick and snare to drop in, but I can vibe.
CHIKA – “My Power”
I didn’t want Project Power, Jamie Foxx’s what if the Limitless pill gave you the worst X-Men’s abilities, but from the trailer alone I have zero interest. I am glad, however, that Netflix reached out to CHIKA for “My Power,” a song that thankfully does not reference the plot of Project Power. “My word is my power,” raps CHIKA, “Crazy with the skill, believe me I can go hours.”
Coi Leray – “Better Days” with Fetty Wap
I’m a sucker for Fetty Wap. 2015’s Fetty Wap was just banger after banger, and I’ll fight anyone who says he’s only got “Trap Queen.” Coi Leray is a burgeoning singer, once gaining in attention due to a relationship with Trippie Redd, but now breaking out on her own, and with appearances on her Now or Never EP from Gunna, Kiana Lede, and of course, Fetty Wap.
Internet Money – “Take It Slow” with 24kGoldn and TyFontaine
Composed of Taz Taylor, producer for Lil Tecca’s hit “Ransom,” and Nick Mira, producer for Trippie Redd, XXXTentacion, and Juice WRLD, among others, the have formed Internet Money. Pooling together their clientele for a compilation project, the highlight is not “Lemonade” with A-listers like Gunna and Nav, but “Take It Slow,” which spotlights fellow Internet Money artist TyFontaine and recent XXL Freshman 24kGoldn.
Popcaan – “Twist & Turn” with Drake and PartyNextDoor
As insane as it is that we let Drake still do this, it can’t be denied that he’s got a knack for it, and the trifecta of the Canadian MC, PartyNextDoor, and Jamaican singer Popcaan usually always delivers. “Your body drive me crazy, your body need a license f’it,” doesn’t make perfect sense, but I dig the “drive” and “license” combo.
Saucy Santana – “Try Your Luck (Intro)”
This song goes HARD. The Tallahassee rapper is out here repping the ever-expanding LGBTQ rap scene with conviction, and although there isn’t much wordplay in his bars, the energy is palpable.
Redveil – Niagara
YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano, a.k.a. The Needledrop, had some Twitter drama with this young 16-year-old Maryland rapper, named Redveil, when fans said he didn’t give him a fair chance. Fantano, in a long thread, wasn’t having it for whatever reason, but it brought Redveil to my attention and honestly the tape shows some real potential. “Campbell” here is my favorite—great sample, great energy. “Weight” is a vibe too.
RJmrLA – Let Me Talk My Shit
I’ve known of RJmrLA for a looooong time, but for whatever reason it wasn’t until Let Me Talk My Shit that I really felt what he was doing. Classic West Coast beats under a powerful voice, the record has fun on tracks like “Lil Bitch” and speaks on current issues on the titular single.
Teejay3K – Introvert: Side B – EP
A young artist with a true penchant for melody, proof that there’s Roddy Ricch’s all over just waiting for their chance to shine. Growing up in Florida, and collaborating with Kodak Black, Teejay3K knows the scene is only growing, and that he has a lot of potential. “Man,” he wrote on Twitter last week, “I just realized how underrated I am.”
Trinidad James – “UGLY”
Why do I feel like I’m perpetually sleeping on Trinidad James? He hit his highest peak of prominence in 2012, when the media tried to pit him against Kendrick Lamar for who could sell more of their debut albums (Kendrick would later rap on the “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” remix with Jay-Z that he went gold before him, and even platinum).
On “UGLY,” which stands for “You Gotta Love Yourself,” Trinidad James hits at both the physically feeling of ugliness and the mental, as well as how it applies to race, as “Black is Beautiful” and other initiatives have tried to remove the horrid stigmas and beauty standards created by racism. He also brings attention to the shooting of Philando Castile, and the ugliness of violence, especially violence fueled by racism.
Young Dolph – “Hold Up Hold Up Hold Up”
One of the most in-the-pocket MC’s out there, every line on Young Dolph’s “Hold Up Hold Up Hold Up” sits just right where it needs to be, like two interlocking gears spinning in tandem.
What do you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.