On Invasion of Privacy, she breezes past the challenge of a highly anticipated debut by making one of the most exciting rap albums in years.
The pleasure of Room 25 is in hearing a master wordsmith turn words into feelings so that the feelings linger long after the words have stopped.
It trafficks specifically in lost arts like sequencing, pacing, and mastering. It’s not concerned with moving units. It’s concerned with Beyoncé’s self-exploration, in a complicated, incredibly intriguing way.
LP1 isn’t anything revolutionary; it’s a frankly expressed project focused on the dualism between love and lust, reality and fantasy.
An album like RTJ2 is rare. Decades from now, this album may just be revered as one of the best hip-hop records of our era, the total synchronicity of two talented artists reaching the apex of their prime.
It seemed like the best Tribe could hope for was an album that longtime fans would embrace, but excite few younger listeners unfamiliar with the group. As it turns out, We got it… is a triumphant defying of such expectations.
At 10 breezy tracks, Care for Me isn’t just a collection of songs; it’s an honest-to-god album that develops ideas at its own pace.
Though nothing from the album may ever get played in a ballroom, Negro Swan is a grand work that gives credit to the pioneers of the culture while building a path forward within that framework, placing Hynes firmly in the canon as one of the most insightful musicians of his generation.
Blonde is R&B minimalism that only Ocean could have made, and he created it as such so that its details emerge when they feel comfortable to do so — namely when the listener is prepared to face their similarities to his autobiographical faults with the same lack of a need for exoneration.
An artist of uncompromising power and originality, he has proven that he will not, cannot conform to the expectations of the music industry, his adoring fans, or anyone else. He is a delicate, impulsive genius of rare distinction, and this defiant streak is essential to the character of his music.
Woods embodies the cultural makeup of Chicago, tackles the multiplicity of identity, and balances her dominance with flawlessly selected features that build her up.
Watch the Throne turns out to be a success, even if it isn’t the landscape-altering LP the world had hoped for.
Take Care shines bright, utilizing the same concepts and notions as its predecessor but with far more lethal and appealing results.
.Paak seems to be in total control of his talent. It might be a challenge for him to make something as relatable and soulful as Malibu again, but fortunately, the album has the kind of substance that suggests he’s built to last.
Where the harsh, cold production of drill echoes the harsh, cold sentiments, Chance’s voice and the multi-faceted production are all about change, examining any little moment that might provide some fun and relief.
On his new album, Big Fish Theory, Staples continues to perfect his brand of nuanced nihilism while exploring new sounds that should put the music industry on notice that the future is now.
A sonic departure from the jazz inflected funk of To Pimp a Butterfly and the hyper-melodic, west coast revival feel of good kid, m.A.A.d city, DAMN. is much more concerned with trading groove for thump and concept for straight spitting.
With Ctrl, SZA proves that the cult following that ballooned with the release of her 2014 mixtape, Z, was not some flash in the pan, but a deserved wellspring of attention from an adoring fan base whose faith in what she had yet to produce helped to produce the project that could eventually stand as the best thing she has ever done.
It’s an album for the books, one that indicates West’s hunger for exploration while always sounding like it could become extraordinarily popular, even for him. This is the level that things could be at.
Lamar has bypassed the norm by producing an album that’s damn near unimpeachable.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is hands-down the most ambitious mainstream rap album ever made.
Lemonade marks Beyoncé’s most accomplished work yet. It is the perfect combination of the sharp songwriting of 4 with the visual storytelling acumen of her self-titled record. Here, we see Beyoncé fully coming into her own: wise, accomplished, and in defense of herself.