On Savage Mode, the dry-voiced and deadpan trap rapper 21 Savage recounts a life that has known nothing but violence. It's his strongest release, thanks to sleek production by Metro Boomin.
Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book is one of the strongest rap albums released this year, an uplifting mix of spiritual and grounded that even an atheist can catch the Spirit to.
No matter what's going on with the music, Brown’s acute emotional writing is once again on full display. Where XXX seemed to promise a way out, Old reflected (and sometimes reveled in) the lifestyle afforded him through his breakout success. This record, as dark, dingy, and uncomfortable as it is, continues to suggest something deeper is haunting Brown.
Boastful and thoughtful, socially aware and defiantly filthy, longing for the music industry's spoils while simultaneously disregarding them—his various sides come together on iiiDrops, which is more well-rounded and definitive than his woozy The Purple Tape.
With his latest, the Brownsville rapper cements himself as a preeminent stylist, his voice hushed but vicious, his production a grim rabbit hole of found sounds, minor keys, and few drums.
Kamaiyah stands out from her peers ... with her appealingly natural presence. Her voice sounds as unaffected and assured singing as it does rapping, and she writes big hooks.
A madcap sense of humor animates all his best work, and The Life of Pablo has a freewheeling energy that is infectious and unique to his discography. Somehow, it comes off as both his most labored-over and unfinished album, full of asterisks and corrections and footnotes.
Its author tempts deeper reading, but his choices and the lack of entry points—no directional song titles, no grand proclamations, no promotion—leaving nothing to deal with but the music.
It's by far the best single release of his career: It's more melodic and more focused; fiercer and more playful; funnier and sadder. It's also probably the best pure rap release of the first quarter, and the best-case scenario for how a locally famous rapper can make a great album for a wider audience without getting lost in a corporate ledger.
On Telefone, she pours all the joy and devastation we glimpsed in her various guest spots with artists like Chance, Mick Jenkins, and Saba into a rich, somber, and incredibly intimate album.
The beats sound like money, and the raps are whip smart and cleanly tailored.
The album is stranger, artsier, and flat-out ballsier than its predecessor, especially considering the stakes.
Blank Face turns away from the ambitious fusion of To Pimp a Butterfly, instead doubling down on a smoked-out atmosphere that points the listener’s focus toward rapping. That puts the onus on Q to hold attention for the duration of the record’s hour-plus running time, and he does so with a wide array of tricks.
Konnichiwa is as nakedly vulnerable Skepta has ever been, and it represents a tantalizingly wide-open door for grime.
Pushing his versatility, ear for production, and lyricism in new directions, Vince Staples' hot streak continues.
Still Brazy solidifies YG as a torch-bearer for west coast gangster rap.
The rap iconoclast returns with his best album since Barter 6, daring and chameleonic, filled with hooks about identity, love, and that undefinable future swag.