Hip-Hop Monthly Release Review: October
This October was a solid month for hip-hop, in what has been one of the strongest years in the genre’s history. In terms of quality of the projects released, October was definitely not one of the best months this year, but there were still several big names who put out work that’s worth talking about.
Not every project that was released this month will be mentioned, but all of the albums that I deem relevant, or ones I have something worth saying about will be hit on.
Projects I Never had a Chance to Finish Listening To
I’m not going to give my opinion on an album if I did not give it the amount of time required for it to resonate with me.
The first project that falls into this category is Big K.R.I.T.’s newest release, 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. This project is a double album, containing 22 total songs, and it most definitely does not disappoint.
I found out about this release late, and have only had the chance to listen to about 15 of the songs, and I have been thoroughly impressed thus far. With this being his first project since leaving Def Jam, K.R.I.T. raps like someone with a chip on their shoulder, who knows they have something to prove as a now independent artist.
This is one of the most inspired projects I have heard in a while, and I would definitely recommend everyone give it a listen, as K.R.I.T. has proved to me that he is one of the more under rated lyricists out.
Another project in which I need more time to form a full opinion on is Trippie Redd’s new project, A Love Letter To You 2. Coming off of his first project, A Love Letter To You, I found myself really enjoying Trippie Redd’s music and looking forward to more content from him.
From what I have heard of this new album, I am extremely disappointed. In my first listen, the album was simply not good, hopefully as time goes on the project will begin to grow on me.
But I doubt it will.
It sounds really bad.
21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin – Without Warning
Released on the 30th, this project caught everyone by surprise. It had not been teased at all that these artists have been working together, then out of the blue comes a surprise album the night before Halloween.
I was extremely excited to hear this project the second I heard about it, and I had very high hopes for the quality of this album, but the project is just… fine. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the project is bad, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
Most of the songs sound like a typical 21 Savage song, with an Offset verse thrown on after the song had already been finished. This wouldn’t be a problem, if 21 Savage’s performance on the album wasn’t so lifeless.
The song, “Run Up The Racks,” is a perfect example of 21 being dreadfully boring for three minutes straight. The song after it on the track list, “Still Serving,” is the exact same thing, but this time the song is rescued by an amazing verse by Offset in the second half.
That is a common theme with this album: 21 Savage gives some generic 21 verses, while Offset steals the show. Throughout the entire project Offset delivers one strong performance after the next, essentially saving the album. It is no coincidence that the song “Ric Flair Drip,” is the best song on the album, since it is the only song that 21 Savage is not present.
While it sounds like I hate this album, or at least it sounds like I hate 21 Savage on this album, that is not the case. There are six songs on this album that are legitimately good, despite their flaws, three that are just average and only one I would deem a “bad” song.
With that in mind, I won’t give this album anything less than a 6/10, but because of how generic and boring it can become at times, I can’t award it with anything higher than a 7/10. So let’s just split the difference on this one.
Stand out tracks: Ric Flair Drip, Ghostface Killers, Nightmare and Darth Vader
Final Take: Maybe I just don’t like 21 Savage.
Gucci Mane – Mr. Davis
Gucci Mane has been on a great run since being released from prison last year. Mr. Davis is his fifth project to be released since being set free.
To put it simply, this album is incredibly average, with a few bright spots along the way. You can pluck just about any song from this album, and place it in any of the previous four mixtapes Gucci has recently released and it would fit perfectly. On top of the album sounding like every other new Gucci project, the track list is bloated with features from big name artists, and a lot of these features aren’t even good.
The song, “Changed” features Big Sean, and I swear I have heard three other Big Sean songs that sound exactly like this one. The fourth track offers a guest verse from rapper Slim Jxmmi, which on the surface sounds interesting. Too bad its awful.
The single worst part about this album is the song “Money Make Ya Handsome.” On this track Gucci sings, no I didn’t misspeak, he actually sings, about how despite being ugly, you can still be attractive if you’re rich. It is absolutely awful, and I hope to never hear it again.
The only memorable tracks on the album are the songs “I Get the Bag,” featuring Migos, and “Tone it Down,” featuring Chris Brown. The song with the Migos feature is about what you expect when you add them to a song: a great hook and some decent verses to go along. Overall, a solid song.
The song with Chris Brown is the one redeeming quality of this album. Usually Chris Brown features sound very formulaic. By that I mean they usually include a hook from Brown that sounds like every other hook he’s ever given someone who wants a popesque, radio hit.
This song is an outlier, though. Chris Brown offers a legitimately great hook, with a superb verse by Gucci Mane to compliment. In a few months from now, this will probably be the only song I remember if asked about Mr. Davis.
Stand out tracks: I Get the Bag and Tone it Down
Final Take: If I ever have to hear Gucci sing with auto tune over his voice again, I’ll probably go deaf.
A Boogie wit da Hoodie – The Bigger Artist
A Boogie’s fourth project, The Bigger Artist, is my favorite album of the month. This project is impressive from start to finish, and it deserves far more praise than it has gotten.
Throughout the project, A Boogie displays his uncanny ability to catch a melody, which he is known for. This is most apparent on the song, “Say A’.” While songs like this are impressive, we all know A Boogie is capable of producing these types of tracks.
What is even more impressive is the versatility Boogie shows in the rest of the songs. There are songs like “No Promises” and “Beast Mode” where A Boogie displays his rap prowess, but then other songs where he lets his softer side out, such as “F*****g & Kissing” and “Let’s Start Over.”
These songs have radically different styles, but A Boogie has the range needed to excel at both. There really isn’t much to say about this album, other than it is exceptional and if you don’t listen to it, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Stand out tracks: Drowning, No Promises and Money Sprung
Final Take: Why would anyone want to jump Lil B? He’s such a nice guy. Not cool Boogie.
Future & Young Thug – Super Slimey
Super Slimey is an odd album. There are several songs that standout as great tracks, but then some that leave you questioning why they were included in the track list to begin with.
If you remember the joint album Future did with Drake, What a Time To Be Alive, It was reported that the duo made the project in just six days. This short period of recording was apparent as the project sounded very rushed and unpolished.
I suspect a similar duration of time was allotted when recording this project, as the same problems arise. There are several songs that don’t even have a finished outro, they just end abruptly a few seconds after the final verse, and much of the content sounds like uninspired throw away tracks.
The songs “Drip On Me”, “Real Love” and “4 da Gang”, could easily have been left off of the project, and it would have made the album much better. But other than these few songs, the album is littered with great songs.
“Mink Flow,” “Group Home” and “No Cap” display Future and Young Thug’s superb chemistry with one another, resulting in good, cohesive songs. Along with those, “Killed Before” and “Feed Me Dope” provide us with Thug and Future performing well on their own, with their own unique styles that we’ve all grown to love. These two songs sound like they came straight off of Jeffrey and Future, respectively.
The project isn’t ridden with pointless features, which in today’s climate is a rarity, but the one guest verse from Offset is a great addition to the album.
Overall, the project is exactly what fans should have expected from the two Atlanta artists, and I hope to hear them collaborate more in the future.
Stand out tracks: Killed Before, No Cap and Group Home
Final Take: On “No Cap,” Future says, “I sent my Ethiopian to go pray at the temple” and it sounded super hard, but I had no idea what he meant. I googled it and read a lyric breakdown, and I’m still pretty confused.
Albums I’ll probably never listen to but you should check out
These are some projects that I’ve heard great things about, but I simply can’t stand all three artists so I’ll never personally listen to them. You should still give them a listen, though, because apparently they’re all pretty good.
Chris Brown – Heartbreak on a Full Moon
Ty Dolla $ign – Beach House 3
Young Dolph – Thinking Out Loud