Students & Prophets Welcome
Ranking Kendrick Lamar's 'The Heart' Series
The metamorphosis of Kendrick Lamar—from a good kid, to Hip-Hop's poet laureate—has been a joy to witness. With his art, Lamar has reconciled with racism, gang-violence, depression, self-hatred, and his own quest for spiritual fulfillment. From Section 80 to DAMN—each project is rich with flair and adds credence to his frequent "best rapper alive" proclamation. He's earned the praise of many but once upon a time, Cornrow Kenny was just a blimp on everyone's radar.
Bas: 'Milky Way' Review
J. Cole’s roster of Dreamville artists boasts promising young talent. The likes of J.I.D. and Cozz are compelling storytellers. Omen is a crafty poet and self-proclaimed “jazz musician trapped in a rap form.” Then there’s the gracious, soulful voice of Ari Lennox.
Mac Miller's 'Swimming' Review
It seems like when Mac Miller is at rock bottom his projects seem to come out on top. He’s an artist that has made some of his best work when recovering from depression or drug addiction. The Faces mixtape (2014) showed him in the thick of his drug addiction, using his music as therapy, and it’s still one of his best works to date. Good A.M. is like the morning after, as the withdrawals and hangover subside gradually.
Travis Scott - 'Astroworld' Review
For his third album, Travis Scott assembled a multitude of producers and artists to craft a new kind of Rodeo. Scott’s latest LP follows up Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. With the help of go-to producer Mike Dean, along with WondaGurl, MurdaBeatz, Drake, Frank Ocean, and more, Astroworld is a zealous 17-track sonic theme park.
Denzel Curry – 'TA1300' Review
For all of his energetic raps and charismatic lyricism, Denzel Curry is still underrated. He was grouped with a class of rappers in 2016's XXL Freshman list that he didn’t fit in with. His freestyle went unnoticed because everyone had their attention on the saturation of wack freestyling displayed.
Dave East - 'Karma 2' Review
Dave East is showing no signs of slowing down. His discography now spans 13 mixtapes with a debut album still in the works. In 2017, he dropped Paranoia: A True Story, and Karma—the latter being a project with DJ Holiday. Still hungry as ever, he’s back with more.
G Herbo - 'Swervo' Review
From Lil Herb to G Herbo—16 year old rapper to Chi-raq phenom—G Herbo’s music is standing the test of time as his art evolves. With every new chapter in his career, he’s given fans a new alias to call him by. G Herbo was merely a nickname back when he was Lil Herb; but his adoption of it symbolizes his ascension into adulthood.
The Internet - 'Hive Mind' Review
Neo-soul sensations, The Internet, have been on hiatus since 2015’s Ego Death—an album that took the band’s sound to new heights. Sure, each member embarked on solo ventures afterwards, but you’d be a fool to think that they wouldn’t recoup.
The Carters - 'Everything Is Love' Review
Their love knows no boundaries; the passion for their art, no limitations. Together, The Carters—Jay Z and Beyonce—can’t be stopped. They’ve come a long way from “Crazy in Love” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” They even overcame infidelity and mistrust while being in the public eye. As they’ve grown, their music has progressed with them; Lemonade and 4:44 are vulnerable and introspective bodies of work.
The last time Nas came through with a solo venture, he was declaring that Life Is Good. On his 2012 release, he reconciled with a nasty divorce, fatherhood, and poured “Cherry Wine” with the legendary Amy Winehouse. Just like the wine in his cup, this was a Nas that had aged and outgrown the topics of his youth.
Wifisfuneral - 'Ethernet Vol.1' Review
With sheer tenacity and a mind bending flow and delivery to channel his raps, Palm Beach, Florida rapper, Wifisfuneral has amassed a following in only a few years. He put out a succession of mixtapes from 2016 to 2017: Black Heart Revenge, When Hell Falls, and Boy Who Cried Wolf. With a debut album still pending, he’s back with a fourth mixtape: Ethernet Vol.1.