Editor’s note: Here’s a little wrap-up from last week’s new releases. If you’re interested in the visual version of our first takes, head over to my Instagram account @bwthebrand. For the written spill: keep scrolling!
Lucky Daye’s “Candy Drip”: 10/10
This song was a pleasant surprise as it wasn’t originally on my radar. Shout out to one of my homegirls who sent the song to be included in last week’s wrap-up. Please feel free to send in music that you enjoy. The only requirement is that the song/project be released within the same week.
“Candy Drip” — released Dec. 7 — is one of those tracks that chills the bone. Sonically it’s a kaleidoscope of genres. We get flashes of Funk, Soul, R&B, and even some alternative.
Lucky’s vocals shine through as well. The track showcases his versatility as he delivers this rich first tenor with a smooth cream finish.
His voice and this song are simply silk.
EARTHGANG’s “American Horror Story”: 10/10
EARTHGANG released a single on Dec. 8 and phew, its had my attention ever since.
Within the first few seconds, I was instantly intrigued for multiple reasons.
The vocal stacking, harmonies, lyrics, it’s all there, all elite! I don’t have a single complaint.
The song is steeped in religious undertones as the song speaks to the plight of Black people in Amerikkka.
It feels like a modern-day negro spiritual, a song to keep us afloat and focused on the empowerment and betterment of our communities.
Alicia Keys Keys :10/10
King Alicia [trust, the King is not a typo — as Alicia shared she wanted to title the album King of New York — in a episode of N.O.R.E.’s Drink Champs] released her 8th studio album on Friday, and what a statement it is!
KEYS is a double album gifting 26 songs. The first part of the album classified as “Originals” is a stripped-down version of 14 tracks, where we solely get Alicia’s vocals and bare instrumentation. The second album, classified as “Unlocked,” is a revved-up production, where we get the collaborative efforts of King Keys and star producer Mike WiLL Made-It.
The album comes with featured artists Swae Lee and Lil Wayne, who add pizazz to the project.
Keys easily belongs in the conversation for album of the year as Alicia cuts across genres with her unmatched songwriting and musicianship.
She’s the likes of Carole King, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and so many other greats wrapped in one.
Rick Ross’s Richer Than I’ve Ever Been: 10/10
The Biggest Boss returned on Dec. 10 with opulence as always.
The 11th studio project comes with star-studded features ,including Benny The Butcher, Wale and Future. As well as Dream Doll, Wiz Khalifa, Jazmine Sullivan and 21 Savage to name a few.
Richer Than I Ever Been comes with 12 songs, including “Marathon.” “Marathon” has me in a severe chokehold.
It embodies Ross’s strengths: witty delivery, yet chilling lyricism, luxurious production, and intentional storytelling.
“Judas was a politician, made up like a Ronald Reagan– Rick Ross “Marathon”, Richer Than I Ever Been
This is just a war on drugs, tell me how you feel about it
Black lives really matter now, tell Emmett Till about it,”
Ross’s albums are often reflective of his current state of being and this album falls suit.
Russ’s Chomp 2 : 9.5/10
Russ made quite a splash with this release.
The album — released on Dec. 8 — comes with 14 songs and a wide array of features, including Lloyd Banks; The Game; Ghostface Killah; Westside Gunn; Conway the Machine; Big Sean; Snoop Dogg; Big K.R.I.T. and many others. In addition, the guest list is elite.
The album is heavily influenced by New York and the origins of Hip Hop. The project is fresh, like a rap cypher. Although the production is superior, it doesn’t feel gimmicky or overly produced. The bars speak for themselves as they should.
The album has a strong theme of divinity, faith, and manifestation. Russ proudly speaks on how he landed in the industry and the footprint he aims to leave. With such a clear theme, the project does have repetitive moments. However, it’s a worthwhile listen curated for Hip Hop’s mature audience.
“Jumpin’ in, the pool of pure potentiality– Russ ” Top of the World”, Chomp 2
Be one with your spirit, that’s how you transcend reality”
Young Boy and Birdman’s From The Bayou: 7.5 /10
Lousiana’s own dropped off a mixtape gifting listeners with 13 songs on Dec. 10.
The tape is unique as it transcends generations with the presence of Birdman.
Personally, the first few songs fell flat for me; however, I was locked in by the sixth song.
The latter portion of the project showcases YoungBoy’s ability to connect with his audience through lyricism.
In several songs such as “Safe Then Sorry” and “Heart & Soul,” we get snippets of YoungBoy’s sentiments regarding his most recent jail release in October and fatherhood.
Juice WLRD Fighting Demons: 10/10
Much can be said about Juice WRLD’s second posthumous album, released on Dec. 10.
I’ve included an excerpt from the full review published in The Blade to sum up, my sentiments.
“The album embodies myriad emotions. A project that renders tears from loved ones who mourn Jarad Higgins; a new album for fans to champion as an extension of raw legacy; and perhaps another wake up call to the underbelly of the music industry that glamorizes substance abuse,”– Bri’on Whitieside / The Blade.
The fourth studio album was sandwiched between Dec.9’s inaugural Juice WRLD day — which packed out the United Center in Chicago, IL. — and the premiere of HBO Max’s Into the Abyss documentary slated to debut on Thursday. All are speaking to the power of Juice WRLD’s legacy and his appeal to the masses.
The album is a heart-wrenching listen, as it explicitly details the many tribulations Juice WRLD faced.
“Graceful yet wrecking, the album acts as final exhale. It explores the many war zones of Juice WRLD’S pysche, making it a poignant and brutal listen… Perhaps the saddest facet of the album is the most obvious: The crushing reminder that in a metaphorical game of Russian roulette, the demons Juice WRLD sang of were the last ones standing,”– Bri’on Whitieside / The Blade.
Click here to find a playlist of all the tracks I’ve added from this week’s FSF!
Feel free to drop a line in the comment box and let me know what you thought of this week’s release.
Until next week, stay cool!