Listen, I get it.
With so much new music getting dropped constantly, it’s hard to keep up with the latest releases. And it’s even harder to determine what’s actually worth listening to – especially with Twitter regularly overhyping mediocre releases.
That’s why you’re lucky to have me.
Let’s take a look at five albums that we haven’t had a chance to discuss here on site but are certainly worth a spin.
Lecrae, All Things Work Together
Lecrae is one of those artists who sneaks in a new project every couple of years that is immediately critically acclaimed by some, yet totally ignored by others. Don’t be one of those people who ignore this one. Lecrae wisely eschews the somewhat-loaded gospel rap label to deliver a project that’s rooted in his faith but not too holy enough to get down with trap. In fact, Lacrae’s insight into race, religion and America laced over hard-hitting production make All Things Work Together the best trap record of the year.
BROCKHAMPTON, Saturation II
Roll your eyes at their tagline of “The Internet’s first boy band” if you must, BROCKHAMPTON is nothing like those interchangeable pop kids from the early ’00s. It’s hard to properly characterize this collective – their blend of diverse production and catchy, poignant lyrics are better heard than described. It’s sort of like N.E.R.D. and The Roots had a baby that splits its time between art shows and episodes of Wildin’ Out. They’ve released two parts of their Saturation trilogy, with the second installment eclipsing the first and part three allegedly landing by year’s end. These guys definitely deserve a spot on your playlists.
Jarren Benton, The Mink Coat Killa LP
Though his name might not ring bells, Jarren Benton is far from a rap rookie. He’s spent well over a decade honing his craft and finding his voice. While he might be best known for his Hospin-esque mix of violence and humor, Jarren refined his lyrical arsenal on The Mink Coat Killa LP by drawing inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan. And it pays off big time. Dusty samples and aggressive bars propel this project, which serves as both an ode to the 90s and a new direction for a talented artists seeking direction. If you’ve been missing that East Coast early-90s feel, this is the project for you.
Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory
Vince’s long-awaited sophomore set was met with mixed reviews – the blend of techno and EDM influences took many fans aback. But credit Vince for somehow making it all work. That’s largely credited to his insightful lyricism, which uses the frantic backdrops as a foundation to discuss chaotic themes like suicide and racism. It really is a beautiful mess.
Yelawolf, Trial By Fire
It’s been tough times for Yela in recent years. After garnering critical praise with his initial batch of mixtapes, his irrational defense of the Confederate flag and a slightly schizophrenic sophomore album has caused his stock to plummet. Consider Trial By Fire some much-needed course correction. Yela’s storytelling is top notch as he shines a light on his Alabama roots while also speaking on his role in current hip-hop. And while his blend of “hick-hop” production is polarizing at best, many of the beats here are top-notch. Trial By Fire is Yela’s road to redemption.
What underrated albums have stuck with you this year? Tell us about them below.