This month’s greatest hip-hop choice is among the many best we’ve ever needed to assemble. A number of releases (billy woods, Freddie Gibbs) will certainly function in our end-of-year roundup, whereas others have been both long-anticipated (LMD) or really feel wholly intuitive (Rome Streetz’ Griselda debut). It options works by artists from either side of the Atlantic (in addition to one journey a lot additional afield), every of whom makes use of myriad totally different types and approaches. All of which is to say that this month’s choice is an particularly sturdy bunch. We hope you discover a lot right here to take pleasure in.
billy woods – Church [Backwoodz Studioz]
Within the house of six months, billy woods has launched two contenders for greatest hip-hop album of 2022. Following up the darkish, dense and electrifying Aethiopes comes his surprise-released newest Church. This one’s a bit of extra simple, but sacrifices not one of the summary wordplay and complex manufacturing that woods has turn into identified for. The extent of emotion here’s what actually surprises, with “Pollo Rico” and “All Jokes Apart” specifically that includes stirring some sound design and hard-hitting imagery. Pure brilliance from an artist on the prime of his recreation.
LMD – Flying Excessive [Bang Ya Head ENT]
A supergroup team-up album that’s been within the works since 2010, LMD’s debut Flying Excessive is a simple Cali rap delight. Comprised of rappers M.E.D, Declaime, LMNO, and producer Madlib, Flying Excessive is by turns funky, smoked-out, and gently off-kilter. Madlib’s manufacturing makes it actually pop, from the hyphy-like bounce of “Steppers” and “Excessive Stakes” to the sample-built brilliance of “Tremendous” and spotlight “Kool”. Every of the three distinctive MCs depart a novel impression, combing to create a timeless album overflowing with charisma.
Sampa the Nice – As Above, So Under [Loma Vista Recordings]
An idiosyncratic outing from the Zambia-born, Australia-based Sampa the Nice; As Above, So Under is a bolder and extra eclectic effort than the superb earlier full-length The Return. Recorded in Zambia over the house of simply two weeks, tracks like “By no means Neglect” and “Can I Stay?” mix African rhythms and textures from quite a few totally different eras right into a thrillingly-unique fusion. Her singular voice and rapping expertise shine on cuts like “IDGAF” and “Lo Rain”, whereas stellar visitor options together with Denzel Curry, Joey BadA$$, and Kojey Radical make As Above, So Under an unpredictable and enormously-compelling work.
Freddie Gibbs – $oul $previous $eparately [Warner Records]
Lauded by many rap followers as top-of-the-line within the recreation, Freddie Gibbs’ much-anticipated $oul $previous $individually presents nothing to dissuade these claims relating to his abilities. Gibbs’ technical prowess is endlessly-inventive, with each observe providing sharp proof of his intuitive means to decouple from the instrumental whereas by no means shedding sight of its rhythm or route. Highlights embody the resplendent, Rick Ross-featuring “Lobster Omelette”, the moody, Pusha T-featuring “Gold Rings” and the relentless vocal gymnastics of “Area Rabbit”. An important pay attention for followers of recent hip-hop.
Greentea Peng – Greenzone 108 [Universal]
The most recent mixtape from London’s versatile Greentea Peng, Greenzone 108 is one other laidback, eclectic triumph oozing with compelling character. Peng’s fusion of hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, and reggae is introduced collectively in an entirely easy collision. The instrumentation is surprisingly full-bodied for a mixtape, that includes string thrives (“Caught In The Center”), guitar riffs (“Your Thoughts”), and visceral bass (“Bun Powerful”). Greentea Peng herself is the glue that holds it collectively, guiding the colourful music through her distinctive rap singing, with “Lose My Thoughts” an particularly commanding instance of her expertise.
Pink Siifu & Actual Dangerous Man – Actual Dangerous Flights [Real Bad Man Records]
Actual Dangerous Flights’ elevator pitch is unimaginable: a psychedelic stoner rap album utilizing air journey as its central lyrical motif. The most recent from the restlessly-creative Pink Siifu and his first full-length with L.A. producer Actual Dangerous Man, Actual Dangerous Flights adroitly fuses kaleidoscopic manufacturing with Siifu’s singular wordplay. The visitor options are proper on the forefront of recent experimental rap (together with Armand Hammer, Boldly James, and Ioji), whereas Actual Dangerous Man’s sampladelic manufacturing stands out. Highlights embody “Tokyo Blunts”’s mix of heavy bass and ethereal flutes, in addition to “Off the Aircraft’s” seductive seventies funk. A cohesive and assured launch that casts an intoxicating spell.
Coby Sey – Conduit [AD 93]
Coby Sey’s outstanding Conduit is that this month’s most strikingly distinctive launch. The London rapper’s debut has been intriguingly described as a ‘post-grime’ album. The angular expressionist grit of those 9 tracks definitely really feel like a deconstructed tackle grime, with some trip-hop atmospheres and industrial rap textures additionally thrown into the combination. Sey’s voice itself isn’t particularly expressive, performing extra as summary spoken phrase than rapping. The album’s daring manufacturing is what makes it actually particular although, from the disorientating beats of “Dial Sq. (Consolation)” to the fractured techno of “Evening Trip”. A particular debut from an artist with monumental potential.
Nicholas Craven & Boldy James – Honest Trade No Theft [Nicolas Craven Productions]
Boldy James is one among this column’s favourite up to date rappers, a fandom strengthened by the white-hot productive streak he’s presently using. His second full-length of the yr Honest Trade No Theft is extra low-key than a few of his latest masterclasses however is nonetheless nonetheless bursting on the seams together with his standard verbal brilliance. His and Canadian underground producer Nicholas Craven’s sensibilities sync up completely on cinematic highlights akin to “Caught in Visitors” and “Monterey Jack”. Right here’s hoping these two collaborate once more within the close to future.
Ka – Languish Arts & Woeful Research [Independent]
Ka is among the many most beloved fashionable cult rappers. The Brooklyn native’s newest two albums had been dropped with out warning on the identical day and are presently unavailable on streaming platforms. Digesting two albums may sound intimidating, however Languish Arts and Woeful Research are two sides of the identical coin, each as reflective, poignant, and low-key as the opposite. Ka is among the most soulful and emotionally-intelligent rappers on the market, and each lower throughout this hour of recent music options copious insights. Like all Ka releases there’s so much crammed in, which makes Languish Arts and Woeful Research endlessly revisitable examples of the artwork of deep, somber hip-hop.
Rome Streetz – KISS THE RING [Griselda Records / EMPIRE]
Rome Streetz’s first full-length since signing to the esteemed Griselda Data, KISS THE RING additionally may simply be his best hour. You get the sensation that Rome Streetz has crafted these seventeen tracks to be his masterpiece, and it’s onerous to argue with him. The manufacturing veers from eerie (“Tyson Beckford”) to relaxed (“Lengthy Story Quick”), whereas quite a few tracks round its midpoint eschew beats in favor of textured samples. Rome Streetz is the point of interest on the album’s middle, firing off assured bars and going toe to toe with established Griselda visitor stars like Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher. He was clearly destined for Griselda, and KISS THE RING vehemently cements his place inside their notable canon.