With so many new rap albums, mixtapes, EPs and songs dropping every week; knowing which ones are worth your time can be a challenge. But no worries, we’ll help smooth out the process with “Now N’ Laters,” a column that highlights the hottest new releases of the week and the songs you’ll want to listen to now — and later.
This week’s round-up of new projects includes an album from one of the most skilled lyricists in the game, the return of one of the greatest rappers of all-time, and a release from one of the hottest rising acts. After spending the past two years carefully crafting and curating the follow-up to his last studio album, Shine, Wale unveils Wow... That’s Crazy, the rapper’s sixth studio album. With more than 14 years having passed since her The Naked Truth album was released, Lil Kim ends her extended hiatus with 9, the icon’s latest LP. And last, but not least, Casanova looks to capitalize on the viral success of his “So Brooklyn” single with Behind These Scars, a quality body of work that should only bolster the newcomer’s profile and popularity.
With all three releases getting airplay and dominating the conversation, REVOLT shares our critics’ picks for the three songs from each album that stand a cut above the rest and should be in your heavy rotation now -- and later. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are.
Wale: Wow... That’s Crazy
”Love... (Her Fault)”
OZ lends his production talents to this composition, which finds Wale in a state of reflection while touching on matters of the heart. Featuring guest vocals from Bryson Tiller, this selection showcases the D.C. rep’s tender side and is one of the more enticing tunes on his latest collection.
Shades of Raphael Saadiq’s R&B ballad “Ask Of You” are found on this selection, which doubles as the lead-single from the veteran’s new batch of tracks. Featuring Jeremih — with production courtesy of Todd Moore, Norva “VA” Denton, LT mOE and The DropKix — this syrupy cut is primed to become one of Folarin’s biggest hits in recent memory and has the potential to stand the test of time.
Wale reunites with his MMG brethren for this rollicking offering, which finds Rick Ross and Meek Mill spouting off cocksure stanzas and completing Folarin’s triple threat. Produced by Norva “VA” Denton and STREETRUNNER, this track captures the trio’s chemistry, as Wale and Meek Mill builds the energy to a fever pitch and sets the stage for Rozay to anchor the proceeding with an epic performance.
Lil Kim: 9
”Pray For Me”
Lil Kim returns with a vengeance on this opening salvo from the icon’s anticipated long player. Joined by Musiq Soulchild and Rick Ross, the Queen Bee taps into her spiritual zone over production by Xtassy, delivering a high-powered selection that captures her in vintage form.
”You Are Not Alone”
Guitar licks are paired with pulsating 808s for this highlight, which finds the Brooklyn diva talking greasy while showcasing her melodic flow. Levying threats to the opposition, the black Ericka Kane turns in a performance that’s as riveting as any offering on the vet’s comeback effort.
Johnny Walker revamps Bubba Sparxx’s 2005 hit “Mrs New Booty” for this raunchy number. Featuring O.T. Genasis and Yung Miami of the City Girls, this twerk-friendly banger has the makings of a potential strip-club anthem and is worthy of real estate on your playlist.
Casanova: Behind These Scars
House visits are made on this frantic number from Casanova, who comes equipped with an ample amount of malice and firepower in tow. Produced by HitMakerDot, this early standout packs plenty of replay value and captures the Brooklyn tough’s unbridled aggression.
The clappers are unleashed on this upbeat ditty, which finds Casanova putting the artillery away and laying his mack down. Co-starring Jeremih, this cut, which features production from Zale and Beat Butcha, is infectious and is further evidence of the rapper’s continued growth as a hit-maker.
Casanova and Chris Brown build on their chemistry with this collaboration. Produced by 808-Ray & Cool & Dre, who rework a sample of the 1998 R&B hit “Faded Pictures” by Case & Joe, this joint effort is a safe bet to rack up spins and add to Casanova’s list of fan-favorites.