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 lineup consists of a varied mix of talent — a blooming R&B star, an underground stalwart and a live composer. Summer Walker looks to capitalize on the buzz created by Last Day of Summer and CLEAR with Over It, her debut studio album, which includes appearances from Drake, Usher, Bryson Tiller, 6LACK, PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jhene Aiko. Three years removed from his critically acclaimed album Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown steps back into the spotlight with uknowhatimsayin, an album that captures his high-end brand of lyricism and oddball tendencies. And last, but not least, accomplished musician Robert Glasper brings together a stellar collection of talent for his latest release, Fuck Yo Feelings, a refined body of work that is a reminder of the marriage between jazz and hip hop.
With all three releases getting airplay and dominating the conversation, REVOLT shares our critics’ picks for the three songs from each project 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.
Summer Walker: Over It
”Playing Games (Extended Version)”
London on da Track assumes production duties on the extended version of Walker’s hit single, which interpolates Destiny’s Child’s 1999 hit “Say My Name.” Featuring additional vocals from Bryson Tiller, this revamped version should give it additional staying power and keep Walker’s voice in constant rotation.
The singer reworks Usher’s 1997 hit “You Make Me Wanna...” for this steamy duet from her latest collection. Produced by London on da Track, Aubrey Robinson and Roark Bailey — with a guest appearance from Usher himself — this tune is an enticing one that has the potential to win fans over in droves.
”I’ll Kill You”
Fatal attraction is in the air on this selection, which finds Walker directing idle threats to her significant other as a deterrent to potential infidelity. Produced by Roark Bailey, Aubrey Robinson, London on da Track and Scott Storch, and featuring Jhene Aiko, this salvo finds both chanteuses taking their love to the ultimate limit and throwing caution to the wind.
Danny Brown: uknowhatimsayin
Danny Brown connects with Q-Tip for the lead single from the Detroit rhyme slinger’s new album. Flipping a sample of “Syrinx” by Aurora Spinray, the A Tribe Called Quest member supplies Brown with a quirky sound-bed to muse about sexual escapades over.
The MC volleys witty, screw-face inducing couplets on this standout offering, which finds the zany lyricist sharing air-time with Run The Jewels. Produced by JPEGMAFIA, this joint gives new meaning to “three the hard way,” as the trio of spitters dismantle the track in effortless fashion.
A trip down memory lane gets embarked on via this autobiographical cut from Brown’s latest long player. Produced by Q-Tip, and powered by a sample of “Make You Happy” by Tommy McGee, this selection is a slight departure from the rapper’s more heavy-handed salvos and exudes a more lighthearted vibe from the other material on the album.
Robert Glasper: Fuck Yo Feelings
”This Changes Everything”
A slice of boom-bap gets jazzed up by Robert Glasper and company, who craft a potent instrumental that sets the stage for a session of superb rhyme spills. Featuring Buddy, Denzel Curry, Terrace Martin and James Poyser, this introductory tune doubles as the album’s apex.
”Endangered Black Woman”
Andra Day and Staceyann Chin lend their vocals to this smokey groove. Produced by Glasper, Derrick Hodge and Chris Dave, this tune touches on the plight of the black woman — a message that is bolstered by the unfiltered dialogue that bookends the track.
Glasper pairs Baby Rose with Rapsody on this mellow number, which finds the latter extending her streak of stellar guest spots. Shunning the pressure to live up to external expectations, Rose and Rapsody collide for one of the album’s more impressive collaborative efforts.