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 slate of new heat includes the return of one of hip hop’s most celebrated duos, a timely project from one of the most popular spitters holding it down for streets, and a new full-length offering from one of Atlanta’s most promising talents. With more than sixteen years having passed since the release of their last studio album, Gang Starr unveils One Of The Best Yet, which features a posthumous appearance from Guru, and has production handled entirely by DJ Premier. With a steadily growing buzz and a group album with his Griselda brethren on the way, Westside Gunn delivers his new solo effort, Hitler Wears Hermes 7; which features appearances from Fat Joe, Curren$y, Conway, BENNY THE BUTCHER, Boldy James and more. And last, but not least, Hoodrich Pablo Juan unleashes DMV, the rapper’s follow-up to BLO: The Movie and his second release of the year.
With all three releases getting airplay and dominating the conversation, REVOLT shares our critics’ picks for the three songs from each project that stand a cut above the rest and should be in your heavy rotation now -- and later. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are.
Gang Starr: One Of The Best Yet
1. ”What’s Real”
DJ Premier flips samples of various ‘90s gems for this backdrop, and it serves as the crux of one of the superior offerings from his and Guru’s new LP. Featuring Royce da 5’9’’ and Group Home, this track captures Guru and company in vintage form.
2. ”Family and Loyalty”
Reality rap is spewed on this solemn number, and finds Guru dropping thoughtful couplets atop drums and piano keys. Released as the lead single, this cut, which features a masterful showing from J. Cole, bridges the gap between two eras in seamless fashion.
3. “Take Flight (Militia, Pt. 4)”
The Gang Starr Foundation’s “Big Three” reunite on this epic collaboration. Featuring Freddie Foxxx and Big Shug, this salvo captures Guru and his costars turning in impressive performances over loops, while carrying on tradition with the fourth installment in the “Militia” series.
Westside Gunn: Hitler Wears Hermes 7
1. ”Size 42”
Ghastly piano keys are layered atop a vintage drum loop on this Daringer-produced heater. Waxing poetic about his criminal exploits, Gunn’s lyrical spill is delivered in high-definition, as the Shady signee spouts off vivid musings that draws the listener in upon pressing play.
2. ”Kelly’s Korner”
Statik Selektah provides a vintage slice of boom-bap with this jazzy composition. Featuring a guest stanza from Fat Joe, the track finds The Bronx and Buffalo’s finest colliding for a session of verbal jousting.
3. “Lucha Bros”
Curren$y and Griselda brethren BENNY THE BUTCHER join Gunn atop lush production by The Alchemist on this soulful salvo. In addition to brazen proclamations by Gunn, who places his bid for New York’s coveted rap throne, this offering includes crafty stanzas from his partners-in-rhyme, all of which equals one of the album’s more riveting cuts.
Hoodrich Pablo Juan: DMV
1. ”Iced Up”
Gucci Mane and Wiz Khalifa provide reinforcement for Juan on this marquee selection from the rapper’s new batch of heaters. Produced by TM88 and Southside, the two hit-makers join forces to craft a boisterous soundscape, which the three costars navigate with flair and finesse.
2. ”Minute Maid”
Ronny J unleashes the horns on this thumping number from Juan, who saunters over the track with the bravado of a seasoned veteran. Doling out boastful one-liners at a rapid clip, the rapper casts himself in the light of a neighborhood superstar, while scoring one of the standout tunes on the track-list.
3. “Good Boy”
Juan brings listeners into the thick of the trap with this amped-up offering. Featuring MPR Tito, the track finds the pair speaking their piece over production by D. Sims, who turns in a rambunctious backdrop that packs enough boom to shake the block.