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 collection boasts a mix of new fire, as one of the most eclectic and progressive producers in music supplies his latest long player; a pillar of Atlanta’s current rap scene comes through with a new body of work, and one of Chicago’s most recognizable stars looks to thrust his crew of under-bosses into the spotlight. Having established himself as one of the most inventive boardsman of his time, KAYTRANADA continues to blow minds with Bubba, a project that features contributions from frequent and new collaborators alike. After teaming up with DJ Drama for his 650Luc: Gangsta Grillz project earlier this year, YFN Lucci looks to close out 2019 on a high with his new release, HIStory; which includes features from City Girls, Bigga Rankin, Trouble, Rotimi, and more. And to round out the line-up, embattled rapper Lil Durk attempts to take the focus off his legal battle with Family Over Everything, which showcases the stable of talent on his record label and includes features from G Herbo, Polo G, Lil Tjay, NLE Choppa, and more.
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.
“What You Need”
A potent dose of blue-eyed soul is delivered via Canadian songstress Charlotte Day Wilson on this jittery ditty. Working with an array of instruments, the Haitian-Canadian maestro serves up a selection that is pleasing to the ears and is infectious enough to make your feet come alive without warning.
Tumbling drums are scattered across this soundscape, which KAYTRANADA enhances with synths and other additives for his collaborators to cascade over. Led by a stanza from Eight9FLY — with GoldLink and Ari PenSmith batting clean-up — this upbeat cut finds all of its moving parts working in sync and is has the aura of a modern-day dub-plate special.
“The Worst In Me”
A round of kicks and cymbals sets off the vibe on this pulsating number, which pairs KAYTRANADA with Tinashe, who rises to the occasion with a masterful performance. This cut, which was foreshadowed by an appearance by KAYTRANADA in the singer’s Los Angeles home this past February, hits on all cylinders and captures Tinashe basking in all of her sultry splendor.
YFN Lucci: HIStory
“Sacrifices & Pain”
Rich Gang affiliate Derez De’Shon pops up for a riveting guest spot on this outing, coasting alongside Lucci over production by Maxx Payne. Built around acoustic guitar licks, this twangy backdrop thrives off of its live instrumentation and finds the YFN franchise player delving into a state of reflection and atonement.
YFN Lucci dials up his comrade YFN Fat for assistance in getting off his flex on this offering; which finds the Atlanta reps flossing off their jewelry, luxury whips and other trappings. Produced by SpeakerBangerz, this festive ditty is an appropriate soundtrack for the excess and debauchery that comes with being a neighborhood superstar — or a 9-5 worker who’s day job can cover also cover the bill.
“Let Me Know”
Buddha Beats crafts an island-tinged composition with his production on this heater, with captures Lucci offering to lend an open ear and a shoulder to lean on. Featuring “Power” supporting actor/crooner Rotimi, who takes a page out of the book of Usher’s “U Don’t Have To Call” on his verse, this ditty is composed enough to ride out to and has enough bounce to draw listeners to the dance floor.
Lil Durk: Family Over Everything
Talks of pensions and 401Ks are nonexistent on this solemn selection that showcases Lil Durk embracing a life of criminality, while reminiscing on his days in the trenches. Produced by Sonic, who crafts a soundbed powered by scrambling 808s, keys and other wrinkles, — — with a guest spot from Chicago phenom Polo G — this salvo is tailor-made for a late-night cruise through any hood.
Bedlam is in effect when Durk holds court on this piano-driven offering, which finds the OTF general showcasing one of the soldiers in his platoon and reuniting with an old ally. Produced by Niaggi, and Gunboi & PVLACE of 808 Mafia; this cut finds crew member Booka600 getting some air-time while commandeering the hook, whereas fellow Chi-Town rep G Herbo swoops in with an explosive performance on the second verse to anchor the proceedings.
Trunks rattle and blocks quake the instant the pounding backdrop for this selection drops, where Lil Durk taking inventory of his inner-circle and circumference. Featuring an appearance from Big Apple firebrand Lil Tjay, this tune finds the pair delivering their parables over production by Richie Souf with a melodic twist.