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.
As the last major date for album drops of not only the year, but the decade, it’s appropriate that we end things off with a bang, as some of the games brightest talents turned in releases right in time for the ball drop. With his status as a bonafide megastar set in stone, Travis Scott looks to ingratiate his Cactus Jack crew to the public with JACKBOYS; which includes features from Young Thug, Quavo, Offset, Lil Baby, and Pop Smoke. After unveiling his Jesus Is King album about two months ago, Kanye West shines the spotlight on his Sunday Service Choir with Jesus Is Born, which arrived on Christmas Day and is fueled by gospel-inspired takes on timeless records from yesteryear. And last, but not least, G Herbo surprises his fans with Sessions, a long player that finds the Chicago native pouring out his pain and providing yet another soundtrack for the Windy City streets.
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.
JACKBOYS, Travis Scott: JACKBOYS
”Highest in the Room (Remix)”
After topping the pop charts with the original earlier this year, Scott liberates a remix that features Lil Baby, who was slated to appear on the O.G. version, and singer/songwriter ROSALÍA. Produced by OZ and Nik D, the new track should extend the star’s reign well into 2020 and will be a go-to selection at your local New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The vibes are felt in their purest form on this cut, which finds Don Tolliver belting out vocals over production by TM88 & WondaGurl. Featuring a sample of Hov and Beyonce’s hit “SUMMER,” this number includes appearances from Migos members Offset and Quavo, both of whom offer standout performances.
Jabz and Buddah Bless drop off a thunderous soundscape for Scott and Young Thug, with the two southern trailblazers melding their distinct styles. Airing out his sexual exploits and preferences, Thugger bats lead-off, while La Flame cleans up with a verse that finds him hopping in and out of foreign whips on a whim on this flute-heavy offering.
Sunday Service Choir: Jesus Is Born
The Sunday Service Choir covers R&B trio SWV’s “Rain” for this glorious selection, which thrives on account of its live instrumentation. Comprised of horns, piano keys, strings, and drums; the backdrop serves as the perfect canvas for the choir’s vocal performance, which is nothing short of praise-worthy.
”Follow Me - Faith”
The blessings rain down on this offering, as the ensemble looks to lead listeners to Christianity while tackles Aly-Us’ classic banger “Follow Me (Original Mix).” Transitioning into a gospel-infused interpolation of Ye’s The Life of Pablo single “Fade,” this number brings the club to the church, and embodies the best of both worlds in the process.
West and company flip a steamy bedroom romper into a hymn, reconstructing Ginuwine’s “So Anxious” into this heartfelt ode to the glory of God. Harmonizing over booming percussion, the sheer power of the Sunday Service Choir is captured on this tune and marries the religious with the secular in seamless fashion.
G Herbo: Sessions
”Summer is Cancelled”
Commentary from an old-time Chicago hustler precedes this introductory song from Herbo’s latest, which channels the grit and grind that accompanies life in the city’s treacherous streets. Produced by Harry Fraud, this stirring testimonial draws listeners into the Chiraq spitter’s realm of reality, accounting for an intense composition that is sure to strike a chord in your soul.
Duffle bags get filled on this guitar-driven number that captures Herbo loading up heavy machinery while basking in the trappings of his success. Produced by DJ Victoriouz, this selection includes stanzas in which the Chicagoan appraises his jewelry collection and waxes poetic about the almighty dollar, and his propensity to secure it in large amounts.
Herbo sneers in the face of death on this bouncy salvo, as PVLACE of 808 Mafia and Southside score the proceedings with 808s and strings. Toting firearms and numbing the pain with codeine and greenbacks, the rapper’s post-traumatic tendencies are on full display on this outing, as he peers back at the crime-riddled path he’s traveled.