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.
With summer officially underway, the music world is anticipating an avalanche of new material from decorated veterans and rising stars. This week's slate boasts releases from one of the hottest new artist in the game, one of the brightest young stars out of the south, and a ferocious rhyme animal who's been touted by some of the most respected names in the biz. Since shattering records and upending a whole genre with his seismic debut single "Old Town Road," Lil Nas X appears to have the world in the palm of his hands. Looking to capitalize on the momentum, he unveils his new EP, 7. Having spent the past few years fortifying his place in rap, YFN Lucci continues his upward trajectory with 650Luc, his collaborative mixtape with DJ Drama. Rounding out this week's lineup is B.E.N.N.Y. the Butcher. The Buffalo, New York native delivers his latest offering, The Plugs I Met, a project packed with bars galore.
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.
Lil Nas X: 7
Lil Nas X gleans inspiration from Nirvana's classic grunge cut "In Full Bloom" for the upstart's second single, which arrives following weeks of rabid anticipation. Produced by TakeADayTrip, this cut should quiet any talks of the overnight sensation being a one-hit wonder because he turned in a record that could very well get in the way of his "Old Town Road" single's historic stay atop the Billboard charts.
The star hits the jackpot yet again with this addictive highlight, which finds the Atlanta native dialing up Cardi B for a monstrous collaboration. Produced by Russ Chell, Roy Lenzo and TakeADayTrip, this tune combines elements of country music with the cocksure swagger associated with rap. It's the project's most compelling number.
"Bring U Down"
Lil Nas X assumes the role of a vindictive malcontent driven to create misfortune on this guitar-laden cut from the rookie's debut EP. Produced by Zach Skelton and Ryan Tedder, who also contributes guest vocals alongside X on the hook, this track throws listeners for another curve-ball, as this year's breakout star continues to surprise us with the unexpected.
YFN Lucci: 650Luc: Gangsta Grillz
YFN Lucci reports live from the slums on this RellyMade-produced standout from his new mixtape. Recruiting Atlanta trap vets T.I. and Jeezy for added reinforcement, Lucci keeps this affair homegrown, as he and his costars create the latest celebratory anthem for the dope boys.
"All Night Long"
A sample of Case's 2001 hit "Missing You" gets revamped by producers Ayo & Keyz and Hitmaka on this radio-friendly heater from the rapper's latest body of work. Boasting guest vocals from Trey Songz, this steamy selection has the makings of a dark horse hit and should garner Lucci additional airplay.
Listeners are drawn in by acoustic guitar licks on this cheery ditty from the YFN clan leader, who prioritizes royalties and equity over the quick flip. Featuring DTE general Trouble, this King Wonka-produced captures Lucci in all of his buoyant splendor and stands as one of the more splendid moments on the project.
B.E.N.N.Y. the Butcher: The Plugs I Met
"Crowns for Kings"
DJ Shay puts forth a track bolstered by live instrumentation with this dreary backdrop from B.E.N.N.Y.'s lastest solo set. Featuring a guest spot from Black Thought, this tune captures the Butcher matching wits with the acclaimed veteran, who turns in a masterful performance that's indicative of his wizardry.
Daringer and Beat Butcher concoct a mystifying composition for B.E.N.N.Y., and his henchman to plunder on this ominous salvo. Joined by Griselda label-mate Conway and Black Soprano Family signee RJ Payne, the Butcher continues his lyrical reign of terror with this hard-boiled offering.
Illicit transactions are the topic of discussion on this collaborative effort, which captures the Butcher trading bars with Pusha T. Produced by DJ Shay, this heater is primed to rack up numerous spins and it reminds listeners that it's always a treat when true hustlers meet.
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