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 is headlined by the official debut of one of rap’s brightest new stars, as well as sophomore efforts from two former phenoms. Capping off a breakout year in which his music and face seemed inescapable, DaBaby drops off KIRK, the Interscope signee’s debut long player that’s inspired by his late father. Three years removed from his critically acclaimed major label debut, Islah, Kevin Gates makes his long-awaited return with I’m Him, which should only strengthen the Louisianan’s reputation for delivering quality bodies of work. And last, but not least, after warming fans up for her return with occasional loosies and collaborations, Young M.A. presents Herstory in the Making, which strays away from features and puts the focus squarely on her own abilities as an emcee.
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.
Listeners get taken to church on this somber number, which finds DaBaby holding court from the pulpit, while touching on personal tragedies like the deaths of his father and rapper Nipsey Hussle. Featuring YK Osiris, Gucci Mane and Chance the Rapper — with production courtesy of Mantiz, 1st Class and JetsonMade — this tune gathers a handful of rap’s biggest stars and packs plenty of replay value.
Tahj Money crafts a soundscape comprised of menacing piano keys and thunderous percussion for DaBaby to do his bidding over on this highlight from his debut. Phoning in Migos for added reinforcement, the rapper and company concentrate their lyrical chops and account for the album’s crescendo.
”THERE HE GO”
DaBaby contrasts his newfound fame and celebrity with his humble beginnings on this standout. Produced by London on da Track, the song finds the artist celebrating his platinum status, while basking in the trappings of his success.
Kevin Gates: I’m Him
Therapy is in session on this opening salvo from Gates’ sophomore offering, as the Baton Rouge spitter gives listener a glimpse into the inner-workings of his psyche. Produced by Take A Daytrip, who powers the track with twangy guitars and 808s, this selection commences the proceedings in favorable fashion.
”By My Lonely”
Gates gets busy over an interpolation of Speaker Knockerz’s 2013 hit “Lonely” for this revamped take on the slain rapper’s version. Pairing Knockerz’s hook from the original with a pair of aggressive stanzas, Gates scores one of the stronger cuts on this collection, while paying homage to a promising talent.
Fractious Frank and MD$ deliver the backdrop for this motivational anthem, which doubles as the first single released from Gates’ new long player. Geared toward the hustlers and go-getters in the trap and beyond, this salvo ranks among the more enticing offerings on the tracklist and presents Gates in all of his gruff splendor.
Young M.A.: Herstory in the Making
Mike Zombie is enlisted to provide the sonics for this infectious number from Young M.A., who exudes an air of swagger and panache while reeling off cocksure couplets. The second single released in promotion of the Brooklynite’s latest offering, this cut adds to her growing list of party starters.
Matters of the heart are brought to the forefront on this mellow number that was produced by Hagler. Originally released in celebration of Valentines Day earlier this year, this fan-favorite captures M.A. in a vulnerable state and is a reminder of her ability to emote in effective fashion.
Young M.A. gives the traits of her lady of choice on this bouncy banger. Produced by Amadeus — with guest vocals from Max YB and Relle Bey — this uptempo ditty is a prime addition to your rotation and has the makings of a sleeper hit.