Forget the coffee, hip-hop was hit with back to back sonic fixes of adrenaline with two surprises releases. First, Future shared his unannounced (and forever-awaited) BEASTMODE 2, the follow-up to 2015’s Beast Mode mixtape and his first proper full-length release since last year’s double-whammy FUTURE and HNDRXX. Then, after an early hiccup that saw it hit online days early, Meek Mill released his official comeback EP, Legends of the Summer. Quickly controlling the rap conversation, the two projects spawned plenty of reactions. Here, we take a look at both, as well as a few other projects that may fit in your weekend rotation.


Background: It seems like it’s been forever and day since Future and legendary producer Zaytoven first teased BEASTMODE 2. Hell, they’ve been teasing it since 2015. But after years of teasers and a load of No. 1 albums, we have finally reached the red carpet.

#FirstThoughts: There’s a song on this nine-song project that might perfectly describe its narrator: “Hate the Real Me.” Of all the days to drop new music, Future, or Pastor Savage, would pick the date of his ex-fiancé’s wedding anniversary to deliver his latest soundtrack of unrelenting intensity. But that’s another story. Drama aside, unrelenting is one of the many ways to describe his new offering — so does intoxicating and callous. “DOH DOH,” “CUDDLE MY WRIST,” and “SOME MORE” perfectly display the natural infectious that comes with Fewch and his bag of mixtape anthems. On the mentioned, he sounds unfazed under his cloud of numbness, blue tint diamond cool, and super trapper grit — all the trimmings of his infectiousness. But when Zaytoven’s batch of congregational funk get atmospheric, the emotionalism in the beatsmith’s pristine keys gets Future to correct those notions, peeling back the layers to his proverbial monster. You can hear Zay strike a chord with him on “RED LIGHT,” a song where Fewch rips off the bandage and gets candid about his relationship with his father. “I was such a worried child, just wanted you to be a part of me,” he confesses. On “HATE THE REAL ME,” he’s hollering for help, all the while searching for the next fix to numb the pain (“Damn, I hate the real me”). While his testosterone-fueled anthems is the gas to his engine, Future’s introspection, no matter how melancholic and heavy-hearted, is the true shine to his appeal. On BEASTMODE 2, the gleam is much brighter.

Review in GIFs and memes:

Meek Mill, Legends of the Summer

Background: “They was screaming Free Meek, now Meek Free,” Meek Mill triumphantly raps on “Milidelphia.” It’s the best way he could have opened a project that arrives at the quasi tail end of his well-documented (yet still ongoing) tumultuous journey. He was released from prison on bail in April 2018, and in the time since he’s turned the narrative from “Free Meek” to, as Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” With a chip still on his shoulder, the Philadelphia rapper has stepped into the role of spokesperson for criminal justice reform. At the BET Awards last month, he delivered his most politically-charged performance yet with the debut of “Stay Woke” featuring Miguel. Backed by a new purpose and tunnel vision focus, he releases _Legends of the Summer, his first body of work since 2017’s Wins & Losses.

#FirstThoughts: At four tracks, Meek Mill’s surprise four-song pack is a comeback by any measure. In the face of adversity, as his legal saga remains far from over, the Philly rapper inhales the chaos and belts out triumph. “I’m just an icon living, jumping on the chopper outta prison,” he exhales on “Millidelphia,” cleverly referencing his highly publicized jaunt from prison to courtside at the Sixers playoff game earlier this year. In this endless dance between underdog and “icon living,” Meek’s transparency and resonance grows larger by the BPM — look at the power of his resonant classic “Dreams and Nightmares” — making him a one-man soundtrack for a generation in need of motivation. Some of this is conveyed on the concise and solid Legends, which sonically captures the four sides of Meek — voice of young black America (“Stay Woke”); architect of the bravado-pumping intro (“Millidelphia”); the pendulum of lit and litty again (“1am”); and smooth player for real (“Dangerous”). Overall, while the fixings are the same, the hunger and crispness behind the bars that wraps all of this together is invigorating. Uncaged with an unquenchable appetite for redemption, Meek is officially back and Legends is his homecoming.

Review in GIFs and memes:

Other notable releases:

DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK’s _Summertime Mixtape, Vol.9

What Mariah Carey is to Christmas, DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK (formerly Mick Boogie) have a claim in the conversation for summertime. Hit play on the duo’s latest Summertime mixtape series, and see whether or not that previously mentioned is a hyperbole.

Dom Kennedy, Addicted to the Underground

As the critical acclaim of Yellow Album and Get Home Safely continue to be the measuring stick that his new albums get matched against, the Leimert Park legend dishes out a pretty solid nine-song release with Addicted to the Underground. Early favorites include “Popularity” and “Free Breakfast.”

B.o.B., NAGA

Is this really B.o.B.’s final album? If so, he bids farewell(?) with a bang, snapping on records like “Kumbaya,” “Bad Computer,” and “Dontbenobodysbitch.” As for where this fits in his catalog, that’s up in the air.