Category Archives: The Latest Playlist

Quarantunes VI


Danny Brown – Nowhere 2 Go

Andre Nickatina – Situation Critical

Mos Def & Talib Kweli – Respiration

Kahlil feat. Natho – Hustla Music

All These Fingers – Threestax

Viktor Vaughn – Lickupon

Estee Nack & Purpose – Love N’ Lust

Little Brother – Speed

Large Professor – Sun, Star & Crescents

Paranom & Purpose – Rise Above

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Quarantunes V


Blu & Exile – Cold Hearted

Grieves – Sunny Side of Hell

Jay Rock feat. J. Cole – OSOM

Epidemic – We Back Now

Robust – Beats/me

Moderator – Side By Side

Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz feat. DJ Los – Grace of God

Casual feat. Moon Shyne – Divine Dreams

Jericho Jackson – Thank You

Cavalier – Reprise

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Quarantunes IV


Creed Chameleon – Invisible

Damu The Fudgemunk – Hogs On The Hill [Pretty Sneaky]

Blame One & J57 feat. Akie Bermiss – They Don’t Know

Familiar Wu – The Ride

The Lioness – Ashe’

Kill Bill x Rav feat. Mega Ran – Put it down

Dr. LaFlow – Lily

The Skull Eclipses, Botany & Lushlife – Pushing Up the Hills

Danny Watts – Pill

Young Raven – Stratosphere Nympho

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Quarantunes III


Jurassic 5 – Sum of Us

Wax Tailor – Dragon Chasers

Rapsody feat. Anderson .Paak – OooWee

Roc Marciano – Power

Reks – Say Goodnight

L’Orange & Stik Figa feat. Open Mike Eagle & Mindsone – Decorated Silence

Ray West & OC – Ymi

MF DOOM feat. DJ Cucumber Slice – Rhymes Like Dimes

Reef the Lost Cauze – Thug Fantasy

Paper Tiger – First Track

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Quarantunes II


lojii & Swarvy – northern organix

Earl Sweatshirt – Inside

Danny Brown feat. Charli XCX – Float On

Erick Arc Elliot feat. Hellacopter City – Bad Habit

Busdriver – Much

KA – Just

The Doppelgangaz – Barbituates

Caleborate – 4 Willem

Noah 23 – Can’t Stay Mad

Milo – Monologion

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Quarantunes I


LeRoyce – I Got Soul

Nipsey Hussle – I Don’t Give a Fucc

Boogie – Let Me Rap

EARTHGANG – No Peace

Mac Miller – Blue World

NoNDescript – You And Me

Isaiah Rashad – 4r Da Squaw

Aaron May – Let Go

Murs & Fashawn feat. Adrian – This Generation

Oddisee – After Thoughts

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The Latest Playlist: 2014-2015 Gems


Chuuwee – Cool World

Black Knights feat. Kinetic – Techniques & Shockwaves

BamFoe – Death Do Us Part

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper

Murs – Skatin Through the City

Mick Jenkins – Alchemy

Sa-Roc – Goddess Lament

L’Orange feat. Boog Brown – Until The Fall

Milo feat. Myka 9 – Zen Scientist

Step Brothers feat. Roc Marciano – See the Rich Man Play

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2019 In Review

Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2019. Check the following playlists, albums, and videos for my personal run-down of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2019

*Track listing at bottom of post


Notable Albums of 2019

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

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The most universally accepted rap album of 2019 was Bandana from Freddie Gibbs & Madlib. Legendary producer Madlib brings some of his finest work to this highly active Bandana instrumental. The samples are chosen brilliantly and blended masterfully, contributing layers of drama and grandeur to Freddie Gibbs’ tales of criminal lifestyle. Gibbs raps about life struggles through the lens of his experiences in illicit activities, primarily drug dealing. He provides generously detailed stories and references of past experiences with criminal activity, women, and law enforcement. Though he raps with the demeanor of an experienced member of organized crime, Gibbs doesn’t shy away from expressing his emotional state as he describes struggles he experiences as a result of his lifestyle. It is not at all lost in his message that his involvement in criminal activity is born out of a struggle to survive in an environment that doesn’t care if he succeeds, fails, lives, or dies. With outstanding production and heavy descriptive lyrics, Bandana is already considered a classic.

Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places

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For years Billy Woods has been one of the most prolific emcees in the subgenre of abstract hip hop; 2019 was his banner year. Hiding Places represents a thoroughly developed and sophisticated Woods on the dark beats and crushing drums of his perfect producer counterpart: Kenny Segal. Hiding Places from Billy Woods & Kenny Segal is not an album for passive listening. Over the course of this project, Woods weaves in and out of fragmented thoughts, metaphor, memories and tangents. This is a deeply personal and emotional Woods, as he speaks passionately in heavy reflection of his childhood and life experiences. There is a fine line between rapping and spoken word, and Woods is constantly playing with that line. The overall aesthetic of this collaboration is dark, ominous, aggressive, and a bit uncomfortable. Hiding Places can be off-putting at first, but listening to this project in its entirety is a truly captivating experience. I also recommend checking out Billy Woods’ other 2019 release: Terror Management.

Kota the Friend – Foto

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The album I listened to the most in 2019 was Foto from Kota the Friend. Kota the Friend has to be the most genuinely humble emcee out. Foto is not a complex album musically, conceptually, or otherwise, but it is a true gem for fans of boom bap conscious rap. Through mellow melodic delivery Kota speaks frankly about his life, relationships, and the importance of family. Kota is nearly void of rap braggadocio. The occasional boasting is done with a subtlety that points more towards a comfort in himself rather than any self-righteous arrogance. Foto is highly optimistic from front to back, and Kota speaks from a place of content and joy, consciously leaving hardships in his past. The beats are simple but solid. People looking for more innovative styles and sounds might find the album a bit repetitive, but I personally cant get enough of it.

Check out other Notable Albums from: Rapsody, Dreamville, EarthGang, Anderson .Paak, Mavi, Little Simz, YBN Cordae


Notable Videos of 2019

Freddie Gibbs – Fake Names

Little Simz – Venom

Tierra Whack – Unemployed

Tobe Nwigwe feat. Paul Wall – Juice

YBN Cordae feat. Aanderson .Paak – RNP

Boogie on Sway’s Universe

King Los on Power 106

Open Mike Eagle feat. Danny Brown – Unfiltered (Comedy Central/The New Negroes)


The Latest Playlist 2019

Little Simz – Venom

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Fake Names

Qari & Greenslime – Operation Hennessy

Rapsody – Serena

CRIMEAPPLE & DJ Skizz – Wet Dirt

YBN Cordae – Wintertime

Mach-Hommy feat. Tha God Fahim – Mozambique Drill

Flying Lotus – Andromeda

Tobe Nwigwe feat. Lanell Grant – Caged Birds

Anoyd & Statik Selektah – Purple

Kill Bill x Rav feat. Rekcahdam – Now you don’t

Kota the Friend – Sedona

Danny Brown – Best Life

Dreamville & JID feat. T.I. – Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

Kemba feat. Portugal, The Man – The Feels

MAVI – Love, Of Money

Maxo – Time

Medhane – Affirmation #1

Hemlock Ernst & Kenny Segal – Back at the House

Slowthai – Crack

Apollo Brown feat. Nolan The Ninja & Dopehead – Skimmin’

Homeboy Sandman – Step Inside

Your Old Droog – Train Love

Earl Sweatshirt – MTOMB

Billy Woods feat. Mach-Hommy – Windhoek

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2018 IN REVIEW

Below are some of my favorite hip-hop highlights of 2018. Check the following playlists, albums, music videos, cyphers, and rap battles for my personal run-down of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2018

*Track listing at bottom of post


Notable Albums of 2018

Avantdale Bowling Club – Avantdale Bowling Club

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New Zealand based rapper Tom Scott is backed by a full live band for this collaborative hip-hop jazz-fusion project. The sound is raw, high-energy, and feels completely improvisational. The tracks are very long and have multiple jazzy instrumental sections that transition from one sound to the next, making 8 tracks sound like at least a dozen songs. Scott’s ability to keep up with the band while maintaining clear vocal projection is one of his most impressive qualities. With each musical transition, Scott manages to adapt the style of his flow to the band. His lyrics are not especially complex, but they come off as commendably honest and personal. Scott raps primarily about his own personal experiences and memories, which are often accompanied by vivid descriptions. He also raps about friends, relationships, and other aspects of his life, at times progressing into unorganized contemplative tangents.

Black Thought – Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2

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In his first major solo project, 47-year-old veteran MC and The Roots front man, Black Thought blessed 2018 with a 2-part project that made clear he is still in his prime. Thought plays the role of an elder instructor with every bit of vigor from his youth. Commanding attention with his powerful cadence, every line is delivered like it’s for a packed stadium. Vol. 1 was a June release primarily produced by 9th Wonder that served as an explosive re-introduction of who Black Thought is and what he’s about. Black Thought is uncompromisingly conscious and ultra-political, frequently referencing history, spirituality, and current events from local to global levels. Vol. 2 was a late November release produced by Salaam Remi, and debatably album of the year. With the same energy and intentions in Vol. 1, Vol. 2 was a platform for Thought to get into more specific issues, such as the pharmaceutical industry, industrial prison complex, school shootings, and gang violence to name a few. This is classic hip-hop with clean production. For any old heads in 2018, Streams of Thought Vol. 1 & 2 are true gems.

Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs

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Only 3 years after his last release, Earl Sweatshirt sounds like he has aged a decade. Despite the album title, this is Earl’s most stylistically and conceptually cohesive project to date. The entire album carries a lethargic dystopian energy as Earl raps with a low muffled tone over mostly uplifting, dusty lo-fi samples. Over 15 very short songs, Earl offers admirably genuine pictures of his life and psychological condition. Despite the undertones of depression, he presents himself as sarcastically optimistic or at least apathetic. Most of his expressive content is not direct, but layered in metaphor and wordplay.

Jericho Jackson – Khrysis & Elzhi are Jericho Jackson

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This project is another gem for classic heads. Renowned independent rapper Elzhi flexes clever east cost lyricism over headnodic beats that feel like the cold winter streets of New York City. Throughout the project Elzhi delivers an onslaught of continuous wordplay, creative punch lines and metaphors. Despite the lyrical density, his message is crystal clear, which is in a word, ‘struggle’. He makes clear that his life has been dangerous and difficult, that he has little trust for anyone, that he is “Self Made” and as an underground veteran, has worked for everything he’s earned. Elzhi is often known for his proudly Nas-influenced style, which is expectedly evident in this project. In a way Jericho Jackson feels a bit like a classic Nas album.

Check out other Notable Albums from: Armand Hammer, Jay Rock, Jean Grae & Quelle Chris, JID, Mick Jenkins, Milo, and Noname.


Notable Videos of 2018

Childish Gambino – This Is America

Jay Rock – The Bloodiest

JID – Working Out

Earthgang – Up

Mick Jenkins – What Am I To Do

Iron Solomon vs Rum Nitty 

Chris Webby on Sway


The Latest Playlist 2018

Black Milk – Could It Be

Saba – LIFE

Michael Christmas feat. Tobi Lou – Not the Only One

Mick Jenkins – Gwendolynn’s Apprehension

JID – 151 Rum

JPEGMAFIA – 1539 N. Calvert

Roc Marciano – Power

Mayhem Lauren feat. Conway – Venetian Loafers

Action Bronson – Prince Charming

The Skull Eclipses, Botany & Lushlife – Take My

Avantdale Bowling Club – F(r)iends

Earl Sweatshirt – Azucar

Royce da 5’9” feat. Ashley Sorrell – God Speed

Marlowe – Lost Arts

Bishop Nehru – Driftin’

Jericho Jackson – Self Made

Black Thought – 9th vs. Thought

The Lioness – Great Things

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris feat. Dane Orr – Peacock

Masta Ace & Marco Polo feat. Pearl Gates – Still Love Her

Milo – Mid Answer Trying To Remember What the Question Is

Open Mike Eagle – Southside Eagle

Hermit and the Recluse – Golden Fleece

Evidence feat. Jonwayne – To Make a Long Story Longer

Pete Flux & Parental – Burgermeister

Gavlyn & DJ Hoppa – Note to Self

Chester Watson – Floating

Iojii – Spook Who Sat By Da Floor

Busdriver feat. Dntel & Lorde Fredd33 – The year I became a mutherfuckin’ G

The Alchemist feat. Earl Sweatshirt – E. Coli

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2017 IN REVIEW

It’s that time again for my review of the last year in hip-hop. Below are some of my favorite highlights of 2017. Check the following Playlists, Albums, Music Videos, Cyphers, and Rap Battles for my personal run-down of the year.


The Latest Playlist: 2017

*Track listing at bottom of post


Notable Albums of 2017

Choosing albums to highlight this year was difficult, and I want to at least mention some of the projects that for whatever reason I had a difficult time deciding not to critique: Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, Kendrick Lamar – DAMN, Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom, Marlon Craft – The Tunnel’s End, Billy Woods – Known Unknowns, and Kota the Friend – Paloma Beach. In the end, I decided to bring attention to the following 2017 projects:

BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION I, II, & III

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The most wonderful surprise of 2017 was the trilogy of albums released by self-proclaimed Internet boy band, BROCKHAMPTON: SATURATION I, II, & III. My initial intention was to comment on just one of the three albums, but it would have been irresponsible not to address the entire trilogy as a whole, as well as the group’s overall significance in 2017. Formed by Kevin Abstract in an online Kanye West fan forum, the group consists of about a dozen members, each with a unique style, blending together in an incredibly impressive and complex dynamic. With a collective 48 tracks (only 8 of which are skits), and accompanied by about 20 music videos, this trilogy is and has everything, leaving little to be desired.

Forming a description of this music is anything but simple, as there are completely different styles from track to track, and even from section to section within each track. Some parts are difficult to digest; others contain a beautiful harmonizing of melodies, while others tiptoe into more classical rap and lyricism, and at times display styles that resemble poetry and spoken word. SATURATION pulls from a wide variety of genres and uses a plethora of sounds culminating in a project that is uniquely refreshing and absolutely genuine. The overall energy is invigorating and exiting in a way that is reminiscent of early Odd Future, but far more sophisticated.

In general, the content covers everything relevant to 2017 without beating the listener over the head with anything in particular. The message oscillates between introspective, contemplative, and outwardly conscious to a far less enlightened self-indulgence, which is clearly self-aware, dabbling in a comedic irony. The more time you spend with this music, the more there is to unpack and appreciate.

Milo – Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!

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2017 brought yet another magical release from the rap poet alchemist/sorcerer: Milo. With the opening track titled “Poet” and closing track titled “Rapper”, Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?! Actively addresses the natural crossover of poetry and rap, particularly in Milo’s own music, which has become commonly referred to as the Open Mike Eagle coined genre of “Art Rap”.

The instrumentals on this project are mostly mesmerizingly mellow (mmm…), leaving room for Milo’s message, which is, as usual, contemplative and inquisitive on many levels. Deeply saturated with abstract metaphor and philosophical references, as in all of Milo’s music, momentary distraction is unforgiving to the listener, and understanding his messages require undivided attention.

Much of this project seems to be a path of self-discovery through music as well as observation of others, and finding his place relative to those observations. He frequently employs blatant critique of stereotypical rap clichés and shortsighted arrogance, though his disses would clearly be lost upon the targets of his criticism. Well aware of his intellectual prowess, particularly in the field of hip-hop, intelligence and vocabulary become his bragging points: “The point is my vocabulary pays my rent”.

Though I wouldn’t consider this Milo’s best project to date, it is undoubtedly successful, solidifying his place as one of my favorite artists.

lojii & Swarvy – Due Rent

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Any classic head can appreciate “Due Rent”, the latest double “disc” album from lojii & Swarvy. Lojii tackles the age-old hip-hop theme of hustling for cash, striving to overcome struggle, and then rapping about it. With a low-energy Godfather/Mafioso type East Coast flow, lojii casually floats over a bed of dark lo-fi instrumentals that clearly display Swarvy’s ability to orchestrate sample mastery.

Accurately self described as “rap vintage”, each track is only about 2 minutes and is essentially a different take on the same point: lojii going about his day to day trying to find a way to pay rent and make it to the next day, with of course, a bit of classic hip-hop braggadocio peppered in. Overall the album is cohesively satisfying, with a seemingly low budget production and message, lojii & Swarvy show that they can make dope hip-hop with any budget, reminiscent of an earlier time in underground hip-hop production.


Notable Music Videos of 2017

Open Mike Eagle feat. Sammus – Hymnal

Open Mike Eagle – Happy Wasteland Day

Jay-Z – The Story of O.J.

Brother Ali – Never Learn

BROCKHAMPTON – SWAMP


Notable Cyphers of 2017

Method Man & Black Thought on Sway in the Morning

Harry Mack Freestyles in Venice


Notable Rap Battles of 2017

Bigg K vs Pass (KOTD)

Dizaster vs Oxxxymiron (KOTD)

Oops vs Xcel (KOTD)


The Latest Playlist 2017:

Brother Ali – Never Learn

lojii & Swarvy – Northern Organix

Marlon Craft – The One (Intro) / TTE 1

Milo – Sorcerer

Danny Watts – Things We Have To Do

Devin the Dude – Can I

Open Mike Eagle Feat. Sammus – Hymnal

Little Simz – Backseat

J.I.D. – General

Billy Woods – Snake Oil

BROCKHAMPTON – TOKYO

Araabmuzik feat. Illmind – Selda

Anti-Lilly & Phoniks feat. Mariel – Sunshine

Cyhi The Prynce – God Bless Your Heart

Kendrick Lamar – FEEL

Loyle Carner – Ain’t Nothing Changed

Cunninlynguists – Mr. Morganfield & Ms. Waters (A-Side)

Sampa The Great – Protect Your Queen

Homeboy Sandman – Bless Up

The Doppelgangaz feat. Tnava– Roll Flee

Kota the Friend – Lawn Chair

Joey Bada$$ feat. Styles P – SUPER PREDATOR

Smino – Spitshine

Blu & Exile – Party of Two

Quelle Chris feat. I, Ced & Mndsgn – Popeye

The Underachievers – Cobra Clutch

Statik Selektah feat. Run The Jewels – Put Jewels On It

Stik Figa feat. Apollo Brown – Holding Back Tears

Armand Hammer – Stole

G Perico – All Blue


Have a great 2018!