Today is Friday, which means there are a ton of new releases to look forward to from some of your favorite Hip-Hop artists. To help you unwind and enjoy the weekend, check out VIBE’s picks of songs and albums you should hear and add to your soundtrack of weekend festivities.
Snoop Dogg – I Still Got This
Snoop Dogg may have recently crossed the half-century mark of living and has surpassed three decades, but the West Coast legend proves his competitive nature is still intact with I Still Got This. Locking in the lab with DJ Drama for their latest Gangsta Grillz collaboration, Tha Doggfather opens the tape by taking listeners back to his Long Beach stomping grounds on the bouncy introductory cut “I’m From 21st Street.”
Lyrical firepower gets brandished on “I’ll Holla Back,” as Dave East and Dogg Pound member Kurupt join their host in waving the blue flag. Snoop also shines the spotlight on Death Row’s First Lady JANE HANDCOCK and fellow signee October London throughout the proceedings. With additional features from Juicy J, Trinidad James, Daz Dillinger, and Seddy Hendrix, I Still Got This lives up to its declarative title, as Snoop constructs an enjoyable mix of tunes exemplary of his continued excellence. — Preezy Brown
Jeezy And DJ Drama – SNOFALL
Jeezy’s status is solidified, but linking up with DJ Drama on SNOFALL has the Snowman sounding refreshed. Drama seems to have that effect, but this is an especially laudable effort after some years of Jeezy sounding like he may have lost a step. EST Gee, Lil Durk, and 42 Dugg join the 17-song effort to bring a youthful energy that helps the Atlanta veteran regain some of his own. In the end, the longtime duo puts together a fun rap exhibition that shows you can’t throw the washed allegations at everybody when they seem to be off of their pivot. — Armon Sadler
NBA YoungBoy – Ma’ I Got a Family
Fatherhood and love have become a big part of rap star YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s life. These two aspects inspired the title of the Baton Rouge native’s latest album, Ma’ I Got a Family. His sixth studio album of 2022 arrives two weeks after his most recent offering, 3800 Degreez, as the rapper appears to be striving for the milestone of releasing two double-digit albums within a calendar year. Dubbed as a special edition Gangsta Grillz special edition, the 19-track effort includes appearances by Nicki Minaj and Yeat but finds young Kentrell dominating in all his splendor. — PB
Gucci Mane – So Icy Boyz 22
Gucci Mane and his 1017 roster kick off their 4th quarter on a strong note with their latest release, So Icy Boyz 22, an astounding 56-song effort spread across three different albums. Known for matching the quantity of his output with an equal focus on quality, Big Guwop carries on that tradition on this go-round. He leads the charge while making his presence felt, but allows room for the label’s lineup to capitalize on opportunities.
In addition to 1017 acquisitions BiC Fizzle, Hotboy Wes, BigWalkDog, Foogiano, Big Scarr, and more, So Icy Boyz 22 includes contributions from Lil Baby, Quavo, Pooh Sheisty, Finesse2Tymes, and PeeWeey Longway. — PB
Armani Caesar – The Liz 2
Griselda Records’ femme fatale picks up where she left off on her breakout 2020 effort The Liz with its anticipated sequel. The Liz 2 is a robust offering that finds the Buffalo spitter serving up a buffet of flows and metaphors. Layering vocals atop an array of percussion-driven soundscapes, the 33-year-old includes a handful of costars on the album but spends the majority of the airtime standing on her own two feet.
Contributions from Kodak Black (“Diana”) and Griselda brethren Westside Gunn (“Paula Deen”), Conway the Machine (“El Puro”), Benny The Butcher and Stove God Cooks (“Hunnit Dolla Hiccup”) help round out the project, with an additional appearance courtesy of Queendom Come. Presenting highlights like “Survival Of The Littest” and “Ice Age,” Caesar quells any doubts about being one of the more surgical wordsmiths in the game right now. Throughout The Liz 2, she meshes her rapping prowess with her talents as a songstress with effective and impressive results. — PB
Roddy Ricch – “Aston Martin Truck”
Roddy Ricch continues his revenge tour with the car-friendly, aptly-named “Aston Martin Truck.” The Compton rapper blends his knack for melodies with a calculated rap flow, riffing about getting a new butler, four new maids, and his lean addiction. The 23-year-old’s current state of mind reflects confidence, composure, and deflecting the naysayers. He continues to revel in the good things in his life while his abilities are being questioned. As long as the money and women keep rolling in, Roddy doesn’t care about anything else. — AS
Nav x French Montana – “Fenty”
French Montana has always displayed his ability, or desire, to operate within multiple musical lanes. “Fenty” feels like the Coke Boy entering Nav’s syrupy trap world, and it mostly goes over well. The Brown Boy carries the beginning of the record, reflecting on the times he rode around in a 10-speed bike before having 650 horses in his engine. “Got diamonds that hit like some fenty,” the Toronto rapper croons. Of course, he can’t ignore the people who hate on him, but Nav is at a place where he laughs them off. French jumps in for the final verse, flexing his feature price and all the cars he owns with an autotune-tweaked flow. Montana’s verse is short, but passable and displays chemistry between the two that people may not have expected. — AS
HDBeenDope x Dizzy Banko – What Can They Say EP
HDBeenDope teased this EP during his freestyle sets at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards. And upon hearing these five records on What Can They Say, it makes perfect sense why he was on that stage. The Brooklyn rapper, and first Roc Nation signee hailing from the borough, brings an undeniable bare-knuckled lyricism to every beat he touches.
The lead single “Wake Em Up” leads off and quite literally instructs listeners to prepare for what the entire project has in store. Dizzy Banko handles most of the production, but also steps from behind the boards to lay some gritty bars on “Half Steppin.” You might have heard “Mamba” recently in some of ESPN’s broadcasts or at a few MLB games, but the full audio experience conveys that HD was indeed feeling like a hybrid of the late great #8 and #24.
Tracy Dashh joins the project closer “What Who” to punctuate just why exactly people should not question who any of the project’s contributors are moving forward. “Ni**as could never get me off the throne / I heard they told you maybe you should try / I got an answer for you, ni**a, no!” — AS
Rockness Monsta – Ether Rocks
Boot Camp Clik member Rockness Monsta crashes the party with his new album Ether Rocks. On the 12-track LP, the Brownsville, Brooklyn-bred rapper teams up with rapping producer Ron Browz for a collection that’s equally explosive and entertaining. Paying homage to the legacy of his Duck Down family on the opening salvo “Lettuce and Cabbage,” the gravelly-voiced technician immediately goes to work, dropping intricate soliloquies, touting his merits as an emcee throughout the project.
With reinforcement provided by Method Man (“Beastie Boyz”), The Last American B-Boy (“Faith”), and Ruste Juxx and General Steele (“Shark Tank”), Ether Rocks marks one of this week’s dark-horse efforts and further builds on the legacy of Heltah Skeltah, as well as his own, individually. — PB
Kai Cash x Capella Grey – “Round & Round”
Kai Ca$h and Capella Grey are two of the hottest acts in New York City. In a time where Diddy says NYC is in last place, one can’t help but look at what these two do on “Round & Round.” Ca$h brings the vulnerable, self-aware thug approach to a hood love song that is right in Capella’s impenetrable wheelhouse.
Ultimately, the duo finds themselves in a cyclical relationship with their women loaded with highs and lows. Their awareness of the problems doesn’t help if they cannot work together to eliminate them. “Tryna f**k up the headboard, instead you tryna f**k up the plans/ Tell me sleep on the couch, get the f**k out your bed/ But then you pull up on me with your lingerie red/ Knowing I can’t turn down the head, don’t make me beg,” Kai raps.
Grey handles the hook and tells an all too relatable story in a short format: “Girl what’s the problem now?/ Cause whenever I’m around/ You can’t help but smile/ But still we go ‘round and ‘round.” There’s an element of exhaustion, but also determination to exist in romantic bliss. — AS