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.
Swizz Beatz – Hip Hop 50 Vol. 2
For the second volume of Mass Appeal’s Hip Hop 50 EP series, Swizz Beatz helms a respectable project that balances noteworthy highs and underwhelming lows. The project begins with a pair of reunions, the first being the Nas-guested “Runaway,” which avoids clunker status, but pales in comparison to previous collaborations like “Echo” from Swizz’s Poison album.
The latter, “This Sh*t Right Here,” features Lil Wayne and attempts to recapture the magic of “Kant Nobody” with another voice sample, this time lifted from JAY-Z. However, the returns are diminished this time around, as both Weezy’s rhyme spill and Swizz’s production struggle to find their footing. The veteran boardsman steers things back on track on the backend of the six-track release. Jadakiss, Benny The Butcher, and viral newcomer Scar Lip lyrically huddle up on the bruising “Take Em Out,” an offering in the mold of vintage boom-bap.
Fivio Foreign makes a coy reference to his business dealings with label benefactor Ma$e on the Bandmanrill-assisted “City Sound Like,” as he raps “They like, ‘How he got so rich?/ $5,000 from Betha” over a bouncy soundscape. Hip Hop 50 Vol. 2 may be centric to the five boroughs, but Chicago spitter Lil Durk makes an impressive showing on “Say Less,” delivering a fiery verse that ranks among his strongest performances in recent memory. Closing out the proceedings is rap’s mercurial wonder-man Jay Electronica, who puts forth “Khalas,” but the flow doesn’t stop, as he drops a stream of consciousness flow atop a soulful composition crafted by Swizz.
Blemishes aside, Hip Hop 50 Vol. 2 is a strong continuation of the series and has us in anticipation of which beatsmith we can look forward to helming the boards next. – Preezy Brown
NBA YoungBoy – Don’t Try This At Home
NBA YoungBoy isn’t letting house arrest keep him from delivering for his fans. Don’t Try This At Home is literally the gift that keeps on giving, sitting at 33 songs with features from Nicki Minaj, Mariah The Scientist, Post Malone, and The Kid Laroi. Per usual, the Baton Rouge, La. croons, pours out his pain, experiments with different flows, and displays why he is one of the most popular acts today without all of the bells and whistles. Standout records include “Cold Killers,” “Loaded Now,” and “1.5.” With 33 songs to explore, you’re bound to find a few that stick with you. – Armon Sadler
Latto – “Put It On Da Floor”
Latto is taking aim at all of her haters on “Put It On Da Floor.” She continues her run of strong samples, flipping D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” into a warning shot at the rap game. “Rip me out the plastic, I been actin’ brand new/ Bi*hes actin’ like they runnin’ sh*t, they really ran through/ I’ll spend that five hundred ‘fore I ever trap you/ They thought I was gon’ fall off, I hate to bring you bad news.” Latto is at a career high right now. Sadly, that’s come with a lot of hatred. Through it all, she stands firm and continues flexing no matter who gets bothered by it. She nods to Shawty Lo in the hook, saying “I done done it all.” It is unclear whether Latto is gearing up for another album, but this latest string of tracks and verses have been top tier. – AS
Lloyd Banks – The Course of the Inevitable 3: Pieces of My Pain
As tenured wordsmiths take advantage of the publications heightened embrace of traditional lyricism, Lloyd Banks creeps out of the mist with The Course of the Inevitable 3: Pieces of my Pain, the Queens native’s latest installment. Known for his proficiency in the art of punchlines and metaphors, Blue Hefner doesn’t disappoint, opening the album, “Ni**as tried to snake me, it’s serpent skin on my sneak design” on the titular track. Opulence and slick talk gets dispersed on “Onyx AMG,” while he and Method Man duel on “101 Razors.” “Time to Takeoff on these bit**es, RIP my favorite Migo,” he says on “Movie Scenes”—a tribute to the Rocket Man—before pairing up with Vado on “LSD” and “Automatic Pilot.” These two collaborations could plant the seeds for an eventual collaborative effort due to the chemistry displayed. Not only a rapper’s rapper, Banks shows an increased level of depth on The COTI 3, with joints like “Invisible,” “Daddy’s Girl,” and “Showers” conveying varying emotions within and resulting in arguably the most balanced inclusion in its trilogy. – PB
Moneybagg Yo – “Motion God”
Moneybagg Yo can’t be stopped on “Motion God.” In his southern drawl, he confidently raps, “See my eyes, red, I’m off these meds/ Off the love, they do that for me, I ain’t gotta put nothin’ on his head/ Got these bi**hes out they body and these ni**as in they chests/ I post these racks up, just to motivate my ni**as, ain’t tryna flex.” The hook falls in line, detailing his fancy whips, jewelry, and proficiency with the ladies. It’s easy to say you have motion, but Bagg’s life ought to be one big wheel. – AS
Queen Key – Surviving Queen Key
Queen Key touches down with Surviving Queen Key, the Chicago rapper’s latest EP, off the heels of successful one-off singles dating back to last year. “I’m giving verses, this sh*t like the bible in this bi**h, ni**a,” the proud mother says on “Never Cry,” a cut sampling Jay-Z’s “Song Cry” and capturing Key’s perseverance in the face of vulnerability. Triumphant horns greet listeners on the boisterous “Hell Woods,” which finds the insatiable spitter basking in her sexual dominance. “F**k The Police” is devoid of verbal hostility to the law, but is titled in a declaratory fashion, with the rapper using the air time to hoist her pint-size figure atop her throne. Paying homage to 50 Cent’s 2003 hit “P.I.M.P.” with her own breezy take on the premise, Queen Key turns in enjoyable offering with this new collection, which doubles as a return to independence for the Chi-Town heiress. – PB
DDG – “I’m Geekin”
DDG is cool, calm, and collected despite his new track being titled “I’m Geekin” and the duality is real. “I’m on a whole ‘nother level, I’m geekin’/ You think you f**kin’ with me? Boy, you tweakin ‘/ Ready for wear, I just need me a reason/ I’m gettin’ buckets in regular season.” He conveys the same message in his verse, saying “Look at the diamonds, they hittin’, they dancin’/ I’m from the trenches, I learned how to hustle/ I get the cabbage, the lettuce, the brussell/ I make a million, then triple, then double.” If this is geekin’, perhaps everyone out to follow suit to how DDG is living. – AS
Peezy – Ghetto EP
Detroit rapper Peezy drops off his latest project Ghetto, an eight-track EP on which the street orator professes his love for the hustle and the fast life. “How many cars can I buy, how many watches do I need,” he ponders on “Brooklyn Chop House,” a reverberating salvo that finds Peezy fixated on the bankrolls. “Rap come second, bi**tch, tI’m getting loot/ Gonna sell 100 P’s first, then hit the booth,” he laments atop a synth-heavy backdrop. Fellow Motor City rep Kash Doll makes an appearance on “FW That,” while he flies solo on the mellow “Heart In It,” lamenting his transition from civilian to boss status. Bookended by the closeout cut “Don’t Know Sh*t,” Ghetto continues to add to the sturdy foundation Peezy has built with his previous offerings and packs enough replay value to tide fans over until his next full-length release. – PB
TiaCorine Feat. Latto – “FreakyT Remix”
TiaCorine’s “FreakyT” has taken the world by storm, and Latto jumping on the remix ought to add even more gas to its shelf life. The “Big Energy” rapper gets right to the point, beginning with “Freaky girls, I like freaky tings, what’s up FreakyT?/ You know me, I don’t need no ni**as, I’m what ni**as need/ Bi**hes weak in the knees, in them tweets, on them beats/ Diamonds twitchin’ like they cap, hold my wrist up, make ‘em freeze.” An easy favorite line is saying men turn into DJ Khaled when they discuss her loins. This is a linkup of epic proportions, which is huge for TiaCorine’s breakout. It’s also a great sign for the music landscape of women rappers. Collaboration and friendship is a beautiful thing. – AS
Teflon Feat. M.O.P. And DJ Premier – “The Thoro Side”
New York rapper Teflon teams up with Brooklyn rhyme pugilists M.O.P. and DJ Premier for “The Thoro Side,” an intense offering that finds the three rhymers taking it to the concrete, with no frills included. “When I breeze through the hood, know I’m good, I’m lax,” Billy Danze barks, as he gives the ins-and-outs of how to maneuver throughout his project-ridden stomping grounds. Partner in rhyme Lil Fame picks up the baton from there, with Teflon anchoring the track with an aggressive contribution of his own. As we await a proper full-length offering from Teflon, “The Thoro Side” gives us a sampling of what’s potentially yet to come from this seasoned veteran. – PB
Heembeezy – Really Heem Vol. 1
After dropping off singles guested by the likes of Blueface (“Face No Book Remix”) and Cash Kidd (“Out The Gutter”), newcomer Heembeezy unleashes his debut project Really Heem Vol. 1, which finds the LA-born, IE-based rapper reveling in his playerish ways over the course of 17 tracks. Featuring additional appearances from Mike Crook, Fivestardjay, AzChike, Bravo The Bagchaser, and 1TakeJay, the tracklist includes the standouts “Can’t Lie,” “Amnesia,” and “Saks With A Strap,” all of which brings listener’s into the cocksure upstart’s world of money, women, and the trappings of success. – PB