As the summer was coming to a close we received releases from artist that I believe will stay in rotation even as the temps start to drop.
(Album Cover for Sabrina Claudio’s No Rain, No Flowers)
Sabrina Claudio released No Rain, No Flowers mid August and it was just in time to give a sultry soundtrack to the end of the summer and prepare us for cuddling weather. With a track like “Naked” being at the top of the album you can’t help but zone out and feel a sudden vulnerability you’d want to share with a special someone.
(Album Cover for Ariana Grande’s Sweetener)
Sweetener by Ariana Grande may be categorized as a pop album but upon hearing songs like “God is a woman”, “every time” and “get well soon” you will definitely feel a R&B vibe. This album was released on August 17th and is worth the listen if you haven’t heard it already.
(Album cover for Llyod’s Tru LP)
Llyod’s LP Tru, which consist of 11 tracks, was released on August 31st. This came almost two years after the December 9, 2016 release of his Tru EP. The LP has all four songs that had been previously featured on the EP plus seven new tracks. I personally have mixed feelings about the 2018 release. Although I feel that Llyod is talented and often underrated the LP just didn’t do it for me. It’s not an album that I would have in constant rotation but it shouldn’t be counted out either.
(Album cover for Tamia’s Passion Like Fire)
September 7th Tamia’s seventh studio album Passion Like Fire came out and boy did she show out! I loved this album. It was raw and passionate. Tamia’s experience as a singer is clear with this album. She did not hold back. I did not skip one song. Whatever Grant Hill is doing he need to keep doing it.
There’s plenty of new music being released but lets take a look back at some that may have been overlooked.
(Eric Bellinger Eazy Call album cover, released April 2018)
Eric Bellinger is in my top 10 of favorite song writers. His release of Eazy Call had the single of “Goat 2.0” featuring Wale. The project in its totality is a good listen. It was released on April 6, 2018. The first song “Legs” is not a favorite of mine but I enjoyed everything else. The songs “Role Play”, “Silent Treatment” and “Ain’t Ya Ex” are for sure jams. If you haven’t heard this album I’d say give it a try.
(Ro James album cover for Smoke, released March 2018)
Ro James released the EP Smoke on March 23, 2018. (I’m sure someone would disagree here but…) I can’t exactly say I was disappointed because over time I realized the R&B, Soul artist is mostly good for releasing one or two dope tracks as opposed to coming through with a solid album / project. There was not anything on Smoke that sparked my interest like “Devil’s Kiss” from his Coke EP (2017) or “Permission”, “A.D.I.D.A.S” and the title song “Eldorado” from his Eldorado album (2016). Smoke may be hit or miss depending on who’s listening. It was a miss for me.
(Wale album cover Its Complicated, released March 2018)
At times, as someone who probably watches one too many interviews, it is hard to separate my feelings from the interview and the body of work that an artist may release. But here goes! Wale dropped his EP It’s Complicated on March 13, 2018. For a while it seemed the D.C. rapper was moving backwards with albums coming and going without a peep from his label or his fans. This EP is not his greatest work but it’s certainly redeeming him. Although, the opening song dragged (for me, anyway!) the remaining three tracks were smooth. It’s 13 minutes in duration and overall I think it’s worth the listen. This EP may be better enjoyed if you hit shuffle. Seriously.
As the summer is coming to an end we are getting some new music releases and they are lit!
( H.E.R. album cover for I Used to Know Her: The Prelude)
H.E.R delivered something amazing with her EP I Used to Know Her: The Prelude. She reels the listener in with the first song being a sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” . Using anything remotely close to Lauryn Hill’s work is risky but there was no disrespect with H.E.R.’s “Lost Souls”. It literally made me eager for the next track. The EP in total is 6 songs, 20 minutes in duration. There’s no disappointments with this project. It’s definitely worth the listen.
(Travis Scott album cover for Astroworld)
Can you say on repeat? This new album from Travis Scott is everything. From the cover art to the track list Travis Scott gave us something worth the wait since his last album Birds in the Trap Sing Brian McKnight . He didn’t overdo it with the features and the features he did have was a good fit for this album. It clearly lived up to the name of the album which was reportedly in tribute to an, now closed, amusement park in his hometown. The album takes you through many twists and turns with a whimsical undertone. Admittedly, if you aren’t a Travis Scott fan already you may not like everything but I believe there’s a song for everyone on this album.
We’ve had several releases this summer. The last few weeks we’ve had albums come from Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill and Future. So here’s what you have to look forward to:
(Cover for Meek Mill’s Legends of Summer, released July 6)
I am the furthest thing from a Meek Mill fan but I was pleasantly surprised by the release of his first project after his stint in jail. His EP, Legends of the Summer consist of 4 tracks. Collectively the project is less than 15 minutes but I strongly suggest giving it a listen. (Excuse my corniness but…) This EP is like a box of chocolates. Meek gives you a little sample of everything. There’s the typical Meek anthem where he reps his city which is backed with a feature from Swiss Beatz. There’s a smooth track that one may say is for the ladies followed by a potential club joint. The project wraps up with a song that speaks to current social issues and his own fight with the judicial system. This EP is definitely worth a listen.
(Cover for Future’s Beastmode 2, released July 6)
On July 6, Future dropped a “surprise” mixtape. The project Beastmode 2 was produced by Zaytoven and just by this collab you’d think that there would be a few hype tracks that we are use to from Future. However, the album is anything but hype. I was actually left a bit depressed. It seemed as if a lot of the songs were reflective of a lifestyle he does not want to be apart of anymore. Some of the tracks could have been good but they were overshadowed by lazy lyrics, even for Future. The 9 track mixtape, to say the least was boring and very solemn. Somebody should definitely check on Future, he may need a hug! I would say unless you’re just curious, don’t bother wasting 32 minutes of your life by listening to this album.
(Cover for Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers 2, released on July 13)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news on this one because everyone loves Wiz but this album isn’t even worth giving the bad review that I have! *Shakes head in total disappointment*
I’ll give my two cents though if you’ve made it this far.
Rolling Papers 2. It’s 25 tracks. An hour and 30 minutes. In it’s totality the album was awkward. It’s like Wiz stumbled through each track with forced recycled vibes and lyrics from previous albums. Don’t get me wrong. Yes, we all know that Wiz is an advocate for weed smoking and a good time but this was a failed attempt at something that we’ve known him to be good for. There are a few decent tracks, obviously the song that had been released as a single “Something New” feat. Ty Dolla $ign, “Hopeless Romantic” feat. Swae Lee and maybe one or two others. But even on my third listen I just couldn’t help but cringe. The set up of the album is weird and it doesn’t flow well. Someone suggested that you break it down and listen to it, almost as if it was 2 or 3 albums in one, but for me that didn’t help. You may be enticed to hear something new from Wiz Khalifa but I’d say proceed with caution!