Lil Peep – “High Fashion” review

This is a brand new posthumous EP from Long Island rapper, singer/songwriter & model Lil Peep. Blowing up in late 2016 with the release of his 4th mixtape Hellboy & then following it with his debut album Come Over When You’re Sober last summer, I can see why it connected with a couple of my friends even though I found both of them to be underwhelming. Unfortunately though, Lil Peep passed away just 2 weeks after his 21st birthday of an accidental fentanyl–xanax overdose right before a show in Tucson, Arizona. The rights of his unreleased music were then given to Columbia Records, who dropped a sequel to the full-length debut showing some improvements compared to his early work. But with Harry Fraud announcing High Fashion earlier this week, he & Columbia have managed to put it out there for the public.

“Choose” is a great opener to the EP accompanied by a pillowy instrumental & Peep calling out a woman who’s lying about being in love with him while the penultimate track “Old Me” follows it up with an acoustic cut chillingly looks back on the person that he used to be prior to his untimely death. Finally, the closer “Living Rooms” sends off the EP with a slow guitar ballad venting about the drug addiction that costed him his life.

I was immediately drawn in when I saw Harry Fraud was involved & at the end of the day, I think High Fashion is amongst some of the best material of Peep’s career. Much like Tierra Whack’s new EP RAP?, I feel like it could’ve used at least a couple more songs but I’m not totally sure if I can blame that on anyone because who knows if they have any more material together? Nonetheless, both parties compliment reach other well.

Score: 3.5/5

Dave East – “Hoffa” review

This is the sophomore album from Harlem emcee Dave East. Breaking out in 2014 off his 8th mixtape Black Rose, this resulted in the man signing a joint deal with Def Jam Recordings & even Nas’ independently owned Mass Appeal Records as well as a spot in the iconic 2016 XXL Freshman Class. However, his full-length debut Survival wouldn’t come out until 3 years later & was very disappointing in the sense that he tried appealing to a more mainstream audience that just didn’t exist. But when Westside Gunn announced that Hoffa was being produced entirely by Harry Fraud, I went into this album wondering if it was gonna be his best yet.

“The Disappearance” is a jazzy, soulful opener addressing those who’ve been asking him what’s up with the music whereas “60 for the Lawyer” is a bluesy follow-up saying he hope someone ain’t informin’ on him. “Diamonds” has a bit of a funky feel in the production & a chipmunk soul sample for Dave to say he been legit leading into him going at his competition for the bassy trap cut “Just Another Rapper”.

Meanwhile on the guitar-driven “Go Off”, we have G Herbo tagging along to snap on their nonbelievers just before the woodwind-infused “Uncle Ric” serves as a lethal prelude to his upcoming collab EP with Benny the Butcher entitled Pablo & Blanco. Things take a more atmospheric turn for him to say he’ll take a fight to pick up “The Product” prior to Jim Jones coming into the picture to talk about their accolades for the slick “Money or Power”.

“I Can Hear the Storm” is a heart-wrenching look back at his life before making it in the music industry whereas “Dolla & a Dream” brings in a glossy trap beat to talk about doing shit cats never seen. “Count It Up” with French Montana of course serves as a sumptuous ode to stacking paper, but Cruch Calhoun’s verse on “The Win” is wack as fuck despite the celebratory tone of it.

The penultimate track “Yeah I Know” with the late Kiing Shooter is a piano trap ballad about not needing any further reminders of both of them being the shit & then the album ends with “Red Fox Restaurant”, where Dave East & Curren$y come together to express gratitude for where they’re at now in luxurious fashion.

To me, this is what Survival should’ve been & quite possibly Dave’s best work yet. Westside Gunn helps him stay true to his street roots rather than trying way too hard to appeal to wider audience in terms of his lyricism & the production that Harry Fraud brings to the table. Really hope Dave continues to travel further down this road.

Score: 4/5

Benny the Butcher – “The Plugs I Met II” review

Benny the Butcher is a 36 year old MC from Buffalo, New York who’s been making music since 2004. However, it wouldn’t be until 2016 where he alongside his cousins Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine would take the culture by storm off projects like Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met. He just dropped his Hit-Boy produced sophomore album Burden of Proof this past fall & as the 2 year anniversary of The Plugs I Met approaches this summer, Benny is enlisting Harry Fraud for the sequel EP.

The EP kicks off with “When Tony Met Sosa”, where Benny talks about how the rap game saved him over a jazzy beat. The next song “Overall” with the late Chinx sees the 2 talking about winning over a grimy instrumental while the track “Plug Talk“ with 2 Chainz finds the pair talking about how they address drug shit in interviews over some harmonious background vocals hanging behind their verses. The song “Live by It” talks about living & dying by the gun over an uncanny instrumental while the track “Talkin’ Back” with Fat Joe sees the 2 responding to everything from dope money to the streets over a flute-tinged beat.

The song “No Instructions” talks about how there’s no rules to the drug game over a poignant boom bap instrumental while the track “Longevity” with French Montana & Jim Jones finds the trio talking about making sure their cash is the strongest over an alluring beat. The song “Survivor’s Remorse” with Rick Hyde sees the 2 talking about how they could’ve died or wound up in jail over a dirgelike instrumental & then the closer “Thanksgiving” tells the rap game to be grateful for him over a soul sample & an organ.

The Plugs I Met is a crown achievement in Benny’s catalog & this sequel is almost as enjoyable as the predecessor. In comparison to the mature & polished vibes that Burden of Proof gave off, he & Harry Fraud take things into much more darker territory as the dark production & the harsh realities The Butcher paints mesh well with one another.

Score: 4/5

Jim Jones – “The Fraud Department” review

Jim Jones is a 44 year old rapper from The Bronx, New York who came up in as a member of The Diplomats in the 2000s. His first 5 full-lengths from 2004-2011 had some highlights in them, but they were all average at best as whole albums. However it wouldn’t be until 2018 after dropping Wasted Talent where he would really start putting out his best material ever & then came out with his magnum opus the following year El Capo. But just 3 months after putting out the sequel El Capo 2, we’re already being treated to Jimmy’s 9th full-length album produced entirely by Harry Fraud.

The opener “Laps Around the Sun” talks about being grateful over a bare flute instrumental whereas the next song “Fucked Up” is about a lil bitch who got her perception of Jimmy wrong over some harmonizing & a saxophone. The track “Aunt Viola” with Dave East finds the duo talking waiting your turn & then turning tables over an airy trap beat while the song “Lose Lose” talks about his success over a soul sample & some snares.

The track “Bada Bing” with French Montana sees the 2 on their gangsta shit over a rubbery beat while the song “Barry White” talks about turning the hood into a paradise over a ghostly instrumental. The track “Say a Prayer” with Curren$y & Jay Worthy finds the trio talking about hustling on the block over a triumphant beat while “The People” with Conway the Machine sees the 2 talking about George Floyd’s murder over a boom bap instrumental with a haunting vocal sample.

The track “Luxury Lies” shows his doubters what he can do over a jubilant beat while song “3 Cuts” with Maino finds the duo on their fly shit over some exuberant horns. The album finishes off with “Make It Home”, where Jimmy talks about his fallen homies over a boom bap beat with some dour keys.

It’s very rare for artists to be putting out their best material later in their careers, but this puts Jimmy on a 3-peat because I like The Fraud Department almost as much as El Capo & El Capo 2. Harry Fraud comes correct on the production as he usually does & when it comes to Jimmy’s lyrics, it seems like this isn’t even his final form.

Score: 4/5