JPEGMAFIA – “LP!” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Baltimore emcee, singer & producer JPEGMAFIA. Breaking out 2016 with the release of his full-length debut Black Ben Carson, it wouldn’t be until the man’s next 2 albums Veteran & All My Heroes are Cornballs where he would reveal himself as one of the most creative minds in hip hop today. He dropped a bunch of singles last year & compiled them onto an 8-track EP but after putting out a follow-up with almost all newly recorded material under Republic Records back in February, he’s celebrating his born day with LP!.

“TRUST!” is a short yet glimmering opener to the album talking about self-love whereas “DIRTY” takes a more cloudier route talking his shit. “NEMO!” has a minimal, glitchy vibe going at those who think they know him leading into “END CREDITS!” starts off with an Arn Anderson sample & then working on a guitar threatening to write a scene on your life.

Meanwhile on “WHAT KIND OF RAPPIN’ IS THIS?”, we have Peggy on top of a lush almost boom bappy instrumental calling out someone biting him just before “THOT’S PRAYER!” almost has a bit of a BROCKHAMPTON influence to it sonically confessing that loneliness is killing him inside. “ARE U HAPPY?” eerily ponders about the people around him & the way his life is going, but then “REBOUND!” works in some horns basically saying bitches ain’t shit.

“OG!” speaks on taking the game back on top of a booming beat while “DAM! DAM! DAM!” has a more groovier sound talking about how he has to “keep swimmin’ ’til that muhfuckin’ ship leaves”. Following this is “SICK, NERVOUS & BROKE!” serving as an aggressive trap banger taking shots at his haters whereas “😘” brings in some synths to get romantic.

After the “NICE!” interlude, the penultimate track “BMT!” vibrantly insults his competition & “THE GHOST OF RANKING DREAD!” ends the album on a pillowy yet melodic tone talking about how he can’t keep up with these girls. Then the online version contains 3 bonus cuts from EP! which I still love, but didn’t need to be on here.

Now if you go to the Bandcamp version, there are 3 newly recorded bonus tracks that couldn’t make it onto streaming due to sample clearances. “HAZARD DUTY PAY!” is unquestionably the best hip hop single I’ve heard all year sampling Anita Baker dissing the industry. After that, “GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY” works in a soul sample comparing him to Beyoncé & his competition to Michelle Williams. “💯” terrifically pays homage to the chopped & screwed movement based in Houston just before “Untitled” incorporates some dreary piano chords continuing to challenge anyone to step up to him.

Peggy is one of the most unpredictable artists in the game right now & I definitely find LP! to be more consistent than EP2! In contrast to the more mainstream sound of that previous project, I’m happy he realized he didn’t need to try to appeal to a radio friendly market that doesn’t exist & returns to his experimental roots. Also, the 3 bonus songs on the “offline” version make it significantly better than the 3 bonus cuts on the “online” version that were already familiar with

Score: 4.5/5

City Morgue – “Bottom of the Barrel” review

City Morgue is a trio from New York City consisting of ZillaKami & SosMula on the mic as well as honorary 3rd member Thraxx on production. I first caught wind of them due to ZillaKami’s verse on Denzel Curry’s magnum opus TA13OO, but the group’s full-length debut that followed shortly after Hell or High Water completely stopped me in my tracks. Mostly because prior to that album, I never heard anyone fuse trap with metal music in the way that they did. This was followed up with the worthy sequel As Good as Dead & the mediocre Toxic Boogaloo EP but after spending these last couple months branching out solo, they’re returning for their highly anticipated 3rd album.

“Death Cult” is a short yet cutthroat trap metal opener telling their competition to run for the hill leading into Jasiah tagging along for the eerie “Cabin in the Woods” comparing themselves to Jason Voorhees from the famous Friday the 13th franchise. “Conscience” works in a heavy guitar & a rubbery bass-line to talk about clearing their minds whereas the Thraxx-produced “Make It Disappear” viciously get in their murder bag.

Meanwhile on “What’s My Name?”, we get a wailing guitar rhythm & some punchy 808s talking about marching like dogs just before “Everything’s Broken” is a grunge/trap fusion about blowing their brains out. The first SosMula solo cut “OHDEE” has a more chilled out trap vibe speaking on grinding nonstop, but then the first ZillaKami solo cut “Flat Lips” brings in a down-tuned guitar talking about moshing.

The duo reunite for the abrasive “Hot Shells” comparing themselves to Captain Price from Modern Warfare 2 whereas “Mother Lover” advises not to get fucked up on their mothers. The song “X-Mas Balla” has a chugging riff with the help of Powers Pleasant proclaiming themselves as rat killers & reptilians while the penultimate track “Outer Space” by SosMula is just so annoyingly repetitive. However, the closer “Mutt B” by ZillaKami makes up for it by energetically lighting up anyone who steps up to him.

Even though I was underwhelmed by Toxic Boogaloo & 13 Songs 2 Die 2, I did enjoy Dogboy yet still didn’t quite know what to expect from Bottom of the Barrel. Now that we finally got the album, it’s pretty decent. It’s definitely more focused than Toxic Boogaloo was, but play middle ground with their signature trap metal sound rather than expanding on it.

Score: 3/5

Lil Wayne & Rich the Kid – “Trust Fund Babies” review

This is a brand new collaborative album between Lil Wayne & Rich the Kid. One is a icon from New Orleans who had the rap game in a chokehold during the mid/late 2000’s & the latter being a 1-hit wonder from Atlanta who most people remember for “New Freezer”. Only reason being because of Kendrick Lamar’s odd yet show-stealing feature on there. We’ve only heard the 2 on a couple songs together within the last couple years but with the 1-year anniversary of the Nobody’s Safe joint album with YoungBoy Never Broke Again coming next month, he & Weezy are uniting for Trust Fund Babies

“Feelin’ Like Tunechi” has a bit of a jangly instrumental to it with both of them talking about being GOATed (which only Wayne has the bragging rights for in my opinion) whereas the orchestral “Headlock” doesn’t even sound focused lyrically. Tay Keith’s hazy production on “Trust Fund” is a breath of fresh air as is the concept about going from rags to riches leading into “Admit It” works in some uptempo synths admitting being wrong & being done wrong.

Meanwhile on “Shh”, we get the reminder that money talks on top of a reversed loop just before the spacious “Big Boss” declares themselves as such. Murda Beatz’ nocturnal instrumental on “Still” is another relief as they talk about being the same reckless dudes while the song “Bleedin’” serves as a boring ode to being fucked up with the penultimate track “Buzzin’” with YG taking another jab at it albeit being slightly better. As for “Yeah Yeah”, it closes the album with annoying cadences & a spacious beat.

Beyond that, what else can I really say about this album other than the fact that it just sucks? Wayne’s verses are just ok by his standards, but I can’t say the same for Rich’s at all & there’s no real chemistry between them on here. On top of that, the production is astoundingly cut-rate.

Score: 1.5/5

ZillaKami – “Dogboy” review

ZillaKami is a 21 year old rapper & singer/songwriter from Islip, New York who originally came up as part of the punk band Scud Got Quayle. He later began ghostwriting for someone who’s name I refuse to acknowledge on my platform to leave it at that before forming City Morgue alongside SosMula & their honorary 3rd member/producer Thraxx. Together, they started to make a name for themselves in the fall of 2018 by uniquely fusing trap with metal on their full-length debut Hell or High Water. But just a month after Sos dropped his solo debut 13 Songs 2 Die 2 to mixed reception, it’s only right for Kami to step next at bat before the gang gets back together for Bottom of the Barrel at the end of the year.

“Chewing Gum!” is a ass-kicking trap/rock opened produced by Thraxx taking shots at a certain rat whereas “Chains” is a Hellish follow-up about choking betrayers with his ice. I can definitely see “Lemon Juice” getting the pits going with its lyrics about punching motherfuckers & it’s down-tuned guitar riff just before “Not Worth It” goes into grunge territory saying he doesn’t deserve everyone’s love.

Meanwhile on “Hello”, we have Kami paying homage to the iconic Nirvana joint “Smells Like Teen Spirit” leading into Denzel Curry tagging along for the emo-tinged “Bleach”. I think the chaotic Suffolk County homage that “631 Made Me” delivers does a great job at showing us his upbringings, but then “I.H.Y. (I Hate You)” serves as a distorted “fuck the world” theme.

“Badass” has a bit of a nu metal flare to it with Lil Uzi Vert coming into the picture to help declare themselves as such & after the “Tactical Nuke” interlude, “Nissan Only” aggressively gets in his shooter bag just before “Black Cats” comes off as another Nirvana tribute.

The song “dedgrl” is a downtrodden story about a broken woman killing herself while the penultimate track “Frosty” goes into alt-rock turf detailing ZillaKami’s very own depression. “Space Cowboy” then ends the album with grungy tribute to his fallen homie.

I was a bit worried given how mediocre 13 Songs 2 Die 2 was, but he really came through with it. He sticks to the trap metal sound that City Morgue came up on with the exception of the alt-rock/grunge shit, but his songwriting is much better & I like how he only brought in 2 features rather than having one on damn near every joint.

Score: 3.5/5

Drake – “Certified Lover Boy” review

This is the 6th full-length album from Toronto rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer & entrepreneur Drake. Skyrocketing in 2009 off his 3rd mixtape So Far Gone, the success of this groundbreaking project resulted in a contract with both Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records & helped put out the man’s full-length debut Thank Me Later the next summer. His sophomore effort Take Care the year after would be even better & I enjoyed Nothing Was the Same too but after If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late & then What a Time to Be Alive with Future (both of which came out in 2015), that’s when the quality in Drake’s music really began to take a nosedive. VIEWS was a terrible foray into dancehall, More Life was mediocre despite being stylistically eclectic, his YM/CM swan song Scorpion was a disappointingly failed attempt at making a double disc album showcasing his hip hop/R&B sides of his music respectively, Care Package is decent collection of 17 loosies from 2010-2016 that we’ve all heard before & Dark Lane Demo Tapes was a failed attempt at experimenting with new songs. However, I was curious going into Certified Lover Boy given the 4 singles that he dropped leading up to it.

“Champagne Poetry” is a top tier Drake opener, rapping his ass off over a chipmunk soul sample & a gospel flip from 40. The next song “Papi’s Home” is basically his version of Montell Jordan’s “Daddy’s Home” proclaiming himself as a top dog whereas “Girls Want Girls” with Lil Baby will go down as one of the worst Drake songs ever, them asking “You a lesbian? Me too”. Then we got Lil Durk tagging along for “In the Bible” as they try to hit on religious women just before Drake & JAY-Z spaciously calling out those who turned their backs on them on “Love All”.

Meanwhile with “Fair Trade”, both Drizzy & Travis Scott jump on top of a Charlotte Day Wilson sample from WondaGurl talking about losin’ friends & findin’ peace leading into him making his own version of “I’m Too Sexy” with Future & Young Thug on “Way 2 Sexy” for whatever reason produced by TM88 shockingly. “TSU” is a simp anthem telling a stripper to get her life together sampling *NSYNC] & R. Kelly, but then “N 2 Deep” with Future is more of a great sequel to “Life is Good”.

The vocal sample on “Pipe Down” is hypnotic with Drake telling a bitch to chill out & after the “Yebba’s Heartbreak” interlude, “No Friends in the Industry” bitterly disses G.O.O.D. Music & for some reason Kendrick. I dig how he & 21 Savage flipped Project Pat for the gangsta rap-themed “Knife Talk” produced by Metro Boomin’, but then “7AM on Bridle Path” takes a moodier route with the help of Cardo dissing Kanye once again.

“Race My Mind” is an R&B/hip hop fusion detailing his lover being drunk as fuck, but the Tems-duet “Fountains” has a catchy instrumental despite the songwriting being below average. “Get Along Better” has a luxurious trap beat from 1985 addressing an ex, but then “You Only Live Twice” with Lil Wayne & Rick Ross is an amazing sequel to “The Motto” laced by B!nk of all people.

The song “I.M.Y.2. (I Missed You 2)” with KiD CuDi has a pillowy sound asking how they’re supposed to move while the penultimate track “Fucking Fans” takes a cloudier turn with the help of PARTYNEXTDOOR looking back on his failures. “The Remorse” ends the album by showing love to the people over at his OVO Sound label.

As much as I enjoyed “Laugh Now Cry Later” & Scary Hours 2, this album as a whole was NOT worth the hype & I was very disappointed by the outcome of it. Not just because it didn’t need to be an hour & a half long, but he’s really not saying anything new here at all. By that I’m not saying he needs to get political or conscious, that’s NEVER been him. Just feels like we’ve all heard this from him before.

Score: 2/5

SosMula – “13 Songs 2 Die 2” review

SosMula is a 33 year old rapper from Manhattan, New York who came up as 1/3 of the trio City Morgue alongside fellow emcee ZillaKami & producer Thraxx. They’ve released 2 full-length albums & an EP together up to this point, but have recently decided to amicably branch out solo with Sos being the first to do so & dropping an official full-length debut on his lonely.

“Gun Sport” is a unashamedly embarrassing Playboi Carti bite whereas the Nascar Aloe-assisted “Stain” works in some piano embellishments & hi-hats talking about their new ice. “No Heart” goes into acoustic trap territory saying he can’t give his love to any bitch just before Jasiah tags along for the distorted weed smoker’s theme “Can’t Feel My Face”. Meanwhile on “Death Wish”, we have Sos aggressively giving the finger to the opps leading into the poppy Michael Myers tribute “Lil Psychos” with Xanman.

Following this is the nocturnal “DOCTA” finding him & Fat Nick spitting that g shit, but then “Whip Parked” with Bizzy Banks goes into mistier turf going on about trapping. “WHERE MY STICK” apocalyptically spits that gun talk whereas “QUEEF” samples John Williams of all people to compare himself to Bruce Wayne.

The song “Boogaloo” disappointingly sounds like a microwaved leftover from City Morgue’s Toxic Boogaloo EP while the penultimate track “Favela” with Jovem Dex hideously goes into tropical territory talking about their women wanting their kids. “Vinny Rotten” though serves as a mediocre finish with it’s banger beat, the lyrics about being brazy & the annoying Kim Dracula verse

Now despite being a solo effort, I think 13 Songs 2 Die 2 is barely an improvement over Toxic Boogaloo. I appreciate the fact that Sos tries to stray away from the trap metal sound City Morgue is known for, but it’s either hit or miss & almost every feature is weak as fuck.

Score: 2.5/5

Pop Smoke – “Faith” review

This is the sophomore album from New York rapper, singer & songwriter Pop Smoke. Emerging in the summer of 2019 off his debut EP Meet the Woo, things were looking like the Brooklyn drill pioneer was just about to take off until he was tragically murdered in a home invasion less than 2 weeks after Meet the Woo 2 dropped last February. Pop’s full-length debut Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon was later completed by the hands of his idol 50 Cent & just celebrated it’s 1-year anniversary at the beginning of the month. As for the actual music on that album: I personally was indifferent towards it because as much as I adore 50’s output both solo & with G-Unit from 2002-2006, he made it sound a lot more commercial than it really needed to be. So to see he had no involvement with Faith gave me hope that I’d like it more than Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon.

After the “Good News” intro, the first song “More Time” is an endearing piano ballad produced by 808Melo about how that’s all he needs whereas “Tell the Vision” with Pusha T finds the duo boasting their success on top of a guitar & some hi-hats. I also dig how Push acknowledges Call Me If You Get Lost as the 2021 AOTY so far as well as teasing his upcoming album & calling someone who I refuse to acknowledge on my platform a clown without sounding like beating a dead horse. He & Rick Ross get murderous on the soulful “Manslaughter” leading into the acoustic materialism anthem “‘Bout a Million” with 21 Savage & 42 Dugg.

Meanwhile on “Brush ‘Em”, we have Rah Swish tagging along over a chilling sample to spit that gangsta shit just before the triumphant “Top Shotta” featuring Pusha T & TRAVI along with The Neptunes behind the boards. Bizzar Banks comes into the picture to talk about being sleazes on the cinematically produced “30” while the spacious “Beat the Speaker” grimly talks about Pop being the man. “Coupe” has a nocturnal instrumental whilst returning to the gangsta rap themes just before he & Takeoff talk about having a lot of guns for the cavernous “What’s Crackin’?”. The choir vocals on the Lil Tjay/Swae Lee assisted “Genius” are chilling as the trio are proclaiming themselves as such while he & Future talking about 100 bitches that’s ready to fuck.

After the pointless “Woo Baby” interlude, the actual “Woo Baby” song itself is an attempt at a radio hit saying he & Chris Brown like their yummy yellow whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean while the moody Dua Lipa duet “Demeanor” finds the 2 talking about his shawty. “Spoiled” even though it’s 2 minutes long is what “Woo Baby” should’ve been while the song “8-Ball” with KiD CuDi serves as a guitar ballad produced by Swizz Beatz about robbin’ ‘cause they never had nothing. The penultimate track “Back Door” with Kodak Black & Quavo sees the trio lavishly looking back on what their mothers had told them growing up & the closer “Merci Beaucoup” beautiful tells listeners that he ain’t got shit to prove to nobody.

Now I like this a bit more than the previous Pop Smoke album, but just by a very small margin. Some of the features either hit or miss & I really appreciate how it doesn’t try as hard to appeal to a nonexistent radio market like Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon did.

Score: 3/5

G Herbo – “25” review

G Herbo is a 25 year old rapper & songwriter from Chicago, Illinois breaking out in 2014 off his debut mixtape Welcome to Fazoland. This resulted in him earning a spot in the legendary 2016 XXL Freshman Class along with 5 full-length albums, the previous ones being PTSD last February & the sequel PTSD 2 a few months later. But after dropping a couple singles back in the spring, Herbo dropping his 6th full-length album on everyone’s heads.

“I Don’t Wanna Die” kicks things off with Herbo expressing his fear of death over a chilling Southside instrumental whereas “Cry No More” with Lil Tjay & Polo G is a piano-heavy plea to not suffer any more losses in all 3 of their lives. OZ works in a high-pitched vocal sample on the hungry “Stans the Rain” just before 21 Savage tags along for the braggadocious T.O.P. produced by Hitmaka.

Meanwhile on “You Can’t”, we have Gunna assisting Herbo on top of a trippy Turbo beat to address those who missed them when they were broke leading into the powerful “No Jail Time”. He later recalls witnessing a murder at the age of 9 on the wrenching “Cold World”, but then Don Cannon helps take things into gospel territory for “Whole Hearts”.

Tay Keith’s production on “2 Chains” seems somewhat influenced by Three 6 Mafia with Herbo flexing his wealth while the Rowdy Rebel-assisted “Drill” brings in a violin-infused drill instrumental for them to paint pictures of Chiraq. “Trenches Know My Name” is a climatic confession about how he can’t stay out of the hood whereas “Doughboy” continues to flex once more except the beat has a more victorious tone to it.

“Demands” has kind of a more folkier quality in the production with Herbo talking about “Make the Hood Great Again” & Jake One provides a soul sample to discuss what “Loyalty” means to him. “Pray for My Enemies” contains these cinematic horns & lyrics about how he’s willing to go up to the furthest length under any extent, but the standard edition closer “Turning 25” brings in some keys & hi-hats to describe how he felt on his 25th birthday.

The first bonus track “Statement” flips the Dipset joint “I Really Mean It” to address the fraud charges he’s currently facing whereas “Really Like That” has a more synth-based sound along with lyrics about how he raps for the streets & you rap for the feds. Finally there’s “Break Yoself”, which is atmospheric cut saying that he’s gon’ be rich forever.

To me, Herbo’s latest output is somewhat overlooked & 25 serves as his most personal album he’s put out yet. You get a good look how he’s been doing in the last 9 months & despite a few misses in the production, a majority of them are pretty tight.

Score: 3.5/5

Ski Mask the Slump God – “Sin City” review

This is the 4th mixtape from Orlando rapper Ski Mask the Slump God. Coming up as the co-founder of Members Only alongside the late XXXTENTACION, he then dropped a couple EPs & a great mixtape called Drown in Designer in 2016 before signing to Republic Records the following year with his 2nd tape called YouWillRegret being his first outing on a major label. This was followed up with Beware the Book of Eli & the full-length debut Stokeley in 2018 but after a 3-year hiatus, Ski is making his comeback by dropping Sin City.

The intro starts off as a spoken word piece, but busts into an industrial beat from Ronny J & a short verse about how humanity’s been dead. The next song “Dr. Seuss” goes on to brag about his unique flow despite the instrumental being kinda plain before “Admit It” works on a xylophone to say he’s fucking up the stats. Meanwhile on “The Matrix”, we have Ski jumping on some bass & hi-hats to make a bunch of pop culture references whereas “Ya!” is a half-assed & skeletal cut describing “real n***a paradise”.

Kenny Beats comes in to sample Missy Elliott’s “Work It” for the braggadocious “Merlin’s Staff” before taking the acoustic route on the emotional “Lost in Time”. The penultimate track “Fire Hazard” is a bass-heavy riot starter & then the closer “Mental Magneto” is a grungy look at being conflicted.

I’m pretty indifferent towards Sin City at the end of the day. Half of these cuts are straight heat, but then the other half is just uneventful & boring. I really wish he would flesh his joints out more fully then making a 9-track, 20 minute EP & calling it a “mixtape”.

Score: 2.5/5

Baby E & Ouija Macc – “We Never Forgot” review

This is the brand new collaborative mixtape from West Coast rappers Baby E & Ouija Macc. One is a Lil Wayne protege signed to the icon’s Republic Records imprint Young Money Entertainment & the other is an Insane Clown Posse protege signed to their independently-owned Psychopathic Records. I don’t think the duo have ever worked together in the past, so I was very curious to hear how they would play off one another on We Never Forgot.

The tape kicks off with “Bands Won’t Stop”, where Baby E & Ouija talk about how the money will always come in over a trap beat with some teary piano melodies. The next song “Like Yuh” talks about keeping the drama away from them over a woozy instrumental while the track “(I Don’t Like Life) Anymore” talks about suicide over a crazed beat from Devereaux. The song “Different Mindset” gets romantic over a more voluptuous, poppy instrumental while the track “For Good” interprets the title in a few clever ways on top of an orchestral beat.

The song “1 for Me” talks about women who don’t know what they want from them over an acoustic guitar backed by some snares while the track “Overnight” talks about how Rome wasn’t build in a day over a rubbery beat. The song “It Be Like That Sometimes” talks about life being a carnival over a cloudy trap instrumental while the penultimate track “Mitosis” talks about killing everything in site over a monstrous Devereaux beat. The tape finishes off with “Got Somebody”, where Baby E & Ouija talk about being there when their homies are down over an acoustic-tinged trap instrumental.

Out of all the collaborative projects Ouija has put out in the past few years, this is easily my favorite of the bunch. It’s understandably a lot more melodic in comparison to his previous material & I commend him for stepping out of his comfort zone on that, but he & Baby E also do a good job of playing off each other. If these guys plan on working together more down the road, then I’m all for it.

Score: 3.5/5