Autumn! – “Antagonist!” review

Autumn! is a 23 year old rapper/producer from Lafayette, Louisiana who’s made a name himself in the plugg scene by dropping 15 EPs & a full-length debut on SoundCloud since 2018. But in light of him signing to Victor Victor Worldwide & Republic Records following the release of his previous EP Not Much Longer last summer, he’s now returning with his long-awaited sophomore album & major label debut after teasing it for so long.

The self-produced title track opens up the album with some rage beats throwing shots at KanKan, SeptembersRich & Yeat whereas “STFU!” works in some Atari-like synths & some heavy bass talking about not wanting to hear shit unless it’s about the money. “STFU! 2” picks up right where it’s predecessor left off calling out those who backstabbed him, but then “I’m Him!” takes a ghostly route asking “Why these n****s keep playing like I ain’t him?”.

Meanwhile on “Everything!”, we have Autumn! returning to hypertrap territory declaring himself as a boss just before “Bentley Bentayga!” has a more futuristic flare to it talking about the rich lifestyle. “Bentley Bentayga! 2” is a bombastic follow-up to it’s predecessor asking how many bitches can fit in the titular car leading into the rage-sounding “Etiquette!” admits not knowing shit about protocol.

“Jumpin’!” goes into cloudier yet poppy territory thanks to Internet Money Records’ very own Rio Leyva reflecting on being destined for this music shit while “We Adapted!” returns to a more pluggier sound talking about feeling like a bastard & a pastor. The song “Free Bugga! 3” is the 3rd tribute that Autumn! has made for his uncle Bugga in prison that’s just has touching as the predecessors while the penultimate track “Talk’s Cheap!” keeps the plugg vibes going talking about moving smarter. “1 Way!” eventually closes out the album with a contemporary R&B ballad addressing an ex.

Coming from someone who got put onto him last summer, I think this is a very impressive major label debut for Autumn! & some of the best work that he’s put out so far. The production is diverse in sound ranging from hypertrap to plugg & I admire that he didn’t go crazy for features to demonstrate his vocal/songwriting talents.

Score: 3.5/5

SosMula – “2 High 2 Die” review

This is the 2nd solo album from Manhattan’s very own SosMula. Coming 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 before branching out on their own for a little bit. Sos was the first to step up to the plate last summer by dropping 13 Songs 2 Die 2, which was a bit of a disappointment in my opinion due to the features & production. ZillaKami followed it up a month later with HIS solo debut Dogboy & the duo reunited to drop Bottom of the Barrel the month after that, both of those I found much more tolerable. Nonetheless, I still went into 2 High 2 Die with an open mind as I’m still very much a fan of City Morgue’s work.

“PARTY ON MY BLOCK” opens the album up with a hypertrap banger talking about partying of course whereas “GIMMIE DAT” keeps the rage beats going thanks to F1LTHY talking about getting slumped as fuck. “HEAD TAP” follows it up with an obnoxious hook going further down the hypertrap rabbit hole spitting gang imagery just before “GET OUT” picks the energy back up with an off-the-wall bone breaker.

Meanwhile on “RICH BOI”, we have Mula over a heavy bass-line to flex his wealth leading into the manic “PULL UP” talking about how he already told us he was a star. “SNAP” returns to rage turf asking where his bands at, but then “BIG GUCCI” has a glitchier aesthetic to it talking about catching a body much like Gucci Mane.

“BIG NARCO” incorporates some crazy synth melodies providing an anthem for the heavy users while “WE SO UP!” energetically boasts his success. “SIERRA LEONE” throws some organs in the mix getting his murder bag while “MOLLY WATER” awkwardly describes getting his head knocked off by a bitch despite the futuristic production.

Following that, “PRESS A BUTTON” with Lil Tracy has to be the biggest mess of a song on the entire album talking about a hoe named Trish while “S.T.I.C.K.” follows it up with an unhinged ode to being strapped. “MAKK BALLA” has a more a rubbery tone to it talking about calling the shots while “MIX N MATCH” fuses some haunting piano melodies saying he can’t shop outside cause he’s too rich.

“YAZUKA 2000” goes into more ghostly turf talking about his body being different while the song “BODY PARTS” is a distorted horrorcore gorefest. The penultimate track “BITE DOWN” talks about getting fucked up off that syrup over a rattling instrumental & “CUTTIN’ SHIT” ends the album with 1 final ode to his shooters.

Now in comparison to Sos’ last album, [i]2 High 2 Die[/i] is definitely more tolerable. I once again appreciate him trying to stray away from the trap metal sound that City Morgue is known for, except this time he got rid of all the redundant features & it’ll be interesting to see him continuing to dabble into hypertrap alongside Kami at some point because it suits him fine here.

Score: 3.5/5

Coi Leray – “Trendsetter” review

Coi Leray is a 24 year old rapper & singer/songwriter from Hackensack, New Jersey who started making musical a decade back inspired by father Benzino. Even though I found her debut mixtape Everythingcoz along with her first 2 EPs EC2 & Now or Never to be mediocre, I was curious about her full-length debut over here given that I genuinely liked a couple of the singles she dropped within the last year.

“Hollywood Dreams” is a drumless yet euphoric opener talking about doing this music shit for her whereas “Blick Blick” comes through with a pop rap cut with God awful performances from Coi & Nicki Minaj stealing the show. I would much rather listen to that than “Aye Yai Yai” with Yung Bleuthough because it’s a cringey, buttery sex ballad. “Mountains” with Fivio Foreign & Young M.A.comes through with some triumphant lyricism over a somewhat psychedelic instrumental just before G Herbo tags along for the futuristic “Thief in the Night” to play Coi’s “sneaky link”.

Meanwhile on “Overthinking”, we have H.E.R. coming into the picture over an acoustic trap beat to help Coi talk about men not listening while “Clingy” almost has a West Coast groove to it with NAV awkwardly playing Coi’s counterpart much like “Thief in the Night”. That being said, “Heartbreak Kid” works in some fresh guitar riffs getting flirtatious & “TWINNEM” almost made my worst singles of 2021 list because it’s pretty much a ripoff of “Best Friend” by Saweetie & Doja Cat. “No More Parties” with Lil Durk on the other hand impressed me with it’s piano instrumental and the topic of going on to do better things.

After the “Be Me” interlude, “Lonely Fans” has a warm feeling with the production as Coi spits off the dome for a minute & a half while “Heart in a Coffin” is a dreary breakup anthem. “Paranoid” with Polo G finds the 2 delivering a twangy trap banger addressing themes of loyalty, mistrust & fame while “Box & Papers” aggressively talks about how “what’s forgiven is never forgotten”.

“Mission Impossible” with Lil Tecca sees the pair talking about their success with Chief Keefcooking up what’s easily the best beat on the album while the song “Too Far” is a touching dedication to her homie Atkins who’s locked up. The song “Mustard’s Interlude” with A Boogie wit da Hoodie has yet another acoustic trap flare to it with them trading the mic with one another very impressively while the penultimate track “Anxiety” is a rubbery display of how 2021 was for her. “BIG PURR (PRRDD)” with Pooh Shiesty ends the album with an ass kicking drill cut.

Yeah, it’s safe to say that Trendsetter is yet another run of the mill pop rap album with slightly more misses than hits. Coi is most certainly talented & most of the features came correct, but the album just feels all over the place as a whole & a lot of the production choices are very questionable in my opinion.

Score: 2/5

Nigo – “I Know Nigo” review

Nigo is a 51 year old fashion designer, DJ, producer & entrepreneur from Maebashi, Japan who famously created one of my favorite clothing lines of all-time: A Bathing Ape. He’s also been involved with the hip hop industry as well, being the DJ for the Teriyaki Boyz ever since their inception. But finally, Nigo has seen fit to host his very own full-length album with the help of Steven Victor’s very own Republic Records imprint Victor Victor Worldwide.

“Lost & Found” by WANG$AP starts things off with A$AP Rocky on top of a “3 Kings” sample talking about wanting his credit prior to switching up into a sample of “Like a Boss” by Slim Thug for Tyler, The Creator to spit some braggadocio whereas “Arya” by Rocky works in a piano-heavy instrumental shouting out the Game of Thrones character of the same name. “Punch Bowl” by Clipse sees the duo reflecting on their past on top of an atmospheric Neptunes instrumental leading into “Functional Addict” by Gunna & Pharrell taking a funkier route getting sexual.

Meanwhile on “Want It Bad”, we have KiD CuDi on top of an electropop beat talking about how his work is never done just before “Morë Tonight” goes into hip house territory for a fun Teriyaki Boyz reunion. “Paper Plates” by A$AP Ferg continues to flex over a riveting beat, but then “Hear Me Clearly” by Pusha T follows it up with a boom bap banger produced by Kanye West telling everyone who fears him to admit it.

The song “Remember” by Pop Smoke has a dope sample of “Sound of a Woman” by Kiesza to go at anyone who opposes him while the penultimate track “Heavy” by Lil Uzi Vert takes influence from UK Drill talking about repping Moncler hard. “Come On, Let’s Go” by Tyler, The Creator ends the album by telling a bitch the time she’s wasting is on him with the beat giving off heavy summer vibes.

In comparison to a lot of producer/DJ curated albums these days, I came away from I Know Nigo loving a good portion of what I heard on it & hopefully this is only the beginning for the icon. The guests are all well picked out & I love the diversity of the production ranging from boom bap to hip house & even UK Drill.

Score: 4/5

The Weeknd – “Dawn FM” review

This is the highly anticipated 5th album from Canadian singer/songwriter The Weeknd. Rising to stardom in the early 2010s with a trilogy of highly acclaimed mixtapes, he then made his full-length debut in 2013 with Kiss Land which was a decent attempt at symbolizing tour life. The sophomore effort Beauty Behind the Madness proved to be even better as it started to incorporate elements of pop, although Starboy ended up being another mixed bag much like Kiss Land except he embraced a more electropop sound. Abel’s debut EP My Dear Melancholy, though was a solid return to his alternative R&B roots & let’s not forget After Hours going on to becoming the best album of his career thus far in my opinion. Reasons being because of how much he artistically reinvented himself on there combined with the incredible portrayal of promiscuity as well as overindulgence & self-loathing. So given that, to say I was fiending for Dawn FM would be an understatement.

After the titular intro with fucking Jim Carrey playing a radio DJ, the first song “Gasoline” kicks off the whole thing in a quasi-techno territory talking about wanting to believer there’s more to life whereas the nu-disco tinged “How Do I Make You Love Me?” ponders on what it takes to achieve eternal love. “Take My Breath” has a bit of a French house influence to it talking about a woman who loves to be on the edge leading into “Sacrifice” samples Denroy Morgan to tell his lover not to be catching feelings out here.

After the “A Tale by Quincy” interlude, we have Abel in his funk bag for “Out of Time” admitting that he’s been working on himself just before “Here We Go…Again” brings in some bare synths talking about how life’s a dream & Tyler, The Creator’s verse on here actually comes off as half baked. “Best Friends” almost bares a synth-funk quality to it saying he & this woman can’t be close despite loving her, but then “Is There Someone Else?” is a slow jam confronting his lover asking if she’s cheating on him.

“Starry Eyes” sounds a bit similar to “Here We Go…Again” instrumentally excepting he’s singing about wanting to be there for the girl of his dreams & after the “Every Angel is Terrifying” interlude, “Don’t Break My Heart” showing a more vulnerable side saying he can’t take anymore heartbreak with some synthwave vibes. The track “I Heard You’re Married” with Lil Wayne finds the 2 patronizingly telling married women to leave their men for them over yet another synth-funk beat while the final song “Less Than 0” sounds very peppy sonically despite it’s depressing lyrics. “Phantom Regret” then ends the album with a spoken word interlude from Jim Carrey.

After Hours has quickly become The Weeknd’s best full-length album in a lot of people’s eyes including myself & Dawn FM is a great sequel to start the new year. Oneohtrix Point Never helps him dive further into a more synthpop based sound & I think the whole radio station concept of it is super neat.

Score: 4/5

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