This year started with more shenanigans and not enough music for me but I am still optimistic for the rest of the year. I think there are some artists new and old who are gearing up for a big year in music.
I’d like to start with this kid who goes by the name of Kyle. Just an underground rapper with a sound ready for the mainstream. If you’ve heard of him, you know that unique sounding voice he has. Kyle almost sounds like the dork in junior high who was really cool and really funny when you got to know him. He works the sound well. He’s made some of my favorite songs of 2016 with “Remember Me?” featuring Chance The Rapper, as well as “It’s Lit” featuring IAMSU, just to name a few. I highly recommend his two best bodies of work in my opinion, which I believe to be “Smyle” and the “Beautiful Loser” project he created in 2013. If you enjoy rap artistry mixed with a blend of schoolyard playfulness, you’ll love Kyle and songs such as “@foundbae” and “iSpy” where the rapper seems to poke fun at a few rappers who remained nameless with the eyebrow raising line stating “They can’t see the vision boy, they must be out of focus. That’s a real hot album homie, I wonder who wrote it. Oh, Sh*t!”. Kyle definitely has my vote for one of the XXL freshman of the year.
Whether it be Joyner Lucas’ based on a true story masterpieces like “Ross Capicchioni”, or his lyrical onslaught with rap legend, Busta Rhymes entitled “Jumanji”, the Worcester native Lucas is a Hip-Hop purest’s dream in the new era. He’s truly a talented wordsmith. Once settled in to Joyner’s no holds barred style of rapping, just minutes into one of his tracks you’ll truly notice that he’s not only a really good rapper but a student of the genre. The way he pieces rhymes together reminds you of a number of the better rap artists in history such as Tech N9ne, Eminem, or Nas. Lucas is not only explicit with his words but he is on an above average level in regards to creativity. Joyner Lucas is one of the best storytellers in Hip-Hop today and I stand by that. You would too if you’ve heard “Happy Birthday”, a tale about fatherhood and infidelity. Joyner Lucas just inked a deal last September with Atlantic Records. We shall see if a debut album is to follow. Trust me when I tell you Joyner Lucas is one of the most lyrically inclined rap artists you may have not heard of yet.
“You have a way with words. Your silence is a curse”. Kehlani’s “Advice” record alone has me ready for her debut album SweetSexySavage. Kehlani is lowkey killing the R&B/Pop scene and I mean that in a good way. Gangsta is a smash-hit record and not just because it was apart of the Suicide Squad soundtrack. The song is really, really good. Something about her reminds me of the American version of Lily Allen. Maybe it’s the fact that on top of her unique sound, she seems extremely down to earth but almost always seems like she’s living in the moment as if she’s not even here; as if she doesn’t belong to this world. I’m under the impression that her music stems from her deepest thoughts on almost every track. Never a wasted word or breath when listening to a Kehlani track. Bottomline, be on the lookout for anything Kehlani, if you want to feel something especially if you’re born in the 90s, female or male. In my best hippy voice, She’s good for the soul bro.
Pusha T. King Push. The guy makes me want to sell drugs. I know that’s horrible but it’s just the truth. Don’t think we don’t see the growth Pusha T. The real fans can hear the growth and how “Blowbama” is evolving with his sound. If you haven’t heard “Circles” featuring Desiigner you’ll see what I mean. The production is fantastic and Pusha is immaculate. His verses compliment Desiigner’s contributions so well. Can’t lie, I’m not sure what Desiigner is saying in Circles but I’m not sure if I want too. I think sometimes the songs sound better when you don’t know what these kids are saying, let’s be honest. Think about it. Panda started becoming unbearable to listen too the more we came to understand what the boy was actually saying. I digress. Pusha T is sounding great on these new tracks as of late. This may be an unpopular opinion, but Thirdstory’s “G Train” song is made whole with Pusha’s verse. An extremely unique verse might I add about the relationships between women and rappers, basketball players, football players, etc. I want to hear those new bodies of work you promised us Pusha. It’s safe to say whether Pusha T’s product of choice is drugs or rap music, he’ll keep the fiends begging for more.
Last but most certainly not least is Jay Z. I just want one more album. Just one more. I just want to hear braggadocios rap done right one more time. I want to know how you feel about the state of affairs in America and where you think we are heading. I want you to take one more jab at Drake just for kicks and giggles. Subliminal your fans to death and leave us in suspense about what’s to come next like you used to back when Marv and I were in high school, where we’d converse around the lunch table about how slick you were with the words. I just want to be inside the mind of the greatest rapper ever once again. Then I want you to run for president. Is that too much to ask?