The Rap Review

Ameen Khan and Jack Reilly Arts & Entertainment Jul 18, 2020

Hey! We are Jack and Ameen and we will be covering all the new music that you need to hear. With a focus towards rap music, we will give our opinions on new albums, up and coming artists, and recommend some songs that you should add to your playlist.

For this first issue we will be talking about some of the most notable albums this year and both of us will give our opinions and highlight some of the best songs in the album.


Note: these albums will be in order from January to the present. The albums I choose are what stood out to me.

Rich Youngin- Rich Youngin is Stunna 4 Vegas’s (S4V) second album. S4V is most known for his hype and loud songs where he likes to frequent the subject of his newfound wealth. This album is more of a debut album than his second because he had created a name for himself right before he released. He is signed under DaBabys Billion Dollar Baby label and there are many similarities between the two.

This album gives the audience what S4V is about. I've listened to this album a good amount and three of his most notable songs are "DO DAT", "UP THE SMOKE", "R & BEEF", in that order. Overall I give this album a 5/10. It wasn't the worst album but the best songs were too dependent on features. Majority of his solo songs were also mediocre but I do see potential so I'm eager to hear his next project.

A Love Letter To You 4- The fourth installment of Trippie Redds iconic album series stemming from his breakout album A Love Letter To You. Trippie Redd makes very emotional music, and in this album you can clearly feel some of the hate, love, and sadness he is experiencing. Filled with a crazy amount of features, a bunch of songs stood out, making this album much better than the 3rd A Love Letter To You but not as good as his original.

The features on some of the songs such as "YNW Melly", "Juice WRLD", "Youngboy", "Dababy", "Tory Lanez" and many more fit nicely with Trippie's sad boy flow. My favorite songs from the album were "Who Needs Love", "Love me More", "6 Kiss", and "Hate me". My personal favorite song is "6 Kiss". Trippie, Juice, and Melly really work well together and I'm sad that we won't be hearing much of them together with Melly incarcerated and Juice deceased. Overall I'm going to give this album a 7/10.

Meet the Woo V2- This album brought more of a name to the late Pop Smoke. With Pop Smokes unique deep and harsh voice these songs really represent the New York drill scene. NY drill rap has been on the rise lately with rappers such as A Boogie, Lil Tjay, Polo G, Sleepy Hollow and Sheff G.

No disrespect to the Woo but this album was not that good. I like Pop Smokes voice but he isn't versatile enough to be considered that great of an artist. I will admit songs like Shake the Room, Element and Foreigner will always go hard but if an artist cant adjust their style they end up sounding the same *cough* *cough* DaBaby. Overall I give this album a 6.5/10.

Artist 2.0- This album is A Boogies third studio project. In this album he displays his classic vibey NY-type rap. This album has some really good features. A Boogie has a lot of potential as an artist—he's been sitting on top of the NY rap game at the moment (A$AP Rocky is on top but he hasn't released music in too long). Throughout this year he has been featured on many songs and albums. Lets just say he knows how to make classics.

I love this album. A Boogie is one of my favorite artists because I really like his voice and style. His songs aren't too harsh and are perfect to listen to when you want to chill. I liked a bunch of the songs in this album: "It's Crazy", "Bleed", "Secrets", "Reply", "Mood Swings", "King of my City", "Luv is Art", "Thug Love", "Me and My Guitar", and "Cinderella Story" (I added in songs from the deluxe as well even though it was released in June). The best of those songs are "Me and My Guitar," "Cinderella Story," and "Reply". Though I may be biased because I like A Boogie a lot, this was genuinely a great album, therefore I would rate it a 9/10.

My Turn- This album is almost album of the year worthy. Lil Baby has been crushing it this year with his own songs and features, and My Turn really showcases Lil Baby’s lyrical ability. He is able to maintain a good flow and change up his type of style. Lil Baby raps about his come up from the streets to being successful yet being humble. That's one of the things that draws people to Lil Baby—so many rappers just try to flex everything they have but Lil Baby describes his come-up. Though, with a handful of features, this album was more meant to display Lil Baby as a rapper.

I wasn't really into this album at first but after a couple of listens I really got into it and I noticed Lil Baby's ability to rap over many different types of beats. When the deluxe came out we were given the viral song "We Paid" with 42 Dugg, which is one of my favorite songs in this album along with "Grace", "Commercial", "Sum 2 Prove" and "We Should". I highly recommend "We Paid" and "Grace" because Lil Baby and 42 Dugg are a great combo. Overall I give this album an 8.5/10. Although it was enjoyable, I think Lil Baby has not reached his peak yet.

Eternal Atake- After years of anticipation Lil Uzi Vert finally dropped his masterpiece Eternal Atake. The amount of hype building up to this album was crazy—personally, I've waited years for Uzi to drop this and I was not disappointed. Uzi goes back to his usage of crazy samples and unique beats and released the original album with only one feature. The deluxe album though was what most fans were waiting for. Lil Uzi released the songs which had been leaked for a while and gave us the full and high quality version. Though this may not have been Lil Uzi's best album, it was definitely a memorable one.

I really enjoyed this album because it was full of hype, vibey and chill songs—the perfect variety in an album. All of these songs are enjoyable to listen to and I highly recommend them (I could list off the majority of the album as the songs I liked) but the best ones that appeal to a larger audience are "Myron", "Lotus", "Bean", "Moon Relate", "Celebration Station", "Chrome Heart Tags", "Prices", and "Venetia". But, no matter how much I liked this album I would still have to give it a 9/10. (For reference, the albums that achieve a perfect 10/10 are legendary and will go down in history as classics: Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid MAAD City or Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy).

You may be wondering where Juice WRLD’s and Pop Makes' posthumous albums are—Rest In Peace to both of them but the albums just weren't as amazing as many made them out to be, but some songs were good: though listening to the album many times it just sounded monotonous and the flow/beat were too similar, on Juice WRLD's album I really like "Wishing Well", "Come and Go", and "Blood on my Jeans". The Pop Smoke album was better than Juice Worlds: with Shoot For the Stars Aim for the Moon we as an audience were able to see the different styles of the Woo. Some of the best songs on there included "For the Night", "The Woo", and "Got it on me".


THIS IS WEIRD- Khary delivers an album that I personally have been waiting for for about 2 years. Since Khary is not exactly a household name, I'll give a brief summary of his rise. I've been following him since 2017 when he dropped a song called "Fujiko" (a catchy love rap song) which got me hooked on his music. He followed that release with his album Captain which began to show the development of his voice—which evolved even further in this recent album. He produces his own songs with some help from producer Mike Irish (I really appreciate how loyal their relationship is). The production value is the first thing I pay attention to when listening to new music, and I really enjoyed it for this recent album. The beats are experimental enough to keep me interested, but catchy enough to keep me going over the melodies in my head as I go about my day.

When listening to this album, I have a few songs that really stuck out to me. First is "Nomad", which I honestly loved because of how vulnerable he let himself be with his lyrics: the emotion is impossible to miss—a hard feat to accomplish in a rap song. The beat fits perfectly with the storyline of the music, perfectly completing the song. The other songs I would recommend are "In the Middle of the Forest", which is more of a traditional rap song,  "i luh u bih" and "ANIME SAGA ENDING". I would give this album an overall of a 7.5/10 simply because some of the skits are a bit annoying when listening to the album, and also because the songs are a bit hit or miss for me.

Alfredo- Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist really delivered on this one. Following his recent album produced by Madlib, Freddie Gibbs continued to work with a top tier producer. I've always been a fan of The Alchemist’s beats, and Freddie’s old school type flow paired perfectly with him on this album. Beyond the combos and their raw talents, the features on this album were selected extremely well. Conway the Machine, Rick Ross and Benny the Butcher fit the vibe of the album so well, and they both killed their verses. This album effuses such an energizing feel to the listener it's hard to not to appreciate it.

My favorite track on this album would have to be "God Is Perfect", closely followed by "Scottie Beam". The mellow, old school beats with the intense flows of Freddie on these tracks is addictive—he floats on the beat of "God is Perfect" impressively. Some who know me well might be questioning why I did not include "Something to Rap About" on here, considering it has a Tyler, the Creator feature (a favorite artist of mine). Honestly, I do not think he did his best on his verse nor did he fit the album well, but it did bring the album more mainstream marketing than it would have without it so I can't say it was a bad move. I would give this album an 8/10.

Mariposa- Another not so mainstream name, Felly has been creating awesome music for the past six years and I still do not feel he gets the recognition he deserves. If you watch him make music or perform he literally emits such a passion for the sounds he is creating. From the beginning of his discography to now, witnessing his growth has been stunning: he went from a rapper making beats in his basement to a multi-instrumentalist singer-rapper. This album is hard to put a genre on, but I would say it's a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and rock.

I have to say the first track is one of my favorite songs. It's called "Gloria", and I just love the vocals combined with the organ and guitar right before the drum break—it's just perfect! I would strongly recommend watching the music video for this song—it just gives me such a good feeling in my chest. Otherwise, "New Soul" is really cool because the bass part for it is pretty sick. Also, he got Santana to feature on guitar in "Heartstrings", so it's amazing. I would give the album an 8.5/10.

Tragedy- This was $NOT’s debut album on streaming platforms; he went from simply being an underground Soundcloud rapper from Florida to finding mainstream success this year. I started following $NOT's rise to fame when I stumbled upon his song "Excuse me" and thought it was so fun to listen to so I got into his style. Unfortunately the song is no longer available on streaming platforms because of copyright issues, but he still has really cool songs up from before this most recent album. One thing I really appreciate about him is how down to earth he is on his social media platforms, how he isn’t letting his fame and money go to his head like many other artists would.

On this album I would have to acknowledge the old songs he included like "GOSHA" and "MEGAN" which are really fun listens. I love the beat for "ROADRUNNER +". Honestly, there are too many songs on this album that I enjoy to list them all, but this is such a great album to put on and space out to. The lyrics are not especially deep or creative, and neither is the style, but everything just fits so well together that I couldn’t care less. I give this album a 9/10 because for what it is, it is truly enjoyable.

EVERYTHING- Finally Kota the Friend is achieving the mainstream success he deserves. After working for years, he now has a fanbase to make up for the fact that he refuses to sign with a record label, staying independent and true to his beliefs. His last album, FOTO was great. Every song was so well done, I can honestly say there were no skips. The album before that called Anything was solid too. This release however, I have some mixed feelings about.

EVERYTHING did not quite do it for me. A lot of the songs felt boring and repetitive. However if you do happen to want to listen to some songs I would recommend "Always" and "Long Beach". "Long Beach" I feel is only good because of the Hello O’shay feature—his voice fits so well with Kota's (see the song "Birdie"). I also like the fact that every song is optimistic: as found by HipHopNumbers, 80.8% of the lyrics in this album can be described as “overtly positive”. Unfortunately, this album is not going to be in my rotation of music anytime soon, which leads me to rate it as a 5/10.

Closing Thoughts

These are just some of the most notable albums this year—while there have been many other decent ones such as DaBabys Blame it on Baby, Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes, and Nav’s good intentions but I (Ameen) feel those were all mediocre. They are typical albums of those artists and of course some may have good songs but it was nothing crazy. All these albums we listed really represented the artists and we felt like they had a solid proportion of good songs to eh ones. Take a listen, and check back next week for our review of the latest releases!

Ameen Khan

Ameen, a senior, is the editor of A & E. He can tell you the price and model of any shoe. Through The Current, he’s gained confidence in his writing and hopes to help others the same way.

Jack Reilly

Jack, a senior, likes music—and that includes writing about it. He looks to double major in bass performance and possibly law studies, and his favorite artist is Tyler, the Creator.

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