- Earl Sweatshirt and Armand Hammer, Tabula Rasa (B+): Earl has released another single with a guest feature from the criminally underrated Hammer duo. The track doesn’t really go anywhere but the combination of amazing bars from all three rappers more than justifies the repetition.
- Yungeen Ace, Caterpillars to Butterflies (B): What appears to be yet another Ace song with a simple beat, piano sample, and a loose flow, actually has a profound undercurrent about depression, anxiety, and personal growth.
- Pink Sweat$ and 6lack, Midnight River (B-): As with all Pink Sweat$ songs, there is a simple acoustic guitar and spacious vocals. The 6lack feature is also nothing special, although the accompanying beat drop is really effective.
- Earthgang, American Horror Story (C): The self-styled successors of Outkast, this Atlanta duo has released an underwhelming single in American Horror Story. The thinly veiled imagery of the USA’s atrocities doesn’t even hold through the verses.
- Ne-Yo and Yung Bleu, Stay Down (C): This collaborative track between an R&B giant and a newcomer never really takes off, jarringly switching the entire feel of the track part-way through.
- Tierra Whack, Body of Water (C-): Tierra just dropped an EP and now she’s back with a single. This track takes a turn into pure pop and it is just absurd, the rapping is not particularly good and the chorus is just cringy
Something in Between
- Beach House, Once Twice Melody (A): This bunch of new songs from the highgly anticipated new project by Baltimore’s Beach House uses a fantastically subtle palette of sounds to paint tracks of pure sensation. The hushed vocals and cohesive track-list make for an astounding product.
- Rick Ross, Richer Than I Ever Been (B): Consistency is something to be admired. Rick Ross has never really shaken up his style or flow. This new album does nothing new in expanding Ross’s sound or scope, instead providing an exemplary reminder of why he is an industry giant. Good features, good rap, good beats, but shallow material.
- Alicia Keys, Keys (C+): The supremely talented and charismatic Alicia Keys has released a new project, totaling an hour and a half, with the back half being alternate versions of the new tracks. These new songs range from modern R and B to jazz solos, all utilizing a characteristic echoey acoustic vibe. What the album lacks in direction it almost makes up for in pure musicality, but this is not enough to overcome the lack of energy throughout.