The Many Flows of Aubrey Graham:
There was no better way to celebrate Black History month in 2018 then diving into new music from rap’s two biggest superstars. Kendrick curated an album for the Black Panther movie, another dub for Black History Month, and Drake followed up his Scary Hours EP with not only the hottest feature of the month but also dropped the frontrunner for music video of the year by giving away close to a million dollars to those who deserve it within the city of Miami.
Linking up with Blocboy JB on “Look Alive”, Drake delivers an infectious hook and a hard-hitting verse as a major assist to the Memphis “Shoot” rapper best known for his viral dance by the same name. This collab continues the Drake trend of hopping on the next up and coming rapper/artist’s song and effectively blowing them up. All too often however, this leads to said artist’s meteoric fall back to earth, eventually stalling their career. It may be too early to tell for BlocBoy JB, but hopefully he learns from the Fetty Waps and Makonnens and builds on this wave of fanfare instead of relying on it.
The Underrated & Underappreciated Female Emcee
The female emcee is never given the respect she deserves. Master lyricists always looked over when comparing the greats at the top of their game. This February, we were given several reminders that they are as good as any male rapper in their field.
Janelle Monáe dropped a stirring visual for her song “Django Jane”. With lines like “We gave you life, we gave you birth, we gave you God, we gave you Earth, we fem the future, don’t make it worse.” She puts not only herself, but women like her the praise/recognition they deserve.
Rhymesayers signee Sa-Roc also delivered a new video for her song “Forever”. With accepting your own beauty as it’s focal point, she has women of color in all shades, shapes, and forms sit on a throne in the video…their throne. Royalty.
New Music to peep: Alternative
Gus Dapperton, “You Think You’re a Comic!” EP
Gus Dapperton continues to impress with his eccentric sound on this short EP. The self-produced artist from New York is showing he might be a common name on the charts sooner than later.
Stand out track: I Have Lost My Pearls
New Music to Peep: RnB
The budding songstress drops her long awaited collab with Steve Lacy. Steve Lacy shows his production on Kendrick’s DAMN. wasn’t a fluke, synching up perfectly with Chicago upstart Ravyn Lenae while providing a consistent sound.
Stand out track: Computer Luv (feat. Steve Lacy)
New Music to peep: Rap
Cozz, “Effected” Album
The Dreamville Artist is proving bars are still alive in rap. With a unique voice/cadence with the delivery to match, Cozz holds his own even on tracks with Rap’s vets. The LA rapper continues to improve his story telling with heartfelt verses that hits home for even the casual rap listener.
Stand out track: Hustla’s Story (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
The Dreamville duo looks to be done playing catch up, releasing their third EP since signing to J. Cole’s label last summer. This might be the best of the series. The Atlanta duo shows they know their lane/sound flowing seamlessly track to track with skits to accompany them to keep your attention.
Stand out track: Nothing But The Best (Feat. Ari Lennox)
Lyrical wunderkind, Bishop Nehru, makes his return to rap over production from frequent collaborator MF DOOM with an assist from Kaytranada. Nehru drops the “Rooftops” video in anticipation of his next project, “Elevators: I & II”. Someone who can be considered a victim of poor timing, came onto the scene shortly after Joey Bada$$ blew up with a stylistically similar 90’s reminiscent nostalgic tape 1999. Both artists hail from New York and pride themselves for their lyricism. Hopefully, Bishop Nehru’s next project will be the one to thrust him into the mainstream.
There were many more artists who dropped new music this month. Don’t just take my word for it though. Listen close enough and you’ll hear them yourselves.