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The Early Bird: Top New Releases 11-30-18 – 12-6-18

A huge week for hip hop releases,. Lil Baby’s new mixtape Street Gossip, following the Gunna collaboration in October) is a leap forward; his rapping is excellent, his timbre hard but quiet, and his mood mode better than most, the mix of emo rap with deep beats is addictive and the list of featured artists going from 2Chainz to Young Thug, try “Pure Cocaine” (Grade: B+).  Earl Sweatshirt goes his own way on Some Rap Songs, to be precise 15 rap songs in 24 minutes, bare bones, druggy raps to strange art tracks (Grade: B+). Meek Mill’s Championship is a major pop move, including a song with his ex-Nicki Minaj’s nemesis, Cardi B. It has backbone and bravado and not that much more (Grade: B-). Better, though apparently my opinion is in the minority, is 6ix9ine’s state of cloud rap Dummy Boy (Grade: B+),  and also xxxtentacions friend from juvenile detention, Ski Mask The Slump Lord’s haunted emo rap STOKELY, if this is where rap is going it should be an interesting ride (Grade: B+). Finally the deluxe Queen from Nicki Minaj, it includes a good song featuring Lil Wayne and a reminder that it’s better than we think it is (Grade: B).

Over at singles, Chance The Rapper’s “My Own Thing” is his most purely uplifting work in a coupla years, it sounds like Gospel but not Christian (Grade: A-), Bob Mould’s best songs over the past coupla years have sounded a lot like “What Do You Want Me To Do” -all Byrds like ringing guitars and indelible melodies (Grade: B+). Grimes has been quiet since 2015, “We Appreciate Power” with HANA is an electronic sound blast (Grade: B). Kelly Rowland’s “Kelly” is out there hip hop production from the former Destiny Child, a lot of vocal tweaking… odd because she has a great voice (Grade: B-). Oakland rock band SWMRS have learnt a little from the likes of Imagine Dragons and flipped the production but it doesn’t matter because “April In Houston” is a major release and breakthrough, “everybody wants to get me high” is the hook of the week  (Grade: A-).

Back to albums, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships by The 1975 is a major art rock release, jumping genre’s with serious lyric intent intact. It should be huge and I’ve already read a coupla raves, I like it fine but… I need a little more time with it and one reason for that is because I wasn’t entirely sold on the singles I’ve heard so far (Grade: B).  One more, sad girl Sasha Sloan’s EP Loser, is down low, acoustic mood music for manic depression (Grade: B+)

Dummy Boy – 6ix9ine –  B+

What Do You Want Me To Do – Bob Mould – B+

My Own Thing – Chance The Rapper – A-

Some Rap Songs – Earl Sweatshirt – B+

We Appreciate Power – Grimes , HANA – B

Kelly – Kelly Rowland – B-

Street Gossip – Lil Baby – B+

Championship – Meek Mill – B-

Queen – Nicki Minaj – B-

Loser – Sasha Sloan – B+

STOKELY – Ski Mask The Slump Lord – B+

April In Houston – SWMRS – A-

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