The lengthiest roundup yet:
Oxnard — Anderson .Paak
An album as eccentric, eclectic, and electric (not to mention erratic) as its, and his, name (just look at all the features!). Some of my favorite producing of the year. Anderson is to funk-R&B what Kendrick — who guests here — is to rap; boxing them into the usual genre-labels reduces their artistry, because both artists expand the parameters of their respective genres, thus the reason they’re responsible for some of the best of both forms (also, FWIW, their voices sound supremely similar, too). Curbing the popular trend of the moment, these songs are looooong, leaving time for each to creatively modulate into unexpected mutations, all while allowing their overarching grooves to settle in.
Snacks — Jax Jones
Get funky. Might Jax be the next Calvin Harris?
The Greatest Showman: Reimagined — Various Artists
STOKELEY — Ski Mask the Slump God
You Will Regret (Reloaded) — Ski Mask the Slump God
Archives — Ski Mask the Slump God
With his four (4!) 2018 albums, Mr. the Slump God establishes himself as one of THE gods of wonderfully-weird hip-hop. And since each of these releases has been superior to the previous one, I don’t foresee a slump in Ski Mask’s future……
The Grinch — Tyler, the Creator
A fellow god! I want to ask the creators of the latest Grinch dreck the same question I posed about Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther and Future’s SUPERFLY: why not just use these “soundtracks” in, or even as, the movie’s score? You know, so the songs accompany scenes instead of just letting them be mere spin-off entities? Tyler’s playful versatility, and versatile playfulness, would’ve made him the ideal candidate to spice up the latest turd from Illumination, the animated studio that beat America into inane submission with the Despicable Me Minions. Imagine if the flick, right on down to its blandly-derivative animation, boasted the same level of personality and character as the album art above?
The Pains of Growing — Alessia Cara
I’m about it.
don’t smile at me — Billie Eilish
The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story — Jaden Smith
The songs vary wildly in style, further showcasing Jaden’s range. But when evaluated individually, they’re surprisingly generic and, frankly, average.
Yet another record that’s all range, no novelty.
Global Citizen – EP 1 — “Various Artists”
New Coldplay! For a good cause!
PERIOD — City Girls
Girl Code — City Girls
I welcome any and all sexually-filthy lyrics from a female perspective, still shamefully underrepresented in hip-hop. But within this satisfying subgenre, PERIOD. — despite the awesome title, right on down to the period at the end — is uninspired, and Girl Code’s insipid; there’s a youthful energy to the former’s palpably-amateur producing lacking in the latter’s corporatized slick polish.
11 — Trey Songz
In the midst of a true R&B-renaissance fueled by young upstarts introducing influences from other genres to push the envelope, why does such a formulaic rhythm and blueser continue to receive endless acclaim for falling squarely within traditional conceptions of the genre?!
28 — Trey Songz
This is more like it — I prefer the uptempo vibe — but still not remarkable in any significant way, and definitely not worth the praise showered upon him.
Signed to the Streets 3 — Lil Durk
Glockoma — Key Glock
Spoken rap, without the poetry of spoken word (or most other hip-hop, for that matter). In other words, 21 Savage-ultra-lite. More like GlockNOma, amirite?!
RESET — Moneybagg Yo
More like Moneybagg No, amirite?!
Street Gossip — Lil Baby
More like Lil Nayby, amirite?!?!