Top HipHop Uproxx
The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from City Girls, Drake, and more.
There was so much new music this week, even if not much of it came from bigger names in the hip-hop world. While it’s hard to ignore anytime Drake drops something, even when it’s just a feature as it was with UK rapper J Hus (“Who Told You“), that didn’t prevent other rappers from getting in on the summertime fun. City Girls dropped the LL Cool J-sampling “I Need A Thug,” while Tyga and YG prepared fans for a “West Coast Weekend” with Blxst. Meanwhile, the remainder of the week’s releases came from underground talents and rising stars who definitely deserve your attention as the weather finally warms up in LA, the skies finally clear in NY, and summer seems to have officially arrived.
Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending June 9, 2023.
Babytron — 6
First up, we have Detroit’s punchline pundit, Babytron, who I would normally say is rapidly becoming one of the more prolific personalities out of his city — except that he already has been. It’s hard to keep up. Still, it’s worth the effort, especially if you’re a fan of hilariously over-the-top gag lines, easy-to-invest-in beats, and the sort of personality that lets Babytron litter his projects with samples from Family Guy, DC Comics-referencing song titles, and more NBA name drops than an episode of SportsCenter.
Doe Boy — Beezy
Doe Boy’s an automatic listen for fans of straight-up street rap and his latest release meets the standard he’s set with his last few releases, 56 Birdz, Oh Really, and Demons R Us. If anything, his wordplay is climbing in proficiency and his beat selection is getting more knowing — the album opens with “Rhude Boy,” which not only samples Shyne, but vows to protect Future the same way Shyne did Diddy (hopefully, with better results though). Another standout? “Dumb,” on which he goes back-and-forth with Lola Brooke.
Kenny Mason — 6
Look. I don’t know what it says that there are two rappers with the same album title today. Maybe the kids just value efficiency. But don’t let the laziness fool you into missing out. This is Kenny’s most straightforward-sounding rap release yet (although it still delves into grunge on “Side II Side”) and although it’s short, that just makes it worth the replay. Project Pat shows up and it’s a chef’s kiss of a cameo.
Rob49 — 4 God II
Rob49 is a name I’ve been seeing a lot of lately, and I fully expect the New Orleans rapper to blow up sooner rather than later, provided he stays out trouble (what with street rappers living their raps so much lately). What he does isn’t really my bag (think piano-banging, opp-stopping artists like Pooh Shiesty and you’re on the right track) but he comes highly recommended by my colleague Cherise, and she’s generally right about these things.
Sexxy Red — Hood Hottest Princess
A few months ago, I asserted that Sexxy Red was perfectly positioned to become rap’s new it-girl. Folks around the Slack office were skeptical, as were followers on Twitter. One day, you people are going to figure out that I’m pretty good at this. The raunchy “Pound Town” has all the hallmarks of a gimmick track, yes, but Sexxy Red also bears a ton of the markers of a savvy star who is far more perceptive and planning than she lets on. With a co-sign from Nicki Minaj and a knowingly filthy sense of humor, Red’s well on her way to proving me right. Again.
Vic Mensa — ’93 To ’23: Victor
Less of a brand-new project and more of a “greatest hits” of sorts, ’93 To ’23: Victor is a compilation of a bunch of the Chicago rapper’s fan-favorite material spanning most of his solo releases from the past six years, from There’s A Lot Going On to The Autobiography to V Tape and his more recent singles from earlier this year. It’s a great primer for an artist who probably deserves better than he’s received over the years (fairly or not), and sets up an interesting look at an unpredictable future.
Babyface Ray — “All Star Team”
The Detroit sound is proving to be incredibly versatile and malleable. “All Star Team” is a perfect example; half jock jam, half easy listening summer cruiser, it’s a short, sweet jab to of what Babyface Ray has been doing best lately. Ray’s laid-back flow is deceptive as he sneaks in a few rewind-worthy bars, while the beat makes you wish the song was a little bit longer so you can make (ahem) the most of it.
Boldy James x Chan Hays — “I Tried”
Just months removed from a near-fatal road accident, Boldy James’ relentless work ethic churned out the Detroit rapper’s third release of the year to date, the joint EP Prisoner Of Circumstance with producer Chan Hays. Where much of Detroit’s bubbling underground scene has centered around stretching the limits of the city’s homebred techno sound, Boldy sticks to a more traditionalist formula — to great effect.
Central Cee & Dave — “Sprinter”
The only bad part about Split Decision, the joint EP from which “Sprinter” originates, is that it’s an EP — meaning it’s too damn short. You mean to tell me two of UK rap’s most exciting young talents got together to produce a joint project and all we got was four tracks? [Extremely bad Top Boy accent]You takin’ a piss, bruv? Nah, brudda, that’s long. Mandem need to go back to the studio, lock in, and don’t come out ’til we get a full-length. Still… as far as samplers go, Split Decision ain’t half bad.
City Girls — “Piñata”
Despite already dropping another (mostly superior) single this week, JT and Yung Miami aren’t exactly going to be deterred from going hard. Considering their dominant introduction to the biz came with a flurry of activity ahead of JT’s prison sentence for credit card scamming, it makes sense they’d adopt the strategy for their long-awaited comeback as well. “Piñata” is a lot of fun, even if “I Need A Thug” is the catchier effort.
Femdot. — “2003”
Chi-Town’s Femdot. is an associate of Pivot Gang and Savemoney, so if that’s your bag, you’ll likely enjoy his new EP, Free Samples, Vol. 1. At seven tracks, it’s a worthy introduction for newcomers and a tasty collation for longtime followers to hold them over until he drops a full course.
Skilla Baby — “B’Cuz” Feat. G Herbo
Another Cherise selection, Skilla Baby’s off-kilter flow is fascinating to me, especially as he pairs up with a collaborator known for putting a lot of swing into his delivery. Skilla Baby is yet another Detroit product (was there a meeting this week, or what?) who’s poised for a big breakout this year among fans of hardcore, guns-and-butter rap, and even if this isn’t my taste, I can still appreciate why he’s been getting so much attention lately.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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