This week in hip hop, we got new projects from Benny the Butcher and Pink Siifu/Fly Anakin (both of which you can read about in Notable Releases), and I also recommend the new KOTA The Friend/Statik Selektah and Nappy Nina/JWords projects that you can read a little bit about below. We also got new songs from Mick Jenkins/Kaytranada, Saba, Open Mike Eagle, Jae5/Skepta/Rema, Gotham (Talib Kweli & Diamond D)/Busta Rhymes, Enny, Aesop Rock, Santana Fox/Boldy James/The Alchemist, L'Orange/Namir Blade, Mykki Blanco, Boosie Badazz/DaBaby, and more. Read on for all the rap and R&B we posted this week...
KOTA THE FRIEND & STATIK SELEKTAH - TO KILL A SUNRISE
Brooklyn rapper KOTA The Friend has been on the rise for the past few years and he's also been highly prolific. It's not easy to keep up with his output, but don't miss out on To Kill A Sunrise, which was entirely helmed by the great Statik Selektah. Statik delivers a batch of his finest '90s-style boom bap, and KOTA effortlessly rises to the occasion.
NAPPY NINA & JWORDS - DOUBLE DOWN
Oakland rapper Nappy Nina and NJ producer JWords teamed up for a new album, Double Down, which pairs skittering, psychedelic production from JWords with dizzying, abstract poetry from Nina. "Real Tea" features Stas THEE Boss of the much-missed duo THEESatisfaction (who also sequenced the album), and "Thin Ice" features JWords' H31R partner Maassai with co-production from KeiyaA.
MICK JENKINS - "DESIGNER FRAMES" (prod. KAYTRANADA)
Fresh off Kaytranada becoming the first-ever Black artist to win the Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy, Mick Jenkins released a new song that Kaytranada produced. It appears to just be a SoundCloud loosie for now, but it's genuinely great stuff, with a maximalist, polyrhythmic beat from Kaytranada that kinda feels like a lo-fi version of classic Timbaland/Neptunes beats, and killer verses from Mick.
SABA - "ZIPLOCK" / "RICH DON'T STOP"
After releasing two double-singles in 2020, Chicago rapper Saba is back with another two-pack, his first of 2021. Both find him toeing the line between melodic/soulful and eloquent rap, and both are great.
OPEN MIKE EAGLE - "GOLD GLOVES" (prod. THE LASSO)
Here's the latest single from the upcoming Mello Music Group compilation Bushido. This one finds alt-rap great Open Mike Eagle delivering his trademark tongue-twisters over trippy, futuristic production from The Lasso (who's one half of Small Bills with Elucid). " brought a glitched out Moog, a circling bassline, and a bag of plucky percussion, and did what we came to do," The Lasso said. "Honored to do battle with a legend and hero."
JAE5 - "DIMENSION" (ft. SKEPTA & REMA)
Having worked with J Hus, Burna Boy, and others, rising producer Jae5 has just as firm a grasp on UK rap as he does on Afrobeats, so it's a perfect fit that his new single features both Skepta and Rema.
GOTHAM (TALIB KWELI & DIAMOND D) - "THE QUIET ONE" (ft. BUSTA RHYMES)
New York hip hop veterans Talib Kweli and Diamond D (of D.I.T.C.) will release a collaborative album, Talib Kweli and Diamond D Are Gotham, on April 16 via Javotti, and first single "The Quiet One" features yet another New York vet, Busta Rhymes. As you may expect, the song is classic, '90s-style NYC.
ENNY - "SAME OLD"
UK rapper/singer Enny follows her recent Jorja Smith collab "Peng Black Girls" with another impactful single, "Same Old." Her rapped verses are hard-hitting and incisive, and the hook is lush and soulful.
AESOP ROCK - "LONG LEGGED LARRY"
Underground rap lifer Aesop Rock has shared a great new song that tells the story of Larry, "a particularly altruistic and well-abled frog, who hops from place to place looking to help ease folks’ troubles." It's full of all the classic Aesop Rock tongue-twisters you can ask for.
SANTANA FOX - "THE CHASE" (ft. BOLDY JAMES, prod. THE ALCHEMIST)
Prodigy's daughter Santana Fox appeared on Flee Lord's full-album tribute to her father late last year, and now she's got a very chilled-out, psychedelic new song that reunites Boldy James and The Alchemist, who released one of 2020's best albums.
L'ORANGE & NAMIR BLADE - "CORNER STORE SCANDAL"
Nashville rapper Namir Blade teamed with producer L'Orange for a new album, Imaginary Everything, due May 7 via Mello Music Group, and first single "Corner Store Scandal" finds Namir delivering tongue-twisters over a psych-rock-fueled beat.
MYKKI BLANCO - "FREE RIDE"
Mykki Blanco has released their first new music of 2021, "Free Ride," which was co-produced by FaltyDL and Hudson Mohawke. It's Mykki's first single for Transgressive Records, which they just signed to. "Some of the most intimate moments and conversations I have ever shared were with my mother on long drives in the Southern countryside when I was a teenager," Mykki says. "The music that soundtracked these memories on our daily journeys was the stuff of my mother’s generation. I would find myself daydreaming, reflecting and envisioning the kind of life I would like to create for myself. These memories and the music of Luther Vandross were the first inspirations behind the creation of my new song 'Free Ride.'"
YOUNG DOLPH & KEY GLOCK - "SLEEP WITH THE ROACHES" & "YEEH YEEH"
We're one week away from Young Dolph & Key Glock's Dum and Dummer 2, and here's another instantly-satisfying, subwoofer-rattling taste. Dolph also shared the solo cut "Yeeh Yeeh" from the same album.
BOOSIE BADAZZ - "PERIOD" (ft. DABABY)
"Baby Jesus" collaborators Boosie Badazz and DaBaby have teamed up again, and they sound as gigantic as ever. The song is expected to appear on Boosie's upcoming GOAT Talk 3.
LIL TJAY - "HEADSHOT" (ft. POLO G & FIVIO FOREIGN)
Fresh off "Calling My Phone" ft. 6LACK, fast-rising New York rapper Lil Tjay shows off a more aggressive side on "Headshot," featuring Polo G and Fivio Foreign.
TEE GRIZZLEY - "WHITE LOWS OFF DESIGNER" (ft. LIL DURK)
Bloodas collaborators Tee Grizzley and Lil Durk team up once again for the new song "White Lows Off Designer." It's a melodic, laid-back taste of Tee Grizzley's next album (details TBA).
BFB DA PACKMAN - "FEDERAL"
BFB Da Packman continues to leave a huge mark on the rap world, and he's back with another characteristically in-your-face single.
ZILLAKAMI - "CHAINS"
ZillaKami of City Morgue is among a new wave of rappers putting a genuinely new, thrilling twist on rap metal, and this ripper of a song is no exception.
CHUCKY73 & ELADIO CARRION - "NUBE"
Bronx rapper Chucky73 remains highly prolific and his blend of Latin trap and New York drill continues to sound great. His latest single features Puerto Rican rapper Eladio Carrion.
IDK - "JUST LIKE MARTIN"
Maryland rapper IDK has been prolific lately, and today he's back with the loud, booming, ChaseTheMoney-produced "Just Like Martin."
CYPRESS HILL - "CHAMPION SOUND" (prod. BLACK MILK)
Veteran rap group Cypress Hill have teamed with Black Milk for a psychedelic new song for the R.B.I. Baseball 21 video game soundtrack. There's some baseball talk in the lyrics, but it's a cool song in it sown right that doesn't just sound like it was written for a video game.
J BALVIN - "TU VENENO"
Reggaeton star J Balvin follows recent single "Ma G" with another instantly-satisfying cut, "Tu Veneno." Both songs will appear on his upcoming album; details TBA.
PROTOJE - "STILL ROYAL" (ft. POPCAAN, PA SALIEU, TODDLA T)
Reggae futurist Protoje has just released a deluxe edition of his 2020 album In Search of Lost Time (one of our favorite albums of 2020), and one of the bonus tracks is a new version of the Popcaan-featuring "Like Royalty" which was reworked with UK producer Toddla T and features a newly-added verse from fast-rising Coventry-via-Gambia rapper Pa Salieu, who also released one of 2020's best albums.