This week in hip-hop features an intriguing mix of debuts amid the comebacks, as new artists seek to stake their claim on our attention while other artists that might otherwise have been forgotten reestablish their footing on a music scene that looks drastically different than when they started out. Either through reinvention or with the help of new record labels, artists like G Herbo and K. Roosevelt make a case for persistence, while Jazz Cartier and T-Shyne both announce themselves with strong debuts in the works after years of mixtape releases.
G Herbo, Swervo (Machine Entertainment Group/Epic Records)
Although the Chicago rapper is perhaps best recognized as a pioneer of the controversial drill scene, the six years since he first rose to prominence have expanded his fanbase far beyond the reaches of his beloved hometown. Herbo acknowledged the difference himself even as he remains true to his roots on the tracklist, featuring South Chicago stalwarts like Chief Keef and Juice Wrld alongside reliable mainstream features 21 Savage and Young Thug.
Denzel Curry, Taboo (Loma Vista)
After a two year gap in full-length releases — broken up by the release of 2017’s 13 — Florida rapper Denzel Curry is back to disrupt the relative quiet in hip-hop following Kanye West’s explosion of projects in June. Even Taboo‘s unconventional release cycle is meant to break up the traditional paradigm of album release strategy; the album is split into three acts, each releasing on a different day, starting today with Light: The Beginning, continuing Thursday with Grey: The Middle, and culminating on Friday with Dark: The End. Denzel has promised a departure in tone and style from previous albums, as exemplified by the addition of unorthodox rappers like Jpegmafia and JID.
Jazz Cartier, Fleurever (Capitol)
It might be surprising that a Juno-winning artist has yet to release an official studio album, but that’s the case for Canadian rapper Jazz Cartier. His previous release, Hotel Paranoia, won the award in 2016 and since then, Jazz seems to have laid low. Like fellow Canadian rapper Drake, Jazz seems to be a fan of puzzlement and mystery, and his official website previously yielded a riddle that led to exclusive content, but now contains only a countdown clock to the album’s release. What we do know: Sprite can-adorning producer Wondagurl, Cuebeatz, and Lantz will be handling production, while the album will be sixteen tracks long. For anything else, we’ll all have to wait and be surprised.
Jarren Benton, Yuck Fou (Roc Nation/Universal)
Benton’s first album under a joint partnership with Roc Nation and Universal, Yuck Fou finds the Georgia-based rappers’ rapper working with Virginian producer Kato, who formerly provided beats for Benton’s previous label home, Funk Volume. According to a screenshot from a recent live stream, Yuck Fou will also feature an appearance from former Funk Volume head Hopsin as well as a guest spot from fellow Georgian rapper B.O.B.
T-Shyne, The Immaculate (Empire)
Signed by Young Thug’s YSL label, New York rapper T-Shyne isn’t a household name yet. That could change with a positive reception of his upcoming debut album, which has been in the works for some time. The 27-year-old rapper has been in the studio with Juicy J, Slim Jxmmi, IDK, and TM88 honing his craft, as well touring with crewmate Young Thug. The Immaculate is preceded by the single “Word Of Mouth,” which showcases his unique flow and his storytelling skills over hypnotic trap production and is a promising reflection of what listeners can expect from T-Shyne’s debut.
K. Roosevelt, K. Roosevelt (Def Jam)
If the name K. Roosevelt sounds familiar, it’s likely you remember the LA-based singer/producer’s tenure as a member of Hit-Boy’s HS87 label and crew. His Journey and Rosegold EPs garnered a ton of attention in the early days of the blog rap era alongside fellow crooners like Frank Ocean and Ty Dolla Sign, and his production and songwriting work found him penning for everyone from Dom Kennedy and The Game to Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko until he abruptly disappeared from the limelight. Now, he’s back with a new deal with Def Jam and a fresh start and sound. However, one thing hasn’t changed: The husky, honeyed vocals he brings to his warm, lush production.