After a couple of slow weeks with almost no notable rap releases to speak of, 2019 picks up a little momentum for Valentine’s Day. A whole slew of new mixtapes and EPs are planned for the day of romance to take advantage of this notable calendar date, but none is more impactful than the re-release of Drake’s signature, star-making tape, So Far Gone, which makes this week’s hip-hop preview by sheer force of import.
Meanwhile, with a peck of lesser-known up-and-comers releasing projects that includes 24Hrs, Casanova, Kid Buu, Yung Bleu, and more, picking out the the right ones might have been a chore. Luckily, with a little research, we’ve come up with some of the more meaningful planned releases, which feature a mixture of both greenhorns and grizzled vets.
Among the newcomers, we have offerings from Atlanta-based superproducer Pi’erre Bourne and Chicago punk rap upstart Queen Key which should raise their profiles as they strive to set themselves apart from the crowd. Meanwhile, the old hands dropping albums have all kicked around the industry for a bit, with some undergoing vital rebrands that revitalized stalled careers (24Hrs and Fendi P) and others are mixtape mainstays who’ve carved out a living through consistent, under-the-radar releases that appeal to rap purists and lyrical heads alike (Czarface and Papoose).
So while The Boy from Toronto may end up soundtracking your romantic February 14, make sure to give some love to the full run of rap releases on tap for the rest of the weekend.
24Hrs, Valentino Twenty
Back when 24Hrs was known as Royce Rizzy, his raps were street-centric and rough-voiced. Now that he’s switched up his style and adopted a more melodic delivery and hazier beats, he’s become a favorite of the blog rap scene alongside his brother MadeInTYO. Valentino Twenty is the rebranded rapper’s stab at a heartfelt, romantic release featuring guest appearances from Blackbear, Soulja Boy, and Ty Dolla Sign.
Czarface, Czarface Meets Ghostface
Backpack rap stalwarts 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck teamed up to create their comic book-inspired supergroup Czarface back in 2013, but the alliance has proved to be fruitful, resulting in two more albums in 2015 and 2016. For their latest album, they link up with another Wu-Tang icon in Ghostface Killah. Expect dense, punchline-laden raps and hard-hitting beats.