“Evolution” appears to the the word of the week, with a series of hip-hop releases that find their creators at various musical crossroads, faced with the prospect of displaying growth on their latest works or building on an established theme of prior projects. While all musicians inevitably come to this crossroads, Mac Miller, Travis Scott, and YG find themselves in unique musical circumstances owing to big changes in their personal lives.
Meanwhile, the final big name release of the week involves a rapper whose steady output over the past months has garnered plenty of attention. The fanfare surrounding Trippie Redd is unreal to see; his unexpected appearance at Coachella elicited a delighted reaction from about half the crowd, while the other half couldn’t quite figure out who he was. Trippie’s music has reflected a gift for infectious melodies and wildly inventive deliveries, while his post-internet presence hasn’t matched his online reaction just yet.
All four artists releasing projects this week have various points to prove, if only to themselves. Whether it’s the fulfillment of a half decade of conceptual brainstorming, the continued evolution of a musician who’s shown a penchant for reinvention on each prior album, or the culmination of two years’ hustle and base building, August 10, 2018 is a make-or-break release date for some of hip-hop’s most creative minds of the internet era.