This week didn’t have as many releases as last week, but there are more than enough standout songs. Lil Baby dropped the biggest single from his upcoming Harder Than Ever project, Jay Rock and Kendrick dropped a coronation of a single in the midst of their Championship Tour, and we also got a long-awaited posthumous track from Lil Peep — produced by Clams Casino. One of the most impressive tracks is from YBN Cordae, who offered a strong response to J. Cole’s “1985” with “Old N—-s.”
Lil Baby ft Drake, “Yes Indeed”
Another week, another Lil Baby banger. The young ATLien is set to feed the streets his Harder Than Ever mixtape tonight, and decided to follow up on “Southside” with his hardest feature ever: None other than Drake on “Yes Indeed.” The track was originally called “Pikachu,” but Nintendo put a stop to that. What they won’t be able to stop is this track’s effortless bounce, as Lil Baby and Drake trade braggadocious rhymes over an 808 that could blow a window out at the right levels. Speaking of the right level, more appearances like “Yes Indeed” will have Lil Baby up there with the hottest young rappers in the game sooner than later.
Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Win”
Hip-hop editor Aaron Williams recently got a chance to check out the TDE Champions Tour, which paid homage to the grind that the LA-based label has been putting in for almost a decade. Following on the heels of February’s, “Nobody Knows” track, Jay Rock’s latest single “Win” — alongside current hip-hop King Kendrick Lamar — is an appropriately titled (and scored) coronation of a track. Over a regal horn sample and thumping 808s, Kendrick and Jay Rock swag through bars about their superiority over the rap game. TDE is known as one of the most risk-taking, introspective brands in mainstream hip-hop, but they also know how to keep the party going with fun songs like this. TDE boss Punch has a crew that can do both.
Kevin Gates, “Change Lanes”
At this point, the #Free(Insert Artist) campaign may have to be amended to include some kind of advocacy for artists dealing with overly restrictive probation and bail conditions. Meek Mill has noted he hasn’t truly felt free for the duration of his probation sentence — that may finally be coming to an end soon. Kevin Gates is dealing with similar issues, as the Baton Rouge native hasn’t even been allowed to go home — or anywhere else — because of bail conditions after his release on a felony gun charge.
Gates delved into his probation issues and more on Chained To The City, a three-song EP he dropped yesterday. “Change Lanes” is a standout track from the triplet, as he displays just about everything that had fans clamoring for his release in the first place. He explores his legal woes, calling his presiding judge a “racist” and rhyming, “I ain’t never been a gang member, Illinois labeled me a gang chief.” He also showed that his melodic gifts have gone nowhere. The track is a long-awaited slapper, but also another eye-opening example of how the legal system targets rappers and uses their image against them.