For this week’s hip-hop preview, I’m going to have to cheat a little bit. While previous weeks have been filled with an abundance of projects — and I’m sure you could find a few underground gems come Friday morning, with a little rooting around — there are really just two notable projects releasing this week and one is technically more R&B than hip-hop. But Khalid’s a huge artist and his hip-hop influences are as obvious as his facial hair, of which I am immensely jealous, so he definitely gets a pass here.
The other project releasing this week is much more traditionally hip-hop in nature but notable for an entirely different reason. Whereas Free Spirit is Khalid’s highly-anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough debut, American Teen (which was a massive success in its own right), Still Summer In The Projects is just the latest release in 03 Greedo’s ridiculously prolific catalog. What makes it special is that it’s his first post-incarceration album — but apparently, far from his last. He put his legendary work ethic to use, crafting an unspecified number of albums to be released as he serves out the duration of his sentence for drug and gun possession in the state of Texas.
There’s also a lot of overlap between the two projects. While 03 Greedo’s upcoming project has a summer-y, upbeat vibe, you can certainly expect it to embrace some pretty dark subject matter, considering Greedo’s Watts, California upbringing. And though you probably won’t hear too much gun talk or any trap house anthems on Khalid’s album, the singles that we’ve heard so far suggest a danceable, perky vibe that belies some pensive, brokenhearted lyrics about coming of age and the growing pains that come with it.
It’s also pretty rare to get such a light weekend, so we’ll all have plenty of time to enjoy both projects, both of which are likely to remain in rotation throughout the summer, whether you’re turning up at the picnic or crying in the club. So, don’t worry about the scarcity of new music this week, rather, enjoy it. There are plenty of releases coming over the horizon to fight for your attention soon enough. For now, get ready for warmer weather and colder hearts with these two standout projects from some truly special talents.
03 Greedo And DJ Mustard, Still Summer In The Projects
Just twelve months removed from not one, but two full-length releases in 2018, God Level and The Wolf Of Grape Street, it’s kind of incredible to think that Greedo was able to complete yet another project before he started his sentence, locking himself in the studio with DJ Mustard to record heaters like “Trap House” with Shoreline Mafia and “Wasted” with YG. The beats are classic, post-hyphy Mustard at his best, which lends a rock-solid foundation for 03’s slippery flow to shine on.
According to Alamo Records owner Todd Moscowitz, Mustard held onto the records they finished to polish them up, but he was cagey about what exactly Mustard did with them. He was much more forthcoming about the fact Greedo repeated the process at least a few more times with other producers, so this won’t be his last release from prison. 03 Greedo might just be the most prolific incarcerated artist of all time.
Khalid, Free Spirit
When Khalid first popped up on the radar in 2016, it’s hard to imagine that he’d grow to be one of the most widely-touted new artists in the world, all before his 21st birthday. What’s even wilder is that the fervor for his relatable content and warmly husky vocals hasn’t subsided a bit in the years since, despite Khalid spending most of 2018 without a project to his name.
However, he proved that American Teen‘s success wasn’t a fluke late in 2018 with the release of his super smooth Suncity EP, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, featuring more of the quirky, dance-oriented production that set his debut apart from more traditional R&B releases in 2017. With production from DJDS and Stargate on “Better” and a feature from Empress Of, he displayed a gift for genre-skipping that carried over to the singles for Free Spirit, including the Disclosure-produced “Talk” and slick singles “Don’t Pretend,” “My Bad,” and “Self.”
With a Free Spirit mini-movie premiering in theaters Wednesday night and Khalid’s sultry performances on SNL demonstrating increased confidence in his performance, there are plenty of reasons to get hype for this album, but also to be impressed by his growth as an artist.