The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from Kyle, NLE Choppa, Saba, and more.
Whew, what a week. In addition to videos for Denzel Curry’s “Walkin,” Gucci Mane and Lil Durk’s “Rumors,” and Blxst’s “About You,” we got a flurry of new music from Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J (“Backseat” with Project Pat) and Yella Beezy (“Talk My Sh*t“).
Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending January 28, 2022.
Babyface Ray — Face
The Detroit rapper has made a name for himself over the past year, working with the likes of Big Sean, Hit-Boy, Jack Harlow, and Lil Yachty. Today, he dropped his debut project on Empire with features from 42 Dugg, G Herbo, Icewear Vezzo, Pusha T, and more. Babyface Ray has officially arrived.
BlocBoy JB — Bacc 2 Da Blocc
A few years removed from his breakout single “Look Alive” featuring Drake, things haven’t quite panned out for BlocBoy. The Memphis rapper still has the star power to carry a project provided the right partnerships though, and there’s no greater producer for him to pair with than Tay Keith, who EPs major-label debut for Interscope.
Doe Boy — Oh Really?
Freebandz rapper Doe Boy spreads his wings on his new album, stepping out from Future’s shadow to prove that he can be a star in his own right. He certainly has superstar connections, tapping everyone from fellow rising stars 42 Dugg and Nardo Wick to booming superstars Roddy RIcch and Ty Dolla Sign.
Dro Kenji — With Or Without You
Parlaying his association with Internet Money into a crisp-sounding full-length project, the melodic South Carolina rapper makes a declaration of independence on the follow-up to his 2020 debut Tears And Pistols. It might rub purists the wrong way, but this is the sound of rap radio in 2022 and Dro comfortably goes with the grain.
Kyle — It’s Not So Bad
On his first album since splitting with Atlantic, Kyle taps into his “R&B Kyle” persona for an 11-song collection of thoughts on love. Released as an NFT, It’s Not So Bad sees Kyle settling back into the driver’s seat of his own career and pulling from a variety of inspirations, including early-2000s pond-hopping crooner Craig David, who guests on “Unreplaceable” after getting sampled on “Sunday.”
NLE Choppa — Me Vs Me
Choppa goes for the soft reboot on his latest after recalibrating from the raucous teen upstart of his debut project into more of a spiritualist life coach in the past couple of years. However, he still shows he’s capable of tapping the troublemaking tendencies of his past to make compelling club bangers amid his more introspective moments.
AZ– “This Is Mine”
Look here: I am a sucker for Golden Era hip-hop and any artist from back then who manages to avoid sounding dating, bitter, or problematic as the world evolves around them. AZ may as well still be the 19-year-old Brooklynite who stole “Life’s A Bitch” from under Nas, rhyming as naturally and smoothly as most of us draw breath.
Joey Badass — “Temptation”
This week, I’m choosing to ignore Joey’s more headline-grabbing antics in favor of highlighting his musical output. Produced by Statik Selektah, Joey’s latest single once again mines the throwback Golden Era sound that helped him make his name, and… well, see the previous blurb for my feelings about that.
Kenny Muney — “Role Model”
Another single from PRE’s loving dedication, Long Live Dolph, “Role Model” finds Kenny holding up his mentor as the standard he’s bound to keep pursuing as he and his labelmates work to find their way in the rap game without their stalwart captain.
Method Man — “The Last 2 Minutes”
Another Golden Era vet who refuses to age, Method Man has been doing two things since the Wu’s heyday: Staying out of trouble and rapping his ass off. I’m okay with this. Keep going.
Pink Siifu — “Wayans Bros.” feat Peso Gordon
Pink Siifu is one of generation of rising rappers and producers from the internet’s primordial underground who blends sensibilities from all genres and regions of rap to form a compelling melange of styles and aesthetics that defies both boundaries and expectations. “Wayans Bros.” is a fine example.
Saba — “Survivor’s Guilt” feat. G Herbo
When I asked Saba about bridging the supposed gap between the two most prominent styles of Chicago rap with this song, he told me, “I think it’s not that it’s really two sides to Chicago. It’s two perspectives of Chicago… We’ve got a lot of the same influences. Just because you make one thing doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by something else, so I think it’s all a matter of perspective.” Well said.
Sada Baby — “Sada Wada”
Detroit rapper Sada Baby’s momentum slowed up — in large part, through his own efforts — but he’s still one of his city’s most captivating rising stars when he focuses on capturing the unhibited energy of his breakthrough hit “Bloxk Party.”
Travis Thompson — “Psycho”
My soft spot for Seattle super spitter Travis Thompson remains intact, and Travis keeps rewarding my enthusiasm with joints like this that display both his pop songwriting sensibilities and slick-tongued wit.
Your Old Droog & Tha God Fahim — “No Days Off”
Of the two tracks that the two underground rappers released this week ahead of their new joint project Tha Wolf On Wall St 2: The American Dream (which also dropped today), this one was my favorite, but only by a hair. The beats are lush and soulful, the rhymes and dextrous and daring, and the whole project fits into a breezy 22-minute runtime — all things that recommend it for repeated plays.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.