The Best New Hip-Hop This Week

The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from J. Cole, Earthgang, and more.

I’m not sure how highly readers of this column had been anticipating Earthgang’s new EP Robophobia, but it’s been on my radar for some time. Meanwhile, an album that is surely one of the more anticipated seems to be peeking out from over the horizon, suggesting that J. Cole’s long-awaited LP The Fall Off is (hopefully) coming soon:

Meanwhile, Lil Durk also teased his own upcoming project, Love Songs 4 The Streets 3, with his new song “Old Days.”

ASAP Rocky stole the show on the Free Nationals’ return single, “Gangsta.”

Saweetie channeled UGK on her new single “Richtivities.”

Flyana Boss continued to make their mark with “Yeaaa.”

And Lil Yachty’s mission to prove his rap chops continued with “Something Ether.”

Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending February 23, 2024.

Albums/EPs/Mixtapes

310Babii — Nights And Weekends

310babii nights and weekends
310Babii

Inglewood upstart 310babii belongs to the cohort of teen rappers reviving the genre’s youthful roots which includes Luh Tyler, one of XXL‘s 2023 Freshmen. Like Tyler, 310 keeps his focus on sounding as cool as possible, helped along by undeniable production and cosigns from LA’s finest, including Kalan.FrFr, 03 Greedo, Tyga, Mustard, OhGeesy, and more.

Casey Veggies — Nostalgia

casey veggies nostalgia
Casey Veggies

Speaking of LA-based teen breakouts, few names in modern hip-hop know that life like Casey Veggies, who entered the game alongside names like Pac Div, Dom Kennedy, and Vince Staples when he was just 17 years old himself. Now, he’s older and wiser, with a sharpened pen to match. With production by Dylvinci, he makes his return, following up 2022’s Crypto Veggies.

Earthgang — Robophobia

earthgang robophobia
Earthgang

The only thing knock on Earthgang’s latest five-song effort — which carries over the themes from RIP Human Art and continues the build to the follow-up to their 2022 album Ghetto Gods — is that it’s just so short. Contrary to its title, it embraces technology in its spacey production, but certainly advances the duo’s Luddite beliefs that such tools should be used by humans to create, not to replace our humanity and use us.

Erick The Architect — I’ve Never Been Here Before

erick the architect i've never been here before
Erick The Architect

The Flatbush Zombie has been slowly rolling out the release of his solo debut at a measured pace appropriate to his chosen nom de plume. Now that it’s here, it’s clear that he took his time to ensure that he would deliver something special. Guests range from Compton hip-house futurist Channel Tres to psych-funk pioneer George Clinton. Good hip-hop from beginning to end.

French Montana — Mac & Cheese 5

french montana mac & cheese 5
French Montana

Another album whose release date was moved around a bit, Mac & Cheese is emblematic of both Montana’s well-established signature vibe and his subtle growth over the past few years. There’s a surprising amount of ’90s New York rap traditionalism, innovative sampling, and French’s typical unexpected wit. There’s also a little too much Kanye for my taste but it’s measured and tempered by balancing appearances from stars like JID, Lil Baby, and Rick Ross.

LaRussell & Hit-Boy — Rent Due

larussell hit-boy rent due
LaRussell

I’ve been hyping this project in the column for a while. Why? Because LaRussell is damn near everything you should want from a modern rapper: Passionate, insightful, authentic, and fiercely independently-minded. The Oakland rapper steadfastly operates outside the system, allowing him full creative control; teaming up with Hit-Boy lends him one of those big-name co-signs that’ll ensure his philosophy pays off.

RJmrLA — The B*tch Tape

rjmrla the bitch tape
RjMrLL

Hometown bias? You damn right. RJ has long been a local favorite and his latest exemplifies exactly why. RJ’s commitment to making sunny West Coast bangers — not to mention his consistency in doing so — ensures that fans know exactly what they’re getting, like an In-N-Out Double-Double with Animal-Style fries. It hits the spot every time. On B*tch Tape, he opts for more mellow beats and spotlights rising local stars like Bree Carter (you had to know “they teamin’ up like Drew League” was gonna get the Leo point from me), which is all you could ask.

Singles/Videos

Audrey Nuna — “Starving” Feat. Teezo Touchdown

The Korean-American star often rejects the “rapper” classification although she’s shown aptitude at getting bars off, but on this pop-rock anthem, I can’t fault her for that. It’s Teezo’s verse that earns it a “best hip-hop” column nod, as I personally love it when rappers slap verses over genres that ostensibly aren’t really meant to have them. His elastic approach here highlights why he’s so popular of late, and the nostalgic vibe would have made this a hit in a less fractured listening landscape.

Guapdad 4000 — “So Into You Freestyle” Feat. Teezo Touchdown

Speaking of Teezo… the kid really is everywhere lately, both appearing on and directing the video for Guapdad’s latest standalone freestyle. Technically, this came out last week but are you really complaining about getting new Guapdad 4000 bars? Especially ones over one of the most grooving Y2K-era beats ever.

Ray Vaughn — “Problems” Feat. Pusha T

The Long Beach rapper has not-so-quietly been TDE’s most impressive third-generation weapon for the past year or so. The only thing missing has been the attention he deserves — and that’s sure to come, thanks to his latest collab with Pusha T. Two versions were released; my preference is the one that refers back to Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” for what should be obvious reasons. Just press play.

Strick — “Kisses Make Sure” Feat. James Blake & Young Thug

In all the fuss over the YSL RICO trial in Fulton County, it’s easy to forget that there’s another member of the crew that escaped prosecution (and the resulting “snitch” accusations from accepting a plea in exchange for freedom). Strick has flown under the radar compared to YSL standouts like Gunna and Lil Keed, but has always deserved just as much consideration. His latest demonstrates his diverse skillset and willingness to experiment — attributes that should stand him in good stead as he forges the next part of his career without the direct support of his incarcerated mentor.

TK — “TK”

youtubelink

TK

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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