This week, a quartet of strong duos delivered great records. J.I.D and J. Cole got their Twista on with “Off Deez,” while Tee Grizzley and Chance The Rapper implored downtrodden communities to “Wake Up” and embody the change that we all need. IDK and Denzel Curry seem to be on a collision course toward a collaboration project that will be undoubtedly fire, while Queens legends unite on Big Twins and Havoc’s reflective “Memories.”
Elsewhere, Earl Sweatshirt, Smino, and Lil Peep’s loved ones gave us tastes of what to expect from their new projects. In Smino’s case, he actually dropped Noir a day early. Check out all this and more best new hip-hop of the week below.
Earl Sweatshirt, “Nowhere2go”
Earl Sweatshirt delivered the first taste from his upcoming album, and it’s a daring track that harkens to his experimental work on Denmark Vessey’s Sun Goes Nova this March. Earl is known for being one of the sharpest lyricists in the game, but “Nowhere2go” shows him delving inward with a lax flow over a gaseous production. The track is no doubt polarizing, but we’re just excited that an Earl project is actually on the way.
J.I.D Feat. J. Cole, “Off Deez”
One of J.I.D’s biggest attributes is his mastery of flow. Those skills were on full display on “Off Deez,” where J.I.D was on one, double-time flowing and methodically rhyming over a churning 808-based production. J. Cole joins him in full K.O.D. mode, sounding right at home while tongue-twisting his followup verse. The track is a compelling glimpse at what J.I.D has in store for us on his Dicaprio 2 project.
Tee Grizzley Feat. Chance The Rapper, “Wake Up”
Tee Grizzley is known for gritty bangers like “First Day Out,” but he gave us a change of pace on “Wake Up,” an empowering collaboration with Chance The Rapper. Over a resounding organ, Grizzley laments how we’re “living in days where n—-s do sh*t without even thinkin’ about it,” but implores his high school listeners to “try to make it to college” and make the best of their life. Chance follows up with a verse featuring the all-too-common: “I’m in the trenches” line, except he gives a refreshing twist with, “I give ‘em hope, I get ‘em books, I get ‘em coats.” The inspiring record is an intriguing change of pace for Grizzley.
Lil Peep, “Life Is Beautiful”
The last couple posthumous releases from Lil Peep have been undoubtedly pensive, mournful tracks. “Life Is Beautiful,” the latest single from the now-released Come Over When You’re Sober Pt. 2, could be absorbed in that manner — or the complete opposite. Throughout the track, he harmonizes about a range of misfortune, from cancer to cops, but each line serves to showcase how precious life is and ultimately the power of simply having your health and the possibility of a new day. The fact that the lyrics were written by a person who died prematurely makes them hit home even harder.
JPEGMafia, “Puff Daddy”
Baltimore rapper/producer caught the attention of many with his rambunctious Veteran album, an unabashed protest against everything from entrenched systemic oppression to Steven Morrissey. Now he’s back with his latest single, the Kenny Beats-laced “Puff Daddy.” Over an earth-quaking bass, Peggy rhymes emphatically about “too much on my plate” and being “on your couch like Rick Rubin.”
Knxwledge dropped off another soulful single this week in “Douwrong_,” a warm track on which the LA-based producer lays a melancholy soundscape of a filtered sample and doleful piano play ripe for a pair of vocalists to delicately ponder their romantic qualms. Even beyond the lines from “21 Questions” scattered in the track, this one is a winner.
Wifisfuneral, “Alone As A Face Tat”
XXL Freshman and Ethernet creator Wifisfuneral is back with his latest offering, the contemplative, “Alone As A Face Tat.” The track’s moody instrumentation is the perfect canvas for Wifi to start “spillin poison out my veins,” as he rhymes. “They took away my dog, my heart black, that’s where it stays at,” he reflects. The track boasts no silver lining, just a gray cloud of discontent as Wifi rhymes about self-medicating and how his “conscience in a coffin.”
IDK Feat. Denzel Curry, “Once Upon A Time”
IDK and Denzel Curry are quickly becoming one of the most dependable duos in the rap game. They’ve released two of the most creative projects in recent memory in IDK’s IWASVERYBAD and Curry’s TA1300, and mesh impressively on records like “Once Upon A Time.” The two are unabashed trap lords, but decided to take it to the essence by going back to back over a smooth, filtered loop and dusty drums. What can’t they do?
Smino’s Noir project was here a day early, but before it officially dropped he gave us “Klink,” a smooth jam where the young MC shows off his gift for melody over an exhilarating Monte Booker-produced beat. The talented St. Louis artist is in a world of his own, and no creative restraints can “Klink” his vision.
Dave East, “No Pork”
Dave East picked up off the vapors of his Beloved collab with Styles for “No Pork,” a record where he’s showing off the breadth of his lyrical ability. He sounds fully in the pocket dishing his perspective on the griminess of the streets, where “I know Yankees fans that’ll kill you just ’cause the Mets up.” Yikes.
Big Twins Feat. Havoc, “Memories”
Hip-hop OGs united on “Memories,” where two of late legend Prodigy’s closest friends reflect on the times they shared and the toll that loss takes on them. The two rugged rhymers choose a graceful, Knxwledge beat to show their sorrows, proving that the young producer knows how to inspire good music from coast to coast.