This May was about breaking ground. Megan The Stallion’s Fever proved that she was here to stay, with an invigorated subversive album full of bangers. Tyler, The Creator seemingly pushed through into the next plateau of his artistry with IGOR, a genre-bending exploration of fractured relationships. New York’s Beast Coast collective cemented themselves in history with their Escape From New York album, while Flying Lotus’ Flamagra shows the LA-based producer continuing to push the boundaries of hip-hop production. DJ Khaled’s Father Of Asahd on its own merit isn’t a groundbreaking album, but Khaled has undoubtedly made a lane for himself as a music curator throughout the years. Hip-hop celebrated innovation this month, as well as some tried and true work by artists like Mozzy, YG, Wu-Tang, Young Nudy, and Pi’erre Bourne:
Tyler, The Creator, Igor
Music fandom has made the “era” of an artist a preeminent talking point online, and Tyler, The Creator embraced that concept with Igor, a project that will forever be visually defined by the blonde bob wig that he’s donned for this album cycle. Musically, the album belies Tyler’s social media reputation as a sardonic troll as he gets candid about love — but doesn’t completely lose his dark sense of humor — over a versatile, genre-bending soundscape.
He explores the airy, beseeching components of 90’s R&B on album standout “EARFQUAKE.” He fuses progressive rock with experimental hip-hop on the lovelorn “PUPPET.” He also channels his hero Kanye West’s soul sample ethos on the lush, lovelorn “a boy is a gun*.” The album explores a range of sounds and genres, but it’s all impeccably produced. Igor marks a new creative plateau for Tyler, as the disturbing tone of his earliest work has been replaced by a subject matter that reflects maturity — and a trip through the wringer of the disappointing relationships that can mark adulthood.
Megan Thee Stallion, Fever
Fever is the perfect title for Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album. The Houston rapper has been red hot for the past year or so, and her carefree project will keep the flames lit. If you’re familiar with why she’s become a favorite to so many of the women in your life, then you knew exactly what to expect from Fever: body positive, woman-empowering anthems delivered with considerably more lyricism and precision than her male detractors would ever want to admit. The project is an exercise in subverting the misogyny that pervades hip-hop, as Megan takes ownership of her volition and on songs like “Realer” and the Juicy J-assisted, DJ Paul-sampling “Simon Says.”
On “Best You Ever Had,” she rhymes, “p*ssy keep him knocked out like a painkiller / and if a n—a bag me, you know he a winner,” a quintessential set of bars that affirms her sexual prowess and lets it be known that she does the choosing when it comes to romance. The project, which is chockful of surging, thumping production, came at the perfect time, as the summer is here and hearts are ripe to be broken with Megan as the backdrop.