The Best New Hip-Hop This Week

The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from Gunna, Ice Spice, Megan Thee Stallion, and more.

Over the past week, I’ve seen a lot of discourse about how the battle between Drake and Kendrick Lamar either will either ruin or save hip-hop, or cause a cultural shift, or make fans more hungry for lyrics, or burn them out on the aggressive energy that polluted the supposed competition of skills between the two combatants. And I’ve gotta say: This is all horseshit.

I’ve been doing this column in some form for a good, long while — probably around six years or so. In that time, I’ve had cause to cover a huge variety of hip-hop, including classic acts, up-and-comers, left-field favorites, and underground mainstays, from bookish, intellectual rap to hard-hitting gangsta rap to spacey, avant-garde stuff that I’m not sure even qualifies as rap.

Hip-hop doesn’t need saving, and it isn’t completely incapable of being ruined. There is so much hip-hop, for nearly every niche and taste you could possibly think of (and many you probably couldn’t), that to even categorize it all as hip-hop has been a messy, disorganized, confusing task at best, and likely futile at worst. And I’ve been documenting it all along, so I know what I’m talking about. This week:

Megan Thee Stallion continued her independent journey with the imaginative video for “Boa.”

Ice Spice evoked the spirit of 2002 Sean Paul with “Gimmie A Light.”

And Coi Leray tried synthpop on for size to sympathize with the workers an oft-overlooked industry in “Lemon Cars.”

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


BigXthaPlug, Ro$ama & Yung Hood — Meet The 6ixers


600 Entertainment is Texas rapper BigXthaPlug’s newly formed label, and, as suggested by its title, this EP is the introduction to the two other rappers on the roster. If you are a fan of the Lone Star State’s regional sound — thumping kicks, snickering snares, lavish soul samples — give this one a stream or two.

Chief Keef — Almighty So 2

Chief Keef

Five years in the works, Almighty So 2 arrives courtesy of an older, wiser Chief Keef that would have made a millennial’s jaw drop in 2013. Of course, none of that time has worn away Keef’s gift for surprising listeners with unexpected flows and deadpan wit — if you hear a survey of modern mainstream rap sounds, it’s only because Keef is at least indirectly responsible for most of them.

Conway The Machine — Slant Face Killah

Conway The Machine

It’s a tricky balancing act to evolve your style after nearly a decade of growing a fanbase strictly by delivering a signature sound. Conway manages it deftly here, though, adding just a little more accessibility to his usual formula (courtesy of new collaborators Cool & Dre) while maintaining his core philosophy of grimy production and heavy emphasis on assonance.

Ghostface Killah — Set The Tone (Guns & Roses)

Ghostface Killah

Dennis Coles is 33 years and 12 solo albums deep into his career, sounding just as vital and keen as ever. The vast majority of his collaborators on this latest project also come from his peer group — AZ, Fat Joe, Nas, etc. — but he modernizes just enough that it never feels like an exercise in nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake.

Gunna — One Of Wun


The early returns on Gunna’s latest album are in, and it sounds like the Atlanta rapper remains untarnished by the collective disdain for his shortened stint in jail. Adding a few collaborators to the mix hints that he might not be as shunned as it seemed.

Kalan.FrFr — Make The West Great Again


At the risk of undermining my point here, I did not understand the hype behind that other Compton rapper’s Saturday single “Not Like Us” because rappers from Compton have been making music like this all along. Case in point: Kalan.FrFr, who drops off another EP of stripped-down post-hyphy/G-funk bops full of LA County philosophy. “Everybody” breaks it down succinctly, and without the spiteful impetus that prevents that other song from being truly enjoyable past the first two spins.

Potatohead People — Eat Your Heart Out

Potatohead People

Potatohead People is a production duo that incorporates electronic and jazz influences into their laid-back hip-hop instrumentals. Their latest compilation finds them teaming up with a range of lyricists including LA underground icons like Abstract Rude, Detroit pioneers like T3, and Golden Era titans like Redman.


A Room Full Of Mirrors — “All My Downs”

The narrative that there’s no “lyrical” focus in hip-hop anymore has driven me crazy for as long as I’ve known about Punch’s side project. The TDE president is not only an accomplished writer in his own right, but has made it a personal mission to assemble a collective of some of the most skilled rappers in the city.

21 Lil Harold — “One In The Head” Feat. G Herbo & Quavo

Tay Keith provides a high-energy beat to counterbalance Harold’s laconic flow, while his guests deliver motivated verses of their own. The title refers to staying ready so you don’t have to get ready — a sentiment I think we can all agree with.

Big Hit, Hit-Boy & The Alchemist — “Foreclosure”

Big Hit has been on a tear since coming home from prison, backed by his son Hit-Boy and some well-suited production from fellow West Coaster The Alchemist. With one foot in two different eras, Big Hit runs the risk of coming across crotchety, but instead of being an anachronism, he simply provides a gritty contrast to the glossy gangsterisms of the younger Gs.

Kash Doll — “Kash Kommandments”

The Detroit spitter offers some friendly advice — for free! — for anyone who wants to get on her level.

Larry June — “Meet Me In Napa”

Another gorgeous sonic backdrop, more player raps, what more is there? By the way, a trip to wine country is way cooler than half the stuff your favorite rapper yaps about.

Rexx Life Raj — “B&E”

“I’ve been strong / But you gotta be ten times tougher with this skin tone.” Yeah, Raj ain’t never lied. His latest single is another expression of gratitude, despite its criminal-sounding title, and it’s hard to argue with someone who sounds so content.

Sleepy Hallow — “Winners In Paris”

One of my favorite subgenres of rap music videos is the “new neighbors”/culture clash ones where the rapper moves to the ‘burbs and upsets the way of life. They never get stale (which you could view as unfortunate) and the Brooklyn rapper’s latest video is right in line with that, shooting dice on the porch as his boo’s family watches, aghast.

Tee Grizzley — “Swear To God” Feat. Future

While part of me wants to dock Future for pump-faking about a mixtape earlier this week, it’s hard to do so when the consolation prize is a vibey collaboration with one of Detroit’s current pillars of rap.