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The Life of Pablo | Forever Fresh

Today’s world has certainly skewed nearly every single aspect of life as it once was some five years ago. In an everyday landscape that sees this unprecedented deadly outbreak go hand-in-hand with some of the most heightened political unrest throughout history, it seems almost comical that in late-2015 leading into 2016, the world was very, very concerned with the now-tame antics of one Kanye West. The man spent that period announcing an album, changing its title a number of times, and all-around doing what was then known as just “silly Kanye things” — nothing more, nothing less. But oh my, were we all invigorated. If anyone today were to tell another individual at that time that Kanye’s actions and overall popular presence would become exponentially worse, problematic, and purely reactionary above all else, they may agree, but certainly not to the sincerely frightening scope that he ended out that decade with. So with that being said, it makes looking back at this far more “down to earth” version of Ye quite a lot more fascinating by itself, and absolutely more refreshing by extension given the man we see today and the world that we all live in together. As off-the-wall …

Thousand Pills – [Boldy James] x [Real Bad Man] x [Stove God Cooks]

Veteran emcee and Griselda member Boldy James is the epitome of consistency. Already having released three quality albums this year, James recently announced a fourth full-length release titled Real Bad Boldy. The new LP is set for a December 11th date, with entire production from Real Bad Man. For a fitting preview, the duo recently released “Thousand Pills,” which serves as the first single off the awaited project. Featuring the established Stove God Cooks, Real Bad Man crafts an inconceivably ill hip-hop instrumental that couldn’t be more fitting for James and Cook’s exchange of immaculate bars. With crisp dominant drums and an eerily mellow melody, the theme of “Thousand Pills” reminds me of iconic works such as “Scarface” and “Breaking Bad,” with the lyricism painting a picture of a risky, yet profitable drug business. I can confidently vouch that this track is one of/if not the hardest single(s) of 2020, which undoubtedly builds great anticipation for Real Bad Boldy. Stream the record below!

Karma – [Juno]

The seemingly limitless amount of intersections that the rising state of pop music holds moving into the future is truly one of, if not its most fascinating aspect. We are moving into a new era that is forging a convention-less status for itself, while utilizing tried and true conventions from the worlds of dance, hip-hop, and so many other genres as its tools to do so. But if that notion is not the most incredible facet that this scene has in store, then perhaps its youthful cast of talents making some of the most expertly-crafted and fine-tuned pop offerings throughout the entire music world, regardless of age, will do it instead. The pure sense of pop-prowess that these acts hold in their own artistry has been reserved in the past for only the most esteemed and experienced figures in the genre, but the fact that they are doing so with as much ease as they are just goes to show how unprecedented this group really is in our modern times. For perhaps one of the absolute most clear-cut examples of both concepts put into motion, look no further than the latest single from 15-year-old Juno entitled “Karma” — easily among …

Honey & Pills – [Vision4k]

The art of pure anticipation plays such an integral role in designing any album rollout from a significant act, regardless of their level of fame and/or prominence. This fact becomes especially true when that coming release is meant to follow up such an acclaimed and widely-known project that had preceded it, leaving such a daunting shadow to either fill or completely take over. To say that anticipation plays into the current status of Vision4k’s already immaculate career would be selling even such an incredible figure like this short. Since making his name in the late-2010s with a number of era-defining singles leading up to his alt-rap masterwork Recluse in 2019, the influential figure has spent the majority of 2020 knowing that a follow-up to that aforementioned album needed to come to light — thus creating that sense of wonder if it really would during the entirety of this year. It was a sense of wonder that finally manifested into the resounding announcement of R — the album that will come to serve as that very follow-up come its release in December of this year. That alone sealed the anticipation as to what would be the follow-up to his 2019 classic, …

Trying – [Midwxst]

As pop’s new generation is beginning to see its landscape become more and more fleshed out and defined by the second, acts within this particular scene have a definite reason to come into their own element stylistically and sonically alike. Carving a certain niche for oneself is not only a necessity, but practically a given at this point within the most astute and promising artists who make up that aforementioned landscape in itself. Among the best examples of this notion in full effect is the ever-progressing Midwxst, who has already proven himself as a purveyor of the scene time and time again, and seemingly achieved the art of “coming into his own” with his latest album Secrets. Though that project will end up being considered one of this year’s absolute best from this burgeoning crop of talents, it certainly is not the be-all-end-all for the artistic impact that the 17-year-old Indiana prodigy is looking to make moving into the future. The next logical step for him is to progress onwards into new avenues as he has consistently done throughout his entire career up to this point; as quickly as can be, that step has already been taken with his newest …

Flawed – [Wale] feat. [Gunna]

Seeing as Wale is someone who I consider one of the best in his class, and one of the most underrated artists of this era, new Wale releases will always excite me. Being one of the most versatile lyricists and overall hitmaker, Wale never fails to deliver top-tier quality music. After the success of his 2019 album Wow…That’s Crazy, and the ever impactful and fitting visuals to his song “Sue Me”, Wale seems to be gearing up to release yet once again. It’s been over a year since his last album, and artists are already gearing up for their 2021 run. That said, Wale is back with a brand new single and visual to accompany it–“Flawed” featuring Gunna. Not going to lie, when I saw a picture circulating of Wale and Gunna in the studio, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While Wale can adapt to any vibe and deliver, the vibes set on “Flawed” is right in the pocket where Wale is most comfortable in. The song itself speaks on the idea of ridding those from his life that no longer serve a purpose to him. Whether that be a love interest, fake friends, disloyal homies, so on and so forth. …

Shaping the Sound of COA

There is no single album that quite matches the level of influence at a forward-thinking level in the realms of pop music this year than ericdoa’s COA. Being the most prominent instance of this coming paradigm shift for the genre, the all-encompassing impact that this album has as it stands today will ring true for the months and years to come as we enter this brand new era. Of course this status mostly results from the album’s star figure in Eric himself; not a single soul could possibly ignore the masterwork that he put in throughout each and every track without a single miss in sight. His energy was enigmatic; his delivery was entrancing; and his overall musicianship was exuberant and ever-so-perfected as he truly came into his own element as the tried and true pop phenom he was destined to be. But even Eric could only do so much on his end as a singular presence on the mic. The setting that surrounded him – both physically and inside the music as it came to be – played integral roles in crafting what would end up being this impactful and momentous musical experience. Simply put, if Eric was not …

Fifty-Three Clouds – [Reserv]

Few artists – regardless of their level of fame, prominence, and/or relevance – have truly been able to turn the unfathomable into reality in a musical sense. For as experimental and off-the-beaten-path so many acts have come to be known as, music today has essentially become limitless in its expansiveness, but there does exist a telling difference between tapping into the unknown from a purely sonic perspective compared to one of pure emotional artistry. That latter description is where an act like Reserv differentiates himself from practically every single artist who has ever graced this planet throughout its entire existence. Whether one notices this through his unmistakably rich image via his cover art and its indescribable aura, or simply through the untapped sense of musicality that exudes through his emotion-packed, sentiment-driven, and blatantly otherworldly approach to his sound, there could absolutely be no comparisons to such a by himself figure like he is in these manners. In a catalog that has yet to detract from these previous notions throughout his entire career, one would be remiss to think that such a prolific figure like Reserv would fail to succeed at adding on to this exceptional status time and time again. …

RIP SMOKE – [AKTHESAVIOR] x [Powers Pleasant]

Hardly a week after releasing “Be Back Soon,” AKTHESAVIOR keeps the ball rolling with another banger titled “RIP SMOKE.” Produced by Beastcoast legend Powers Pleasant, “RIP SMOKE” is a record paying homage to the late Brooklyn artist Pop Smoke. Pre-release AK also released a chilling visualizer to pour one for Smoke. While it’s completely expected for a Powers beat to be flawless, sonically it’s incredible how fitting it is as a true Pop Smoke-esque record. Although the song is sure to leave fans bittersweet while imagining how Smoke would sound, AK unsurprisingly holds his own solo by shredding the instrumental with his signature surgical flow. Proclaiming Brooklyn as his home, AK puts the world on notice that he’s more than willing to uphold the city’s chariot while honoring Pop Smoke and all the fallen soldiers of New York.  “RIP SMOKE” marks the second single of AKTHESAVIOR’s upcoming mixtape Almost Home, with one more track expected to drop before the project’s release. Stream the offering below!

Missing Person – [Braxton Knight]

Sometimes it takes even the simplest reminder to make a statement as a tried and true purveyor of a certain genre, scene, and all-around community. Those three concepts are all things that Braxton Knight has come to encapsulate and be at the forefront of all the same in regards to the modern state of both hip-hop and pop alike, and practically every single track he releases comes to reflect that notion in full. Though these tracks can vary in their brevity, magnitude, and even influence by themselves, they all serve as examples to the overarching fact that this is one of the most important, integral, and all-too-impactful single figures of our day when considering how the modern Internet-based music scene behind him has come to shape since his earliest offerings. If there were to be a clear-cut and wholly singular example of these sentiments put on their fullest yet most digestible display to this point, look no further than his latest single offering “Missing Person.” Spanning a minute and a half in length without a single sonic break in sight, this is a track that not only confirms these aforementioned claims, but also serves as one of the most tellingly …