My Favorite Projects of 2021

2021 has very much been an up and down year for most, but it’s undeniably been a phenomenal year for music. In fact, I enjoyed listening to so many releases that I’d forgotten some even released this year. Not only has there been plenty of stylistic/genre variety, but also artists of all types (small, emerging, mainstream) actively releasing their art. To showcase my appreciation, I decided to put together a list of my favorite projects; (in no particular order) all of which remain in my rotation heading into the new year. I hope you discover an album, EP or mixtape that you might have missed! Last but not least, this list is also a token of gratitude to each and every person that has read a Lyrical Lemonade piece of mine. I wish you a happy and fulfilling New Year. – – – – – Issa Gold: Tempus (album) Genres: Introspective hip-hop, Conscious rap Favorite track: Cold Summer   Amaria – Bittersweet (EP) Genres: R&B Favorite track: Lose Control   Richie Quake – Voyager (EP) Genres: R&B, Indie Favorite Track: Sensitive   Jean Deaux – Most Wanted (EP) Genres: Hip-Hop, Modern R&B, Electro-Trap Favorite track: Stay Down Marlon Craft – How We Intended (album) Genres: Hip-Hop, Jazz …

VMA’s – [Zombie Juice] ft. [Smoke DZA]

I know the New York City music scene has been flourishing for decades and decades, but there is a portion of the hip-hop history in the city that reminisces with me more than ever, and that moment in time came a few years ago when the Flatbush Zombies were considered to be in the top tier of music. While I never thought they fell off whatsoever, it seemed like the drill scene began to grow and the psychedelic hip-hop style began to take a turn into the underground, but it was still as great as ever. When I found out that Juice from the Zombies was taking his career in a new direction and trying to thrive on his own, I was beyond excited and the couple of singles he has released since this announcement have been nothing short of incredible. Most recently, he decided to team up with Smoke DZA for their song “VMA’s”, and the results are as magnificent as you’d expect. In the instrumental constructed by Erick the Architect, Linden Jay, and Josh Taffel, we hear soothing, relaxed synths, slowed down percussion, and pungent drums that just ride out, making a perfect foundation for a weed smoking …

Through The Wire – [Nym Lo] ft. [Smoke DZA]

New York artist Nym Lo is back with a new Smoke DZA assisted visual entitled “Through the Wire” although the song is not a remix of the famed Kanye West song of the same name. Instead Lo and DZA take turns spewing their wisdom and painting their pictures of struggle over the slow-burning and saxophone powered instrumental that is perfectly suited both in pace and tone for this pair of lyrical titans to attack. Nym Lo spoke on the lavishness of this visual saying, “That was a real big day for me because Ii surprised wifey and put four carats on her finger to let her know our shit is bulletproof. And I had the white double R out front, a $4,000 velvet Gucci blazer with the loafs to match and all my people there, so I told DZA we ain’t gon‘ get a vibe like this again no time soon. I had Frankie Fire pull up and capture that hood opulence. Everything worked out perfect and a dope visual came out of a special moment in my real life!” Keep an eye out for Nym Lo’s upcoming project next month High Horse 2 and add “Through the Wire” to all of your playlists. 

Santos Party House – [Smoke DZA] ft. [Wiz Khalifa] [Curren$y] [Big KRIT] [Girl Talk]

New York rapper Smoke DZA is back for a new star studded smoker’s anthem for the 2020’s and “The Smokers Club” founder has tapped back into both the sound and aura of some of the stoner rap that most of the artists on this track helped popularize both their music and the gas. DZA opens up the track entitled “Santos Party House” over the sanguine and slightly up-tempo instrumental produced by Girl Talk, which’s open-ness and bubbly texture made for the perfect backdrop for DZA to flex his lyrical muscle atop. The animated visual shows the lavish lives of each of these artists and them all turning up together at the “Santos Party House.” Girl Talk said about the creation of this track, that it  “Originated at a session with just DZA and I in New York.  We’ve been doing some collaborative work over the past couple years, and I thought it’d be interesting to switch it up and see if he’d get on a more uptempo, feel-good sort of beat.  DZA laid a quick demo of a verse on it.   I thought he sounded great on that style of production, but it was the end of the night, …

World Got Me Fucked Up, Vol. 1 – [Slayter]

Slayter is an artist that I first got put onto from my good friend Jake Wilson when he suggested that I checked out his album, and now, Slayter is finding himself on our platform with the said album, titled “World Got Me Fucked Up, Vol. 1”. This project is just over thirty minutes in length and it offers some bass knocking bangers that are sure to impress you if that’s what you are into. There was a ton of amazing features on this tape, from the likes of Sada Baby, Yungeen Ace, Luh Kel, Benny The Butcher, Retch, Smoke DZA, 22Gz, Maxo Kream, and Jay Critch. Even with his star-studded lineup though, Slayter was clearly the focal point on this one, he stepped up to the plate + knocked this one out of the park. Stream this brand new album on Spotify below!

Our 50 Favorite Joey Bada$$ Songs

Every once in a blue moon, an artist will come by in hip-hop that bridges the ever-dividing gap between the new and the old – someone who embodies the best of both, and someone that everyone can agree on. Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew were just that when they first came out. Employing a 90s-influenced style and a classic aesthetic that inspired a generation of artists in New York and beyond, Pro Era had the technical skill and “pure hip-hop” lyricism that one would expect from a 90s act, while they also possessed a sense for style, sound, and group comradery that resonated with current-day listeners. It was an incredible marriage of innovation and influence that came from a crew of artists talented and wise beyond their years, spearheaded by none other than Joey Bada$$: an artist now with several undeniable classics to his name, all the way from pure-as-it-gets hip-hop tracks to high-flying, radio-ready anthems. Frankly, Joey Bada$$ has done it all, and his still-growing contributions to hip-hop – aesthetically, lyrically, sonically, and otherwise – are not to be underestimated. Not often do we get a talent of Joey’s caliber that fans of any age can get behind, …

Every Gram Counts – [Jayy Grams]

Baltimore’s Jayy Grams has been making his presence felt for years now and on his latest project release Every Gram Counts, Grams shows that he has graduated from being a teenage lyrical wizard who became a darling to hip-hop-heads everywhere, to exhibiting the wisdom and lyrical dexterity that sets him apart from his youthful peers. Track two “Garrison” is a triumphant manner to begin his album, spitting facts that are relentlessly genuine and shows his distinct gift for creating an atmosphere of introspection and social commentary. The instrumental for “Keanu” is menacing, powered by a simple piano melody that is almost a nod to his native DMV, as this sounds like a perfect loop for an artist like Xanman or Baby Fifty to slide over, but nonetheless Grams carries himself well on this track and delivers a series of self-referential exclamations that point back to his steady confidence. Grams flexes his storytelling abilities on the track “Hood Tales” that could be expected from the song’s title but also delivers a wonderfully melodic hook that sounds almost like a Lil TJay song (without biting of course). I continually am pleased with Jayy Grams’s versatility and there is truly no style he isn’t …

Watch Curren$y’s brand new interview with Drink Champs

Curren$y is one of my favorite rappers out and an OG in the music community, so I always tend to watch his new interviews, but his new interview with Drink Champs might be his best interview to date. NORE & DJ EFN asked Curren$y about plenty of topics including his Jet Life label, how he created his own strain of marijuana, the new generation of rappers, New Orleans, No Limit Records, Kanye West, Cash Money Records, Dame Dash, his cult-like fan base, independent versus working with major label, when he first met Smoke DZA, starting a podcast of his own, YBN Cordae & Shoreline Mafia, New Orleans, owning a burger restaurant, psychedelics, his friendship with Wiz Khalifa, funny stories from Jamaica and so much more. Watch this awesome new interview below!    

Jet Life All-Stars – [Curren$y]

New Orleans rapper Curren$y has dropped yet another project to add to last year’s barrage of new music. This time around, Spitta unleashed a bangin’ mixtape titled “Jet Life All-Stars” to celebrate his city hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The new tape saw executive production from Don Cannon while including several notable features from Smoke DZA, TY and G Perico amongst others. Not only that, the project is absolutely stacked with heaters including my personal favorite titled “Curry” with Corner Boy P dedicated to the MVP himself. Don’t sleep! Make sure to press play on “Jet Life-All Stars” below and look out for more Curren$y projects as the year goes on.

5 Songs That Made You a Fan: [Joey Bada$$]

There are very few 21-year-old rappers who have made an impact in the music-scene scene quite like Joey Bada$$ has. The leader of the Pro-Era collective has stood out as the front-man since it’s early days that first evolved in 2011 thanks to Powers Pleasant and the late Capital Steez who passed away in December of 2012. Since then, Pro-Era has grown into nothing short of a hip-hop powerhouse that now includes the likes of Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Chuck Strangers, Dessy Hinds and several others of Brooklyn’s rising young artists. At age 17, Joey released his debut mixtape “1999” in the Summer of 2012 that received positive reviews for its unique style of sampling and an early 90’s hip-hop vibe we’ve grown accustomed too from the Brooklyn native. The following year, Joey would release his third mixtape “Summer Knights” which included an all-star team of producers with contributions from Smoke DZA, The Alchemist and DJ Premier. Fast-forward to 2015,  where Joey let loose his long-awaited debut album “B4.DA.$$” in January while on his “B4DAMONEYTOUR” which saw it debut at number 5 on the Billboard 200 charts and, in my opinion, was his best work so far.  I had the …