On Wax: Nas, The Carters, XXL Freshman List and More
Escobar Season is Here
The thought of Nas and Kanye for an entire project is something most would run to, and rightfully so. Its two megaforces colliding. Fans were a bit concerned when last Friday came around and the album still wasn’t available— rumors running rampant that Kanye was making last minute changes. Finally, on Friday afternoon Nas delivered, but the street poet we know and love him for wasn’t as present. Don’t get me wrong, the album is dope. Beats are nice, lyrics are nice, and collabs are nice. It’s an album you can definitely go in getting exactly what you want out of it, but I wouldn’t raise your bar too high for many reasons. If you haven’t yet, you need to check out Nasir ASAP.
The Carters Shock The World
While currently on their On The Run II tour, power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z dropped a surprise collaboration project titled Everything Is Love. Some speculation that the two would drop a project together was spoken for, but no one knew when. It’s somewhat unfortunate Nas couldn’t keep the spotlight this week, but we can’t be too mad. The Carter’s drop a summer album that exceeds all expectations. Let it be known that this is a hip-hop album, as Beyoncé raps better than most rappers on this project and her singing comes second. The project is relentless with luxurious bangers, and sweet soul infused verses that come one after another. “Apeshit” should be remembered as one of the hardest songs of 2018. If anything is certain, it is that both artists are capable of creating the greatest this far into their careers. Everything Is Love is the perfect conclusion to the narrative of Lemonade and 4:44.
Drake Reunites Degrassi for “I’m Upset”
While the 6 God has chosen to remain silent in his beef with Pusha until the release of Scorpion, his next album, he would go on to drop his music video for “I’m Upset.” Now, I want to say that there was no happier moment Drake could’ve bestowed on his fans than returning to the Halls of Degrassi, with the theme being the reunion. What makes this video so nice is the fact that if you have seen Drake on Degrassi then you probably got all of the references that may or may not have been subtle, depending on how much you have watched. Whether it was Shane Kippel returning to the role of Spinner, Jimmy’s (Drake) best friend entering the reunion together, or to even Drake’s goons getting some good old revenge on Rick who sent the 6 God to the wheelchair originally.
The best part of the video is the fact that it’s all in good fun. Everyone looked like they were having a good time, and Jay and Silent Bob even made an appearance selling drugs to Snake. Hell, it was so nice to even see the old end credits theme play that compared then and now. Like the song or not, it was a great video with Scorpion that is set to drop on June 29th.
XXL Freshman List: The Verdict
Now there is some deserving talent on this list, but the problem no longer is with who is on the list, but with the list itself. Once highlighting the culture, the XXL has backed itself into a corner due to consistent snubbing and problems with artists. The most recent issue, for example, is Lil Skies refused the tenth spot once he realized he was not picked by the fans. When the list was revealed, XXL ignored this.
Overstepping its boundaries, the list is now in a position where hip-hop might be filtering it out.
When XXL began their Freshman lists back in 2007, it was right when the Bling Era was phasing out. Kanye would drop 808s & Heartbreak the following year, then Cudi would drop Man on the Moon, which would help shape hip-hop’s next generation; alongside the rising modern trap sound T.I, Jeezy and Gucci were crafting. Back then the Freshman list was great for hip-hop, as the market for great M.C.’s slimmed down in a less oversaturated market. However, in 2018 we have come to some issues.
The Internet’s accessibility enables anyone with FL Studios and a USB Mic to upload their music to SoundCloud. While that’s a blessing, the double edge of the situation is the oversaturation of artists. For every five wack artists, there’s one good artist. Back in 2007, labels were still selling CDs and the mixtape era was really just beginning, so it was easy to handpick 10 new artists. Today, however, with easily hundreds of new artist out there, it’s become harder to slim down the candidates for such a list. While I believe this year’s Freshman list has a lot of great artists, the weight of the list seems to be on a steady decline.
I think the criteria to be a freshman should be simple: an upcoming artist who shows promise and has created buzz and a fanbase, but needs to be projected. When the list is highlighting someone like Lil Pump, it’s a slap in the face to someone who really did need the attention. Lil Pump is bigger than the list, and most people know his name; it’s the same reason Cardi B can’t be a freshman this year… she doesn’t need it. The ability of artists to create their own lane also leaves less room for something like a Freshman list. Cardi B and Post Malone both blew up and bypassed needing to be on the list, and I’m certain we’re gonna see more of that as the years go on. Most people already stopped giving a fuck about the list, and while I’m sure it means something to somebody, it’s gonna fizzle out sooner rather than later. Shoutout to J.I.D.
Jay Rock Brings Redemption
TDE veteran Jay Rock dropped his third full-length album titled Redemption. For a while, it felt as if Kendrick has held Jay Rock on his back. However, with this project, TDE pulls out all the cards to set the Watts’ rapper up for success. The album was announced when “King’s Dead” dropped for the Black Panther soundtrack. A Mike Will beat with a Kendrick and Future feature is a sure way to get to the top of the charts. The album also features J. Cole, SZA and Jeremih, and a production from Hit-Boy, Vinylz, Cardo and Boy-1da. As long as Jay Rock performs well, he’ll be set up for success because he definitely delivers on this project. Jay’s never sounded better than he does on Redemption, and this album is definitely his best yet.
Whether Jay Rock will be the household name he was supposed to be back in 2011, we’ll see, but he’s definitely making the right moves now.
2 Chainz > You
Tity Boi, a.k.a. 2 Chainz, has dropped a new single titled “Bigger Than You.” The track features high-profile features from Quavo and Drake, and highlights the signature flares from all the artists. Quavo’s auto-tuned ad libs over his ability to craft hooks shines here, and 2 Chainz comes through with clever lines that are sure to make you smile. Drake manages to flow on the bouncy beat, giving a superb performance. Whether or not this track will appear on 2 Chainz next album, Rap or Go to the League, is not yet known. Regardless, we should be excited for 2 Chainz follow-up to the fantastic Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.
Goldlink and Miguel Collab is Fire
Goldlink flat is underrated since The God Complex, and his most recent track with Miguel titled “Got Friends” proves that. The track is in all honesty just good, and a few things could be said bad about it. If you enjoy Goldlink and appreciate that unique DMV style he has, then you will definitely have eyes on whatever he is getting ready to drop next.
Maxo Kream Drops a New Video
Dropping a music video for “Pop Another” from his Punken album, Maxo returns to show his commitment to making moves. The album itself isn’t as good as The Persona Tape or Maxo187, but it does suffice if you just want a chiller version of what he usually does. If you haven’t caught it, check it:
Until next time, it’s On Wax.
-Dyllan E. & Hiram