ON WAX: NEW DROPS: DRAKE, JUICE WRLD, 21 SAVAGE AND MORE
ON WAX IS A WEEKLY TAKE UPDATING YOU ON THE POCKET OF CULTURE KNOWN AS HIP-HOP. WE BRING YOU EVERYTHING FROM BREAKING NEWS TO ALBUM DROPS, JAIL TIME AND WHO’S BEEFING WITH WHO.
JUICE WRLD DROPS “LEAN WIT ME”
Calumet Park artist Juice Wrld has been on the rise as of late, dropping a track with Lil Uzi Vert and engaging in lightweight beef with Tekashi 6ix9ine. This week he dropped a music video for the track “Lean Wit Me,” which explores the theme of addiction, appearing at a support group, as well as getting arrested. As a first time listener, the song can come off as hit or miss depending on what you’re looking for. Either way, the Juice Wrld brand is expanding with him, being the biggest newcomer yet.
“IN MY FEELINGS” MUSIC VIDEO
Dropping a music video for “In My Feelings,” Drake channels an evolved Jimmy Brooks to attempt to call out to Keke in the opening. The interaction is shut down by Phylicia Rashad who is known for the role of Clair Huxtable in shows like The Cosby Show and A Different World. There isn’t anything out of the ordinary in the rest of the video besides Drake with a grill. If you aren’t much of a fan of the song or Drake, it’s best to keep it moving.
TIME TO RAISE THE BAR?
Continuing on music video releases, Tori Lanez and A Boogie wit da Hoodie collide for “Best Friend.” The track has a bit of flavor, but you can tell the two can work way better together than what this was. Even if it does turn out to be a hit… should we finally start raising the bar?
After a long wait, it’s here; Travis Scott’s Astroworld. This means we no longer have to be bombarded with HYPEBEAST teens screaming “DROP ASTROWORLD” on every tweet related to hip-hop. But more importantly, we get to see where Travis is artistically since so much has happened in his life since Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Travis described the album to sound like taking a theme park away from kids and also reps Houston to the fullest, stating the album is for H-town. Off the bat, Travis sets the tone with a futuristic trap sound on “Stargazing” alongside his signature auto-tuned vocals. Beat switches run rampant on this release. Travis also went Ham on getting features, as Frank Ocean and Drake are on the 2ndand 3rd tracks respectively. He has frequent collaborators like Migos, Swae Lee and The Weeknd, alongside up-and-comers like Juice WRLD and Sheck Wes. He even scores features from Pharrell, Tame Impala and Stevie Wonder.
At the end of the day, this project is a modern Southern rap record. Travis pays homage to the chopped and screwed style of DJing pioneered by DJ Screw on “R.I.P. Screw”. Travis also samples Goodie Mobb’s classic track “Cell Therapy” on “5% TINT”. There’s plenty of more southern references throughout the tracklisting.
Yet the album is enjoyable, it’s no Rodeo, which is still the crown jewel in his discography. Astroworld is definitely a step above BitTSM however. Nonetheless, Travis has secured his spot as a top-tier artist, as the ling awaited Astroworld is giving his die-hard fanbase what they’ve been begging for.
YG HITS US WITH STAY DANGEROUS
Although Gangsta rap’s mainstream peak has dwindled, artists like YG keep it alive. On his newest release Stay Dangerous, the Bompton rapper doesn’t hold back on bangers. While his previous effort Still Brazy was a more cohesive listen with a storyline, Stay Dangerous still feels like a body of work. DJ Mustard’s minimal bouncy production is all over the project. For the first time in YG’s career, a more trap influence is heard on these tracks. Nonetheless, he still keeps it west coast with tracks like “TOO BRAZY” featuring Mozzy, and the main single, “Big Bank” with Nicki Minaj, 2Chainz and Big Sean. The strongest point of the album comes at the end, with “DEEPER THAN RAP”, “FREE THE HOMIES INTERLUDE” AND “BOMPTOWN FINEST”. YG showcases his introspective side, also including a phone call with his homie and Ty Dolla $ign’s older brother TC, who’s incarcerated. Overall, YG’s 3rd album is banger after banger, which is perfect for hood functions and cruisin’ in the whip.
MAC MILLER’S SWIMMING
Finishing off the trifecta of major releases comes Mac Miller’s Swimming. The Pittsburg artist’s 5th album feels like a look into Mac’s therapy sessions. Mac seems at his most mature despite recent events, such as a break-up with pop star Ariana Grande and a highly publicized DUI. Mac uses these events as opportunities for growth and self-healing from the demons in his life. This album definitely feels similar to his previous project The Divine Feminine” but much greyer and more melancholic. Singing is still more prominent than rapping, and Mac still makes some funkier music like the cut “What’s the Use?”. Yet, he still raps plenty on tracks like “Self Care” and “Hurt Feelings”. At the end of the day, this album is about life experiences and reflecting on them. Swimming is an artistic expression few artists could attempt, and Mac Miller does it gorgeously.
QUAVO X 21 SAVAGE “2 SEATER”
21 Savage and Quavo came forward with the track “2 Seater,” and it’s probably one of the best collabs of the week. 21 sounds more like 21 from Savage Mode rather than Issa, striking with grittier lyrics. The two must have stepped into a time machine because Quavo manages to channel his inner Skippa Da Flippa in an impressive fashion. Not that a project is being sought, but if this energy continues, fans would not disapprove.
Until next time, it’s On Wax.
-Dyllan E. & Hiram