Release Radar: The Top 5 of the Week
August 24 - 31
By The Source
PLAYING FROM YOUR LIBRARY
THE FAMILY PSM
As I begin this list my thoughts drift back to the simpler times of Pandora radio. Saving up my skips so I can find a certain song that has been on my mind, bearing the jarring ads and creating stations I will never return to—all hallmarks of the early streaming experience. I did however move on to having my older brother jailbreak my second gen iPod in order to bypass all of that mad inconvenience. Then there was the struggle of exhausting my complimentary three months of Apple Music on different accounts, another time I remember in warmth and gratitude. But oh, have we come so far. It was indeed dire times before Spotify presented itself to me and I was able to truly settle into a DSP. My tastes have been marinating in the platform’s algorithms for a good two years now, to a point where I can expect a clear reflection of that in their user-personalized playlists.
Upon my first encounter with my “Daily Mix” I was impressed with both the accuracy, breadth, and neat surprises in their selection of music for me. The more I listened, the more they made. Soon I was met with 5 daily mixes each with their own vibe, an “On Repeat” to keep me in my comfort loop, a “Discover Weekly” to venture into new sounds and creators, and my favorite, a “Release Radar” playlist to keep me in the know of the newest drops every Friday.
And who can forget the flooding of nostalgia and warmth that your “Summer Rewind” brings? The thought of past summers and the wistful joy it carries, as graceful and as fleeting as the seasons themselves.
Today’s mission, and the mission of every weekend ahead, will be to provide you with the top 5 of the newest heat dropped every week. In the hustle and bustle of XXL headlines, twitter, and the constant refresh of the tl, some releases may fall under the radar. So let's start breaking down this bud and get to bumpin my release radar. Allow me to be your Source, for the love of art.
5.) Gifted - Cordae (Feat. Roddy Ricch)
Dropped: August 27th, 2020
With the first single since his Grammy nominated debut album The Lost Boy, Cordae joins forces with Ant Clemons and Roddy Ricch to bring this precisely executed tune of struggle and thankfulness. Such is a tone that can be expected from the artist who implements old school roots into our current generation of hip hop. Evidently Cordae has dropped the ‘YBN’ from his name, likely shedding that stage in his career along with him.
I met shorty and we connected like WiFi:
Clearly Roddy has been indulging in the works of Lil Tracy
Nahmir shared his frustrations with the state of the group earlier this month.
4.) CoCo Mango (FloFilz Remix) - MF DOOM, FloFilz
Dropped: August 28th, 2020
Producer FloFilz provides this polished remix of the original 2012 track by the underground Parisian production duo Union Analogtronics. Additions like the jazz inspired piano and lo-fi atmosphere of the remix offers a soft counterweight to the sharpness and distortion of the original. Although contradicting sonically, both instrumentals are fitting for giving DOOM the space he needs to ply his craft.
Our Job is to manipulate the consumer by arousing his desires, and then we satisfy those desires with fixed price. It's called... advertising : This Orwellian sounding sample led me to the 1969 satire titled Putney Swope. The plot of which entails ad executives accidentally electing to chairman the only black employee due to them not being able to vote for themselves. Indeed this is begging for a review on the film side of this site. Thanks for the rabbit hole.
3.) Dragonball Durag (Remix) - Thundercat, Smino, Guapdad 4000
Dropped: August 25th, 2020
In an additional remix this week, Smino and Guapdad 4000 somehow amazingly expand on the idea of durags that Thundercat introduced. Their verses also match and compliment the facetious softness of Thundercat.
Martin Luther silk, come through putting balls on your scalp
Don't need no Head n Shoulders, I got used to get flaking out
To top your head, girl we moisturize from this point on out
I'ma durag dragon
That why I showed up to the Grammys with my durag draggin'
2.) Really Redd - Internet Money (feat. Trippie Redd, Lil Keed, & Young Nudy)
Dropped: August 28th, 2020
Truly a formidable team. But like a 6 man tag in a wrestling match, not everyone gets to bop. With the chorus Trippie Redd has the largest presence on the track. Lil Keed delivers a short but effortlessly sweet 8 bars. I love the way he comes in on the bridge of the instrumental, just before the 808s come back into play. Young Nudy supplies the song with a verse of the same length, which is unfortunate because him and Keed are the primary draws for me. Sorry Trippie Redd.
Got a whole lotta red
Got a whole lotta whole lotta hoes in my bed :
Joining Lil Uzi with another playful remark to Playboi Carti’s elusive third studio album Whole Lotta Red.
1.) Uncut - Father
Dropped: August 28th, 2020
“Uncut” is the first single from Father since the release of Tha Thingz I Do 4 Money earlier this month. The EP is just one song and two minutes shorter than last year’s Hu$band at a slim 5 tracks and 13 minutes. Though I do like this length, as it allows a great sense of focus and endless replays. While Earl Sweatshirt’s Feet Of Clay makes 7 tracks feel like an hour (love you Earl) Father is swift in his softness. The single is another confirmation of the Awful leader’s promise to make “trap lullabies”, with him and meltycanon producing glossy, dream-like bangers since “ICEMAN”. I wonder if he plays them for him and Dash Romero’s baby boy? Soft art upon young ears, today’s seeds for tomorrow’s flowers.
Niggas keep on sleeping but their bitches gettin tucked in:
We are witnessing lullaby trap lore in the making.
John Cena's rap album: the day hip hop died?
Once upon a time in the magical year of 2005,
The Iraq war is in full swing, George Bush is in his second term, American Idol is the highest-rated show on TV, and John Cena released his debut rap album.
It was a magical year indeed.
A rap album you say? Well of course. For those of you unfamiliar with WWE Superstar John Cena's former persona as a white rapper, let me share with you the experience many of us laid witness to. A fresh-cut, ripped, white meat newcomer started his career under “The Prototype” gimmick (sounds a bit like eugenics to me). In 2001 he began in WWE’s talent development territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. The following year, he debuted on the main roster to much praise in both the audience and the office. Such buzz soon faded out after fans grew tired of the mundane spirit of hard work and determination. On the chopping block of company releases, “spring cleaning” they often refer to it as, Cena was aware his survival lied in change. And what better way is there to adapt to an audience than to appropriate black culture? Indeed this was the path taken, as he rebranded as a freestyling self-titled “Doctor of Thuganomics.” Social awareness aside this did get wildly over with fans, and two years later in 2005, the PR Machine of WWE was firmly behind their new star. The main event push, a shiny new championship belt, and of course, a rap album.
The Privilege of the whites was at its highest.
You Can’t See Me released on May 10, 2005, under the WWE label. Selling 143,000 copies in its first week, it went on to be certified gold and peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200. Indeed nothing to completely laugh off, but let's examine closer.
The Time is Now
Opening this gift to hip hop is a little number I’m sure you have all heard before. The tune that has taken on to be the exhausted theme of dear John boy. “You can’t see me, my time is now” he proclaims. The energy of this album is professed in this note, along with all else that can possibly be said about it. Boisterous, bland, and forever belonging to humor.
Don’t Fuck With Us
I cannot tell a lie. The hook of his song isn’t the least enjoyable. The whole track works to carry the same energy from the opener, and I would say it's the strongest of the album.
Flow Easy (feat. Bumpy Knuckles)
“For the hood” lmaooo. The first of the many token black verses has arrived in the form of Bumpy Knuckles, hoping to add a tone of street credibility. Finally, I’ve been salivating at the mouth for a line about copping a brick or something exciting.
“I talk more shit than pro-lifers in an abortion clinic” followed by “and grab microphones like pedophiles grabbing late bloomers” Yikes.
This breather track talks about “putting the beef and the gats to the side” and enjoying quality family time. This is over a soul sample straight from the university of Kanye West, but of course without that classic Ye finesse.
Make It Loud
Holy shit this mix sounds like it was buried underneath a blanket. Reminds me of the menu music to the obscure 2001 Gameboy Advanced title “No Rules: Get Phat”.
Just Another Day
Here we see a puzzling attempt to capture the struggle of the streets. Cena presents some valid struggles such as veterans of the wrestling industry looking in disapproval on his newly elevated position, but this is immediately offset by the pure annoyance that is the presence of Tha Trademarc. In fact, this entire album is one collaboration between Cena and his cousin. The fact that he makes Cena look good as a rapper is truly astounding.
They couldn’t cleverly weave their misogyny throughout their songs like most rappers so they had to dedicate a whole track to it. Zero sauce though.
Keep Frontin’ (feat. Bumpy Knuckles)
“A legal hustle, ain’t no fucking with grams” At least he’s embracing his squeaky image. A slightly distorted guitar creates a menacing instrumental, really lays juxtapose to that “the streets are self-destructive and I wish not to be a part in that” theme Cena is going for.
We Didn’t Want You to Know
I fuck with the high keys this beat starts out with and how it leads into its drop, definitely my favorite on the album. Cena carries over it with this low, almost whisper of a hook that tries to be smooth yet brooding. It's so fitting of the time but to me just does not fit the essence of the leader of Cenation.
Bad, Bad Man (feat. Bumpy Knuckles)
A well-rounded song indeed, but I do not nod in agreement when Cena says “Chaos you should’ve put this one in the vault man, they’re not ready”. I was ready. Pretty flute though.
My thoughts on Tha Trademarc’s placement on this album have devolved from bring your little cousin to the studio day to I hate everything about your presentation of a musical identity. In writing this I have grown so exhausted of the banality of just putting together words that rhyme and imitate some clichés of the struggle. John Cena releasing a rap album is already an exercise in absurdity, but every verse from the Tha Trademarc that infiltrates my ears just defeats me.
Beantown (feat. Esoteric)
Finally this album sees a fresh feature. Esoteric is one half of the underground duo 7L & Esoteric, and a third of the group Czarface with Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck. These collabs go another level deeper when in 2018 they worked with MF DOOM to release an album. But silly me for getting sidetracked thinking of better music.
This Is How We Roll
It amazes me how this album just continues.
Periodically a beat will take me away from the mundane subjects on this project and this happens to be one. The flute and Spanish guitar play against each other nicely along with pleasant vocals that lay underneath.
Know the Rep
At this moment I came to realize this album has no business being this long. It has failed to produce any new subject matter, emotion, or general vibe that captures my attention. This joint in particular is so forgettable in my ears it could be playing on the menu of NBA 2k5. I’m actually mistaken, I just referred to Google and that soundtrack is actually better. Not even the licensed songs, but the one recorded just for the game that flex about ESPN. But I digress. I'm really pushing through a revolving door of dull ass flows, an absolute lack of sauce, and words that do nothing for me but simply rhyme. This could have fittingly wrapped up a song ago.
Chain Gain Is The Click
“I’m raining fire like Apache Helicopters” is not a cool enough sounding line to repeat consistently throughout the piece.
If It All Ended Tomorrow
The final track of the album pleasantly opens with a nice piano riff. It held my attention, though not long enough for my hopes that I wasn't about to hear John Cena and Tha Trademarc to materialize. Here, they passionately reflect on the fleeting nature of life along with a charming anecdote from Cena about almost being shot for sleeping with a nigga’s girl? And with that, You Can’t See Me comes to a merciful end.
So, How Much Damage Was Done To Tha Culture?
John Cena is a man of wit and pop cultural refinement who seems to have a sincere respect and admiration for hip hop. And when not submerged in mediocrity, this can rise to the surface. Though, it's oppressively clear how little this West Newberry-born babyface has to offer to this artform. Despite being in view of the fact that this endeavor was never a creative outpour or a project of deep passion, I am no one to tell another not to create. (Thankfully though he’s done just that) But let the sentiments lie true, this album is nothing more than a gimmick that got over.
“Leader of the Delinquents”:
Kid Cudi’s Spiritual Successor to “Lord of the Sad and Lonely”
As of midnight today, April 14, Kid Cudi gave his fans a taste of what he’s been up to, dropping his brand new song “Leader of the Delinquents”. Just a few days have passed since he teased a snippet of it during an Instagram live with Jaden Smith on the 10th. The new song will accompany Cudi’s upcoming album Entergalactic. The noble recluse first announced the project in July of 2019, and us subjects have been eagerly awaiting a release date. Fortunately with this dropping, some light is shed on when we can expect to see it, and what we can expect to feel from it.
Upon my first listen to “Leader of the Delinquents” I was instantly reminded of the song’s almost namesake, “Lord of the Sad and Lonely.” A parallel drawn in theme, yet also notable contrast within the music itself. King WZRD’s 2013 track seizes you with distorted synths. Its razor
sharp 808s conveys the same feeling of psychedelic dread and destruction that the raging inferno on Indicud’s cover illustrates. “Shittin’ on these niggas, sippin on some Swiss Kriss, I got some jewelry on it, sittin on my slit wrist”. Here the message of hope is buried under more darkness.
“Leader of the Delinquents” starts out easing me in with a more conventional rhythm of bass. The faint chimes echoing in the distance, The Chosen One’s hums rising from the depths, both unite to craft this ethereal spacescape fitting for Entergalactic. It is an atmosphere more hopeful than “Lord of the Sad and Lonely”, though he seems to slay the same demons. “I’ve been trapped in my mind, I’ve been tryna escape, Fame and loneliness, the recipe for disaster, I can’t handle this shit, I’ma get plastered”. He ends the piece by borrowing a line from its spiritual predecessor, “You see this walk you know my face, all hail King WZRD in your motherfuckin’ space, you love it”. From the ones who feel like shit on the daily, we love it indeed.
Welcome to Eternal Atake. The long-awaited myth exited from purgatory into reality, finally blessing the masses.
I awoke on that fateful day, 6th of March, 2020 like any other. Stricken by apathy I decided to sleep in and head to school at my leisure. Carpe diem, seize the day right? I was dragging myself through my morning routine until I noticed a text from the brethren. A blasting invitation to smoke some delicious flower and listen to Eternal Atake. “Could It Be?” I think to myself. I reach for my phone and open Spotify with the giddiness of a child on Christmas morning, or wittle Uzi sparking the inspiration for a fit pic. There she is: Eternal Atake. Resting on my screen, I gaze in wonder. One simply cannot continue about their day’s obligations when a generation-defining event such as this occurs. I submit to the festivities and cancel any idea of school. Once alone in my car, my chamber of solitude, I prepare my heart.
Through my speakers, the self-titled "Baby Pluto" blasts through the atmosphere and makes its landing. The opening track sets the tone, starting with rapid flows. “We bought the four-door, had to get ready for war” Uzi ain't playing. "You act like you tough like your homie ain't ever been killed before". We continue to "Lo Mein", which reminds us all just how adorable he can be. Though don't be fooled, after this track we're met with devious piano chords that pierce me like hollow points. He spits with force. This juxtaposition of raw masculinity and unapologetic sass instills me with confidence. My rockstar.
It's crucial to note Uzi's influence from the Bowies' and Pink Floyd's of the past. Crafting personas and narratives that unfold throughout the album. Songs are linked with transitions conveying an extraterrestrial spacescape. He develops a concept that is thematically consistent; an alien to hip hop, descending to Earth bringing with him a perspective of conscious indulgence. Tracks 1-6 is Baby Pluto, the culmination of the modern Uzi sound. Bringing together energy that spits like an uzi and his nimble, melodic hooks. "Homecoming" closes this section. A song that absolutely beats my ass with its voluptuous 808s. 7 -12 is Renji, him at his most vulnerable. Opening with "I'm Sorry", we hear an honest look at his pure male toxicity. But it really do be like that. "Celebration Station" through "Prices" features the zenith of the album’s instrumentals. Here we see him lay introspection over choral samples and soothing hums (Ye? Cudi? hewoah?). Tracks 13-18 is simply Lil Uzi Vert. The section begins with "Urgency", which holds the only feature of Eternal Atake. Syd fully shines in this role. Her vocals intertwine with Uzi on this R&B influenced joint to create a melancholic, yet glossy atmosphere. And such a vibe continues until the final song, the ingeniously sampled "That Way".
As I sat in my car, I felt safe. Rendered completely tranquil amidst the presence of simply good art. I am held by the satisfaction of answered hopes. Emboldened knowing your feelings are akin, your fears are shared, but also that your worried head will never stop a young nigga’s sauce. Channel that duality and you become powerful. Because it's Eternal.