Sunday, June 23, 2024
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G Herbo, Jack Harlow, Lola Brooke, And More Unleash Must-Hear Rap Releases For New Music Friday

Today is Friday, which means there are a ton of new releases to look forward to from some of your favorite Hip-Hop artists. To help you unwind and enjoy the weekend, check out VIBE’s picks of songs and albums you should hear and add to your soundtrack of weekend festivities.

Jack HarlowJackman.

Jack Harlow ‘Jackman.’ cover art

Generation Now/Atlantic Recording Corporation

Generation Now/Atlantic Recording Corporation

Jack Harlow had two clear missions with this surprise album: To remind people that his rapping ability got him to where he is and to get a bit more personal. Those intents come obvious from the onset with “Common Ground,” where he speaks about white people, their privilege, and their space within the culture. It’s an honest assessment of his kind, which could very well be seen as pandering depending on who you ask. Nonetheless, the song’s soul-sample laden yet stripped back beats and lack of features allow the Louisville, Ky. rapper and his lyricism to exist at the forefront.

There is one head-scratching song. On “Gang Gang Gang,” it appears he is in denial about one of his friends molesting a young child. The song’s chorus is “Ride for my dogs, lie for my dogs” and while the loyalty is admirable, its application in this instance is unacceptable. Remove that record and you’ve got a strong set of music. “Denver,” “It Can’t Be,” and “Questions” are some of his best rap performances of his career. However, his cringeworthy bars on “Gang Gang Gang” will likely be the talk of the project. – Armon Sadler

Lola Brooke – “Just Relax”

Lola Brooke “Just Relax” cover art

Team Eighty Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Arista Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Team Eighty Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Arista Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Lola Brooke switches up the vibe a bit on “Just Relax.” The Brooklyn wordsmith samples Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours” for an upbeat summer bop, a refreshing departure from her fiery lyrical exhibitions. “Bi**hes wan’ be this, ‘cause I was always that/ Ni**as say they rich? Let’s keep it a stack/ I ain’t with the tic, I be movin’ tac/ Bi**hes think they it, all that sh*t is cap,” she spits in the chorus. Despite the party vibe, she still has the same “don’t f**k with me” energy and endless boasts. However, that’s what we’ve come to love about the small but mighty rising star. For anyone who thinks they can pigeonhole Lola Brooke, she’s got a range as wide as an alligator’s jaw. – AS

G HerboStrictly 4 My Fans 2

G Herbo 'Strictly 4 My Fans 2' Album Cover

Machine Entertainment Group LLC/ 150 Dream Team

Machine Entertainment Group LLC/ 150 Dream Team

After dropping his ambitious Survivor’s Remorse album in 2022, G Herbo regroups with Strictly 4 My Fans 2, the sequel to his 2016 mixtape and his first project of 2023. Not one for timid entrances, the Chicagoan gets into his zone immediately, repping his street family on the opening cut “No Limit” featuring Drench, before ramping up the energy with the horn-heavy heater “Watch Me Ball, Pt. 2” Short on contributions from guests, Strictly 4 My Fans 2 includes an appearance from GloRilla and Mello Buckzz on the single “Outside,” on which he grimly ponders “How the opps keep dyin’? They don’t be outside” over tumbling 808s.

That promising start to the proceedings gets extended into the second half of the tape, with Herbo giving insight into the experiences and trauma that’s molded him into the man he is today. Selections like “We Don’t Care,” “Any Other Way,” and “Feel This” bear scars only visible to the man in the mirror, an aspect of the rap star’s artistry that’s most endearing. – Preezy Brown

Coi Leray – “Bops/My Body”

Uptown Records/Republic Records

Uptown Records/Republic Records

Coi Leray’s “Bops” is aptly named. There is an engulfing soundscape that makes it impossible to not move your shoulders. She opts to fully rap here, fusing seamlessly with the uptempo beat. She’s talking heavy, saying “They tryna throw rocks/ They think it’s hopscotch/ I pull up the show stops/ They eyein’ like cyclops.” The New Jersey artist comes with a second new track “My Body,” which leans more on her melodic talents. Admittedly, this seems intended for TikTok which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but doesn’t resonate as well as “Bops.” It’s like Coi Leray’s attempt at Hip-Hop infused show tunes and a pop track that sounds more along the Nicki Minaj vein. Still, it’s an impressive attempt. – AS

Tee Grizzley & Skilla BabyControversy

Grizzley Gang Music/300 Entertainment

Grizzley Gang Music/300 Entertainment

Detroit rappers Tee Grizzley and Skilla Baby pair up for their joint-album release Controversy, which finds the more tenured Grizzley leading the charge while the promising upstart plays shotgun. The 12-track effort kicks off with its titular track, which finds Grizzley warning “They can’t f**k me with and they can’t fuck with Skilla,” before taking turns with Skilla and musing about their respective street exploits. Menacing keys and synths are layered atop booming bass on “Steppers,” a confrontational salvo on which the duo seek to destroy, while “B Legit” pays homage to Bay Area rap royalty.

“Extension hangin’ out that Glock 10, look like a payphone,” Tee Grizzley drawls on “Dropped The Lo,” a quaking cut that captures Skilla and himself presenting themselves as bosses doubling as merchants of death. Vowing honesty on “Ain’t Gotta Lie” and shining on additional highlights like “Grizzley Camp,” Tee and Skilla score a homerun with Controversy, making them the latest star tandem out of the Motor City to partner up and display the D’s strength in numbers. – PB

Rowdy Rebel & Fetty LucianoSplash Brothers

Rowdy Rebel And Fetty Luciano 'Splash Brothers' Album Artwork

Rowdy Rebel

Rowdy Rebel

Brooklyn’s Rowdy Rebel and Fetty Luciano link up for Splash Bros, a collaborative project on which the duo holds down the fort while running up numbers and bodies over an array of bouncy soundscapes. “This sh*t deeper than rap, ni**a,” Rowdy says at the onset of the tape, alluding to their lengthy brotherhood while professing love and loyalty. Consisting of nine new songs and three previously released bonus cuts, Splash Bros’ finest offerings come in the form of “Can’t Love No More,” “No Pressure” featuring Fivio Foreign and Rah Swish, and “Family Over Everything.” – PB

Slum Village, Larry June, The Dramatics – “Just Like You”

Slum Village And Larry June "Just Like You" Single Artwork

Synchronization

Synchronization

Slum Village, Larry June, and The Dramatics get down on this svelte offering. The Detroit spitters, Bay Area rep, and soul legends give an appraisal to the ladies in their lives. Featuring a groovy bass with an even funkier bass line, “Just Like You” is an instant winner, matching The Dramatics’ silky vocals, with the Slum and June’s buttery-smooth couplets. As the lead-single from Slum Village’s forthcoming release and their first in several years, “Just Like You” is a certified jam that’s equally fit for the dance floor as it is a more leisurely setting. – PB

Big Freedia Feat. Ciara – “$100 Bill”

Big Freedia "$100 Bill" Single Artwork

Queen Diva Music

Queen Diva Music

Twangy guitars beckon listeners on this new jam from New Orleans star Big Freedia, who is joined by R&B star Ciara and celebrates the satisfactory feels that come with stepping out in style. While Ciara lends sultry vocals on the verses, Freedia gets the party rocking with infectious chants and adlibs on the hook and throughout the song. If you’re into looking and smelling luxurious, this is a tune that’s tailor-made to play while putting the finishing touches to your fit and overall presentation. – PB

Charlie Smarts & DJ Ill DigitzCharlietape

Charlie Smarts And DJ Ill Digitz 'Charlietape' Album Cover

M.E.C.C.A. Records / Fat Beats

M.E.C.C.A. Records / Fat Beats

Fans looking for the style of rap music that conjures an air of nostalgia while steeped in the present need to look no further than the Charlietape by rapper Charlie Smarts and producer DJ Ill Digitz. This 19-track offering finds the North Carolina-bred Brooklynites serving up a a hefty serving of witty raps, soulful beats, and guest spots from a handful of seasoned lyricists. Inclusions on the project’s tracklist that particularly tickled our fancy are “Haters Anonymous,” “Relativity,” and “Upside Down,” where Smarts muses, “I love cars that’s electric/ I love guns only when I use my fingers as the weapon.” Features include Von Pea, Tab-One, Skyzoo, Jansport J, 9th Wonder, Nolan The Ninja, KLIM, and J Scienide. – PB

Wynne – “Jaw Morant”

101 LLC / Right Hand Music Group / Genius Distro

Wynne stays with the clever basketball references, but none may be as impactful as her new track “Jaw Morant.” In case you need some clarity on what she is insinuating, she makes it clear in the chorus: “I’m a motherf**king dog/ Mirror on the wall, who’s the baddest of ‘em all?/ He call me Morant, no one’s fking with my jaw/ I’m his lil’ cutie but he got me saying ‘Aww.’”

The verses continue this energy and exceptional wordplay with “He’s an atheist, I give him reason to believe/ I stole his heart ‘cause my cheeks thick as thieves” and “He’s breaking down in front of me like he’s on Genius/ Woah, like my mom remarried, only stepping with my bros.” Wynne’s raps always make me wonder how many men feel like they’re getting subbed with her very confident lines, but we love to see it. She’s a special talent who is just scratching the surface, much like Ja Morant. – AS

Lucki – “Leave Her”

Lucki “Leave Her” cover art

Lucki / EMPIRE

Lucki / EMPIRE

Lucki raps about the difficulty of being alone on “Leave Her.” He spits, “She want me to leave her/ But I do bad all by myself/ Touch they soul, they gave me the key/ I got ‘em hangin’ from my belt.” His lifestyle full of drugs, cars, and money is difficult for someone else to keep up with. He also considers his mortality, saying “Folks get money off road like a range/ Where all this money gon’ go if I die?/ This bi**h think her percs is safe/ Almighty So, a bi**h blew my high.” Love is difficult for Lucki, especially when being so focused on himself. But he brings it full circle in the outro, saying “She don’t want me to leave her/ But do better off by myself.” – AS


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