Author: YN

Rick Ross: Black Dollar

Rick Ross hit a rough patch in 2014. He dropped two albums within eight months of each other that clearly didn’t reach his lofty expectations. His latest Black Dollar mixtape, on the other hand, finds Rozay sounding revitalized and almost urgent. Whether it’s the languid but vibrant “Money & Power” or the invigorating “We Gon Make It,” this is the best Ross has sounded in years.

Future: 56 Nights

DJ Esco might have been a local celebrity in Atlanta thanks to his Magic Monday sermons for strippers, but after serving 56 nights in a Dubai jail, he would become famous. Future promptly immortalized the man with the 56 Nights mixtape, the third of his now-infamous trilogy and the one that made everyone officially recognize him as the hottest rapper of the year.

Travis Scott “Antidote”

Travis Scott has a knack for melody, but despite gaining a cult-like fanbase and developing a reputation for an insane live show, his music hasn’t yet penetrated the still dominant force of national terrestrial radio. The potential exception, however, is “Antidote.” It hooks you from the very first line: “Don’t you open up that window.” No matter how hard you try, those lyrics will nest inside your mind.

Fetty Wap x Monty “679”

Fetty Wap’s success is a beautiful thing, because his music was pop-oriented before a label ever interfered. Moreover, people thought he was a one-hit wonder after “Trap Queen,” but it didn’t take any celeb stimulus package to make “679” take off. Its bubblegum bounce is so naturally infectious you look stupid if you’re not dancing to it.

Future “Trap Niggas”

One of the keys to having a hit record is being able to unify large groups of people, and “Trap Niggas” did that seemingly without even trying. If you’ve ever been in a spot when that song comes on and seen a sea of hands rise to the sky when Future says, “God blessing all the trap niggas,” then God has truly blessed you too.

Drake “Back To Back”

When Meek tweeted shots at Drake, he should have known to prepare himself. Instead, Drake rushed him, and the nail in the coffin was “Back To Back,” with lines about Meek opening up for Nicki’s tour and Nicki “wife-ing” the Philly rapper. The industry shook its head and cheered. As did fans.

Travis Scott: Rodeo

Travis Scott is a consummate curator, taking bits and pieces of the most influential artists—Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Future—and melding them into a single entity. His production work was enlisted for Yeezus and Cruel Summer, and his last mixtape, Days Before Rodeo, was an excellent encapsulation of the Atlanta zeitgeist, thanks in part to production from Metro Boomin, FKi, and others.

Fetty Wap: Fetty Wap

On “D.A.M. (Dats All Me),” a song from Fetty Wap’s official debut album, he serenades a lady with an unexpected admittance: “It’s been awhile since a n*gga had some action.” We’re used to rappers swimming in pussy, getting nagged by pussy, being above the pussy, but Fetty Wap’s music offers an unfiltered look behind the male ego. His calling card is a baying, cathartic “Yeeeaaaaaaah baby.” “Trap Queen,” his biggest song to date, is about how much he’s in love […]

Mac Miller: GO:OD AM

Mac Miller has enjoyed a steady ascent not only in profile but applied talent since his official debut, 2011 Blue Slide Park—which was panned by many critics. His 2013 follow-up, Watching Movies With The Sound Off was an improvement, but still lacked the cohesion needed on a full body of work. 

Future: DS2

It’s rare an artist strikes a chord—and then holds it. Future has been doing just that since last October, when he unleashed Monster on the world and made his fans instantly forget the sins committed on Honest. His run of mixtapes in the wake of the excellent Monster led up to DS2, one of the best realizations of an artist’s pure sound in years.

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