Our music staff has returned with their fifth round of Music Streaming Suggestions! We have another diverse lineup this week, headlined by the likes of Lucki, Wiz Khalifa, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and 88GLAM. As usual, we added our new suggestions to our weekly-updated Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
Freewave 3 (2019) - Lucki
If you’ve kept up with contemporary rap at all in the past two years, underground legend Lucki has likely popped up on your radar at some point during that period. He has garnered a devoted cult following since his stellar debut project Alternative Trap in 2013, but 2019’s Freewave 3 was the project that catapulted Lucki to the next level.
The adjective “flawless” is a large part of Lucki’s persona and branding, so it’s only fitting that Freewave 3 embodied what it means to be flawless in today’s oversaturated rap climate. While it may not be taken as seriously by pretentious crowds, Freewave 3 is as calculated as any revered rap album. With no skips at 15 tracks and 30 minutes, it becomes clear that Lucki follows a proven formula: delivering well-polished bangers in under three minutes a pop.
Lucki tends to embrace a new sound or style on each project, but at the time, Freewave 3 was the most he had ever branched out sonically. In my opinion, that’s what made the project so successful; it forced listeners to realize that Lucki is a master of his craft who does not allow himself to be boxed in. The tracks that strayed away from his typical sound the most were “Peach Dream,” a bright track where Lucki sings more than ever before, and “All In,” an Earl Sweatshirt-produced gem that sounds as if it could have been on Some Rap Songs.
Beat selection has always been one of Lucki’s most salient strongsuits; production is one of the most recognizable elements of his music. Freewave 3 is arguably Lucki’s best-produced project, featuring sauce from the likes of CHASETHEMONEY, Earl Sweatshirt, Brent Rambo, Art Gallery, Cash Cobain, Mulatto Beats, and StoopidXool. From start to finish, each beat is as immaculate as the vocals that float over them. -Evan Linden
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “More Than Ever,” “4 - U - City Girl,” and “Peach Dream”
Artist Recommendation: The Blossom
Between their recent hit “Hardcore Happy” and their appearances on Brockhampton’s YouTube channel, The Blossom has established themselves as a voice that needs to be heard. The topics of gender, love and angst are seamlessly paired with bubbly vocals, dreamy, cradling guitar riffs and twinkling synthesizers reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls. The Blossom undoubtedly takes inspiration from artists like JPEGMAFIA, slowthai and Deb Never, however, their adolescent and compassionate twist delivers a beautiful, unique sound. I heavily look forward to seeing their growth in the coming months and years. Be on the lookout for more collaborations with Brockhampton and other rising stars. -Finn Askin
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “HARDCORE HAPPY,” “ANGEL FANGS,” and “STILL WITH U”
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) - Ms. Lauryn Hill
The year is 1998. The Chicago Bulls have just won their sixth NBA championship ring. President Clinton has just denied “having sexual relations with that woman.” A star was born (me). And most iconically, Ms. Lauryn Hill released her debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It only seems fitting to revisit this monumental album mere weeks after its induction into the certified Diamond record club.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a near-perfect album that reset the industry upon its initial release. Many knew Hill from her time with The Fugees – a hip-hop collective made up of herself, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel. Taking a chance on her individual talents, Hill put out an album that would be talked about for years to come. It was the perfect combination of female hip-hop, gospel and mainstream music – there was a song for everyone. Hill shared stories of love, independence, liberation, and other raw emotions with ease and ingenuity.
She represented a then-smaller demographic of female artists – showcasing their depth and capabilities as independent musicians. Without a doubt, this album allotted Hill next-level admiration and respect across industries and fan bases. I find myself returning to this record often – it’s my comfort album. Listening to this album helps remind me of my worth and power as a Black woman. It has played a large role in my personal life and with each listen, a new revelation arises. I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Lauryn Hill live at Camp Flog Gnaw (2018) and was left in awe over her aura and performance. It is safe to say Ms. Lauryn Hill is a pioneer. And despite this being her final album, it left an immeasurable imprint on the music industry. -Deja Williams
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Ex-factor,” “Every Ghetto, Every City,” and “Nothing Even Matters”
Kush & Orange Juice (2010) - Wiz Khalifa
It'd be wrong to keep my all-time favorite mixtape stashed on the recommendation mantle. Wiz is at his (arguable) best on Kush & Orange Juice, delivering his most successful formula of THC-infused bars.
When I think of truly feel-good music, Kush & OJ is one of the first projects to pop in my head. It's an instant mood booster and pairs perfectly with a wake-and-bake. Khalifa captures a mood and runs with it, providing fans with a feeling that can only be matched by the finest sativas.
Kush & OJ is filled with songs that are still among the best of Khalifa's extensive discography: "Mezmorized," "The Statement," "The Kid Frankie," "Still Blazin," "Never Been," "Supply;" there's just so many to pick from. The commercial release on Spotify and Apple Music features 18 tracks spanning 56 minutes, but Kush & OJ is an absolute breeze to get through.
For longtime Wiz fans, Kush & OJ is no secret. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the project or simply searching for the next album to add to your session rotation, look no further than this higher-than-life project from the King of Stoner Rap. -Jack Martin
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Mezmorized," "The Kid Frankie," and "Supply"