For the first time in the new calendar year, the hip-hop world was knocked on it's ass by a variety of artists releasing new projects on the eve of February 22nd.
Many artists, specifically Offset and Gunna, took time out of their entourage-concentrated calendars to drop rarified solo projects. The questions that we asked our Burbs writers were along the lines of were they worth it? Check out the article below to read the opinions of our trusted tune connoisseurs.
1.) How did Drip or Drown 2 influence your opinion on the current state of Gunna? Are you excited for the rest of his work moving forward?
Ralph James: After running through Drip or Drown 2 a couple of times, I've decided that I can't have this much Gunna without a complimentary artist. He's like strawberry jam. I can't eat just a strawberry jam sandwich. I need some fucking peanut butter to go along with all that flavor in order to mask it a little bit.
Evan Linden: I would definitely agree with Ralph on that. However, I thought the features from Thugger, Baby and Carti were substantial. But as a whole, this album isn't anything special. I like Gunna and definitely see his potential in the game, but I think he could benefit from taking some time to lay low and reinvent himself.
Jack Martin: I agree with Ralph and Evan. I like Gunna on a lot of songs, and from what I heard the night of Drip or Drown 2's release it was solid, but I can't get myself to fully buy in. It's another case of quantity-over-quality, a trend that seems to have been increasing over the last year or so. Gunna has obviously put his name on the map and is making massive waves, I just hope to get a different sound every so often.
Hunter McNeeley: Harvard Dropout was a better album.
2.) Is Gunna the trap game's Sean Kingston?
Ralph James: In terms of being able to deliver banging singles, and not being consistent or polished enough to publish a collective project, yes. Also, in terms of overall appearance, Gunna is kinda just like Sean Kingston with short dreadlocks. I'd love for Gunna to do a cover of "Fire Burning" sometime, maybe a little karaoke on Instagram Live, that'd be priceless.
Jack Martin: A few episodes of "The Fro + The Flow" (we stay plugging) ago, Ralph said that Gunna looks like he's always damp, which means Sean Kingston is probably always humid. I don't really know what that entails, but yeah, humid. Gunna and Sean Kingston getting on a song together would definitely bridge the generational gap caused by Fortnite. Does anyone else remember when Sean Kingston was in a coma after a snowmobile accident? Why the fuck do I remember that?
Evan Linden: ^ it was a jet ski accident , but yeah I remember that shit too. No clue why.
3.) Did Offset's work on Father of 4 make up for Culture II or Quavo's solo project?
Ralph James: Fuck no. I don't despise this project, but I definitely don't like it either. For some reason I always get far too high of expectations for the members of the Migos, and they've continually let me down. Listening to Migos is like having a severe codeine addiction. For a while, you may think it's okay, and it might even be good for your psyche, but then you learn to let them go and life is just so much better without them in it everyday.
Evan Linden: Yeah, I'm with Ralph on this one. Ever since Culture II, I've honestly had a total aversion to Migos. Before Culture II, I was almost a diehard fan. I listened to them religiously throughout the OG tape days, and honestly, I'll take their low production value bangers over any of their new radio shit. All of their solo work thus far has disappointed me, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that they still have plenty of potential. I'm excited to see what they do next, as the three of them focus more on their solo careers and endeavors.
Jack Martin: Migos are going to be in the media for a long time coming, but I think they should take a break from putting out music and start crafting their next project for like a mid-late 2021 release. I'm not going to be listening to Father of 4 that much, but it was better than Culture II and Quavo's album.
Hunter McNeeley : No. The Migos definitely changed the game, but at the end of the day I truly think they're given more credit than they deserve. Hate my opinion? Fuck you, sue me.
4.) Is Offset your favorite Migo now? Has he been for some time? If not, then who is your favorite member of the Migos trio? (Please, God, don't let it be Quavo. Unless you're really into his hoopmixtape highlights)
Ralph James: I think I'm going to go with Takeoff. He seems to have the most polished flow, and the best grip on who he is as an artist. I typically have the lowest expectations for him out of the three as well, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.
Jack Martin: Takeoff, for sure. His solo album, while not in my rotation after its initial release, is my personal favorite of the three, and I love how he kind of keeps a low profile and can pop up whenever and deliver a solid verse.
Hunter McNeeley : Offset would probably be my favorite but that doesn't mean I like the Migos.
Evan Linden: Offset has always been my favorite rapper out of the Migos. As corny as Quavo can be, he is definitely a hook legend and a solid frontman. So, I gotta go with Offset as far as bars and Quavo as far as catchy bullshit. I don't even really care enough about either of them anymore to decide who's my favorite of the two. Takeoff is chill, though. Shoutout to him for just getting money and doing his thing without being on TMZ twice a week.
5.) When did Lucki become the best rapper out of Chicago (if he ever did)? If he isn't the best in the game right now out of the Windy City, then who is?
Ralph James: When Chance the Rapper became Chance the Church Clapper. Dude sounds like he's trying to buy his way into heaven through streams. If I had God's iPhone number, I'd text him right now, "Give me back 10 Day and Acid Rap Chancellor, and I'll give you back all three members of the Migos." Lol, imagine Migos trying to do a project like Coloring Book.
Jack Martin: ^ lol. I'd never really heard of Lucki or any of his music before I read Evan's Freewave 3 review (even though I should've), but I've had it on while writing this and it's really good, and I'm definitely going to go through his discography.
In terms of Chance, I 100% agree with Ralph. If he starts hanging out with Justin Bieber's pastor, it's all over. I really hope his album this summer goes back to Acid Rap Chance, but I can't get myself excited for it.
Hunter McNeeley : Chance is definitely the most influential for the modern generation (not forgetting Kanye), but I do really like Saba and Lucki a lot. Be sure to check out Supa BWE if you haven't heard of him, he's an underground legend for Chicago.
Evan Linden: As the self-proclaimed Lucki stan, even I will admit that Lucki isn't the best out of the Chi yet. He is the most slept-on, but that's a different story. Right now, the best out of Chicago is Chance or Herbo. Honorable mention to Juice WRLD. Some of the other most slept-on guys are Saba, Joey Purp, Towkio, and Lud Foe.
6.) In this order, list your favorite __________ of the last week. A: Album/Project, B: Song, C: Feature, D: Production
A: For Christ Sake 2 by Thouxanbanfauni & UnoTheActivist. I honestly wasn't even aware that this project was dropping until like a half an hour before it did. I'm practically Uno's number one promoter via Instagram stories, and Thouxanban sounds like an only rapping version of Lil Uzi Vert, which may be my favorite version of Uzi. So, yes, this project blew all the other ones out of the fucking water for me.
B: "OK Cool" by Cari feat. Ronnie Rage. I was waiting on this track for weeks after seeing my guy Ronnie post the snippet on his IG. Even after just listening to it for thirty seconds, I had it stuck in my head. Now that it's been officially released, it's on repeat. YOU DIIIIIIIIIG.
C: I'm going to have to go with wifisfuneral's feature on Night Lovell's "I LIKE BLOOD". There is just a really large part of me (probably the one that attended a Catholic Private school for twelve years) that feels awful condoning an album that has songs titled, "LET ME DIE," "MURDER RATE," and "SINISTER," on it, but that's just a sub-genre of hip-hop that exists nowadays, and as a rap obsessive I just have to embrace it for what it's worth.
Wifisfuneral says at one point during his 43 second verse that contains 213 words (ALMOST FIVE WORDS PER SECOND!!!!!!!!) that some boy can "get smoked like Juul." And if that isn't the peak-signifier of hip-hop lyricism in the year 2019, then I don't know what is.
D: CHASETHEMONEY on Lucki's "Interlude" track. Give me more of that high pitched synth with Lucki's lo-fi voice drooling over the top of it. It sounds like a church hymn's instrumental got hijacked by the kid who's trapping cigarettes outside of the liturgy.
Jack Martin: If I've learned anything in my Media Ethics class, which hasn't been a whole lot, it's that the best journalism comes from truth. I haven't gone through these projects enough (or even heard some of them), so I can't give well-thought out rankings. Freewave 3 was my favorite project of what I heard, though.
Hunter McNeeley : Freewave 3 was incredibly well put together sonically, lyrically and in how it displays so much versatility regarding styles that appear on the album. Shoutout Lucki!
A: Definitely gotta go with Freewave 3. Goodnight Lovell was also solid.
B: One of the five songs I reviewed on my Freewave 3 article. (shameless plug)
C: Thug's feature on Gunna's "3 Headed Snake" goes in as one of the only highlights of Drip or Drown 2. I'm also with Ralph on the wifisfuneral feature for "I LIKE BLOOD" ; the $uicideboy$ feature on "JOAN OF ARC" was also surprisingly fire.
D: Earl Sweatshirt on "All In" or BrentRambo on "4 - U - City Girl"
7.) I know it's a popular thing nowadays to refer to someone as a "Demon" for doing something dope as fuck, but is Night Lovell like an actual demon that Satan summoned to Earth directly from the deepest gates of Hell?
Ralph James: Ummm... Yes. Unless he sees this article, then my answer quickly switches to a resounding No. But, I think that this song (the single to his newest album) allows me to rest my case.
Jack Martin: I, uh, think I need to talk to a therapist.
Hunter McNeeley : This song will not be making my weekly curated "Kids and Family" playlist if that helps you understand the song without actually listening.
Evan Linden: No comment.
8.) Have you ever seen a more hilarious/depressing/lazy cover art than this? Give your tweet length review of this cover art.
Ralph James: Did Offset do the photoshop... himself? *insert head scratching emoji*
Jack Martin: I would've made this on Snapchat with stickers for free.
Hunter McNeeley : I threw up on my desk when I saw this.
Evan Linden: I like to think that Offset's team totally forgot about the whole cover art thing and had to put this together five minutes before the deadline.
9.) Do any of these projects surpass Future's Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD as the frontrunner for the best rap album of the year?
Ralph James: Short answer: Hell no. Long answer: I would die for that album.
Jack Martin: Stoooooop it, absolutely not.
Hunter McNeeley : No, but I think 2 Chainz's new album has a strong chance.
Evan Linden: Freewave 3 does for me, but I know that's just a stan opinion. The WIZRD was fire, but nowhere near the masterpiece that is DS2. I still love Future, but he hasn't fully wowed me since Purple Reign.
10.) What project are you looking forward to the most in the near-ish future?
Ralph James: Whichever one that ScHoolboy Q decides to drop. I know he has like fifty in the vault, quit playing with me, Q. Or Rihanna. Or Future. Any of those people could drop anything at any time of the year and I would consider it to be more seasonal than Christmas during the Winter.
Jack Martin: I think we could all use a little more RiRi in our lives. I know The Weeknd is supposed to drop something this year, so obviously I'm beyond excited for anything Abel has cooking up. And if that video of Kanye rocking the keyboard with the gospel in the background is any indication of what Yandhi could be, I hope it drops this year and I pray it's a return to glory.
Hunter McNeeley : "Standing on Satan's Chest" - Nessly, "Yandhi" - Kanye, "Dead Starr 2" - Smokepurpp
Evan Linden: Yandhi is at the top of my list, closely followed by the Tame Impala album expected this year. I'm also geeked for the Chance album in July.
Side Note: will sell or trade anything for new Frank Ocean music. Getting desperate.