Late Rundown: July

Another stacked month of music calls for another Late Rundown.

We back! It’s been a minute.

July was quite the release month, seeing various projects emerge from many of rap’s hottest names. For the most part, the projects we’ve received in recent weeks have been fire. Inevitably there have been some flops, but luckily for you I won’t be covering them.

After taking time to fully digest all of the new music that came with July, I’ve picked out four of my favorite releases for this month’s Late Rundown. Let’s get to it:

Maxo Kream - Brandon Banks

Released July 19

I’ll keep it real with you guys- Brandon Banks was my first real taste of Maxo Kream.

Of course I was familiar with the Houston native long before Brandon Banks; my first ever taste of Maxo was on Playboi Carti’s Soundcloud Classic, “Fetti”.

I just left Houston, I just left Earth...

Nonetheless, I always appreciated Maxo’s unique sound but never checked out any of his solo projects until Brandon Banks dropped a few weeks ago. When I saw that it had features from Travis Scott, ScHoolboy Q, and A$AP Ferg, I was immediately intrigued. However, Brandon Banks ironically proves that Maxo doesn’t need A-list features to be a star; Brandon Banks proves that he already is one in his own right.

From the opening track, “Meet Again” (which I consider to be one of the best songs of 2019 thus far), Maxo puts all eyes on him and delivers his own unique brand of poetic trap. His storytelling is next-level on “Meet Again” as well as on tracks such as “Brenda” and “Pray 2 The Dope”. I never took Maxo for much of a lyricist nor storyteller before Brandon Banks, so that goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Maxo can provide substanceless trap hits, but that man can also really rap.

The sonics behind Brandon Banks are quite diverse, seeing the Houston rapper cater to a wide spectrum of sounds and moods. With Mike Dean being the album’s executive producer, it’s no surprise that Brandon Banks is as well-rounded and complete as they come.

Brandon Banks has me sold on Maxo; if his next album is on the same level (or even better), he will quickly ascend to the top of my rapper rankings.

Top 3 Tracks: “Meet Again”, “Murda Blocc” (ft. A$AP Ferg), “Pray 2 The Dope”

Rating: 8.5/10

Yung Bans - Misunderstood

Released July 24

Contrary to Maxo, Yung Bans is an artist that I have been following for quite some time. He’s been one of my favorite “Soundcloud rappers” of the past few years, as I’ve always felt that he’s more unique than most in his lane. That being said, I was ecstatic to finally receive his debut album this past month after years of running up his Soundcloud.

Misunderstood is a solid debut for the young Atlanta star, showcasing his versatility and knack for hitmaking. However, he received plenty of assistance on this album with features such as Young Thug, Future, Gunna, Lil Durk, and Nav and producers such as Wheezy, Murda, Kenny Beats, and Take a Daytrip. Nonetheless, Bans shows chemistry with all of the collaborators across Misunderstood; most of the collaborations only enhance the quality of the album.

Bans dabbled in experimentation across Misunderstood; some of it for better, some of it for worse. A handful of tracks see Bans’ singing at its best yet, while a handful of other tracks see his vocals at their most generic yet. Bans shows glimpses of improving as an artist, while also showing glimpses of becoming more basic than ever. If you really dissect Misunderstood, you’ll find that the positives and negatives essentially cancel out.

That being said, I’ll leave your conclusion up to you. As someone who has been a fan of Bans long before Misunderstood, I personally enjoyed the album but also felt underwhelmed in certain areas. But at the end of the day, Misunderstood equipped us with plenty of new bangers that show Bans at his best and that’s all you can really hope for.

Top 3 Tracks: “I Don’t Even Crip”, “100 Shells” (ft. YNW Melly), “Blah Blah Blah”

Rating: 7.6/10

YBN Cordae - The Lost Boy

Released July 26

Since our newest music writer Howie Butler just dropped a stellar review on this album, I’ll keep this one short. I would not include it at all, but The Lost Boy is one of my favorite rap albums of the year thus far.

YBN Cordae is also quickly becoming one of my favorite new rappers. While he may be associated with often-generic Nahmir and Almighty Jay, the 21-year-old lyricist from the DMV is playing a much different game than his cohorts. A whole different sport, honestly. Cordae brings the lyricism and technicality of golden age hip-hop while adding his own unique, modern splash to keep the attention of Gen Z listeners.

Over the course of 15 songs and 45 minutes of running time, Cordae gives the listener a look into his early life, his come-up, and many other minute details about him that would have otherwise never been known. Cordae puts his songwriting talents on full display, mixing bars with bits of social commentary and subtle comedy. With the help of Pusha T, Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, and Anderson.Paak, Cordae effectively delivered a well-rounded (new) fan-favorite. The future is ultrabright for the young star; he’s barely been on the scene for a year and he’s already going bar-for-bar with your favorite artists. Watch out for Cordae; he’ll come even harder on the next album.

Top 3 Tracks: “RNP” (ft. Anderson.Paak), “We Gon Make It” (ft. Meek Mill), “Broke as Fuck”

Rating: 8.7/10

D Savage - Trust No One

Released July 26

One of Soundcloud’s most interesting figures recently delivered a 12-track album filled with versatile bangers and style-defining hits.

The 21-year-old from LA stayed true to himself and his style on Trust No One while still branching out from his last project, D Phoenix. Trust No One sees D Savage improve on his bars and hooks, audibly more confident than ever. Tracks such as “She Ready” and “Pill” see D Savage glide over alternative instrumentals that you would have never expected him to hop on, but you're glad that he did.

Trust No One is one of those albums where, regardless of your opinion, you can tell that the artist both grew and put in their full potential. Not to be bogus, but D Savage’s full potential is obviously quite different from Kendrick Lamar’s full potential. To a first-time D Savage listener, Trust No One may seem subpar. However, if you’ve followed D Savage at all, you would realize that Trust No One is by far his best work yet.

As he continues to emerge from the underground, I’m excited to watch his evolution unfold over the coming years. Trust No One isn’t anywhere close to “Album of the Year” caliber, but it certainly shows plenty of promise. I’m not a D Savage stan by any means, but even I’m proud of him and more excited for his next installment than I ever thought I’d be.

Top 3 Tracks: “Racks on Me”, “She Ready”, “Pill”

Rating: 7.5/10