We back! I know I missed the August Late Rundown (school is beating my ass with a bag of bricks), but I’ll try to make up for it this month.
September turned out to be a pretty solid release month. It was far from the best month of music that we’ve received this year, but it was also far from the worst. If we received Jesus is King on time, the discussion would be much different. But, if you actually expected Jesus is King to be on time, you played yourself (don’t worry, so did I).
In the wake of another month without a Kanye release, I will talk about some of the other notable projects that dropped during fall’s inaugural month. Let’s get into it:
Post Malone - Hollywood’s Bleeding
Released September 6
Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone’s third studio album, is only further proof that rap’s favorite “rockstar” is far from the days of Stoney and August 26th.
That isn’t entirely a bad thing, though. Post’s previous release, Beerbongs and Bentleys, already indicated that he was heading down the pop/R&B route at full speed. While he’s left behind the country-esque, folky soul of Stoney, he has hit his stride as one of the world’s most versatile popstars.
Hollywood’s Bleeding sees popstar Post at his best, but he also pays homage to his rock-and-roll roots and continues to embrace trap and R&B in his sound. I mean, the man got Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott on a track together, for fucks sake. His other guest features fill a whole spectrum of sounds- Future, Halsey, DaBaby, Young Thug, SZA, Meek Mill. The album’s production is crisp and dreamy, contributed to by wavemakers such as Nick Mira, DJ Dahi, Louis Bell, and Frank Dukes. Post contributed to the production of a handful of tracks, as well.
Tracks such as “Myself”, “Circles”, and “Internet” see Post glide on his own, finding new, infectiously-catchy styles. Post’s songwriting skills are as sharp as ever on Hollywood’s Bleeding. Impressively so, at times. Some songs miss the mark, but that’s to be expected on any 17-track, major-label studio album.
Overall, Hollywood’s Bleeding was a solid comeback for Post. It exceeded in some categories and flopped in others, but ultimately delivered a smooth and easy listening experience. 2019 Post Malone is much different than the 2016 Post Malone I first listened to, but I like where he’s headed. If he lost himself on Beerbongs and Bentleys, he’s now beginning to find himself again.
Top 3 Tracks: “Enemies” (ft. DaBaby), “Circles”, “Myself”
JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs
Released September 13
For my first full taste of JPEGMAFIA, All My Heroes Are Cornballs was a very interesting album. I gotta say- I really enjoyed it.
I’ve heard of JPEGMAFIA for quite some time now, but I never got around to checking him out until now. The first time I heard him was his feature on Flume’s “How to Build a Relationship”. I was intrigued by JPEG, but I never delved into his discography until the release of All My Heroes Are Cornballs.
Now, I’m even more intrigued than before by JPEG- commonly referred to by fans as “Peggy”. On my first listen, I wasn’t sure how to feel; I liked it, but it’s definitely left-field from most of the music that I’m accustomed to. After more digestion, I finally understand the hype that has gathered around JPEGMAFIA in the past year. Peggy is an exciting, genre-defying artist who I can see making massive waves in the years to come. His blend of rap, alternative, punk/metal, R&B/pop, and electronic is truly a spectacle; his unorthodox, beautifully arranged instrumentals are the lifeblood of his music. His raps are simple and sharp; his vocals are unique and intoxicating.
If you wanna listen to a rap album that’s unlike any other rap album you’ve ever heard, listen to All My Heroes Are Cornballs. I can’t guarantee that you’ll love it, but I can guarantee that it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Top 3 Tracks: “Free the Frail” (ft. Helena Deland), “Kenan vs. Kel”, “All My Heroes Are Cornballs”
Jack Harlow - Confetti
Released September 20
Louisville native Jack Harlow recently delivered Confetti, his fifth mixtape. Jack Harlow has dropped an annual mixtape for the past four years, and Confetti seamlessly fits into the collection as arguably his most polished work yet.
2018 was a breakout year for Harlow. His song “SUNDOWN”, the crown jewel of his 2018 mixtape Loose, became his first big hit. Loose was also his breakout project, reaching a much larger audience than ever before. I was a big fan of Loose; I saw something unique in Harlow. I’ve been patiently awaiting his next project ever since; one year later, it’s finally in my rotation.
Confetti is very indicative of the stage Harlow is at in his career. He’s sandwiched between underground and mainstream; hometown hero and one-hit wonder. He had to make Confetti something memorable; he couldn’t afford a flop. In my opinion, he made his shot count.
Confetti is good for first-time Jack Harlow listeners because, to my ears, it has a lil’ something for everyone. There’s plenty of R&B to go around, both laidback and lit- there’s a nice Bryson Tiller feature on “THRU THE NIGHT”. There’s an assortment of bass-rattling bangers, such as “WALK IN THE PARK”, “HEAVY HITTER”, “ROTTEN” (ft. EST Gee), and “GHOST”. There’s a handful of slow, poetic songs like “RAIN” and “RIVER ROAD”. Confetti displays the impressive range of Harlow.
At only 21, the future is bright for Jack Harlow. Seeing how much he’s evolved in just the past few years, he’s going to be a real problem in the game sooner than you think.
Top 3 Tracks: “RAIN”, “WALK IN THE PARK”, “RIVER ROAD”
DaBaby - KIRK
Released September 27
Despite how you may feel about DaBaby, there’s no denying that he has been on an absolute tear this year. Since dropping his stellar debut album Baby on Baby this past March, he’s been working overtime and hasn’t clocked out since. He’s been performing nonstop, remixing your favorite songs, and collaborating with your favorite artists. He’s arguably had the fastest takeover of any artist in recent memory, going from a noname to a cultural phenom in a matter of months.
However, what goes up must come down. After months of going full-throttle, KIRK shows that DaBaby may run out of gas just as fast as he rose to prominence.
Allow me to preface this by saying KIRK is not a bad album.
It’s also not a good album.
KIRK is pure mid. KIRK felt like a slap in the face after last receiving Baby on Baby. However, Baby and Baby and KIRK aren’t all that different from each other. This is where the problem lies; DaBaby’s once unique flow is already getting stale.
This tends to happen when a unique rapper blows up quick and eagerly drops their sophomore project; we’ve seen it with artists like Juice WRLD, Lil Skies, and Gunna. Unless you have something really special, the “unique” trait that made you famous will only take you so far- especially in today’s constantly changing rap game. Fans always want something new and exciting; if you can’t deliver that, you won’t be around for too long. While fans appreciate timeliness, rushing a release won’t get you anywhere if the release sounds recycled.
KIRK didn’t need to be released yet; Baby on Baby came out less than a year ago and has only been dominating the radio for a few months now. It is glaringly obvious that DaBaby was eager to stay on his hotstreak, and while that’s respectable, he unnecessarily fumbled the bag on this one.
A few new singles or even a mixtape/EP would’ve been cool, but two studio albums in less than a year? Flagrant.
Enough ranting; I’ll give credit where it’s due. Tracks such as “GOSPEL” (ft. Chance the Rapper, YK Osiris & Gucci Mane) and “POP STAR” (ft. Kevin Gates) see DaBaby branch out sonically, or, at least more so than the rest of KIRK. While generic, bangers such as “BOP”, “RAW SHIT” (ft. Migos), and “VIBEZ” still go stupid hard. There are a handful of genuinely fire tracks, like “THERE HE GO” and “XXL”. Like I said- KIRK is not a bad album.
Top 3 Tracks: “THERE HE GO”, “GOSPEL”, “VIBEZ”