The Good, The Average & The Ugly (11/18 - 12/2)

Every Tuesday, I review what I thought was good, average and ugly from the week in music. In this edition, i'll be taking a look at multiple projects over the course of the past two weeks from J.I.D., Earl Sweatshirt, Meek Mill and Vic Mensa.

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THE GOOD


'Dicaprio 2' - J.I.D


When "Dreamville" comes to mind, most listeners immediately associate the label with J. Cole, and no one else.


You heard it here first, it's time to usher in a new face.


On February 20th of 2017, it was announced that Atlanta native J.I.D would join J. Cole's label, and following the release of The Never Story, the young prodigy caught the attention of many listeners for his lyrical complexity, show-stopping flow and one-of-a-kind voice. Following it's release, The Never Story was met with universal acclaim, but J.I.D stayed under the radar, only drawing support from his biggest fans and avid listeners of the genre.


A year and a half later, J.I.D dropped Dicaprio 2, an album released on November 26th of this year. Literally packed to the brim with mind-twisting structure and cadence, Dicaprio 2 is a 14-track extension of every strength that the talented MC has showcased since his initial inception.


"Slick Talk", the album's second track, is a brilliant twist on what many would consider to be a traditional trap record. Early into the record, J.I.D pivots the beat from a standard, true-to-style instrumental to a Kendrick-esque overlay that sees J.I.D flip his flow to match the song perfectly.


On "Off Deez", J.I.D teams up with his mentor for a lyrically dense track that sees the new artist switch his flow numerous times. At times, J.I.D's message can get lost in his incredible flow, but the words he speaks are important nonetheless. At one point, J.I.D raps:


Nigga not trying, .40 my side Eastside guy, but I been worldwide D.I.Y, T.I.Y, I'ma try, I'ma die for what I believe in We like to feast and I try to eat, edible meat I am not an animal, a beast Riding with the hammer on the seat (Oh) Shotgun, shotgun, hand on my heat


At first glance, this series of bars looks like it would take most MC's around half a minute to deliver, but J.I.D rolls it out in mere seconds with ease, speaking volumes to his uncanny ability to blend rapid flow with concrete lyrics.


Throughout Dicaprio 2, J.I.D doesn't experiment much with the instrumental structure, instead opting to let his hypnotizing delivery put the listener in a trance.


Simply put, J.I.D is going to be a star. Unfortunately, the climate of the rap genre is so set on shallow SoundCloud music. One thing is for sure, however, J.I.D realizes talent, and isn't afraid to let you know too on Dicaprio 2.


Make sure you pay attention though, he's really fucking fast.



THE GOOD


'Some Rap Songs' - Earl Sweatshirt


Earl Sweatshirt's musical career has been nothing short of an underdog story.


Since his introduction in rap collective Odd Future, Earl has grown a cult following - primarily due to his unorthodox cadence and brilliant lyricism.


After a few albums and mixtapes as a solo artist, the young California MC experienced an incredibly difficult stint with depression and anxiety - a period of time which forced Earl into a self-imposed hiatus from the rap game.


From the jump, Earl has staked his claim in the realm of dark, experimental, underground rap. Some Rap Songs, Earl's first studio album in three years, is a diverse soundscape of all the unusual beats, sonics and potent lyrics that has given Earl recognition over the years.


I can't put it any other way besides this; Some Rap Songs is incredible.


Against all odds, Earl took the style from his previous two studio projects and turned them up to 10, while simultaneously introducing more upbeat, positive records.


An example of this added experimentation is "Nowhere2go", the first single released in anticipation for the album. By taking a much happier route, Earl emphasized to his fans that the light is beginning to reignite. One of the most interesting bars on "Nowhere2go" is:


I need a city to hold down (hold down) You niggas gave me a coast (yeah) You went and gave me a cape (cape) But that never gave me no hope (hope), yeah (hope, hope)


As I explained in a previous article, Earl doesn't see himself (nor does he want to be seen) as a superhero, a responsibility that many of his fans have given him through their own personal struggles.


My personal favorite track on the album is "Riot!", a record that doesn't see Earl rap at all. "Riot!" is the albums outro track, and serves more as a "happy ending". You see, on Some Rap Songs, Earl paints the story of his life through loss, aggressive depression, and overcoming demons.


"Riot!", in my eyes, is one of the most beautiful finishes to rap album in recent memory. It's music - something Earl has used as a coping mechanism for much of his life.


He doesn't need to rap, he just needs music.


Just like we need him.


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THE AVERAGE


'Championships' - Meek Mill


Philly's great savior is back - and he's truly better than ever.


After a brief period of incarceration, Meek Mill returns to the rap game with a full-length LP that is quite literally jam packed with music.


To start his long awaited newest project, Meek takes a sample of Phil Collins 'Coming in the Air Tonight", a sonic snippet that will give any listener the chills. Meek Mill is no stranger to strong intro tracks (see "Dreams & Nightmares"), so a sample of one of the most iconic one-hit-wonder tracks is only fitting.


Following "Intro", Meek Mill gave the fans "Trauma", my favorite track on Championships by far. His utilization of "chipmunk soul" synthesizers that Kanye made so popular is perfect. Over the course of a couple minutes, Meek Mill details the darkest days of his past couple years, describing the ripple effect it had on his friends and family.


Seeing as Meek is the metaphorical king of Philadelphia, it should come as no surprise that every sound, lyric and message he packs into Championships is to pay homage to the city that has stuck with him.


Through thick and thin, Meek Mill has managed to come out on top, and with this new release, Meek has cemented his legacy as one of the best in the game even further.


Meek Mill got his ring here, and I have a good feeling he won't be the only thing in Philadelphia getting a ring soon (I'm talking to you, Joel).

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THE UGLY


'Dark Things' - Vic Mensa


Vic Mensa... what are you doing?



-Carter Ferryman-


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