The Rap Round-up: November 2019 – FACT Magazine: Transmissions from the underground

Every month, columnist Lorena Cupcake compiles a playlist of the most noteworthy rap releases. to for The Rap Round-up on Spotify or Apple Music.

This month’s playlist starts on the sunny streets of Los Angeles, the land of “blow, hoes and endo” according to Tinashe’s West Coast-throwback ‘Hopscotch’. Alongside artists like Kodie Shane, the ‘2 On’ singer blends rhymes effortlessly into smooth R&B vocals. Rap gets a London accent courtesy AJ Tracey; J Balvin spits in Spanish. Maluca rhymes over FACT fave Jubilee’s interpretation of Latin club music, while South London artist Darkoo finds inspiration in ebullient Nigerian pop.

If pessimistic evaluations of today’s hip-hop declare that no one really raps anymore, then the glass-half-full viewpoint would counter that more musicians are rapping than ever. If it’s getting harder to find “real rap,” perhaps that calls for an expansion of the definition.

No one would question the credentials of storytellers like Maxo Kream, or laidback trappers like Hoodrich Pablo Juan. Sada Baby serves bars rapid fire; revered rapper Freddie Gibbs brings his trademark seventies nostalgia to coke rap on 03 Greedo’s new project with producer Kenny Beats.

A huge percentage of new rap is more melodic, however. Despite being more likely to sing than freestyle, artists like Rod Wave have caught critical attention (“Rod wave my therapist right now lol” Meek Mill tweeted) while younger fans follow the morbid and mournful Trippie Redd. Even artists like NLE Choppa and Future — who have their fair share of aggressively energetic tracks — sing as they grapple with the violence they’ve witnessed.

Whether it comes in the boy-soprano register of preteen YNW Bslime (featured here with his incarcerated brother YNW Melly), or Wiki’s New York intonation, we know rap when we hear it. The constant evolution of the genre is what keeps it great.

Listen to November’s picks Spotify or Apple Music below and subscribe to the playlists to get fresh selections direct, every month.

Tracklist:

Tinashe – ‘Hopscotch’
Kodie Shane – ‘2 Many’
Lil Mosey – ‘Bankroll’ [Feat. AJ Tracey]
J Balvin – ‘Blanco’
Jubilee & Maluca – ‘Mami’
DARKOO & One Acen – ‘Gangsta’
Kenny Mason – ‘Hit’
Q Da Fool – ‘Playoffs’ [Feat. Maxo Kream]
Sleepy Hallow – ‘Get Low’ [Feat. ABG Neal]
Stunna 4 Vegas & Offset – ‘Up the Smoke’
Sada Baby – ‘2K20’
Take A Daytrip – ‘Lighthouse’ [Feat. Rico Nasty, slowthai & ICECOLDBISHOP]
HoodRich Pablo Juan – ‘Got What it Takes’
03 Greedo & Kenny Beats – ‘Disco Shit’ [Feat. Freddie Gibbs]
Vince Staples, 6LACK & Mereba – ‘Yo Love’
Lil Berete – ‘Mama Papa’ [Feat. Calboy]
Rod Wave – ‘Counted Steps’
Roddy Ricch – ‘Start wit Me’ [Feat. Gunna]
YNW Bslime – ‘Dying for You’ [Feat. YNW Melly]
NoCap – ‘Brag Different’ [Feat. Quando Rondo]
Trippie Redd – ‘Death’ [Feat. DaBaby]
NLE Choppa – ‘Single Dekario (Pain)’
Future – ‘Last Name’ [Feat. Lil Durk]
Yungeen Ace – ‘Step Harder Up with Who’ [Feat. Boosie Badazz]
Yung Mal – ‘Started Actin’ Funny’
Tay Money – ‘Left Cheek, Right Cheek’ [Feat. YNW Melly]
Flipp Dinero – ‘How I Move’ [Feat. Lil Baby]
Rockie Fresh – ‘Destination Done Wit It’
Gang Starr – ‘One of the Best Yet Get Together’ [Feat. Ne-Yo & Nitty Scott]
Pretty Savage – ‘Banger’
MfnMelo – ‘Qari’s Interlude’
Elcamino – ‘Shrimp at Phillipes’ [Feat. Benny the Butcher]
Wiki – ‘Grim’ [Feat. Lil Ugly Mane & Denzel Curry]

Lorena Cupcake writes about every facet of culture. Find their insightful coverage on music, food and more at lorenacupcake.com.

Olivea Kelly is an independent artist and designer. Find her on Instagram or at opk.studio.