Fortunately there has been a slew of refreshing albums released lately which are perfect to accompany the cold air and help pass the sweltering hours.
The Compton CA native and XXL Freshmen 11 graduate makes his full album debut with this summer’s Section 80, and anyone who has been paying any attention knew it was sure to be an album to be reckoned with.
Although he hails from Compton, Kendrick is a far cry from the gang infused hip hop that has been coming out of the city since the early 80’s, and the album is far more reminiscent of the laid back, sluggish flows of 90’s west coast groups the Pharcyde and Souls of Mischief.
With the majority of the production coming from relative unknowns THC and Soundwave, the upbeat and lighthearted beats are perfect for the sunny summer days without being sugar coated like much of the hip hop we are hearing on the radio this summer.
Lamar addresses a variety of topics with his lyrics, ranging from being a product of the Reagan era, the natural beauty of women, the mile high club, to his relationship with God and death row. In the wake of an extremely positive recommendation from Dr. Dre, reported appearance on his upcoming Detox and the wonderfully accomplished Section 80, Kendrick Lamar is undoubtedly on his way to a long-standing role as one of hip hop’s heavy hitters.
Standout Tracks: “Fuck Your Ethnicity”, “ADHD”, “Ronald Reagan Era”, Rigamortus”, “Hiii Power”
Curren$y – Weekend at Burnie’s
After listening to Weekend at Burnie’s, I’d be hard pressed to recognize the New Orleans rapper Curren$y as former No Limit label mate and Master P. Collaborator. The album’s smooth and melodic beats, courtesy of MonstaBeatz, combined with Curren$y’s laid back and relaxed flow translates into something much more approachable then the high energy and anger filled No Limit records that Curren$y was once involved with.
It’s not the beats, however, that are most noticeable on this album but rather Curren$y’s sly ability to subtly turn a phrase, exemplified on tracks like “This is the Life” where he raps “ Y’all ain’t got the heart for it/ get your cardio/ in order bro/ running for the money like some double stuffed oreos”.
One of the hardest working rappers in the game these days, this is Curren$y’s fourth solo release in a year and it is not a far cry to say that it is definitely his best. Released in a summer where it is hard to find a hip hop track without an R&B hook on it, Curren$y’s Weekend at Burnie’s provides the perfect antidote for both the radio friendly hip hop pop that is blasting out of speakers everywhere as well as the hot and humid nights.
Standout Tracks: “Jetsgo”, “One Life”, “On Gs”, “What’s What”, “Still”
Tech N9ne – All 6’s and 7’s
Sometimes during the long summer months it’s not unusual to find yourself feeling a bit lethargic and lacking the energy to really get things going. The perfect prescription for this mid summer energy drain is the rapid-fire lyrical delivery and intense beats of Tech N9ne’s latest release All 6’s and 7’s.
Tech N9ne’s previous albums have never fallen in the middle ground of fan devotion—you either love him or hate him—and All 6’s and 7’s is definitely no different. If you enjoy the wild and crazy world Tech creates on his records, then you will undoubtedly love this album as well. If not, Tech’s musical style has evolved drastically over the last few years and this is his first album that has definite potential to appeal to a mainstream audience, so it’s still worth a listen.
One indicator of Tech’s newfound success and mainstream recognition is the guest list present on this album with tracks featuring the likes of B.O.B, Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Kendrick Lamar, T-Pain, E40, Snoop Dogg and of course Lil Wayne, who is featured on every album this summer.
This list, if nothing else, suggests the unanimous respect Tech has garnered from his fellow peers in the music industry, which comes across through the tracks on the album. Much of the subject matter on the album deals with the perceived misconceptions Tech feels about himself and who he subsequently would like to be seen as.
The production on the album comes courtesy of a variety of producers, including the legendary J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, and adds another excellent layer to the endearing and expressive work of art Tech N9ne has created with All 6’s and 7’s.