Review Roundup (July 2022)

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Here we will discuss some tight albums that dropped in recent weeks which we might not have gotten a chance to review in full.

Doechii – She / Her / Black Bitch

While many have been skeptical of Top Dog Entertainment’s future given a dip in quality over the years and Kendrick Lamar’s departure, the label might be in good hands with young talent such as Doechii. The 2022 XXL freshman is obviously getting a big push, but her music seems to speak for itself.

On her new EP She / Her / Black Bitch, she brings energy and attitude like few others. Citing both Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill as influences, you get a unique meeting of styles and perspectives in her music; From overtly sexual bangers to intersectional anthems, she clearly has a strong artistic vision even early in her career. On this project, she shows great chemistry with Rico Nasty on the bombastic “Swamp Bitches”, as well as with SZA on the other side of the spectrum with “Persuasive”. Doechii is a fantastic sign of things to come for TDE if she can channel all of this onto a full album.

Listen to She / Her / Black Bitch on Spotify

26ar – Flyest Oota

New York drill is a scene that has such a new sound and constantly new talent on the rise, but it’s rare that it amounts to an artistic or commercial breakthrough. A few names are a cut above the rest though, and 26ar is certainly one of them. As far as pure rapping ability goes, not many can touch his flows and frank street lyrics, but what makes him special is his commitment to making drill with integrity. His beat selection is unrivaled; 26ar rides a fine line between the goofy samples of a Shawny Binladen and the derivative bangers of 22gz, making for memorable, high energy records.

His newest album Flyest Oota is one of the best constructed albums in the scene, rivaling his debut Drench Em. Features such as PGF Nuk and Rob49 bring a new dimension to his music, and he tends to have stronger hooks than most (although this album is missing Rocko Ballin’s touch). 26ar is definitely an essential name for NY drill and could carry it to new heights on this trajectory.

Listen to Flyest Oota on Spotify

Le$ – 3 Series

Le$ is a Houston rapper who is loyal to the city’s heritage, while blending vibier, more Los Angeles inspired sounds to his music. While he raps mostly about cars, hustling, and mackin like UGK before him (he actually has a full collab with Bun B), the beats and delivery are far more funky than country or trap, a la Larry June or Ramirez. This threw us off and even disappointed us a bit at first, but this new album 3 Series takes his sound to new heights. His hooks are stickier on here and the whole thing is paced very well, so it really feels like a culmination of his best work. You can really here yourself cruising in the heat past the skyline with this thing on; While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, 3 Series is a great listen and has reinvigorated interest in Le$.

Listen to 3 Series on Spotify

Mickey Diamond – No Liquor Before 12

Even slept on among fans of boombap revival, NYC via Detroit MC Mickey Diamond’s talent needs to pay off sooner rather than later. While much of his previous work has been typical gritty street music with a focus on fashion, he always did so with a uniquely gruff voice and top shelf lyricism.

On this new album No Liquor Before 12 however, he breaks through with a truly fleshed out, thematic listen. He brings all of those essential styles and dark sounds, but with a seldom explored concept focusing on alcoholism endemic to the African American community. Mickey explores through skits and storytelling both his own experiences with drinking, and how it is a tragic cornerstone and in the culture. Features such as Pro Dillinger and Ty Farris are great, common matches for him as well. This is an artistic breakthrough for Mickey Diamond and hopefully he continues this pattern of growth – Perhaps a Big Ghost LTD collab would do it?

Listen to No Liquor Before 12 on Spotify

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