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Welcome to The Rotation! Every week we drop a few albums that our writers have been bumping the most so that we can share our thoughts on stuff we might not get to review otherwise – Whether it be fresh drops, throwbacks, or underground gems.
Nerves Baddington – Micro / Macro (Fresh)
A severely underrated trio from Alabama, Nerves Baddington came through with their masterpiece this year. Micro / Macro features hardcore MC’ing by Inkwell, reminiscent of Jedi Mind Tricks or even Company Flow, with social commentary littered throughout. Production is dark and crisp, some even live instrumentation it seems. On top of all that, the double LP sports a unique concept, with certain songs being replayed with a new twist on the subsequent disc. One of the most refreshing and slept on albums of the year, Micro / Macro is a highly rewarding listen.
Listen to Micro & Macro on Bandcamp
Big Moochie Grape – East Haiti Baby (Fresh)
Paper Route Empire member Big Moochie Grape is continuing to grow in both status and artistry. While his new album East Haiti Baby might not sport the catchiness or easy replayability of Eat or Get Ate, its a solid Memphis trap album with some serious bangers (Bandplay remains one of the most exciting trap producers today). His lyrical ability is solid for the scene and he brings great energy – the raw aggression and confidence needed from someone of his persona. If nothing else, its good to see Young Dolph’s legacy live on and Moochie setting up for big things to come.
Listen to East Haiti Baby on Spotify
Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope (1997)
Already an absolute pop superstar, The Velvet Rope saw Janet Jackson at her most mature and soulful to great critical acclaim. She delved even further into more R&B and Neo-Soul soundscapes (even with production courtesy of J Dilla), and tackled things from a more artistic, critical perspective; There are even songs dedicated to homophobia and abusive relationships. All of this is balanced with her classic, theatrical pop sound and makes for catchy, anthemic hits. The Velvet Rope really feels lost in discourse among hiphop heads despite it coming from such an icon and having crossover appeal.
Listen to The Velvet Rope on Spotify
Spice 1 – 187 He Wrote (1993)
A well regarded if not-oft mentioned West Coast classic, 187 He Wrote took much of what made its influences great and formed something even better. From the pissed off Cali gangster of Ice Cube to the paranoia and command of Scarface, Spice 1 had a recipe success. With a dark, but distinctly warm sound (and a Patois motif), he rapped about the good and the bad of his lifestyle: The menacing fuck-you attitude, but also the toll it takes on his psyche. Anybody who’s a fan of the prior mentioned artist or wants to take a step deeper into early 90’s West Coast will find 187 He Wrote an ideal listen.
Listen to 187 He Wrote on Spotify
Lucki – Son of Sam (2016)
Lucki is an artist that might be easy to dismiss, but once you get into his style there’s no going back. The 2016 EP Son of Sam marks a turning point in his stellar discography; As he descended further and further into addiction, his sound reflected this. Son of Sam is exceedingly dark, cold, and slow (even compared to Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs by many). His flow became slurred from here on and the lyrics simple imagery of the abyss he found himself in. Referencing an infamous serial killer, Lucki notes the siren song of his own demons and vices leading him to depravity.
Listen to Son of Sam on SoundCloud