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.
Willie the Kid & V Don – Deutsche Marks 2 (2020)
Willie the Kid and V Don are one of the best and most prolific producer / MC combos out today. The Michigan rapper has a luxurious, pimpish style (a la Roc Marciano or Hus Kingpin) and he really envelops you in the vibe with such smooth, yet commanding delivery. He can really place you in a mink and sipping Veuve with a bad one. V Don always laces his collaborators with those dark, modern boombap beats which are a great fit for Willie. Vado and Eto provide standout features.
2nd II None & DJ Quik – 2nd II None (1991)
This is a highly underappreciated West Coast classic. Fully produced by the GOAT DJ Quik, 2nd II None was ahead of the game in a couple ways. Released even before The Chronic, we get some really fun, funky gangster beats. While the group is from Compton, they also bring that signature Bay Area pimp vibe and they really just show a love for the game. Featuring capable MC’s, the whole album is just a light hearted, summery, and highly influential West Coast project.
French Montana – Mac & Cheese 2 (2010)
French Montana gets so much unfair hate nowadays; While the uninformed listener might not love his sometimes phoned-in features or radio hits, he was actually a key figure in hiphop the last decade. Building an empire with the Coke Boys imprint, the late 00’s / early 10’s New York mixtape scene owes a lot to French. Mac & Cheese 2 is certainly his best solo project; Full of classic beats and features from icons like Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, and Bun B, French delivers hit after hit. The hooks are memorable and he carries a certain lazy, yet charismatic energy on his verses where he flexes and speaks on relatable street dreams. Say what you want about French Montana in 2022, but he’s got classics. Check out our exposé, “In Memory of the Good French Montana”.
2 Chainz – Dope Don’t Sell Itself (Fresh)
2 Chainz’ newest album is a pretty fun, quick listen and among his best. He seems to be leaning heavier into a younger generation of trap and is subtly changing up his style (this is supposedly his last trap album). He gets some bouncy, almost electronic sounding beats on here and dope features from cats like 42 Dugg and Lil Durk. There’s also Stove God Cook$, further showing how well Tity fits in that NY revival scene. He’s got plenty of his signature shit talk and punchlines, and some more mature perspective like on “Vlad TV”, “Million Dollars Worth of Game”, and the outro. Its pretty short and doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but its a very enjoyable trap album.
Fabolous – There is No Competition 2: The Funeral Service (2010)
Fabolous is an artist that people are either pretty ambivalent towards or are absolute die hard fans for. Fitting in that G Unit / Dipset era New York sound, some argue that despite his energy and solid lyricism that he doesn’t have the catalog of a great (ignoring the phenomenal Ghetto Fab). But mixtape Fabolous is really without peers; Between the Soul Tape, Summertime Shootout, and There Is No Competition series’, he was dropping steady and ripping any beat you threw his way. No Competition 2 is arguably his best and is full of some really iconic beats from the time. Really the only other MC riding them at the same level at the time was Weezy. This is definitely an essential tape for any fans of that era and style of New York hiphop.