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.
Too $hort – Blow the Whistle (2006)
As far back as the 80’s, Too $hort has been one of the most prolific and influential figures in all of hiphop. Building up a huge discography, his playa act did get a little old regardless of quality. But in the mid 2000’s, a new sound took over the Bay: hyphy. Following in the footsteps of Mac Dre (Mac Dregan) and E-40 (My Ghetto Report Card), $hort dog moved his classic pimp subject matter to some trunk knocking beats. Working with crunk legend Lil Jon and putting out the mega hit “Blow the Whistle”, Too $hort put a new spin on his quintessential and already fun style. Check out our throwback review of another $hort classic, Get In Where You Fit In!
Retch – Lean & Neck (2016)
Retch is one of the most underappreciated artists out of the east coast underground. A lot of people fuck with Polo Sporting Goods for its boombap revivalism, but he has a really strong discography beyond that. Lean & Neck has some really grimy, dissonant beats which sound like a haunted trap house. Retch raps about some just lit, degenerate shit (exactly as the title would imply). His off kilter flow combined with the weird beats builds such an unsettling atmosphere which turns up his lyrics to eleven. If you want some evil sounding hiphop or have been sleeping on newer Retch, make sure you check this.
Rick Ross – Rich Forever (2012)
Rick Ross has a pretty strong and consistent discography, but Rich Forever is a slept on peak. At the peak of his run, and sadly not on streaming services, this mixtape is sprawling and just definitive Rozay. At nearly 90 minutes and with a mixture of opulent cuts (often with standout hooks from the likes of John Legend or Kelly Rowland) and ridiculous Lex Luger style bangers, Rich Forever is a really well constructed project. He also puts on heavy for his Maybach Music Group with lots of features from Meek Mill, Wale, Nas, etc.. Then there are standout cuts like “Stay Schemin” with Drake and French, “Triple Beam Dreams”, or “Ring Ring”. This is a classic quality mixtape.
Snoop Dogg – Bacc on Death Row (Fresh)
90 percent of Snoop Dogg’s discography is a pretty mixed bag; He’s never come close to the highs of the early 90’s but his unique persona and collaborators always bring some enjoyable cuts. After reclaiming the legendary Death Row label and performing at the Super Bowl this week, he took advantage of the hype and dropped BODR. It’s pretty much what you would expect: Some fun, bouncy songs but also some pretty cringe, washed raps throughout. Hit-Boy and Battlecat came through with some beats to salvage and dope G Funk hooks. Snoop raps a lot about his success and influence in the game, which is all true and not terrible, but also not very memorable. That being said, some standout tracks include “Sandwich Bag”, “Crip Ya Enthusiasm”, and “Conflicted” with Nas.
Kodak Black – Institution (2015)
With a new Kodak album dropping next week and what seems to be a return to the spotlight, its worth revisiting some of his past work. Project Baby 2 tends to get all the shine, but Institution is some vintage Yak. 25 tracks with no features might be a lot for some listeners, but its redeemed by variety and some amazing highlights. There are mellow heartbreak cuts where he croons, as well as some high energy songs like “Wake n Bake” or “Already”. Then you have “Rock Bottom” and “HollyHood” which are easily among Kodak’s very best work. It’s a wonder that his music gets so much hate or how he got lumped in with guys like Lil Pump when he can be so emotive and flows so well. Hopefully Kodak can get back on top with his next project.