The new hip hop records you have to check out during lockdown
05.04.2020

The new hip hop records you have to check out during lockdown

Photo by Pavielle Garcia
Words by Sose Fuamoli

Get amongst these three LPs.

There’s no denying that things are pretty crazy, right now. The music industry and wider arts community has taken a massive hit as coronavirus prevention measures have come into place. Yet with lockdowns taking place across the country, tours being postponed and rescheduled, music continues to come through.

This might be one of the more creative periods of time for artists to be writing new music and in the meantime, we’ve got some exciting releases dropping to soundtrack our periods of self-isolation. Looking for some new heat? Check it out below.

Childish Gambino – 3.15.20

First appearing on a new website called DonaldGloverPresents.com, a new LP from Childish Gambino surfaced recently, which nodded to new collaborations with the likes of Ariana Grande, 21 Savage and my favourite, Kadhja Bonet.

The album, 3.15.20, is now available on all streaming services and proves to be a fun listen. For me, this one stands outside the existing Gambino canon of music, kinda how Kendrick Lamar’s untitled.unmastered. record filled a void in between releases. It’s a way to gain an insight into the polymath’s studio vibes and fans won’t be disappointed. 

Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

The long-awaited return of Jay Electronica (ten years, we’re talking) has been a divisive one. Is A Written Testimony actually an album, or is it a mixtape? Is it a Jay-Z collaboration project?

Regardless, I’m into the structure and the way Jay Electronica flexes his production muscle on this record. It shows his versatility and ability to keep his own sound present and strong in a genre that has long changed from when he last released music. The presence of Jay on this album too is welcome; he’s on most of the tracks and man, he bites. The beats provided for him to rap over are fresh and Jay-Z proves once again why he is one of the best to have ever done it.

The Weeknd – After Hours

Okay, so not a strict hip hop release, nonetheless, The Weeknd’s new album is one a lot of us have been waiting for. 

After Hours comes four years after his Starboy album, two years on from his EP, My Dear Melancholy. The result is a record that to me, fuses his Starboy and Trilogy eras. I’ve always been one of those ashamed ‘his old stuff is better than his new stuff’ type Weeknd fans but with this record, Abel Tesfaye has brought the dark wave, slightly menacing R&B vibes his early material thrived on, into the shimmering commercial hit factory that has made him a household name.

The Fear and Loathing aesthetic he’s been going for across promotion of the record is on show – the album writhes in its overindulgence and promiscuity while dabbling in a certain coldness too. It’s definitely a return to form from The Weeknd and yes, a good opportunity to take a walk down Trilogy lane afterwards.

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