August 3rd, was the date of the hottest releases for music including Travis Scott, YG, H.E.R, Ella Mai, and Diggy Simmons. From albums, to EPs, singles, and videos, we got a lot of artistry to enjoy last weekend. Here’s my view on all these new projects:
1. Travis Scott- Astroworld (Album)
Travis Scott’s new album, “Astroworld,” was the most highly anticipated project on Friday. Fans have been waiting for Travis’ third studio album since last year, when he released the title of the album in a interview. From the abstract cover art, to the lyrics, to the dope beats, this new album is exactly what his fans have been waiting for.
You can’t deny that Travis is one of the leaders in the new school when it comes to trap rap music. Not only does he make music for his own musical projects, but he also wrote and produced for other big artists like Rihanna (which he was rumored to be dating), and Kanye West. Travis music isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the rapper, then you will enjoy this project because it sounds like classic Travis. He remained true to himself on this project. He’s known for his rock and roll lyrics, talking about women and drugs, his hard hitting beats, and having some the hottest features. In the album, he talked about his personal life with the mother of his child/girlfriend, Kylie Jenner, his drug usage, bragged about the money and material things he has, and his hometown, Houston. And although it’s not listed on the tracklist, there are a lot of guest features from big artists like Drake, The Weeknd, Swae Lee, 21 Savage, Frank Ocean, and even Stevie Wonder.
My favorite tracks are:
“SICKO MODE” ft. Drake, Juicy J, and Swae Lee
“STOP TRYING TO BE GOD” ft. Kid Cudi, Stevie Wonder, and Swae Lee
“SKELETONS” ft. The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams
“WAKE UP” ft. The Weeknd
“CAN’T WAIT” ft. Don Toliver
“HOUSTONFORNICATION,” and his single “BUTTERFLY EFFECT,” which is actually a year old. But overall, the tracks that stuck with me the most, were “CAROUSEL” ft. Frank Ocean, because I always appreciate a Frank feature, being as it’s so rare; and “COFFEE BEAN,” because not only is it a different sound from Travis, but the lyrics are very personal and honest. On that track, he’s discussing his relationship with girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Kylie Jenner, and how people/media would say he’s not good for her, because of his “bad boy” image.
Overall: 4 out of 5.
2. YG- Stay Dangerous (Album)
YG, the Compton, California rapper, has just released his fourth studio project, “Stay Dangerous.” The album has his hit single, “Big Bank” ft 2Chainz, Big Sean, and Nicki Minaj. The song has been in the news lately not only from the album release, but because of the latest controversy with the football video game, Madden’ 19 EA game, where it seems the game blurred former NFL player, Colin Kaepernick name out of Sean’s verse on a the game’s soundtrack. YG took to IG, to stand by Colin with disappointment in the game creators, expressing how he thinks they owe Colin and all the people on that song an apology. On the same day, Jhene Aiko released the remix featuring YG on song, “Never Call Me.” So it’s been quite a weekend for him.
Now if you’re familiar with the California rapper, you know that he makes gangster West Coast rap music. YG has never shied away from being affiliated with the bloods(gang), and in this album, you get to hear more of that. But although he gives you music to turn up to or blasting in your car with the top down, he tends to always give you some real deep songs towards the end of all his albums, referencing back to his debut, My Krazy Life with the song like “Sorry Mama.” Or on his last album, “Still Brazy,” with songs like “Black and Browns,” and “Police Get Away with Murder.” This album, was no different; he gave you the best of both worlds. Towards the beginning of the album, you get the gangster rap, and towards the end, you get some songs talking about the problems he faces with being in a gang and using rap as an outlet. And being able to help his family and friends, now that he’s doing well financially.
My favorite songs on the album are:
“POWER” ft. Ty Dolla Sign
“BIG BANK” (single), and “DEEPER THAN RAP.” But my absolute favorites was the interlude “FREE THE HOMIES INTERLUDE,” going into the last song on the album, “BOMPTOWN FINEST.” The interlude was a recording of YG’s friend in prison, thanking YG for putting money in his commissary, and how a lot of people turned their back on him when he got locked up. However, YG, continues to support him, and how the gang life isn’t worth it, and how he’s proud of all of YG’s success. Then it goes right into the song, “BOMPTON FINEST,” were YG talks about the struggles he faced regarding in his career, friendships, being a dad, etc. My least favorite track on the album, is “SLAY” featuring Quavo. Although I’m a fan of both artists, the song was very simple, and sounded very similar to other songs I heard Quavo on.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5.
3. H.E.R- I Used To Know Her: The Prelude (EP)
H.E.R’s appearance remains a mystery, but her music is not. Over the best two years, the singer has been killing the R&B game. She caught the attention of most people from her song, “Focus” from her self-titled mixtape. From songs like “Every Kind of Way” to “Best Part” ft. Daniel Caesar, it had her fans craving some new music. Well now, they have some, which will hold them to the album.
This EP with only 6 songs, gave us exactly what we needed. Of course we got love ballads with poetry towards the end, but we actually got to hear some rapping like on the first track, “Lost Souls” where she samples Lauryn Hill classic song, “Lost Ones.” The project is mostly her, but she included one feature from the “Trapsoul” singer, Bryson Tiller on the song “Could’ve Been.”
My favorites songs on the EP are:
“Against Me” and “Feel A Way,” which sounds like a song Brandy would sing.
Not many songs on the project to judge or dislike, but my least favorite is “Lost Souls.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the sample, but honestly, because of the project is so short, I would have appreciated if we heard an original track.
Overall: 3 out of 5.
4. Ella Mai- TRIP (Single)
The British singer, Ella Mai has had the season on lock with her single, “Boo’d Up,” which has been the song of the summer. Everybody and their momma has been remixing it, including her with the original remix featuring, rapper Nicki Minaj, and ⅓ of the Migos, Quavo. Although the singer has several projects, which the last one, “READY” actually has “Boo’d Up” on it, a lot of people only know the single, and aren’t too familiar with those projects. Many were wondering if she was going to be a one hit wonder, and recently, Ella has put a stop to those rumors, with the release of her latest single, “TRIP” on Friday.
The single has a 90s/early 2000s R&B feel to it, which I love because I live for throwbacks, but even if you don’t, I think you would still enjoy it. Ella is yet again expressing her love to a guy, in a new way. It’s a love song, which Ella is known for, but it has an up tempo beat of course produced by the man that discovered her, DJ Mustard. The single is just in time for her, “Boo’d Up Tour,” which kicks off this Monday, August 6 in Dallas, Texas. And if you’re wondering about the album, good news, Ella says, “It’s coming soon.”
Overall I give the single a 4 out of 5.
5. Diggy Simmons – It Is What It Is (Single and Video)
It’s been 6 years since most of us heard some new music from Diggy Simmons, even though he’s released some singles here and there, we didn’t get much promo or talks of an album. But now, Diggy has been talking and promoting this single and video for a couple weeks, and got everyone excited to hear/watch the video.
The single, “It Is What It Is,” is definitely a different sound from the Diggy I remember, but in a good way. He was very young when he first started his rap career, and you can tell he was trying to find his sound and trying to cater to his young audience, but now, he’s all grown up, and his music has grown with him.
The song has a soulful sound to it, and positives and encouraging lyrics like, “On your way to try to it big/ Try your best not to do a bid. I wanted momma to be proud of this/ Start the Porsche and see how loud it is. Start a business, we could make a killin’.” And the video follows suit with positive images of people praising in church, little black kids dancing, and young black men with graduation gowns on.
Diggy recently sat down with “The Breakfast Club,” where he talked about dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and OCD, and feeling pressure about releasing new music. He said that’s sort of the inspiration behind the song, and revealed his album is done. So we probably can expect that by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2019.
Single: 3.5 out of 5. Video: 5 out of 5.