HERME$ – NEVA CHANGE
PROD: GENSHIN, ALIENGAWD, ICXXY, SPACEGHOSTPURRP. MIXING: 500DEGREEJAZ, 4JAY. FEATURING: 4JAY, HEARTBREAKJP.
Herme$ has dropped a lot of amazing projects this year (arguably more than anyone else), and Neva Change is likely my second favourite release from the rapper this year. The EP is spearheaded by the breathtaking, ‘Intro‘/title track that dropped as a single around two months prior, and on its other four tracks maintains a similar level of quality. Much like the rapper’s older material (Sapphire Pyramid, the Wavey Underground series), these songs are hazy, melodic and occasionally chopped as well as packing some fantastic, chilled performances from Herme$ himself. With impeccable beat selection, this brief but enticing five track offering overcame serious competition to become one of my favourite short releases of the year.
LÄRS – RABID
PRODUCTION: KILLER KANE, ISAAC LARUE, RUCI, 366S. FEATURING: BARRY MARROW, LEDWAN.
Lärs hasn’t featured on this blog nearly enough this year entirely thanks to my own negligence, so I really must stress how significantly he has added to his discography in the last twelve months. Rabid is arguably an even better Killer Kane produced tape than last year’s Feral, the duo have honed in even harder on the strongest aspects of the rapper’s rugged, melodic delivery and crafted one of his most sonically pleasing efforts. ‘Cracked Window‘ is the strongest track here and the best display of the Florida artist’s multiple vocal talents, but every song here is worthy of immense praise purely for displaying some of his strongest rapping to date. Also big shoutout to Lärs for giving Ledwan a solo cut here, dude spazzed on the EP’s grand finale.
SEKWENCE – BIG HIGHED
PRODUCTION: BDB $UFF, RUCI, KILLER KANE. FEATURING: BARRY MARROW, KROW, LÄRS, CAMBANK$, RUCI, YAWNIE-JI.
I meant to review this tape when it dropped, because it really does come enormously close to being the perfect SeKwence project. It’s not as meticulously constructed as the rapper’s album from earlier in the year, but it is a twenty minute love letter to the Alabama MC’s undeniable chemistry with fellow Souless member and frequent collaborator $uff. There are some amazing features here too, most notably Ruci and Yawnie’s greatest verses to date. Overall, some of the best songs that either have been involved in can be found here, notably ‘Magik‘, ‘SLIDEE interlude‘ and ‘Diffrnt High‘, and ultimately when enjoyed in its entirety this project becomes even better than the sum of its parts.
Also worth checking out: Futurama.
ASTRAL TRAP – 1147 PT. 2
PRODUCTION: ZEPEDA, GYPTXVN, TONEBONEBEATS, DEATXWISH, ALIENGAWD, EOG, DXVL, DALXSIM, THE SUPER 6 CLUB, CHOP000. FEATURING: TURBOSPEED.EROSTIKA.
It was incredibly difficult to pick a favourite out of the two full length tapes that Astral Trap aka Dari Loso has delivered this year, and it was his 1147 sequel that ended up at second place. This is the more nostalgic and ethereal of the two projects, featuring a fairly concentrated selection of producers largely pulled from the recently assembled The Super 6 Club collective. Few words can describe the emotional potency of Dari’s music, it really is best just to jump right in and soak up the atmosphere.
COWBOYKILLERR – TRASHBOY2
PRODUCTION: LIL TRVSH, ZEROSUIT.
Arguably the Philadelphia rapper’s rawest set of songs so far, Trashboy2 is a murkier, denser sequel that makes excellent use of Trvsh’s always improving melody game. Cowboy is as savage as ever, busting out new flows around every corner and laying down his best hooks to date. It’s a short release, but it’s amongst the most sonically adventurous projects on this list and probably the closest to being in my top 20 overall.