The best new hip-hop this week sees entries from plenty of new artists headed into Grammy weekend. One of the artists releasing a project this week, Chika, is nominated for a Best New Artist award, while D Smoke, who put out his ode to Sade this week, is nominated for a Best Rap Album award.
This week also saw a sharp uptick in rappers releasing freestyles over other rappers’ beats. IDK, Deante Hitchcock, and Mulatto all contributed to this trend, which may well stem from the ongoing uncertainty of being unable to book tours until enough venues have reopened that the profit outweighs the cost. Freestyles have always been a great way to build brand awareness and keep existing fans sated between projects, so don’t be surprised if even more rappers throw their hats in the freestyle ring before the pandemic is over.
Still, that hasn’t stopped artists from pursuing more traditional avenues in the meantime. Guapdad 4000 dropped his P-Lo-assisted video for “She Wanna” from his upcoming Illmind-produced project 1176, while Joey Badass, Sukihana, Drakeo The Ruler, and more shared videos for their newest records. Meanwhile, a whole heap of other new artists is taking advantage of the relative quiet of Grammy Week to make their marks in hopes of leaving a lasting impression on the game.
Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending March 12, 2021.
6 Dogs — Ronald
The late underground favorite wasn’t well-known by most folks’ standards, but to those who spent their formative years soaking up SoundCloud fare from names like Lil Peep, he was a hero. Fortunately, he left behind enough material for his estate to release at least one warm-sounding posthumous album for fans to cherish as they say goodbye.
Blxst — Just For Clarity [Dual Single]
If Drake’s two-song maxi-single was enough to warrant inclusion on last week’s list, Blxst’s dual release merits a look as well — especially thanks to standout performances from guests Drakeo and Russ.
Chika — Once Upon A Time EP
Her last EP, Industry Games, earned her an RX certification from Uproxx, and her second builds on that foundation, rounding out her already bell-clear vocals and diamond-precise rhymes with even more polish and maturity.
Clever — Crazy
Signed by Post Malone and buoyed an impressive collection of high-profile collaborators including Justin Bieber and Juice WRLD, Clever makes his major-label debut with features from Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, and Post Malone. The tracklist also features a sly hidden message for eagle-eyed fans.
Kalan.FrFr — TwoFr 2
Not many rappers can boast prolific college football careers before making the transition to music (by my count, the list is Phonte and Rexx Life Raj)), but the LA native departed his position as a defensive back for the SDSU Aztecs in 2016. Signed by Roc Nation and dropping songs with fellow City of Angels compatriots like Blxst and G Perico, I’d say it’s worked out pretty well for him since.
Lil Migo — King Of The Trap
Hailing from Memphis, this newcomer drops a star-studded effort that features hometown heroes Blac Youngsta, Moneybagg Yo, and Yo Gotti, as well as major stars like 42 Dugg and Rich The Kid.
Pac Div — Church League Champions [Reissue]
“But, Aaron,” you may say. “Didn’t this mixtape drop almost 11 years ago?” Why yes, it did, thanks for asking. This is also the first time(!) the seminal Los Angeles classic that helped launch “The New West” at the height of the blog era has been available for streaming in that entire time. So. Go listen to it now. Because as I write this, it’s just another day out in sunny LA.
Uno Hype — Sol Glo
The Maryland native’s new album is aptly named, featuring a soulful, introspective vibe for those rainy days and late nights.
AG Club — “UGUDBRU” feat. Sam Truth
The Bay Area collective hijacks one of the culture’s go-to multi-use phrases to make another sneering statement of their anti-establishment stance.
Babyface Ray — “Real N****s Don’t Rap”
Babyface Ray is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, largely because of things like expressing one of my life philosophies to point out the difference between being in the streets and just rapping about it.
Bankroll Freddie — “Rich Off Grass Remix” feat. Young Dolph
Quality Control’s Alabama-bred trap upstart connects with country cousin Dolph for one of the most catchy and uplifting examples of the form to come out in recent years. Congrats to that man for not having to sell drugs to the community.
Beanz — “Waves”
The Rhythm + Flow contestant may not have made it past auditions after her episode two appearance (a travesty, if you ask me) but she’s certainly made use of the exposure since to make more of an impression on the rap game. Here, she utilizes a P-Lo produced beat to show off her charming flow and battle-tested skills.
Big Jade — “Groupies”
Remember when I said it’s a big week for freestyles? Big Jade is not going to be left out.
Jackboy — “Enjoy Every Dolla” feat. Lil Mosey
From the opening guitar riff, this one has all the hallmarks of a hit in the making. Jackboy seems insistent on improving on his mentor Kodak Black’s formula of rapping his ass off over the catchiest beats.
Kenny Mason — “Pup”
The buzzing Atlanta talent turns a slow-burning low-fi beat into a stone-faced banger to announce the impending release of his deluxe version of Angelic Hoodrat.
Kenny Muney –“Poppin It”
The second Kenny to release this week is the Young Dolph-associated Memphian, who goes in a completely different direction. His bass-heavy beat is more propulsive but the rhymes are every bit as hard.
Murda Beatz & Shordie Shordie — “Ride With Shordie”
Captain Hook strikes again with the latest single from Memory Lane. Another frothy creation, this one taps a Latin guitar riff with extra light percussion for Shordie to detail his lifestyle.
Price — “Selfish” feat. Bas & Wyclef Jean
The Audio Push rapper continues his solo run, bringing in Dreamville’s Bas for a verse on a confessional, intricate track that rates more attention.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.