Brief Reviews: July & August 2019

These past couple of months have featured some of the best albums released this year. I figured I would very briefly (i.e. in one or two sentences), very informally highlight some of the projects I enjoyed, but didn’t have time to spotlight individually.

Dreamville – Revenge of the Dreamers III

Release Date: 7/5/2019
Summary: Following the best album rollout of the year, ROTD3, beyond just being a project of relatively jovial collaborations, serves as springboard for a wide group of talented, underrated artists.

Maxo Kream – Brandon Banks

Release Date: 7/18/2019
Summary: As if we needed more proof, Brandon Banks solidifies Houston rapper Maxo Kream as one of the best storytellers of this current generation of rappers.

Beyoncé – The Gift

Release Date: 7/19/2019
Summary: Taking advantage of her casting in the Lion King remake, Beyoncé attempts to celebrate African music and spotlight the continent’s diverse, immense talent — even though she ends up limiting her influences and collaborations to only one region. (Side note: “Brown Skin Girl” is EASILY one of the best songs of the year.)

YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy

Release Date: 7/26/2019
Summary: On his debut full-length record, the young rap prodigy and recent XXL Freshman more than lives up to the hype on an incredibly impressive debut. Cordae’s future is VERY bright.

Drake – Care Package

Release Date: 8/2/2019
Summary: Most of the songs on Care Package — which happen to be some of the very best Drake has ever released — have been on repeat for me for years, so there were hardly any surprises at all. With that being said, it’s good to have an official release so that listeners don’t have to resort to bootlegs and janky MP3 rips.

Rick Ross – Port of Miami 2

Release Date: 8/9/2019
Summary: Ricky Rozay mostly sticks to his guns on POM2 — big budget production, an extensive list of high profile features, and fantasy kingpin raps. However, this is also probably the Rick Ross project I’ve enjoyed the most in his discography, outside of Teflon Don.

Snoh Aalegra – Ugh, those feels again

Release Date: 8/16/2019
Summary: I’ve been telling people for a few years now that Snoh Aalegra is the REAL DEAL and one of my favorites in this loaded class of R&B artists. And on Ugh, those feels again, she certainly does not disappoint. (Side note: once Summer subsides and Fall begins, this album is gonna hit like CRAZY.)

Jidenna – 85 to Africa

Release Date: 8/23/2019
Summary: On his sophomore album, Jidenna has envisioned a connection between the African diaspora and the motherland. Combining elements of hip-hop, acrobats, and highlife, 85 to Africa is a lively, diverse, fun crossover project.

Raphael Saadiq – Jimmy Lee

Release Date: 8/23/2019
Summary: Acclaimed R&B artist, producer, and former Tony! Toni! Toné! member Raphael Saadiq released his first album in 8 years, Jimmy Lee. Named after and inspired by his late older brother, who died of a drug overdose, this album sees Saadiq getting very personal and political in a way fans haven’t seen over the course of his nearly 40-year career.

Justine Skye – Bare With Me EP

Release Date: 8/27/2019
Summary: I didn’t mention her in my Normani piece, but Justine Skye is another Black female artist whose career has been somewhat hindered by label mismanagement. After breaking free of Roc Nation earlier this year, Skye sounds like she has reinvigorated energy as an independent artist.

Did you enjoy these projects? What were your favorite albums from this past month?

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