Ty Dolla $ign, The Gorillaz, and Bruce Springsteen have all returned.
Those scouring the internet for new music won’t have far to look as a magnetic pop star, a genre-defying cartoon band, and a New Jersey rock icon have all released amazing (and long) projects today. But more in-depth inspection will always lead to rewarding results.
On the latest edition of Slept On, San Antonio R&B singer Xavier Omar returns with his third magnetic project, if You Feel, and Yak Gotti drops a dizzying and springy collection of street tales. Here are under-appreciated works to check out today.
After the release of 2019’s Moments Spent Loving You, San Antonio crooner Xavier Omar grew sick of being known as R&B’s feminist savant. It’s true that he was happily married, but he was first and foremost a man of God and spent years both pursuing his wife and reckoning with his faith in life-changing ways. “Every complaint people have against religious people was basically how I was living,” he recently told Popdust.
On If You Feel, the R&B singer uses the album’s ethereal production to journey inward. Throughout the project’s succinct 11 tracks, he speaks candidly on the complicated emotional tug of wars that have come to shape his identity. “It’s a weird dilemma to accept and live in,” Omar admits. “We have to reckon with people’s both good and bad choices in life.”
The young Roc Nation underdog has maintained a steady rise for the last five years, his gruff bravado energy at times all-consuming, but on Dope on a Spoon, the Maryland emcee seems to have simmered down a bit. His rhymes for the last few projects have remained gritty and the beats still rumble, but Q seems to have transformed his early mania into more productive energy.
He went to jail for attempted murder when he was just 15 years old, and when he finally got out at the age of 18, he admits that he started experimenting with drugs and just getting into even more trouble. “I was trippin,” he told No Jumper back in February.
The trauma that followed changed him forever, and he has since distanced himself from that hysterical energy, instead striving to balance his menacing ego with his newfound wisdom. On Dope on a Spoon, he keeps the charismatic bars (on “Frozen,” the rapper is pleasantly surprised to find that his gun is just as tall as he is), and he still raps flamboyantly and excitedly, but he relies more on his raw energy as an artist to drive each track forward, rather than on the heightened caricatures of his past self.
The XXL freshman Comethazine has always sat happily in his madness. An unexpected highlight from 2019’s Bawskee 3.5 is an acapella track called “Stand,” in which the 23-year-old emcee spits menacing bars over nothing but the reverb of his own voice. The track is dizzying and hallucinatory, and Comethazine’s gruff murder raps sound more intimidating than ever due to the track’s minimalist approach.
On Bawskee 4, the instrumentals seem to play off this idea. Tracks like “Jumpman 4’s” and “Sip Lean” barely hold together and are so bass-heavy that they create a whirlwind of an experience. But as indicated by the project’s ludicrous cover art, which finds Comethazine strapped up and surfing on lava, the rapper thrives when amongst carnage.
The grimier the instrumental, the more Comethazine’s bars snap at you like the jaws of a rottweiler. “How the f*ck you expect me to act?” he raps rhetorically on “Air Max,” before reminding listeners he used to sell crack in dirty Air Max.
On “Lame,” which features a minimal piano chord that floats in and out alongside non-stop 808s, Comethazine brings a charming ear for melody and a serial killer sophistication that fits him like a glove. While most of the project dissolves into the fiery trap beats that Comethazine has called home for the past three years, there remain fleeting moments of stylish experimentation that show just how capable an artist Comethazine is when thrown an occasional curveball.
Yak Gotti – Gotti Outta Here
Another one of Young Thug’s buzzing proteges, Yak Gotti has maintained a low profile for years while still featuring on massive releases like Wunna and Slime Season 3, but on his new album, Gotti Outta Here, his melodic raps bounce with refreshed energy. The vibe behind the project is celebratory in nature, as Gotti recently just beat a looming murder and rape charge that cost him a college education and a football scholarship.
Gotti’s unhinged rapping style is wavier than Thugger, and tracks like “Friends With Benefits” weave in and out with a slurred, winding comfort. Gotti Outta Here finds Yak Gotti exploring his lane with no real sense of urgency, the legal pressures no longer pollute his brain, and it’s clear from his sing-song raps that he’s just here to have a good time.
“I was first in life, and I beat the odds,” he croons on “Free the Goat,” as if he still can’t even believe it himself. He uses the project to flex his freedom, because right now all he has to do is feast in celebration. “Now I’m tryna feed the beat,” he raps on “Finally Free,” “No, I’m tryna eat the beat.”