Anuel AA released his debut album, Real Hasta la Muerte, on July 17, 2018, the same day he walked out of jail, wrapping up a 30-month prison sentence. In the two years since, the Carolina, Puerto Rico native has seen his star explode alongside the popularity of the Latin trap genre he helped pioneer. Emmanuel, his highly-anticipated eponymous sophomore album, is a sprawling trap and reggaeton opus that touches on breezy pop, stark street raps, and even a Bob Marley cover. A star-studded feature list includes Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Ozuna, Farruko, Tego Calderón, Lil Wayne, Travis Barker, and more.
Freddie Gibbs’ cold-blooded steamroller raps and The Alchemist’s hazy, sampled psychedelia just go together. Alfredo, their new joint album and second full-length together after 2018's Fetti with Curren$y, is another dream come true for rap purists. It's also Gibbs' third straight project working with a single producer, following last year's heralded Bandana with Madlib, as the Los Angeles-based MC continues to settle comfortably into his role as an adaptable, no-fucks-given virtuoso with a taste for experimental beats. Flanked by Rick Ross, Tyler, The Creator, and Griselda goons Benny The Butcher and Conway The Machine, Alfredo is two of hip-hop’s most consistent at the height of their powers.
After a brief hiatus in 2016, the result of overwhelming struggles with mental health and drugs, Lucki has spent the last few years carving out a deserved cult-hero status. Across a steady stream of celebrated projects, he’s painted vivid and highly personal depictions of addiction, heartbreak and depression that often blur into voyeurism. His voice is mostly nonchalant and barely over a murmur. The beats are bleak and sinister. Almost There, a pre-album “EP” according to the Chicago rapper, is another strong, candid set of confessionals from one of rap’s most exciting voices.
Recently described by Rico Nasty as “if Lil B and Chief Keef had a baby and it was a girl, that’s her,” Hook defies expectation. Compared to January’s Crashed My Car, which sounded like a punch to the face, the Riverside, CA artist’s new project I Love You 2, Hook is a collection of ethereal bedroom musings. Her airy, unpredictable flow is mesmerizing, and you’ll love her too.
Tapping into the pace and focus of Future’s historic Monster-Beast Mode-56 Nights mixtape run, Medhane has released his third full-length project in the last six months (following November’s Own Pace and February’s FULL CIRCLE). Cold Water mostly perfects his formula of pensive raps atop lo-fi production filled with warped soul and jazz samples, and solidifies the Brooklyn rapper as one of NY’s most exciting prospects.