EST Gee — Bigger Than Life Or Death Part 2
Louisville’s rap monster EST Gee is best known for his breathless deliveries and streetwise bars. Often racing the beat to stuff in as many retellings of his harrowed past as possible, the #UpNow alum’s prolific run came to a head this summer with Bigger Than Life Or Death. For the colder months, Gee drops off an equally chilling feature-less sequel. Gruesome and hard, these eight songs amount to 20 minutes of Gee pounding his chest and cementing his place as the best breakthrough artist of 2021.
Chucky73 — Firmado Con La Calle
Back in 2020, we named Chucky73 and his Sie7eTr3 label leaders of the NYC Latin trap movement. In the time since, Chucky released his debut album De Chamaquito Siempre Cabezu to critical acclaim and established himself as a Bronx staple. Firmado Con La Calle is Chucky73’s new EP, featuring 10 tight tracks and trap production from YMP Cash. Preceded by “Gelato” and “Desde Cero,” this EP has all the boasts and brags we love from the Dominican artist and is piloted by an ever-growing smirk.
Tierra Whack — Rap?
More than three years have passed since Philadelphia’s Tierra Whack stretched the bounds of what a rap album could be with Whack World, her 15-minute-long series of one-minute vignettes. The project’s whimsy and emotional depth, coupled with Whack’s impressive history in the Philly rap scene, quickly made her an online darling who then translated her talents into adjacent worlds of fashion and design. Today, she finally returns with a follow-up EP, Rap?. These three songs cover the Tierra Whack spectrum of needling delivery, evocative storytelling, and off-kilter flows. Though Whack has released singles since her debut, Rap? feels like a fuller statement.
Masicka — 438
Jamaica’s Masicka has a deep discography, and today he caps it off with a debut album named for “achieving all you can in life.” The living dancehall legend enlists Popcaan, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul, and more as guests on this 16-track triumph. The album traverses pain and builds to the epic, 10-minute-long “Story.” Masicka finds himself at his most emotional and affecting. “While on tour a few years ago the number 438 was always surrounding me whether hotel room, time, something about the number was always appearing,” he explained. “One day I decided to look it up and learned 438 is an angelic number. A number full of positive meaning, prosperity and optimism.”
Mike Akox — Lost Files Mixtape
Mike Akox has dropped off the hard drive. Following his 2021 debut EP Patience, the Ghana-born artist has decided to feed the fans with Lost Files Mixtape. “Can’t keep music in the dropbox! Music is the medicine and it’s the food for the soul,” he writes in the album description. This tape features 16 tracks and has the personal touch of a friend playing you some polished demos (track four has a note that it’s “mums fav”). As we close out the year, consider this project a holiday treat from an artist pushing Afrobeats’ global power ever-forward.