5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week
The Weeknd — Dawn FM
For over a decade, we’ve been escaping into the decadence of The Weeknd’s pop and alt-R&B tunes. Since landmark mixtape House of Balloons, Abel Tesfaye’s music has captivated the most (and even the least) toxic among us as he blitzes through love and lust (and drug use). Many, many awards later (GRAMMYs, Junos, etc.), the Starboy still has no problem airing out his dark side with compelling visuals and distinct eras giving each release its own cinematic universe. Dawn FM, his fifth studio album, follows 2020’s hugely successful After Hours and features Tyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, and more.
Gunna — DS4EVER
“BRING DRIP SEASON BACK !” reads Gunna’s Audiomack bio, and rightfully so: it’s been nearly four years since the Atlanta rapper’s seminal Drip Season 3 mixtape. While 2020 saw the release of his second studio album WUNNA, the alien-like freedom of the Drip Season series holds a special place in fans’ hearts—and playlists. Gunna’s elastic take on luxury makes the listener feel as rich and threaded-out as the fit king himself. DS4EVER is stacked with appearances from Drake, Future, Young Thug, 21 Savage, and more of today’s biggest rap stars.
Bear1Boss — Sicko Space X
Bear1Boss is rap’s hyperpop alien. Traversing soundscapes that sound like a series of perpetually melting boss battles, 2020 saw Bear release a handful of wonky and celebrated projects: It’s Easy, America’s Sweetheart 2, Super Fancy 2. On New Year’s Day, he dropped off Sicko Space X, a subtweet at Elon Musk (probably) in the form of six colorful songs where Bear1Boss declares himself “Too Fly,” and potentially a little too high for his own good. “I used to walk, but now I be running,” Bear told us last year. He’s in space now.
BIGBABYGUCCI — Iridesense
The prolific BIGBABYGUCCI kicks off 2022 with Iridesense, a melodic and winding pack of eight songs. The Charlotte, North Carolina rapper was spotlighted back in 2020 in our 10 Rappers You Should Know column for his consistency and knack for making face-melting anthems. On “Robocop,” GUCCI dips into themes of snakes and fakes with a horror twist on the production. There’s a crunch to this project that first started bubbling up on last year’s Human and 1 Night I Took Acid. On Iridesense, GUCCI’s edge is fully realized.
Toohda Band$ — Money Muzik 3
Oakland’s Toohda Band$ says the craziest shit (“Paranoid, even in the shower gotta take my blick”) with a smirk. His matter-of-fact delivery is icy. A 10 Rappers alum, Toohda’s Money Muzik 3 follows last year’s Death Wish 3 and plays like a series of harrowing and half-finished therapy sessions (“Beyond Me”) and gruesome images (“No Flaws”). Since its 2019 inception, the Money Muzik series has been home to Toohda Band$’ strongest flexes and has charted his come up. “Bitches know who really getting money / We don’t do no fakin’,” he spits on “No Flaws.” Amen.
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