Starlito, Cold Turkey
Release Date: July 2
Label: Grind Hard LLC
Starlito is your favorite rapper's favorite rapper—or maybe even your favorite rapper's favorite rapper's favorite rapper. He's a writer above all else, a laid-back stylist whose wordplay and stories are carefully considered, with lyrics that weave emotion through subtlety.
Of course, this kind of praise can end up marginalizing an artist, reducing his abilities to a kind of Worthiness Cliche. It's unfair, but it might partially explain why ’Lito remains under the radar of all but the most discerning hip-hop heads. The thing is, at his best, it's really not that difficult to fall for his music. While his last free EP, Attention, Tithes, and Taxes, was heavy on lyricism at the expense of hooks and musicality, his latest full album, Cold Turkey, is one of his most listenable. There's a wistful melancholy to this release, which complements pitch-perfect guests like Don Trip and Kevin Gates. Sometimes it feels like being eternally underrated isn't just a description of his career, but a facet of his persona. —David Drake