Label: Alamo Records
Released: April 3

Rod Wave is sad, and he’s not afraid to tell you as much. Apparently, we’re all sad, too, because his two LPs, 2019’s Ghetto Gospel and Pray 4 Love from April of this year, have both peaked in the top 10 on Billboard’s charts. It’s easy to see why. The St. Petersburg, Florida rapper has a way of turning his pain into universal truths, like on album closer “Dark Clouds,” which ends the album on both a high musical note and a wildly low personal note. He’s sad and he’s homesick. Aren’t we all? Rod Wave emerged as a Kevin Gates disciple but has quickly moved from that shadow into his own lane. His style is singular and he’s relentless in pursuing personal truths and turning them into human values. Pray 4 Love finds Rod Wave submitting to his desires and fears. Very few rappers can turn pain into something so beautiful. —Will Schube