The rumored release of Playboi Carti’s long-anticipated forthcoming album, Whole Lotta Red, might have headlined the week in rap releases, but its failure to arrive didn’t ruin New Music Friday. We were still blessed with new albums from Gucci Mane (Woptober II), Kash Doll (Stacked), Benny the Butcher and Smoke DZA (Statue of Limitations), and G-Eazy (Scary Nights). Beyond the full-length projects, this week saw debut singles from a pair of newly-formed supergroups, Ghetto Sage (“Haagen Dazs”) and Griselda (“Dr. Birds”), as well as offerings from Blueface and Gunna (“First Class”), Gang Starr (“Bad Name”), and Yo Gotti, Megan Thee Stallion & Lil Uzi Vert (“Pose Remix”). These are the best new songs of the week.
Follow the accompanying Spotify playlist here.
Noname, Smino & Saba, “Häagen Dazs”
Noname, Saba, and Smino have officially joined forces as Ghetto Sage. Following their previous collaborations on Noname’s 2016 debut Telefone (“Shadow Man”) and her 2018 album Room 25 (“Ace”), the latter of which they performed on Jimmy Fallon earlier this year, the Midwestern trio delivers a strong first outing with “Haagen Dazs.” Highlighted by the group’s electric chemistry and a scene-stealing verse from Noname, the track is sets the stage for an exciting full-length project can’t come soon enough.
Gucci Mane f/ Kodak Black, “Big Boy Diamonds”
After crafting the most infectious beat on DaBaby’s Kirk (“THERE HE GO”) and producing the majority Summer Walker’s debut album, Over It, London On Da Track continues his hot streak this week, blessing Big Guwop with a well-arranged banger what’s arguably the best beat on Woptober II. It’s refreshing to hear Kodak Black, who has been silenced since his incarceration in April, glide over London’s soulful vocal chop so effortlessly, but it’s Gucci who steals the show, sounding as slick as ever when he opens his closing verse by rapping, “I'ma be icy in Heaven/Diamonds on me and they white like a wife at the wedding.”
Rexx Life Raj f/ Bas, “No Permission Needed”
Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine & Benny the Butcher, “Dr. Birds”
Since the top of the decade, three rappers have been at the center of Buffalo’s own golden age moment: Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, and Benny the Butcher. Together, they’ve spearheaded the resurgence of mafioso rap. And, despite hailing from a city that some might refer to as “some place in Canada,” Griselda Records’ three-headed monster is nothing to fuck with. More than a month after teaming up on “Tito's Back,” the hip-hop collective returns with “Dr. Bird’s”—the first single of their forthcoming Shady Records debut, What Would Chine Do. Produced by in-house beatsmith Daringer, the murky instrumental sets the foundation for the boom bap heavyweights, as they rap about drugs, fashion, and violent gang interactions. Fittingly, the track is an ode to Doctor Bird’s Jamaican bodega in Buffalo, where the trio originates.
Blueface f/ Gunna, “First Class”
Perhaps in an attempt to top the success of his breakthrough single, “Thotiana,” Blueface recently announced his plans to release a brand new project featuring some of the biggest names in music. Find The Beat will include rising rappers NLE Choppa, YBN Nahmir, Ambjaay, and more. Established stars DaBaby, Lil Baby, Jeremih, and others will also be making appearances on what Blueface is already calling the “album of the year.” The new single, “First Class,” features an exceptional guest appearance from Gunna, as Blueface delivers braggadocious lines about his real estate, jewelry, designer threads, and sexual conquests. “You not from my set then get out my section/Fuck your birthday, my presence is a present,” he raps. “What's a dollar to a n***a with a million?/Bought it just to cop it, save for her feelings/Broken hearts, Gucci heels just to heal it.”
Yo Gotti f/ Megan Thee Stallion & Lil Uzi Vert, “Pose (Remix)”
Two months after dropping “Pose” back in August, Yo Gotti enlists Megan Thee Stallion for the remix to his latest single. Over the sound of shuttering lenses, Gotti leads things off, rapping, “Dope boy, I’m on Polaroid/Photo’s make me paranoid/Bitch open up her camera phone/This that shit I be tryna avoid/Bitch, I ain’t tryna make no blog with you.” From there, Uzi comes in with a rapid-fire, triplet-heavy verse, where he describes the kind of designer clothes and jewelry that he’s known for. “If it’s ’bout money, then we on it/Water on my neck, you could ski on it/You can't unthaw these diamonds, put the heat on it.” Finally, Megan shows up, laying down a verse that makes a very good case for...well, herself. “Need a hundred racks for a show, huh/They showin’ pics to their doctor, ayy/They say that ‘Megan is goals,’ ahh.” She also rhymes, “Fuck these hoes,” with, “I need this pussy on his nose,” which is by far the most entertaining line in rap this week.
Smoke DZA & Benny the Butcher f/ Westside Gunn, “7:30”
Griselda Records owned New Music Friday. Along with dropping “Dr. Bird’s”—the first single off Benny the Butcher, Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine’s forthcoming joint album, What Would Chine Do, Benny delivered a collaborative EP with Smoke DZA. Did I mention the six track offering is produced by the one and only Pete Rock? Though every track on Statue of Limitations is fire, but “7:30” might be the highlight, as Westside Gunn shows up and swipes the song out from under his peers with a scene-stealing verse.
Gang Starr, “Bad Name”
One month after releasing the J. Cole-assisted “Family and Loyalty,” DJ Premier comes through with a new Gang Starr cut, “Bad Name.” With the track clocking in at just over two minutes, the late MC Guru wastes no time getting to the heart of the matter as he laments the then-current state of hip-hop. Over a vintage DJ Premier beat that swings between chopped-up horns and vocal loops, Guru spits, “Word to God, if Big and Pac were still here/Some of these weirdos wouldn’t act so cavalier/We all know that the game has changed/It’s crazy out here, rap’s got a bad name/Think about it, what if bling never happened/And the true artists were getting rich from rapping?” In conjunction with the new single, Gang Starr announced the release of its seventh studio album, One of the Best Yet, out November 1.
Kash Doll f/ Summer Walker, “No Lames”
Among the handful of high-profile guests—Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, and Teyana Taylor, to name a few—on Kash Doll’s debut album, Stacked, it’s R&B darling Summer Walker, fresh off releasing a successful debut LP herself, who joins Kash for the album standout “No Lames.” The sassy track doubles as a “No Scrubs” for the millennial generation, as both women give the boot to broke boys and infidels.