Artist: Lil Bibbya
Album: Free Crack
Seventeen-year-old Chicago drill rapper Lil Bibby has music typical of the drill subgenre. I was disappointed, because a lot of this was “no play,” but I love this type of music. The bass is heavy, and the drums are rock hard. Chicago has a real thing going on right now—the drill scene is producing a lot of great stuff. This mixtape is no exception. Lil Bibby can really flow on a beat, and he has a nice, deep voice. He’s great at talking his sh*t. This is beautiful goon music, and I wouldn’t change a thing, except make more of it playable on the radio during regular hours.
RIYD: Lil Herb, Lil Durk, Lil Reese, Young Chop, King Louie
Recommended tracks: 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 17
-Luke, Hip-Hop Director
Artist: Lil Herb
Album: Welcome to Fazoland
Chi-raq rapper Lil Herb is part of the young Chicago drill scene. Herb’s take on the Chicago rap subgenre is more introspective than those of most of his peers. Many of his songs on Welcome to Fazoland are introspective and apologetic for the gangster lifestyle. Herb is trying to understand and make sense of what has driven him and his peers to the street life. He is trying to explain why many young Chicago men resort to gang violence and crime. Herb succeeds on Fazoland by mixing in enough reveling in his successes of new wealth and local fame. The tape is balanced. It also doesn’t hurt that the drums are typically rock-hard drill drums.
RIYD: Lil Bibby, Lil Reese, Chief Keef, King Louie, Lil Durk, Young Chop
Recommended tracks: 2, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14
-Luke, Hip-Hop Director
Artist: Ricky Eat Acid
Album: Three Love Songs
Label: Orchid Tapes
Sam Ray is better known for projects like Julia Brown and Teen Suicide but Ricky Eat Acid, his electronic/ambient/drone side project is probably his crown jewel. Three Love Songs is a fragile, beautiful album that at times lulls you into a trance and at other times sets your feet tapping. The first half of the record is mostly ambient and drone-y, with most of the songs kind of fading into each other, but the second half features a lot of sample-based experimentation that draws clear inspiration from hip hop, house, and footwork/juke, featuring strong beats and bass lines. The hallmark of REA’s style is beautiful layered synth and lo-fi piano samples, which means that even when the footwork bass is clattering, the songs retain a core of surprising vulnerability. All in all a great album that’s definitely worth your time.
RIYL: Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Telefon Tel Aviv
Best Tracks: “It will draw me over to it like it always does” and “In my dreams we’re almost touching”
-Julian, Assistant MD
Artist: Mark Mcguire
Album: Along the Way
Label: Dead Oceans
Mark Mcguire is a guitarist originally from Cleveland (though I think he now lives in LA). He used to play in the band Emeralds, but they broke up shortly after his leaving last year. People have been talking about this album a lot in the context of new age music, but I’m not sure if it’s the best comparison. McGuire used to pretty much only make solo guitar tracks, and his guitar is still the focus here, but now there are added synths, some vocals, and more up-front beats. Genre-wise it’s mostly psych with some post-rock, space rock, and ambient music too, but it feels like too much is going on (in a good way) to call it new age.
-Eric, Assisstant MD