New Music Roundup: September

New music roundups are a monthly recap dedicated to covering the latest music in a series of short, descriptive reviews. This month’s edition includes new releases from BROCKHAMPTON, JMSN, Lupe Fiasco and more.

Armand Hammer – Paraffin

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For operating within such a niche style of hip-hop, Billy Woods and Elucid (together Armand Hammer) each bring a diverse set of flows and vocal deliveries to the table that’s more than enough to satisfy. They are both gifted MCs, capable of making you laugh, question your train of thought and angrily revolt against the system within the same song. Also ever-present in each track on their new record is the grimy swagger that East Coast rap is known for. “Sweet Mickey” sounds like the soundtrack to an underground New York fight club, while “Ecomog” brings to mind the enlightening part of a psychedelic trip. As abstract hip-hop continues to produce an abundance of strong records, Paraffin should stick as a reference point for the genre in 2018.  – Roberto Johnson

BROCKHAMPTON – iridescence

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The world’s hottest boy band is finally back to give us bars and feelings on major label debut, iridescence. The groups first project since parting ways with Ameer Vann. The boys make sure they don’t miss a step. Navigating their ups and downs, their emotions are all over the place, but that’s the beauty of it. The album is their rebel call of them not caring what anyone really thinks what they should sound like while vehemently screaming out their feelings on everything that burns under the sun. You will need more time than you can think of to hear what each member is saying and to decipher it. And of course, there are standouts like “TONYA” that will leave a place in your heart. The best thing about it is that you’ll enjoy it each time.  – Tyler Jones

GOT7 – Present: YOU

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After their international tour Eyes On You, Korean boy group, GOT7 comes back with their third studio album, Present: YOU. Once again exploring the dance-pop genre, their title track “Lullaby” builds where “Look” left off. And to thank their international fans, they have the song in three other languages. A decision that can only help them expand. The rest of the album is a return to form the group and they even try to expand their musical color with each member getting a solo track. The standout is leader and composer, JB, forwaying into R&B with “Sunrise”. Whether it’s hip-hop, trap, pop, or melodic rock, the group’s individuality creates a rainbow of music.  – TJ

JMSN – Velvet

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JMSN’s music is a contemporary blend of R&B, soul, funk and pop – earnest, sexy and at times, really infectious. Like many crooners in his musical lane, he has a penchant for writing the silky bedroom jam. His new record Velvet builds on a quickly growing discography; with each album, JMSN has made significant progressions in his instrumental palet, his latest record being the most vibrant and organic collection of songs he’s released to date. Whether it’s the smooth, funk braggadocio of “Talk Is Cheap” or the poppy, synth-infused grooves of “Inferno,” colorful soundscapes fill every corner of this record. “Got 2 B Erotic” is one of a few cuts that nod to Justin Timberlake and Prince as well.  – RJ

Lupe Fiasco – Drogas Wave

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Chicago’s very own, Lupe Fiasco, has released his seventh studio album, DROGAS WAVE. In similar Fiasco fashion, he does it in concept album format. Unlike his previous album that tries to tell his story over beats that drown his message, he sounds right at home here.  Originally a double album, he separates the story in two. While the first half wants to leave you to figure yourself out, the second half is a little more blunt. Lupe doesn’t shy away how he feels about drugs in the community and what it’s doing to people. Double entendres and stacks of metaphors will make your head spin but once it stops. Hopefully he stays on this wave and doesn’t go too far into the light.  – TJ

milo – budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies

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East Coast MC, producer, label owner milo is at the epicenter of the currently prolific underground rap movement. His newest record, budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogiesis his third album of the year and a much milder effort than 2017’s Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!. On his latest release, milo strips back his sound, sticking with a slow, rhythmic pace that leans towards boom-bap and jazz more than the abstract. His bars are more philosophical than ever, at times completely shapeless and infinitely pondersome. This results in mellow background music more than it does thought-provoking songs. Still, milo’s verbal approach is far more interesting than most in his school.  – RJ

MNEK – Language

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Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike, also known as the uber talented, MNEK, drops off his debut studio album, Language. Not only does he impress, he does so in spades. When he could’ve stayed in the comfortable pop arena, he experiments with sound and lets the album shine, still maintaining a cohesive sound. His pen is on point. “Correct” brings attitude and confidence. Then he turns around to give us vulnerability with “Free”. One the UK’s hottest creators is showing he deserves to be in discussions for best pop album of the year. This release shouldn’t be ignored.  – TJ

Reason – There You Have It

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TDE’s newest asset comes with promise. The Carson, California native makes his debut a solid one with There You Have ItHe’s giving you his story without telling you the whole thing. You catch a real glimpse of his heart and passion with “Better Days”  and see that he can paint a vivid picture with “Colored Dreams / Killers Pt. 2”. He shows that his signing to one of the biggest rap labels of our generation won’t regret his addition to the roster. Reason has enough grit to his voice to make you feel every word he is saying. His scars will leave a mark on you. And while it may not be the real taste of what he wants to do, it tells us enough of what he can do. And from it, we can should be interested in whatever that is.  – TJ

Tash Sultana – Flow State

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Australia native and musical prodigy Tash Sultana boasts a skill set that features mastery of over a dozen instruments. Her debut Flow State is full of raw and elaborate sketches of life’s different vibrations, presented in kaleidoscopic fusions of hard rock, blues, reggae and more. Sultana’s vocal chops are as impressive as her guitar skills. She can make you cry with a crooning ballad (“Seed [Intro]”), just as she can shred her way through a stoner jam (“Big Smoke”). Her talent makes the music superiorly engaging, even when its themes are run of the mill. At 23 years old, she’s attained both cult hero status and world popularity.  – RJ

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