Oakland, CA — As summer inches closer, the quest for the best summer album begins. Whether you’re into indie and the beautiful golden sunsets or the gritty nightscape that experimental noise rap creates, there are summer albums for everyone. As someone that enjoys a balance and variance in style, a diverse slate of projects is refreshing to hear. From Megan Thee Stallion to Santi these albums are sure to become part of your summer soundtrack.
Injury Reserve - "Injury Reserve"
The experimental Arizona-based trio has finally delivered their self-titled debut album, "Injury Reserve." The album is intense and loud in all the best ways. There's some standout guest verses from JPEGMAFIA and Rico Nasty. Throughout the album, lead rappers Steppa Groggs and Ritchie with a T effortlessly spit clever bars. Steppa Groggs raps “Twitter feeds don't feed my daughter” on "Wax On." While Injury Reserve is reminiscent of The Cool Kids, their production is crafted differently, it's almost reminiscent of early Cool Kids or Pac Div. Both Steppa Groggs and Richie with a T riff off each other with a whimsical flow, because of this Injury Reserve is something you want to listen too as soon as possible.
Highlight Tracks: "Wax On," "Best Spot in the House," "New Hawaii"
Duckwrth - "THE FALLING MAN"
On his latest project, "THE FALLING MAN," Duckwrth finds a balance between raging and the soft melodies. It is a dramatic shift in style and sound from his previous projects, but for all the right reasons. "THE FALLING MAN" is a testament to how versatile Duckwrth is. Duckwrth's various emotions create a tense atmosphere that is extremely refreshing to hear. Duckwrth's latest is bold, original and tense. The passion that stems from his punk rock roots is present throughout every track. If you're just now tuning in, check out the short film named after the EP "THE FALLING MAN" that complements the project so well.
Highlight Tracks: "NOBODY FALLS," "SALLIE MAE," "BOW"
Tyler, the Creator - "Igor"
The album begins with "IGOR’S THEME," a song that contains a heavy synth. The synth mimics an extreme static buzz sound that leads into an intense bass that is maintained throughout the album. With "IGOR," Tyler showcases heavy themes of vulnerability within relationships, lyrics about love and confusion juxtapose the intensity of the melodies. Tyler uses synths in a way that sounds similar to his older music; staying true to himself. Still, he incorporates new sounds like extremely heavy basslines to showcase different melodies. Tyler shows us how his vulnerability and his creative flow has transformed in the last two years.
Highlight Tracks: "I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE," "I THINK," "EARFQUAKE"
Santi - "Mandy & the Jungle"
Santi keeps things interesting with his sophomore album "Mandy & The Jungle." The album is light and airy while maintaining faint tones of Afrobeat and dancehall throughout the project. Exploring the realms of love and melancholy in his lyrics, Santi delves into the universal phases that come along with heartbreak. The melodies are consistently soulful in the way that they correspond to the meaning behind his words. The soul in this album shows his vulnerability and the importance of his emotional growth as a result of love.
Highlight Tracks: "Raining Outside," "Morocco," "Freaky"
Megan Thee Stallion - "Fever"
Amid the wave of intense female rappers that are rising to mainstream success is Houston’s own, Megan Thee Stallion. Megan Thee Stallion maintains her powerful, fiery persona in her new album "Fever." From the first song, she is more aggressive in both the production and lyrics than she was in her previous album, "Tina Snow." The use of constant quick, heavy bass is an indicator of Megan’s intense energy as a rapper. The difference between the two albums almost suggests her comfort in her own skin as an artist. She spews confidence in her lyrics like “They put that check in my hand, now I'm killin' 'em" on her song "Realer." From the beginning to the end, the album is fast-paced and never loses its momentum.
Highlight Tracks: "Realer" "Sex Talk" "Hood Rat Shit"