Top 5 Black Music Month Releases in Wani’s World



To wrap up Black Music Month and to usher in the Holiday weekend celebrations, I wanted to give you my version of a must have playlist at the next cookout.  Just a warning that my tastes are diverse and the raw stuff ain’t for everybody.  In that vein, here is my current Top 5 list of HipHop and other good music that I have in heavy rotation right now.  Enjoy!

Mali Music. The Transition of Mali.  So, I’m an avid Mali fan and I was wondering what happened to him since he dipped into the secular waters and signed with a major label.  I was eagerly awaiting this project and he didn’t disappoint. Mali always brings the passion and transparency to his lyrics.  He seems a bit jaded with the fame and the industry on certain tracks like, “Bow Out” but he manages to bring it back to Praise on “Gonna Be Alright” and “My Life”.  The outstanding song to me was “Loved By You” featuring Jazmine Sullivan.  When her sultry honey dipped vocals slid onto the track, I think my headphones melted a little bit.  Overall, the entire project was 90% flawless and even sitting with the other 10% has me warming up to the songs.  I still think his last project, “Mali Is”, was his absolute best work to date but his Transition is very impressive.  Do yourself a favor and get some Mali in your collection.

Vince Staples. Big Fish.  Ok, for all my Boom Bap folks, this joint is nice!  The beats are all bangers for riding or clubbing.  The standouts for both production and lyricism are “BagBak” and “Yeah Right”, featuring Kendrick.  The title track, “Big Fish”, has the best bass line I’ve heard in a long while, coupled with Staples’ razor sharp flow when describing how to survive “while trying to get money from these sharks” is sonic fire.  I had heard buzz about Vince Staples ever since he was one of the XXL Mag’s Freshmen of 2015 but now I can see what the hype was about and he lives up to it.

DJ Khaled.  Grateful.  The title of his ambitious 23 track latest offering conveys the emotions DJ Khaled was consumed by after becoming a father to his gorgeous little boy Asahd.   If you haven’t yet heard “Shining” or “Wild Thoughts”, the Summer ’17 anthem, your ears are cussing you out right now.   I’m not a huge fan of trap music but Khaled balanced out the best of the trap MCs with some East Coast heavy hitters on this one.  Plus, I was about to X out Nicki, but on this joint…she’s BAAACCK.  Nicki is featured on tracks with Future and Alicia Keys and she bodies both of them.  I need her to keep this up, get back to the “Roman’s Revenge” spazzing out lyrics that made me a fan.  Finally, as if Chance The Rapper could get anymore endearing, he and Khaled made a new alphabet song that is so lit, it may put Sesame Street out of business.  The song is called “I Love You” and it’s like the Hip Hop combination version of Viola Davis in “The Help” and Mufasa showing Simba his future kingdom in the Lion King.  Clearly Asahd has taken DJ Khaled’s creative motivation to new heights and his fans are the beneficiaries.  Even if you aren’t a Khaled fan, you are bound to find at least 6 songs on Grateful that will move you either to dance or at least bob your head.  The list of featured artists is incredible, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Nas, Pusha T, Justin Bieber, Calvin Harris, Future, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Big Sean and T.I.  Even for all you mumble rap lovers, aka Trap lovers, he included Young Thug, Travis Scott and Migos.  To sum it all up…go get this.

Sir The Baptist.  Saint or Sinner.  What I like about Sir The Baptist is his willingness to embrace the Saint and Sinner inside him, as the album title proclaims.  He is the eclectic musical expression of a Preacher’s Kid.  He observed all the hypocrisies in the Church and decided to form his own relationship with God and accept his duality of good and evil.  He takes the whole church to task on “Deliver Me”, a haunting track about domestic abuse among the church elite, featuring Brandy.  This song alone is worth listening to this album. 

Jay-Z.  4:44.   The prolific, Jigga the game spitter is back on his NYC ish!  The transparency and maturity shown on this album is the reason why Jayhova is my top MC ever.  His body of work progresses as he lives and learns from his mistakes.  Being a fellow Sagg raised in New York, land of “keeping it stone faced”, I know how hard it was to be vulnerable on this joint.  Even his Mother got it on the soul revelations by sharing that she is a lesbian.  At 47, Jay is still at the top of his lyrical game while sending shots to Kanye, Jimmy Iovine and anyone else who thought he was a Daddy now and wouldn’t clap back. “I bought some artwork for one million/Two years later, that shit worth two million/Few years later, that shit worth eight million/I can’t wait to give this sh*t to my children/Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, ‘it’s fine’/But I’m tryin’ to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99,”.  Yep, break over, Hov is back.  A new classic.

I must also give honorable mention to:

Showbiz & AG. Take It Back. 

Big Boi’s Boomiverse 

Raekwon’s The Wild.

  They prove again that having bars is not relegated to the youngsters.  I’m always happy when “old school” MC’s show back up to add some much-needed heat to the game.  I can’t wait for the Mumble Rap style to fade away…It’s time people.  Until next time, Blessings and Be Grateful!


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