Album reviews

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive (HHYW album review)

J Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive

“Ain’t no way around it no mo’/I am the greatest/Lot of ni***s sat on the throne/I am the latest” These are the first words J. Cole spit on the first verse of the song Fire Squad from his newest album. J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive is another demonstration of Cole’s sharp eye for production. Combine his ability to produce with his self-reflecting, awe-inspiring lyrics and it is easy to see why J Cole has risen to become one of the most prominent figures in mainstream hip hop music today. 2014 Forest Hills Drive dropped on December 9th, 2014, and it seems to me to be the years’ crowning achievement when it comes to hip hop music. The hip hop game continues to be watered down as the mainstream rappers representing the genre continue to lack more and more substance as major record labels put pressure on artists to go for quantity over quality. J Cole, however, is a break from the norm. He is the type of artist who strives for longevity, instead of just a few hit singles and one or two more years of fame. Read More »

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G Herbo aka Lil Herb – Pistol P Project (HHYW mixtape review)

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The Pistol P Project is the latest tape from Lil Herb, following Welcome to Fazoland. The tape dropped out of the blue the day after Christmas and it has just ten songs. You could almost consider this project an interlude to his studio album. The musical ability displayed by Lil Herb is uncharacteristic of many of the other artists in his city. Lil Herb is from Chicago, but he isn’t the type to categorize himself as a “drill” artist. Although the heavy bass that is a characteristic of many of his songs is certainly reminiscent of Chicago’s drill music scene, Herb tries to diversify his music and go over more soulful-sounding beats and other styles. Lil Herb displays versatility when he rhymes, and a flow that is hard to top. Chicago’s hip hop scene is booming right now and G Herbo is leading the charge. Read More »

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D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Black Messiah (HHYW album review)

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Where to begin? Should I address the 14 year sabbatical he took in between albums? What about his run ins with the law during that downtime? How about the fact that this album has been talked about on and off for the past six to eight years with little to no evidence that anything would materialize other than blind faith and ?uestlove reassurances? I could go on and on, but honestly, none of that really matters anymore. A little over a month ago, Michael Eugene “D’Angelo” Archer finally put out his new album Black Messiah…and it’s good. Damn good. Read More »

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2014 Year End Review by @LeaseHHYW

2014 banner This year has been filled with incredible projects. If you are one of those people who say “nothing good came out in 2014,” then you simply weren’t listening. To round out the year, our key contributor Lease (@LeaseHHYW) compiled a list of his favorite projects. The only requirement was that they were released in between January 1st of 2014, and December 31st, 2014. That leaves albums like Childish Gambino’s incredible because the internet off the list, amongst many other fourth quarter 2013 albums. Below you will find his honorable mention picks that were great (and just barely made the cut,) as well as his top 15 albums/mixtapes of the year (in his opinion.) It’s been a wild year, and we thank you for taking this ride with us. Enjoy! Read More »

Lil’ Bibby – Free Crack II (mixtape review)

Lil Bibby - Free Crack II cover

On August 29th, 2014, Chicago resident and XXL Freshman Lil Bibby dropped his highly anticipated second mixtape, Free Crack II, and proved once again that he is in this rap game for the long haul. At times there are contradictions, but that doesn’t take away from his overall impact or his lyrical ability. Bibby, a 20 year old from the east side of Chicago with the voice of a blunt smokin’ OG, provides a different type of sound than you would generally hear from the Chicago area. While it is an ever-growing subgenre, Bibby can’t be categorized simply as a drill artist. He created a style of his own, and he goes over many different types of beats created by a wide array of producers from Bangladesh to Black Metaphor. The variations in producers don’t take away from the project at all, as Bibby flows effortlessly throughout. Read More »

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G-Eazy – These Things Happen (album review)

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In the most recent and third studio album from Oakland emcee G-Eazy that dropped on June 23rd titled These Things Happen, we see a powerful demonstration of hard work and dedication. If you enjoyed the mixtape The Endless Summer that came out in August of 2011 and features Kam Royal, I guarantee you will enjoy his most recent piece of work. I have to say I’ve been a fan of G-Eazy since I first heard the track Well Known off of The Endless Summer. G-Eazy’s most recent album has met, if not exceeded, my expectations.

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