This week's Freshly Spilt Milk is a hip-hop based playlist with a little something for everyone, from trappers to backpackers to sad boys.
1. “Future Swag” – Young Thug: In case you’re tired of "Harambe” by now (or just tired of having to say the word Harambe), here’s a reminder that there are other good songs on Jeffery too! “Future Swag” is an upbeat, non-stop banger that sounds more like vintage Thugger than the rest of the album.
2. “Bad and Boujee” (Feat. Lil Uzi Vert) – Migos [Prod. by Metro Boomin]: The three Migos have arguably been the most consistent hitmakers in Atlanta for the past few years. Their machine gun triplet flow is predictable at this point, and the fact that they each take a verse on pretty much every song makes it difficult to get through a whole Migos project, but their individual tracks have real staying power. “Bad and Boujee” is no exception. Uzi adds a fourth verse, bringing the song to 5:34, but Metro Boomin’s expert production carries the song when the verses start to lag, making it a fun, engaging listen all the way through.
3. “Who Dat” – Bass Santana: South Florida rapper/producer Bass Santana serves us a heaping plate of juicy, bass-heavy trap. The track takes a little too long to get going, but the payoff is worth it.
4. “Get Me Some More” – Johnny Cinco [Prod. by Brodinski]: French producer Brodinski put out one of the best tapes of the month (The Sour Patch Kid) this week, featuring mostly unknown Atlanta rappers over his minimalist trap beats. “Get Me Some More” starts the tape off strong, driven by a vaguely Middle Eastern synth that weaves a mesmerizing pentatonic melody around the drums and bass. The beat, despite its simplicity, is front and center throughout, while Johnny Cinco’s bars take a back seat.
5. “Excellent” – Princess Nokia [Prod. by Tomas Spisak]: Bronx up-and-comer Princess Nokia’s newest EP, 1992, came out last week, and has been getting some well-deserved buzz. The rhymes on “Excellent” are corny, verging on Seussical at times, but her voice still sounds pretty damn cool over an absolute slapper of a beat by Tomas Spisak (aka ETRNL).
6. “Let’s Work” (Feat. MoonDoctor & OPN) – DJ Earl: DJ Earl has reached legend status within Chicago’s Footwork scene with his hyperkinetic drumlines and jazzy chord progressions. On “Let’s Work,” he’s joined by MoonDoctor and OPN for five minutes of non-stop fun. This one will make your grandma want to dance.
7. “Marie Antoinette” (Feat. Big Freedia) – Boyfriend [Prod. by DXXXY]: New Orleans rapper Boyfriend enlists the queen of Bounce to take an already goofy track to previously unexplored levels of goofiness. I still can’t decide whether I like Boyfriend, but this song is definitely a lot of fun.
8. “Rude Tings – Lulu Be.: Lulu Be. lists Chicago, Ethiopia as her hometown on Soundcloud. On “Rude Tings,” she saunters in semi-affected pidgeon English over a driving Africana drumbeat. Another one to make your bub bubs bounce.
9. “Champion” (DJ Vadim Remix Feat. Mr. Lexx & Syross) – Numa Crew: “Champion” is a global collaboration between DJ Vadim (originally from Leningrad, USSR), Numa Crew (Florence, Italy), Mr. Lexx (Kingston, Jamaica), and Syross (London, England). The result is pretty special.
10. “No Target” – 21 Savage [Prod. by Brodinski]: “No Target” is the only song with any real star power on The Sour Patch Kid, the same tape that brought us “Get Me Some More” (Track 4 on this playlist). 21 Savage moved to the front of the pack among Atlanta up-and-comers this summer, alongside Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert, with Savage Mode, a collab mixtape with legendary Atlanta producer Metro Boomin. On “No Target,” Brodinski takes a page out of Metro’s book, letting his production serve as an unobtrusive backdrop that perfectly accents 21’s dark, monotone flow.
11. “Drowning” (Feat. BADBADNOTGOOD) – Mick Jenkins: I was surprised and excited by this collab between Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins and hip-hop/jazz frontiersmen BADBADNOTGOOD. It sat at the top of my Soundcloud stream for a couple of weeks as the sponsored track, which was both bad and good, because I got a little sick of hearing it, but was also able to appreciate some of its subtler qualities. “Drowning” is a bold move for Mick Jenkins, more art song than traditional hip-hop track. For some reason, he insists on rhyming “situation” with “lituation” about 20 times, but once you get past that, it’s a really interesting piece of music. BBNG’s instrumentals are much more present here than they are anywhere on the group’s collab album with Ghostface Killah (Sour Soul), possibly hinting at a new direction for the group. The song builds slowly, allowing for a complex instrumental structure and a feeling of desperate tension and satisfying release when Mick finally starts rapping just before the 3-minute mark. At 6 minutes, “Drowning” is the longest track on this playlist, but it somehow still manages to leave me wanting more.
12. “Til the Harvest” (Feat. Eugenius & Pell) – Baron Amato: New Orleans rapper Baron Amato recruits local favorite Pell and Birmingham native Eugenius Neutron for “Til the Harvest,” a track off his latest album, Oh The Places. Together, they tag team the verses with old school flows over a chilled-out, organ-based beat with a driving drumline and some funky sax riffs peppered throughout.
13. “Cash Machine” – D.R.A.M. [Prod. by Ricky Reed]: D.R.A.M. has an uncanny ability to take a corny beat and turn it into a ridiculously catchy song. That’s exactly what he does on “Cash Machine,” with a run-of-the-mill piano beat that would have sounded perfectly at home with an 18-year-old Mac Miller rapping over it. Instead, D.R.A.M. uses his razor-sharp pop sensibilities to create a goofy yet irony-laden song about getting rich so you can ditch your old friends.
14. “No Way” (Feat. Adamn Killa) – SMRT [Prod. by AudioOpera]: Sad rapper SMRT and Yung Lean collaborator Adamn Killa team up on “No Way,” a weird song with a surprisingly positive message about perseverance. AudioOpera’s synthed-out, choppy beat ties the track together.
15. “Seven Million” (Feat. Future) – Lil Uzi Vert [Prod. by Nard & B]: I wasn’t a huge fan of The Perfect Love Tape, Lil Uzi’s most recent project, when I first heard it, but it’s grown on me quite a bit since then. Like his XXL Freshman classmate Lil Yachty, Uzi’s music pushes the boundaries of hip-hop, riding the fine line between innovation and annoying earworms. “Seven Million,” the tape’s closing song, is one of its best, featuring Future’s best hook in recent memory and some smooth production from Nard & B.
16. “Better Serve” – Jay2AintShit [Prod. by Monte Booker]: Jay2AintShit is part of a group of young Chicago rappers with Chance-inspired flows, rapping over incredible beats by the likes of Monte Booker, a Soulection affiliate with a vibrant, soulful sound. The two team up for “Better Serve,” a song that centers on a lyrically and melodically complex hook, an extended sports metaphor for drug dealing (“I push that pack like Aaron Rodgers’ center/ Serena Williams with that fuckin’ serve”). Around the 2:30 mark, Monte speeds up the track somewhere close to double-time. The result is—for lack of a better word—really cool.
17. “Balance” (Feat. Knxwledge) – Earl Sweatshirt: Earl Sweathirt has been somewhat of a recluse of late, toning it down quite a bit after returning from the Samoan rehab center where he was famously banished by his own mother in 2011. Since his last album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, he’s delved deeper into the hip-hop underground. “Balance” is a collab between Earl and Knxwledge, a Stones Throw-affiliated producer and outspoken critic of the letter O. Like the rest of Earl’s recent body of work, it’s a gloomy song that basically says “fuck off” to anyone trying to be his friend. The sentiment might get tiresome if it were stretched over a longer track, but at 1:19, “Balance” functions like a quiet scream, an endearingly brief expression of Earl’s profound melancholy.
18. “Sleepless” – Black Josh [Prod. by FloFilz]: I’ve been getting increasingly sick of continuing efforts at boom bap hip-hop, but every now and then, something comes along that hits me right in the nostalgia bone. That’s the case with “Sleepless,” produced by FloFilz, who’s got a real knack for capturing the essence of the ‘90s aesthetic. Manchester MC Black Josh has some real talent too, and it’s always nice to hear a British rapper who isn’t trying to sound like Skepta.
19. “G35” (Feat. Isaiah Rashad) – Tut [Prod T I G G I]: “G35” came out about a month ago. I have somewhat mixed feelings about it because it gave me seriously high expectations for the new Isaiah Rashad album, which then ended up feeling like a bit of a letdown. In the end, though, “G35” still stands alone as a great track. Tut and Rashad, two Chattanooga-born rappers with boundless talent, trade bars seamlessly over some silky production from T I G G I (aka Ktoven), another Chattanooga native. The end product is smooth and soulful, perfect for driving at night.
20. “Like A Star” – Raury [Prod. by Donnie Trumpet]: Atlanta singer/instrumentalist Raury gets a helping hand from Chance collaborator Donnie Trumpet, who lends some subtly gorgeous production to “Like A Star,” a slow-moving R&B ballad that’s ideal for bedtime.
21. “Suck Me Off To Drake Songs” – Andy Milonakis: Andy Milonakis is 40 years old (!), but because of a growth hormone deficiency, he still looks and sounds like an overweight teenager. His career in comedy speaks for itself, but for some reason, he’s still putting out music. “Suck Me Off To Drake Songs” is a ballad whose title says it all. As Andy puts it, “You just got bit by a fat sixth grader.”
22. “Wildr (1 For Gene)” (Feat. Ahwlee) – Mndsgn: This week’s Freshly Spilt Milk closes with a touching tribute to everyone’s favorite Willy Wonka/Viktor Frankenstein, who passed away at the end of August. “Wildr (1 For Gene)” comes from Mndsgn, another Stones Throw-affiliated producer with a personal vendetta against vowels. It features some crafty vocal sampling from L.A. producer Ahwlee. At 1:23, it’s short, sweet, and poignant. If you're looking to commemorate Gene Wilder without a half-baked Facebook status, this is the song for you.