June was a doozy for rap music. Kanye, Teyana Taylor, Kid Cudi, Chief Keef, Jay Rock, and a tremendous number of genre stalwarts dropped career-defining works that sparked continuous conversation and debate. July was equally prodigious – Meek Mill, Jaden Smith, Wiz Khalifa, and the rapper-producer duo of G Herbo and Southside have made this month one to remember as well with excellent releases. Now, we’re heading into the first week of August and it’s shaping up to be equally as fruitful. So far (as of this article), there are three projects set to be released this Friday – Swimming by Mac Miller, Astroworld by Travis Scott, and Stay Dangerous by YG.
We’ll break these down so you know what’s coming to be prepared.
Stay Dangerous by YG
You’d be hard pressed to find a looser cannon than YG. The forever-volatile West Coast emcee is a whirlwind of emotions with a maroon bandana affixed to his neck. It’s been two long years (yes, it’s really been that long) since Still Brazy precipitated new life into the West Coast rap scene. The adventurous record explored the anxieties and confusion he faced after being shot during a robbery as well as the precautions one must take when they have money. Its’ brilliance also stemmed from “FDT,” the attack on President Donald Trump that existed before it became common.
The rollout for his upcoming album Stay Dangerous has been, like YG himself, unpredictable. He announced the album on Instagram back in February and then, two months later, released the star-studded collaboration “Big Bank” featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean, and Nicki Minaj that peaked at number 13 on Billboar’s Hot 100. Then, after a brief period of teasing, YG released another explosive collaboration – “Handgun” featuring the always-ready A$AP Rocky. The pair feed well off each other in what looks like another solid cut from the album. Expect more stellar collaborative tracks, hard-hitting gang anthems, and hyper-masculine sonnets for the ladies.
Astroworld by Travis Scott
The wait for Travis Scott’s new album Astroworld has been a tough one. First announced back in 2017, it feels like he’s been dangling its spectacle in front of our faces for even longer than that, with the releases of “Green and Purple” with Playboi Carti, “Butterfly Effect,” and “A Man” on May 16, 2017. Named after the defunct Houston theme park, Astroworld looks to be one of the biggest projects of the year. Giant golden Travis Scott heads have been appearing at landmarks worldwide to build anticipation; the first came on top of Amoeba Records in Los Angeles on July 27. Since then, the heads have made it elsewhere – one on top of the Hard Rock Café in New York’s Times Square and another on a home near the Magic City strip club in Atlanta.
Travis released a trailer for the album that features some exhilarating tracks not released yet. He even seems as excited as fans are to receive the project, tweeting “#ASTROWORLD FUCKING READY TO LOOSE MY SHIT IN A COUPLE DAYS. LEGIT BLOWING ANY AND EVERY SPEAKER I CAN FIND.” There’s not much known about what’ll be on the album, and, judging by Travis Scott’s unpredictability, there’s no way to tell. Aside from confirming in an interview with Zane Lowe that Sheck Wes, of the tempestuous hit “Mo Bamba,” will appear, Gunna, Sonny Digital, and Nav, and WondaGurl have been spotted in the studio. We’re not sure how to put the pieces together, but we know that the grand picture will be phenomenal.
Swimming by Mac Miller
It’s been two long years since Mac Miller’s excellent album The Divine Feminine, and so much has transpired since then. His long-documented romance with pop singer Ariana Grande went official a month before the album’s release. Things soured sometime between then and May of 2018, with Miller becoming acrimonious in the eyes of her fans as well as the media that seemed intent on making him out to be the villain of the situation. Grande went out and started a whirlwind romance with comedian Pete Davidson; now they’re engaged and everyone’s looking to Miller to be disturbed at her relationship development. But, as he revealed in a recent interview, he’s happy for her and he’s moving on.
To probably chronicle the last two eventful years of his life, Mac Miller will be releasing his fifth commercial album Swimming this Friday, Aug 3. He’s already released three tracks, “Small Worlds,” “Buttons,” and “Programs,” that paint a picture of a man dealing with his demons, lost in a fast-moving world. There’s also the anxiety-inducing video for “Self Care” featuring Miller strikingly calm while buried alive in a wooden coffin. A commonality between the four released tracks is the smooth production that showcases the influence of jazz in the creation of his new record.