Lil Pump's Beautiful Stupidity and 11 Other Albums for Heavy Rotation
This week's essential listening includes Gunna's stylish raps, Offset's meditations on parenthood, along with shredded noise-rap and an epic video game score.
Every week, the Noisey staff puts together a list of the best and most important albums, mixtapes, and EPs from the past seven days. Sometimes it includes projects we’ve written about on the site already; sometimes it's just made up of great records that we want everyone to hear, but never got the chance to write about. The result is neither comprehensive nor fair. We hope it helps.
Lil Pump: Harverd Dropout
Lil Pump’s new album mostly serves to reinforce things we already knew about him. He loves drugs (the more dissociative the better), 808s (distorted), and all the money that his unlikely rise to King of Soundcloud has afforded him. He has a sense of humor akin to whatever brain genius is responsible for designing the t-shirts for sale on Jersey Shore boardwalks. There’s not much new here, but he drags a bunch of friends (Kanye, Uzi, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, YG, a Migo or two) into his puerile world.
It’s rare to hear a record this star-studded be this profoundly stupid, which paradoxically is Pump’s genius, dragging a bunch of famous people into one room and getting them to act like giant goofballs together. It’s can be really charming, but it’s also risky. Unchecked schoolyard jokes are what result in stuff like the offensive stereotyping that were on the original version of “Butterfly Doors,” which, frankly isn’t any better in the self-edited version that made the record. There’s fun stuff on this record, but tread carefully. —Colin Joyce
Gunna: Drip or Drown 2
Since Gunna started dripping with 2016’s Drip Season, he’s dropped two additional installments of his flagship mixtape and presented us with a slight variation with 2017’s Drip or Drown. The man loves to drip, what can you say? Today, Drip or Drown finally gets a sequel. For much of the 48-minute album, he maneuvers alone except for collaborations with Lil Baby (“Derrick Fisher”), Young Thug (“3 Headed Snake”), and Playboi Carti (“Same Yung Nigga”). He mostly maintains the lanes he’s established in his three years on the rise. His money is tall on “Yao Ming,” and his future daughter is likely to be sporting a “Baby Birkin.” Gunna’s best work, however, manifests itself in the chemistry he’s established with his collaborators over the years. “Out the Hood” and “Who You Foolin” sport the guitar licks Gunna is known for, crafted by Wheezy and Turbo who executive produced the album. —Kristin Corry
Offset: Father of 4
Last year, Offset’s personal life wasn’t exactly private. There was a car crash, multiple rumors of infidelity, and a very public apology during Cardi B’s Rolling Loud set. After months of delay, (the album was set to be released in December) Offset is telling his side of the story on Father of 4. “If you think you know me from the facets they show these folks to get money, I gotta laugh,” says Dungeon Family member Big Rube in a spoken word poem on the title track. “Father of 4” details Offset’s journey through fatherhood, which began at 17, and how he’s grappling with the threads of a blended family and his fame. “Red Room,” “Came a Long Way,” and “Don’t Lose Me” follow the moments of reflection found on the opener. “Don’t Lose Me,” which features his infamous Instagram apology, is a loose timeline of the events that unfolded with his wife Cardi B. Almost half the songs are collaborations, but Father of 4 is strongest when Offset is working through his issues alone. — Kristin Corry
Deli Girls: I Don’t Know How to Be Happy
At a gig last weekend the New York duo Deli Girls had a piece of their gear die on them toward the end of a live set at a packed Bushwick venue. They held it aloft and thanked it for its service, which felt nice, because hearing their music, you have to imagine it’s seen some hard living. I Don’t Know How to Be Happy, their new album, is full of these totally brutal and busted beats that feel like they’ve been straight up ripped out of the machines they used to make them, rather than carefully and painstakingly produced (though, surely some of that nerdy work went into it to, it feels like an effort of brute force.) Amid this noise wrangling, Danny Orlowski unleashes these squelched moans about personal trauma and the violence of the state—sounding both impossibly pained and undeniably powerful at once. The opener “Officer” does a good job of setting the tone. Over some samples that have been distorted-to-hell, Orlowski recounts an encounter with New York’s finest in a delirious taunt: “You caught me!/You scared?/You caught me!” It’s a way of claiming the last laugh, with a scream. —Colin Joyce
MoMA Ready: SOFT, HARD BODY
Impatient and ready for bed, the New York producer MoMA Ready shared his new album SOFT, HARD BODY at 10 pm on Monday with a half-serious message: “Times isn’t real.” He meant it as a glib statement on uploading his album a few hours early, but it’s not a bad mission statement for the spiraling house and techno tracks he’s collected here. Its rave music as wormhole, the sorts of teeth-gritting tracks that keep you glued to the floor and spinning in your own head, losing all sense of what time it is or what’s a reasonable hour to start your long walk home from the club. It’s ok to get lost in loops like “Holy Water Other,” which blooms and unfolds like a hedge maze over the course of its six minutes. Time isn’t real anyway. —Colin Joyce
Night Lovell: GOODNIGHT LOVELL
On his first project since 2016, the gravel-gargling Ottawa rapper Night Lovell is one again live from the fucking gutter. Over a series of sludgy productions that sound pre-screwed he trudges through songs about mental anguish, death, and the means by which you might quiet your troubled brain (drugs, money, and generally wanton existence). It’s tough stuff, but so is life, so he presses onward, accompanied by a few talented friends. Wifisfuneral turns up on the ghostly “I LIKE BLOOD.” Lil Gnar screams about syrup on “INSIDE.” But the standout moment on this whole release comes early, when the Delaware experimenter Lil West brings a little light to a song called “MENTAL SLAVERY.” West himself often writes major downers, but his auto-tuned cooing here feels like the clouds parting—a brief moment of light on a record with a skeleton in a hood on the cover. —Colin Joyce
MHYSA and lawd knows, the two musicians who make up the group SCRAAATCH, have made their names playing off-kilter dance music scenarios—dj sets, sorta, that often feature them playing samples (of things like breaking glass and sirens) over the top of familiar songs. Their performances always felt like an interrogation of the environment; lose yourself to dance, sure but there’s still stuff to worry about going on outside the walls of the warehouse. Their debut EP Teardrops continues that line of thought.
The Bandcamp page for the project says that it was meant to express “Black life, death, hypervisibility and refusal as we confront the reality that the club—like the rest of this world—can be a vulnerable space.” Basically the idea is that as much as club life can be fun, it’s not an escape for everyone. That idea is narrated movingly on “Don’t Talk to Me,” on which MHYSA offers a moving kiss off to anyone who disrupts their reverie: “Wanna tell me I’m sexy?/Let me know you wanna fuck me?/But I didn’t ask for your company, I’m just here to dance.” That’s the most clear statement, but you can hear it too in the way they flip Mariah Carey’s portrait into a ghostly, foreboding dance track. It’s a reminder that not everyone is afforded the luxuries of leaving their worries at coat check. — Colin Joyce
Lil Texas: Texcore
Personally, I wasn’t counting on a reformed EDM dude in a cowboy hat to be the person that brought hardcore techno back to festival mainstages, but I’m definitely not mad at the rise of Lil Texas. Texcore, a new EP for Yellow Claw’s Barong Family, reads as a statement of intent—fast as fuck and absolutely pummeling in a way that breaking cinder blocks with your forehead might be. Plus, there’s a song called “Acab,” a message we can all get behind. —Colin Joyce
Mykele Deville: Maintain
While Chicago hip-hop has recently produced countless breakout artists like Saba and Noname, rapper Mykele Deville has diligently operated on the fringes, an approach that’s found him more likely to be on bills at punk shows and label mates with bands like Meat Wave. With Maintain, his fourth album, the 29-year-old takes his experience as a poet and activist to make compellingly optimistic collection. Single Type Care” highlights Deville’s translates unfailing introspection into an ode to self-care. Elsewhere, he shines especially on the songs produced by rising local artist Malci, especially the jazzy and unpredictable “You’re Enough” as well as the Section.80 vibe of the title track. Single “Type Love” highlights Deville’s unfailing introspection in a breezy ode to self-care. —Josh Terry
Julia Jacklin: Crushing
On Crushing, Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin investigates a traumatic breakup across ten devastating songs. Her storytelling is refreshingly clear-eyed, like the chilling opener “Body” which she ponders whether her soon-to-be-ex would retaliate by leaking their sexts, “Do you still have that photograph? / Would you use it to hurt me?” Elsewhere, like on the cinematic folk of “Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You” she sings, “Too tired to run away / What do I do now? / There's nothing left to say.” While heartbreak permeates most faces of this beautiful album, it ends on a hopeful note where she proclaims, “You'll be okay / You'll be alright / You'll get well soon” on the post-breakup closer “Comfort.” —Josh Terry
Major Murphy: LafayetteThe most resonant parts of the EP come from the offerings that didn’t eventually end up on [their debut]. “Coming Around” is jaunty power-pop that’s anchored by drummer Bud Voortman and Bullard’s peppy delivery. Supremely cozy opener “Come By Sunday” sums up the band’s charming ethos better than the rest as Bullard coos, “What's the hurry when you find out just how far we have come? / And we've only just begun / I think that we could go a whole long way, together.” Grand Rapids, Michigan may not be the best place to start a band compared to Chicago or Detroit, but for Major Murphy, home is all they need to find a cohesive identity. — Josh Terry, “ Major Murphy's ‘Lafayette EP’ Sounds Like Home ”
Stephen Barton: Apex Legends—Original Soundtrack
Honestly, much as I love all these other jams, the reality is that I’ve not heard any music this week as much as Stephen Barton’s towering synth theme for Apex Legends. I won’t belabor you with an explanation of the game’s mechanics but rest assured, I am not very good, which means I’ve heard all the menu music a lot. So this may be a stockholm syndrome thing but I’ve come to think of most of the tracks as John Carpenter trying to cover Popol Vuh, which is, I suppose as fitting a soundtrack as any for some Hunger Games-y post-apocalyptic game show, which seems to be the thin setup for why Apex tasks players for shooting a bunch of people on an island. Anyway, hit me up if you can carry me to some wins. —Colin Joyce