While some Binghamton University students may have spent their winter breaks doing a whole lot of nothing, the hip-hop world continued to bring new bops. From buzzy singles to complete albums and mixtapes, established artists and newcomers have been busy. Here are the biggest releases in hip-hop and rap from the past month.
The perpetually popular rapper leapt back onto the scene with “Revival,” released on Dec. 15. The nearly 80-minute album was met with mixed reviews, but still debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200. Some saw the album as Eminem re-entering the scene in his top form. Others considered it a nonessential and overly commercial product. Regardless, Marshall Mathers is not yet done — he is headlining several upcoming music festivals, including Governors Ball and Firefly.
Huncho Jack, “Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho”
Travis Scott and Quavo have teamed up to form a trap supergroup that exploded onto the scene with this album. Scott and Quavo — who is one third of hip-hop group Migos — released the eponymous “Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho” on Dec. 21. The group brings together two of the biggest names in hip-hop on this 13-song collection. The artists carried most of the tracks themselves, with features from only Takeoff and Offset, the other two members of Migos. The album received some criticism for monotony, but nonetheless reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200.
N.E.R.D., “NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES”
Pharrell Williams has established himself as one of the most prominent artists of this era, both as a solo singer and as a producer. Now, N.E.R.D, the rap-rock group with which he got his start is back with a new album. This tight 11-song album dropped on Dec. 15. N.E.R.D.’s first full release since 2010, the album features a laundry list of notable guests such as Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Future, Wale and Ed Sheeran. Despite the seven-year hiatus, glossy production from Williams ensured N.E.R.D. doesn’t skip a beat and they landed at No. 31 on Billboard’s Top 200. “NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES” tackles topics ranging from LGBTQ rights to police brutality, as N.E.R.D. re-enters the game in a compelling, relevant and political way.
Kendrick Lamar and SZA, “All the Stars”
This track released on Jan. 4 in tandem with the exciting news that Kendrick Lamar will be producing the soundtrack for the upcoming Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.” The single itself received some harsh criticism from old fans of Lamar who accused it of being generic and cliche, but the context of the song’s release does need to be considered — “All the Stars” is a piece of a film soundtrack, not a piece from Lamar’s own album, so some banality is to be excused.
Migos, “Stir Fry”
The Georgia-based trap-rap trio is at it again with this Pharrell Williams-produced promotional single for their upcoming album, “Culture 2.” “Stir Fry” was released on Dec. 20 and its designation as the official song of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game signaled Migos’ continuing popularity with their fans.
Bruno Mars and Cardi B, “Finesse (Remix)”
The “Bodak Yellow” artist joined Bruno Mars on this remix of a track off his album “24K Magic.” The original song wasn’t very popular, but since Cardi B hopped on the remix on Jan. 4, it has skyrocketed to No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bruno has long been a staple in the music industry, but newcomer Cardi B continues to prove she is not a one-hit wonder. The pair will perform together at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 28.