To Add to Your Playlist

Merwan Yeditha, Contributing Writer

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Best New Music:

Assume Form, released January 18th by acclaimed producer, singer, and songwriter James Blake, has already become one of the most popular releases of the year. Blake has grown in popularity, producing for many popular artists, such as Kendrick Lamar, Anderson Paak, Jay Z, Beyonce, and Frank Ocean. In his new album, Blake carries over his hip-hop oriented beatmaking. One track, titled “Single Mile High,” features Travis Scott, and Blake co-produces the track with Metro Boomin’. The third track on the album, “Tell Them,” was also produced with Metro Boomin’. As usual, Blake’s production stands out on the album. Throughout it, Blake appears more consistent than in his earlier works, and the entire album is a treat to listen to.

Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next has been thought of as perhaps her strongest album to date. It is clear that Grande has changed her sound since her last album, Sweetener. Grande has grown up, due to enduring tragedy, breaking off her engagement with Pete Davidson and experiencing the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. This is reflected in her music, which tackles more emotional issues in the singer’s life.

After a year-long hiatus, Future released his new album, The Wizrd. Future, once again, released an album where he keeps the tone dark, continuing to wrestle with his inner demons and rapping with his usual bleak voice. While it does not reach the emotional peaks of some of his previous works, it is still a consistent album, well worth listening to for fans who enjoy his previous work.

In other news, Drake’s 2010 mixtape, So Far Gone, was recently published on multiple streaming services. While it is not necessarily new music, it is a great way to remember the musical journey of one of the largest figures in modern music.

New Album Watch:

Nearly five months after Kanye West announced the release of his newest album, Yandhi, fans still have not gotten even a bit of information regarding its release. After missing his initial publication date of September 29th, Kim Kardashian tweeted that Yandhi was not completed. She then announced that it would be released on November 23rd. However, Kanye, once again, announced that it would be delayed, but this time did not offer any information on when to expect it in stores. In January, reports finally surfaced that West was in a legal dispute with Roc-A-Fella Records, owned by Jay-Z, which was holding up the release of his album. Later, these rumors were found to be baseless. Now the question arises: will the album ever be released? Yandhi, which was supposed to be the sequel to 2013’s critically acclaimed Yeezus, has been touted by Kanye as “daring”, and “genius.” That all may very well be true, but unless he releases the album, there’s no way of knowing.

Other albums to look for include Port of Miami 2, by Rick Ross. Ross tweeted that he was putting “finishing touches” on the album in November, so a release date is iminent. Chance the Rapper has also promised a few albums, including a collaboration with Kanye West and a collaboration with Childish Gambino. Chance the Rapper also reported that he had completed six songs for his collaboration with Gambino, but nothing has been reported on his collaboration with West.