The holiday season is still going strong and so is hip-hop when it comes to new music. Gift rapping this week finds a female rap icon delivering an album surrounded by hype, a proven rapper-producer duo paying homage to their ancestry with an entire EP, a melodic rhymer repping Los Angeles putting out a new project and more.
Just in time for the Barbz to celebrate her birthday, Nicki Minaj finally blesses her rabid legion of fans with her long-awaited new album, Pink Friday 2. The Queens-bred icon led the LP’s rollout with the September release of her pop-rap hybrid track “Last Time I Saw You.” The ATL Jacob-produced single peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and has since raked in over 42 million Spotify streams.
Also included on Pink Friday 2 is the complete version of “Big Difference,” a hard-hitting 808-driven track packed with battle bars that Nicki previewed during her performance at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards. Five years in the making, Nicki’s fifth studio offering was originally slated to drop in October. However, after pushing the release back to Nov. 17, Minaj ultimately declared via Instagram Live that she would put out Pink Friday 2 to the masses on the date she was born, Dec. 8.
Leading up to the official release date, Nicki Minaj teased PF2 as “one of the greatest albums of all time.” The LP comes one month after Nicki and Ice Spice’s “Barbie World” was nominated in the Best Rap Song category for the upcoming 2024 Grammy Awards.
Blu and Nottz reunite for the release of their new EP, Afrika. For their third collaborative effort, the rapper-producer combo comes through with a 10-track concept project that they view as a “celebration of the rich history and culture of their ancestral homeland.”
Last week, Blu and Nottz previewed the EP with “Marcus Garvey” featuring Quelle Chris and Shad, a socially conscious track titled after the late world-renowned political activist of the same name. Afrika also includes guest appearances from Mickey Factz, Cashus King, Bloodmoney Perez and Black Shakespeare, among others.
In speaking on the project ahead of its release, Blu offered some insight into the direction of his lyrical content.
“These are lyrics that I needed to express to those who support my music so they can hold with them what I hold most important to who I am, African,” the former XXL Freshman explained in a statement. “I hope this project inspires many others to speak on the father and home of humanity, Afrika.”
After his last album 222 was praised as one of the best hip-hop projects of 2022, Kalan.FrFr closes out 2023 in the form of his new EP Not Hard 2 Understand. Throughout the six-song project, the Los Angeles rap-crooner stays true to the classic West Coast G-funk sound in a modern way with production from the likes of Mustard, Hitmaka and OG Parker, among others.
Singles from Not Hard 2 Understand include “Butterfly Coupe,” a catchy bop featuring Quavo, and “Ain’t Nothin,” a smooth, lighthearted take on enjoying the luxuries of life. In promoting the project, Kalan joined the Off the Porch podcast to offer some insight into his latest offering.
“It’s straight to the point,” Kalan.FrFr says bluntly as he explains why the EP is called Not Hard 2 Understand. “It’s straight to the point. It’s gon’ be the hardest s**t out.”
Written by: jarvis
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