The number of albums this week is small, there’s no hiding that, but thankfully the quality still packs a major punch. Travis Scott finally dropped his highly-anticipated project, Angel Olsen is back with an incredible follow up to her mainstream breakthrough, and TDE rhymer Isaiah Rashad has another tight set of heaters. On top of that, there’s new stuff from Eluvium, Bibio, and more. Here are the albums you need to hear this week.
Travis Scott – Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
I don’t know exactly how to explain it in music terms, but in sports terms, you could describe Travis Scott as a “glue guy.” A team could succeed without him, sure, but when he’s in the room with the right mix of musicians, they just seem to thrive on a level once thought not possible.
Here on Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, he’s refined his sound and managed to tighten everything that he was criticized for on his debut, Rodeo. And in addition to that, he’s got maybe the most loaded feature lineup of the year with Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Quavo, Kid Cudi, 21 Savage, Cassie and many more. That list alone sounds like a full Best Hip Hop Artist category. Clearly, no expense was spared and no corner was unturned. Travis operates in a strange space in hip hop, but with his sophomore effort, he’s out to prove he’s here to stay.
Angel Olsen – My Woman
If you never listened to 2014’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness, just stop and do that right now. Then, immediately following that, listen to My Woman as a one-two punch of indie folk from expert rocker Angel Olsen. There are few artists who can walk the tightrope that she manages to; Olsen can sound as tough and raw as humanely possible, but simultaneously sound incredibly ornate.
The gorgeous arrangement combined with the visceral vulnerability manages to open you up in a way that is very rare to find. What we knew about My Woman going in — “Sister” and “Shut Up Kiss Me” — had been very promising, but now that the whole thing has arrived, it’s clear that this is a potential album of the year candidate.
Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade
It’s unfortunate that whenever folks think of Top Dawg Entertainment, they think of the members of Black Hippy, meaning ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and of course, Kendrick Lamar. But if we’re telling the truth, among the entire label’s discography, Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo is the greatest LP put out by the collective by anyone not named Kendrick. Hopefully that reputation will change with the rhymers sophomore effort, The Sun’s Tirade.
Technically his full length debut — Cilvia is classified as an EP — Rashad floats effortlessly on more breezy beats crafted by a wide array of producers, including a mix of in house Digi+Phonics folks as well as mainstream producers like Mike Will Made It. For someone with as smooth a flow as he has, it was sort of shocking when he revealed he was having issues struggling with drug addiction, almost getting dropped by Top Dawg himself three separate times. Thankfully, he’s said that he’s living a healthy life now, and he can look at The Sun’s Tirade as a major representation of the good that he can put out in the world.