By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
There’s been a lot of records I wish I covered in depth this year. While I may not be able to go as deep into these records as possible, I think a shorter format can help me put you onto some great albums that came out in 2022!
Slump6s – Genesis
To begin today have to give a big shout out to New York underground artist, Slump6s. Slump6s has a very unique take on the Soundcloud mosh pit rage scene, with Genesis bordering the lines of rap, psychedelia, ambient, and punk. Slump6s stated that the album’s music more or less reflected his mood when recording, flowing like a raw and uncut live session that emphasizes his lyrical bluntness and unique vocals. There’s a lot of highlights for fans of his style. “Graduation” is a disgusting banger, with Slump’s classic off-kilter flow boxing with a bass heavy instrumental, “Red” is a nice throwback to the Soundcloud sound that laid the groundwork off which Slump excels in, “Liv and Maddie” is a great back-and-forth with sgpwes that showcases the duo’s talents at making their vocals another notch in the instrumental. Other tracks emphasize Slump’s talent in honing in on his emotions and letting them speak for himself, like the excellent “Long Way From Home.” The album is very punk, very cocky, very loud, and very in your face…and if that kind of music is your style it’s worth a listen.
Black Thought and Danger Mouse – Cheat Codes
Black Thought raps and Danger Mouse beats? That’s a cheat code if I ever heard one.
In all seriousness, this album is as good as the name suggests. Few rappers are as talented and as poetic as Philadelphia’s Black Thought, renowned for his work with The Roots. In the same vein, Danger Mouse is an incredible producer, working with acts like MF DOOM and Gorillaz to craft some of popular music’s most forward thinking beats. The union of these two is fireworks, with 12 tracks of pristine jazz rap diving into societal issues, the duo’s respective successes and their accompanying vices. The highlights are numerous: “The Darkest Part” is a cinematic cut featuring layered similes and abstract imagery, complemented with elegant keys, pitch perfect backing vocals and a great Raekwon verse. “Belize” is a striking mix of classic vocal sampling, layered flexes from Thought and the late MF DOOM. Numerous tracks like the title track have intricate, layered rhymes that make each re-listen a reward, almost every beat balances classic rap staples with enough nuanced bells and whistles to make for a great instrumental palette, and the confidence of the pairing is electrifying. I hope these guys make another album together again soon!
Megan Thee Stallion – Traumazine
Megan Thee Stallion is one of thee most talented artists in the hip-hop and pop scenes, point blank. It only makes sense that with this status, she receives backlash on her music, her looks, etc…but damn did she fire back with Traumazine. Traumazine showcases all of Meg’s talents, but in a moodier, aggressive aesthetic. Her rap skills are on point in the first half, dropping banger after banger like the hyped “NDA,” the shit-talk anthem on “Ungrateful,” and the club rager “Her.” The back half is much more mellow than the first, but still features some great highlights in the Biggie-esque “Plan B” and the surprising (and welcome) collab with Sauce Walka and Lil Keke on “Southside Royalty Freestyle.” Even though I personally won’t bite on the few pop/R&B cuts on this record, even I have to admit that these crossovers are hugely improved over the Good News LP from a few years back. This is a great record and one that’s been on repeat for a while.
Flipturn – Shadowglow
Before signing off today I had to give a very big shoutout to Flipturn for their awesome major label debut, Shadowglow. Having been my first introduction to the thriving local rock scene in Gainesville, the Florida outfit has always been a fan favorite of mine. Their use of whimsical vocals, wavy instrumental work and gentle lyrics is striking and goes hard as hell in a live setting. Opener “Playground” is a somber reintroduction to the band as they work in smooth melodic work over lush instrumental harmonies and ruminations on the uncertainties of life. “Sad Disco” is a brazen mix of indie pop instrumentals and fantastic composition as the song evolves throughout. “Space Cowboy” is a beautiful ballad, one of the band’s most unique tracks as the instruments create an intergalactic feel. This album is Flipturn bigger, louder, and better than they’ve ever sounded before, and you shouldn’t let it slip by.
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