With all of us stuck inside trying to flatten the curve, now is as good a time as any to check out some of the albums that you haven’t had a chance to slap front to back. I know you have the time, and a whole lot of it. Below are 10 albums that’ll make this quarantine pass quickly! Read on below and check out our playlists on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music here!
ZayBang – The Streets Blame Me
ZayBang isn’t just next up in San Francisco, he’s now. The 24 year-old’s sophomore release makes good on the promise of more to come made on his debut Caught Up In The Crossfire. Led by singles “In That Rain”, “Think Twice”, and “Can’t Lose”, The Streets Blame Me, showcases a versatile artist with massive potential to break out. The Streets Blame Me features hard hitting street realism and puts ZayBang’s general sense of paranoia and caution on full display. Though he’s now shifted his focus to living out his rap aspirations, he recognizes that there are people from his past who don’t want to see him succeed. He refuses to become a victim to the circumstances he’s survived all this time, so he resolves to be as dangerous as his surroundings
DB.Boutabag – 2 Klocks
South Sacramento has been making a lot of noise and DB.Boutabag is one of the artists responsible for that. 2 Klocks is only his second full length release, but his growth since Bag Klan Misfit is clear. DB’ trying out different sounds collaborating with some innovative new producers like Saul and NouryJ, who produced standouts “Fettuccine” and “Non Stoppin” respectively. Lines like, “for my fettuccine cook a n*gga like a taco” and “boss nigga” and “boss n*ggas never go to sleep, we just keep on nappin'”, will make listener run back the track. DB’s got his own way of speaking, and it really works.
The Jacka – Murder Weapon
Murder Weapon is the first Jacka album we’ve gotten in the 5 years since he was tragically killed in East Oakland. The album wasn’t assembled by The Jacka’s team. Jacka was working on the album before his untimely passing, he even tweeted about it as early as 2012. He considered it to be one of his dopest works. The 13 track release features assists from Styles P, Freddie Gibbs, Berner, , Husalah, and a few others. The Jacka left some gems for us on the new album. Take some time while you’re home to soak up the game.
Ovrkast. – Try Again
Ovrkast. is burgeoning star within the lofi hip-hop community that’s been growing in Oakland the past year. First garnering attention as a producer online on Soundcloud, and then by managing to capture a placement on Earl Sweatshirt’s EP Feet Of Clay. In January Ovrkast. released his debut Try Again, a 9 track release with really impressive sample based production, with some of the prettiest, yet sad keys you’ll hear this year, in addition to dense bars that, as Ovrkast. says on track 7’s “Casualty”, “require me to think.” Ovrkast. is a talented writer, who clearly has a lot on his mind. Try Again is a walk through his mind at different moments, and it’s been one my favorite strolls this year.
EBK Young Joc – 21 Jump Street
If you’re looking for some dark hip-hop coming out of N. California, you should hit up EBK Young Joc. He’s come a long since early EBK HotBoiiz releases. His ear for production leans toward the menacing and slap heavy, while his bars make you question your realness and rethink your affiliations. 21 Jump Street is Joc’s debut and it did its job in making me wonder what the budding Stockton rapper will do next.
Larry June – Adjust To The Game
Larry June won 2019. He dropped phenomenal album after phenomenal album, and with Adjust To The Game, it appears he’s looking to do the same in 2020, if we survive it. As we’ve come to expect from Larry, Adjust To The Game is just smooth music you can drive to; and if you’re quarantined: smoke to, cook to, do yoga to, or avoid your work to. With the exception of “Organic Shark Tales”, the beats are soulful, and the lyrics brag different. Larry’s a player making a lot of money, and he makes you want to get on his level. You might come out of this Shelter In Place with a new business plan.
Kamaiyah – Got It Made
Kamaiyah was signed to Interscope and YG’s 4 Hunnid Records in 2016 following the success of her single “How Does It Feel” and her stellar debut mixtape A Good Night In The Ghetto which followed after. For years fans awaited the release of her major label debut, but after many the date was pushed back multiple times, it never came. Last August, Kamaiyah left Interscope and 4 Hunnid Records to launch her own label GRND.WRK in partnership with Empire. We never got Somethin To Ride To, but we did get Got It Made Feb. 21st. The album departs from the sample production style prominent on AGNITG, but maintains it’s unapologetically West Coast pride and with her new found independence records like “Pressure” hit hard, “I don’t need nobody’s help, through that pressure make it through whatever”.
Capolow – Sandman
Capolow started 2019 as a member of The Trill Youngins, trying to break out on his own. He saw success with songs like “OH SH!T” and “Drip”. He closed out his year as one of Oakland’s most promising solo acts, and he delivered Sandman, his solo full-length debut. It’s 10 tracks that full of Capolow’s trademark “ay ay!” and convincingly displays his expansive musical range and above average hit-writing ability. “Own It” is a lovely hip-hop pop ballad where “Mud” feels like an early 2000’s album opener. The album’s title track finds Capolow performing in a few different vocal tones, that don’t always sound like they should be coming from the same person.
As a debut Sandman is pretty great, and gives us a promise of more dope to come from the Oakland rapper.
Shootergang Kony – Red Paint Reverend
In 2017 many of us would’ve put money on Jojo being the Shootergang member with the breakout rap career. And back then, it felt like the safe bet. If you were paying attention at the top of 2018 though Kony should’ve caught your eye with singles like “Location On The Flyer” and his string of projects like Ginobili, 6:12, and March Madness helped solidify his space within the N. California scene and his 2019 was even stronger. Now we’re in 2020 and he’s just released Red Paint Reverend , a 14-track album accompanied by the best music videos of his career to-date. Early Kony releases were great because he rapped about how he’d shoot you in the face in a way that made you believe him. What makes his most recent output great, in addition to being targeted to a wider audience is how his music considers the cost of it all. He’s older and has experienced a fair amount of loss. That pain has since caught up with him, and the new father has a lot to lose. He still has great bars about putting holes in his enemies, but the shooter’s matured.
DJ Fresh – The Tonite Show w/ Curren$y
DJ Fresh is a legend and so is Curren$y at this point. It only makes sense that these two have joined forces for one really legendary Tonite Show. It’s a pretty succinct 10-track album that features Fresh giving us lush beats and Curren$y displaying his mastery as a wordsmith. He paints a picture in such an understated way. We aren’t getting in your face, but it’s bars! Stand outs for me are “Gimme Some Mo”, “Round 3 Times” and “Gambling Shack”. Honestly, if you have the time (you do), I’d also suggest going back to sift through DJ Fresh’ entire The Tonite Show catalogue. You won’t regret it. Every time you hear the tag “DJ Fresh DJ Fresh DJ Fresh”, you know you’re in for a treat.