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The Best Drake Albums, Ranked

Drake doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Since he burst onto the scene in the late 2000s he has been one of the most dominant artists in history. He has solidified his place as not only one of the most popular and successful artists in the world, but also as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Billboard even named him the artist of the last decade. He has countless hit songs and even more scene-stealing guest appearances.

12 of his projects, which includes albums, mixtapes, collaborative efforts, a playlist and a compilation have peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard’s album chart. But which of Drake’s projects is really the best? When it comes to ranking the best Drake albums, there are definitely different factors to consider. Throughout his projects there are so many highlights, from club bangers to introspective ballads to him experimenting with different sounds and flows

With the release of his most recent album, Her Loss, we thought it would be an excellent time to take a step back and look at all of the projects that led to this point. Below, we’ve ranked every single one of Drake’s albums and mixtapes (and a compilation and a playlist) from worst to best. Let us know what you think about our picks.

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14. Room For Improvement

The title of Drake’s first mixtape would end up being slightly prophetic, as so much of his work is. It’s not that Room For Improvement is a bad project per se because it’s not. Some fans swear to this day that he’ll never outdo this era of music. That feels like an exaggeration, though. The raps here are raw and unpolished, and Drake was yet to stand out from the pack with his signature style. This is certainly worth a listen, though, especially ‘City Is Mine’ and his freestyle over Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Kick Push.’

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13. Comeback Season

Drake’s second mixtape was in a similar lane to his first, but hints of the superstar that we’d be introduced to a couple of years later were now a little more present. Even if you haven’t sat with the 2007 mixtape from start to finish, you’ve more than likely heard ‘Replacement Girl’ with Trey Songz, which Drake credits as his first time collaborating with a star from the States. Some other guests on here that Hip-Hop heads wish Drake would have collaborated with since, like Phonte, Lil Brother, and Elzhi.

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12. Dark Lane Demo Tapes

Throughout the top of 2020, Drake music was leaking very frequently. In a few months, fans had an album’s worth of leaks like ‘Not Around,’ ‘Zodiac Sign’ with Jessie Reyez, and ‘Vital.’ Drake addressed them once on Instagram Live, saying that they were all old.

The leaks ended up giving him the idea of compiling some music that he had sitting around, and the result was Dark Lane Demo Tapes. It gave loosies’ War’ and ‘Desires’ a home, gave us the final versions of ‘Deep Pockets’ and ‘From Florida With Love’ and gave fans the full version of ‘Not You Too’ and ‘Pain 1993’, which fans had been playing snippets of on repeat. The project has some gems on it, namely ‘When To Say When’ and ‘Chicago Freestyle,’ but overall, it falls short of Drake’s standard with official albums and mixtapes, which is why it’s labeled as a compilation on streaming services.

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11. Honestly, Nevermind

Drake switched things up for seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind. The surprise album leaned heavy into house and Baltimore club vibes. It dropped only nine months after the release of Certified Lover Boy and featured only one pure rap song, which was the album’s outro, “Jimmy Cooks.” The 21 Savage-assisted banger debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Drake eleventh chart-topper. HipHopDX’s Vivian Medithi put it best, “He stopped making the Drake album we want him to make and made the Drake album Drake wants to make.” For many Drizzy fans, the album was a little too experimental. For others, lyrically it was underwhelming. The 14-track album’s production, however, was top-notch. Drake collaborated with Black Coffee, DJ Carnage and other producers to help bring his vision to life. Hate it or love it, Honestly, Nevermind will be remembered as one of Drake’s most ambitious projects ever.

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10. Her Loss

Drake and 21 Savage have an undeniable creative chemistry. So it’s only right that the two frequent collaborators would link up for a collaborative project. The 16-track album titled, Her Loss features contributions from platinum producers including Metro Boomin, Boi-1da, Tay Keith,Vinylz, Wheezy, Taz Taylor and Oz. Travis Scott drops off a verse on “Pussy & Millions,” while Birdman talks his shit on “Middle of the Ocean.” Lil Yachty’s name also appears in the album credits due to his production on several tracks, including “BackOutsideBoyz,” “Privileged Rappers,” “Pussy & Millions” and “Jumbotron Shit Poppin.” Prior to the release of the album, Drake and 21 did a little trolling by doing fake Tiny Desk, SNL (Michael B. Jordan) and Color performances; releasing a fake Vogue cover and doing a fake Howard Stern interview. Landed at No. 1 pushing 404,000 album-equivalent units and earning more than 513 million on-demand streams in its first week.

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9. What A Time To Be Alive

It’s funny to remember now, but Drake’s joint mixtape with Future originally came about out of spite for Meek Mill. We were fresh off of ‘Charged Up,’ ‘Back To Back,’ and ‘Wanna Know,’ and a few months before it all on The Breakfast Club, Meek named Future as one of the only artists he listens to day-to-day. That was without a doubt a major reason that Drake decided to do What A Time To Be Alive in the first place. He is the self-proclaimed “petty king,” after all.

Naturally, many of Drake’s verses on this are sprinkled with brags about winning the beef and subtle shots, but not enough for the tape to not be relevant and playable in 2021.

The main criticisms of this project are that, at times, it feels more like a Future project with Drake features on it than a 50/50 collaboration. With that being said, ‘Digital Dash’ and ‘Diamonds Dancing’ remain standouts in either’s discography. Both of them made our recent list of the 50 best Drake songs.

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8. More Life

More Life isn’t an album. It isn’t a mixtape. It isn’t even a compilation. It’s a playlist. At least, that’s what it was marketed as.

Essentially, there’s not too much difference about it structurally to a tape or compilation project. You could argue that Skepta and Sampha having their own songs on it lends itself to more of a playlist, but Drake also gave Kendrick his own song on Take Care, PARTYNEXTDOOR his own song on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and Majid Jordan their own song on Views.

Judging it as a piece of music, there are some great moments on here. Some of them are Drake’s energy on ‘Free Smoke’ and his upgrade from ‘Controlla’ to ‘Blem’ on here. However, the project suffers from the same thing that a couple of other projects on this list did. It’s too damn long. In all honesty, the playlist tag feels more like an excuse for not thinking so much about concepts, transitions, and themes than anything.

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7. Thank Me Later

Drake entered the game with his third mixtape, So Far Gone, having an impact like a big album. While that’s the kind of thing artists pray for and fantasize about, it meant that on his actual first album, he had all of the pressures of the infamous sophomore slump.

When you look at the tracklist for Thank Me Later, the first thing you’ll notice is how star-studded it is. JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, T.I., and Alicia Keys make appearances on it, while Timbaland, Kanye West, and No I.D. are some of the producers that the L.P. boasts work from. This was entirely intentional, and it was Drizzy trying to prove to the world that a kid from Canada could not only get features from big names like this but hang with them too.

In terms of sound, TML felt like a transition from the melancholy, atmospheric vibe of So Far Gone, which was later reapproached and mastered on Take Care. It feels like Drake has been thrust into his position as a superstar and doesn’t know what to do with it.

Despite that, it’s a concise project with incredible highs like ‘Shut It Down’ and ‘Light Up.’

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6. Scorpion

Until about a month before Scorpion dropped, Drake had done everything right. In response to the idea that he took smaller artists’ songs and jumped on them to take their shine, he did ‘Look Alive’ with BlocBoy JB and did the video with him. He gave away $1 million in the ‘God’s Plan’ video. He put black women on a pedestal for the ‘Nice For What’ visual. But then, the Pusha T beef hit its height.

‘The Story Of Adidon’ put pressure on Drake like we could have never imagined for someone of his magnitude. Scorpion was his answer and a direct one at that.

Somewhat controversially, Drake spent a lot of time of the Rap portion of the album talking about Pusha T and Kanye West. Some felt that it took away from the album, while others argued that it gave the music a fierce edge that was necessary.

All in all, Scorpion could have been a really great album if Drake wasn’t married to the idea of doing a double-disc. There’s just too much fat on it to place any higher on the list.

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Views is an album that was so critically acclaimed when it dropped that people put a little too much weight on its flaws, perhaps just to be contrarians. The album’s commercial success puts it in a weird space.

Drake has said that the concept of Views is inspired by the weather in Toronto, specifically the extremes of its harsh winters and scorching summers. He told Zane Lowe that the album starts off in the winter, takes us through the summer, and ends again in the winter. That feels a little bit like an afterthought to justify having some moody music and some fun records on the same project.

Either way, Drake’s fourth studio album doesn’t get the credit it deserves for doing what it did for Afrobeats and Dancehall. Whether anyone likes it or not, Drake popularised the genres for a mainstream audience, and Views encapsulates that moment perfectly with songs like ‘One Dance’ and ‘Controlla.’ We’re not sure anyone could blend a handful of genres together more smoothly than this.

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4. So Far Gone

For some, as is always the case, the nostalgia of Drake’s 2009 mixtape So Far Gone means that it can never be topped.

With this project, Drake created an aura attached to Hip-Hop and R&B music from Toronto for a decade. As he poetically put it on ‘Say What’s Real,’ it marks the moment that he transitioned “from fitting into standing out.”

There are hard Rap moments like ‘Uptown’ and vulnerable gems like ‘Brand New’, and they live in harmony under the same umbrella.

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3. Take Care

Drake’s sophomore album took the ‘contentious relationship with fame’ topics from Thank Me Later and mixed it with the desolation of So Far Gone. The result is the project that shaped Drake’s career and gave us an authentic glimpse of the places he could go as an artist.

Take Care is flawed only by its overly sweet moments like ‘Make Me Proud’ and ‘We’ll Be Fine’ that piece through its ambiance and even feel out of place conceptually. To Drake and 40’s credit, they acknowledged that the album was slightly too long and went out of their way to fix that for Drake’s next album.

When you talk Take Care, The Weeknd’s contribution must always be acknowledged. The singer helped Drake in some of the more ballad moments and gave up some of his own music for the project.

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2. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Technically a mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late came at a time when Drake had gone around a year and a half without an album and needed a sort of bridge to the already-announced Views.

Drake had always wanted to lock in with Boi-1da and do a tape full of more aggressive Rap songs, which was the perfect opportunity. We ended up with a cold project that had much more impact than Drake intended or anticipated.

IYRTITL is Drake’s second-best body of work because it’s one of his easiest to play from start to finish, and although it’s evident that part of Drake’s goal with it was to put on banger after banger without giving much thought to transitions or a larger picture, that’s also one of its gifts.

For some, this LP will always be marred by its association with Quentin Miller, but if you’re able to look past his contributions, the 2015 tape is special.

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1. Nothing Was The Same

Coming off of Take Care, there was a transition taking place for Drake. He was turning from ‘the leader of the new guys’ to just one of the top rappers, his idols truly becoming his peers and rivals. He was well aware of the perception that he was the #1 rapper on the planet in 2013, and he owned it, no pun intended.

Nothing Was The Same’s title even alludes to the fact, as does a lot of its content. “Fuck all that ‘happy to be here’ shit that y’all want me on, I’m the big homie,” he acknowledges on ‘Paris Morton Music 2’.

It helped that he was coming off of a fight with Chris Brown, and tension with Kendrick Lamar was already building. ‘The Language’ sees Drake dismiss the Compton MC entirely, singing, “I don’t know why they been lying, but your shit is not that inspiring.” He was stepping up to the plate, unapologetically so.

More than anything, NWTS is the project that it felt like Drake and 40 had been trying to make up until that point. The rapper talked about correcting the mistakes of Take Care where two good songs could have been one song and intentionally capping himself to 13 tracks. It paid off.


Travis Barker’s Biggest Hip Hop Moments

You know Travis Barker—he’s a seminal figure in emo pop-punk history as the lead drummer of Blink 182, a newly-established reality tv stalwart thanks to his marriage to Kourtney Kardashian, plane crash survivor and a memoirist. Over the last ten-ish years, he’s also sneakily built up a discography  as a hip-hop power player that rivals just about anybody else in his genre. Under his auspices, hip hop has entered its new pop-punk era with Barker shaping a new generation of heart-stricken crooners such as Machine Gun Kelly and Iann Diorr. Here are Travis Barker’s biggest hip hop moments as he transitions from rock drummer to all-purpose musical guru. 

1. “Crank Dat” Cover
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Every piece of this video feels dated—the shaky, out-of-focus footage that looks like it was captured with a camcorder, the title’s “(EPIC DRUM COVER)” parenthetical, the very fact that it’s a rock-music-adjacent rendition of “Crank Dat” by Soulja Boy. Filmed in the late 2000s, Barker’s Soulja Boy cover was part of a series of remixes of popular rap songs that Barker uploaded to YouTube during this period—his version of Flo Rida’s “Low” was similarly well-received. While Barker wasn’t yet creating original hip hop music, these little viral showcases demonstrated his comfort blending different styles and genres.

2. TI, “Yeah Ya Know (Takers)”
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This 2010 collaboration between Barker and southern rap legend T.I. marked one of Barker’s earliest forays into hip hop. Although the song doesn’t carry the Blink pop-punk hallmarks of Barker’s more recent work, the Blink 182 drummer’s fingerprints are apparent in the crisp drum pattern and the wailing electric guitar in the background. “Yeah Ya Know” might not have made waves as a hit single, but it laid the foundation for Barker’s future successes, legitimizing him as a serious hip hop producer outside of the purview of his day-job as a drummer. 

3. “Give The Drummer Some”
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Barker’s debut album was an opportunity to flex his hip hop bonafides—Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz, The Game, Pharrell, Lupe Fiasco, RZA, Raekwon, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, E-40, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Kid Cudi, Tech N9ne, Bun B, Beanie Sigel, Paul Wall, Jay Rock, Kurupt, and Clipse all have features. With its loaded track-list of rap royalty, Give the Drummer Some served as a de facto industry-wide endorsement of Barker. 

4. Pitbull, “Bad Man (Featuring Robin Thicke, Joe Perry, Travis Barker)”
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People don’t take Pitbull seriously and it’s not hard to understand why. He makes silly songs! And while Pitbull is largely regarded as a remnant of the confusing mid-2000s culture that had people wearing lens-less glasses, his embrace of Travis Barker in 2016 seems downright visionary in retrospect. To be sure, “Bad Man” isn’t a traditionally good song, but Pitbull and Travis Barker make it listenable through sheer force of charisma. 

5. 03 Greedo, “Meet the Drummers”
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In the summer of 2019, 03 Greedo was in high-demand, working with super-producers such as DJ Mustard and Kenny Beats during his final days of freedom before the start of a lengthy prison sentence in Texas. Naturally, though, Greedo found time to link up with Barker, laying the ground-work for Meet the Drummers, a five-song EP. Even across these five songs, their chemistry is clear on standouts “Cellout’ and “Trap Again.” For years, Greedo has described his sound as “emo music for gangbangers;” with Barker, he evidently found his perfect emo music muse. 

6. UnoTheActivist, “Might Not Make It”
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Whereas most of Barker’s collaborations are with big-name artists, UnoTheActivist is still relatively underground. Combining Playboi Carti’s idiosyncratic vocals with Gunna’s unwavering chill, Uno makes prototypical, blissed-out Atlanta-style trap music. More, working with Uno represented an opportunity for Barker to dabble with a new sonic palette. As such, Might Not Make It sounds unalike any of Barker’s earlier hip hop projects while still maintaining the general pathos of his other work. 

7. Machine Gun Kelly, “Tickets to My Downfall” and “Mainstream Sellout”
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For the last decade, it’s felt like an inevitability that Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker would collide at some point—Kelly is a “rapper” who’s pined for pop-rock stardom; Barker is a pop-rock idol who’s transitioned into more hip-hop-ish territory. On 2020’s Tickets to My Downfall and 2022’s Mainstream Sellout , Barker positions Kelly as a new-age Mark Hoppus, smirkingly tearing through hook-y, uptempo pop-punk songs. It’s a natural fit for both Kelly and Barker—in Barker, Kelly finds the legitimacy to credibly switch his sound; in Kelly, Barker has the frontman to recapture the star-making energy that defined Blink 182 and has has now drifted back into the zeitgeist. Together, they combine for one of Travis Barker’s biggest hip hop moments, if not his single biggest so far.


10 Metro Boomin Projects, Ranked

To a degree, hip-hop as we know it wouldn’t exist without Metro Boomin. Born Leyland Wayne, Metro Boomin has been one of the most prolific and influential producers of the last decade. He has produced top 10 hits for Drake (“Knife Talk”), The Weeknd (“Heartless”), Migos (“Bad and Boujee”) and other superstars. According to Lil Durk, he and Metro are currently cooking up a collaborative project. Metro Boomin projects are studded with so many precious metals it would make even the most experienced gemologist blush: 1 diamond single, over 30 platinum songs, another few dozen gold records. Here’s the official, inarguable ranking of the 10 best Metro Boomin projects. 

10. Double Or Nothing
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Big Sean is an easy target; he once rapped “I’m Quagmire, I fuck hoes/My cashflow I ‘giggity-get’ it” without a hint of irony. And part of the reason it’s so easy is that a lot of it is also true. While Big Sean has evolved into a more thoughtful and effective artist, Double or Nothing finds him in a weird half space between the artist he was (the musical equivalent of that time Hillary Clinton was just chillin’ in Cedar Rapids) and the artist he would become (an above-average rapper). Here, vagina jokes run aground on Rosa Parks analogies run around on 69 jokes run aground on Colin Kaepernick takes. It’s a weird hodgepodge of juvenilia and half-baked social commentary that not even Metro’s beats can fully salvage. 

9. Perfect Timing
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I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Like all Nav projects, Perfect Timing just kind of exists; it sounds nice—the beats are expansive and moody, Nav is capable of twirling out a few earwormy-y melodies, the guest list is star-studded—but you never leave a Nav project hungry for more Nav. In this sense, it’s musical fast fashion, something adequate and satisfying but ultimately disposable. Nav’s greatest strength as a rapper is his ability to match his collaborator’s energy, yet he’s surprisingly inert on Perfect Timing, in large part because Metro Boomin doesn’t provide him with the most exciting backdrop. Ultimately, it’s a project that indulges both of their less good impulses—NAV is all too happy to settle into the low-gear groove that Metro creates for him. In the end, Perfect Timing is enjoyable without being memorable.  

8. Not All Heroes Wear Capes
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When Not All Heroes Wear Capes hits, it really hits. Unsurprisingly, the best tracks come from his most frequent collaborators—21 Savage menacingly whispers his way through “Don’t Come Out the House” and is uncharacteristically excitable on “10 Freaky Girls;” Gunna glides through “Space Cadet;” Travis Scott and Young Thug turn the studio space on “Up to Something” into their personal Dreamatorium. The rest of the album, however, is plagued by ponderous songs and gratuitous experiments. Forays into of-the-moment reggaeton and afrobeat sounds are clunky and unnatural; tracks like “Dreamcatcher” and “Lesbian” are so narcotized they border on narcoleptic. As is typical for this kind of producer album, NAHWC has some astounding highs but is padded out by lots of filler. 

7. Droptopwop
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Released on the one-year anniversary of his 2016 release from prison, Droptopwop is a triumphant victory lap from one of hip hop’s most beloved elder statesmen. Even if it’s not quite up to the standard of Gucci’s best work, it’s a fun little joyride. Just try not to smile when Gucci tries his hand at Offset’s hypnotic triplets-flow on “Met Gala” or when he calls himself a “conniver, a miser, a plug despiser” on “Finesse the Plug Interlude.”

6. What A Time To Be Alive
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Ever since it dropped in 2015, Drake and Future’s collaborative mixtape has had high school basketball layup lines in a headlock. Overall, this is a fairly one-note project, it’s just that that one note happens to bang. Obviously “Jumpman” is the enduring hit but slightly deeper cuts like “Diamonds Dancing” and “Scholarship” offer even greater rewards; Drake’s flow switch in his “Scholarship” verse is just about as good as any other micro-moment in his career.  

5. Savage Mode 2
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Whereas the original Savage Mode was a punishing, spartan experience, Metro Boomin and 21 Savage pull out all the stops for their legendary mixtape’s sequel. On Savage Mode 2, the whole enterprise feels luxer—the beats click along at a more head-nod-able pace, the sample budget is fat enough to accomodate interpolating 50 Cent’s “Many Men,” Drake shows up. Perhaps the single biggest flex, though, is that Morgan Freeman narrates the project, which adds depth to the expanding 21 Savage-Metro Boomin universe. 

4. Purple Reign
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Released in early 2016, Purple Reign capped an 18 month stretch where Future became the best rapper alive. The full breadth of Future’s powers are on display—“All Right” and “Salute” are bitter, curdled bangers; “Perkys Calling” and “Purple Reign” are two of the tenderest songs of Future’s career, laying the foundation for his balladeer turn on HNDRXX.  Although it doesn’t quite measure up to DS2 or Monster (more on this later), Purple Reign has more great songs than most rappers have in their whole career.

3. Without Warning
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A surprise drop on Halloween 2017, Without Warning enlists Offset and 21 Savage to tell horror stories. With Metro supplying eerie, menacing production, Offset and 21 unspool tales of violence and gunplay with unsettling casualness. Although the tape didn’t spawn any radio hits (“Ric Flair Drip” is probably the closest thing to one), there’s a thrilling cohesiveness to the project as all three of its principals work in concert. 

2. Savage Mode
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From the moment he rose to prominence in 2014, Metro Boomin has been one of the best producers in hip hop. The Savage Mode, though, established him as an artist beyond merely being a beat-maker. Across its nine songs and 32 minutes, there’s not a single extraneous bar or drum kick. The beats are lean to the point of brutalism and the lyrics are bleak to the point of nihilism. The first album with Metro listed as an artist rather than just as a producer, Savage Mode is evidence of the clarity of purpose that’s fueled his greatness. 

1. Monster
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One of the very Metro Boomin projects, if not one of the very best mixtapes at large. If you don’t understand why, go listen to “Throw Away” and “Codeine Crazy until you do. 


The Best Wu-Tang Clan Albums, Ranked

Next year will mark three decades since Wu-Tang Clan first kicked down our doors with their debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Since then, excluding their incredible array of solo releases and vast amount of compilation albums, the group has released a total of seven albums since 1993.

At least a couple of these are heralded as classics by fans and critics alike, with their positioning up for debate. We decided to take a crack at ranking the Wu’s albums from best to worst. Check it out below and let us know what you think. Perhaps you’ll notice a pattern that emerges in the order.

7. Once Upon A Time In Shaolin (2015)
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Once Upon A Time In Shaolin takes the lowest spot on this list by default. If you’re familiar with the name but are wondering why you’ve never heard it or seen a review about it, this is the LP that the Wu sold the sole copy of to Martin Shkreli for a whopping $2 million, making it the most expensive body of musical work ever sold. The process was a statement against the digital era of music, which Wu felt was devaluing art. The current owner is PleasrDAO who bought it for $4 million. Some of the album has found its way online, but judging it off of those low-quality rips isn’t fair at all. If you’re reading this, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get to hear it officially too, because it’s only allowed to be played at listening parties until the year 2103, when it can be ‘commercially exploited’.

6. A Better Tomorrow (2014)

In general, A Better Tomorrow isn’t really an outright bad album. There are still standout performances on it and in places, it feels enough like Wu-Tang Clan to give you some nostalgia as a celebration of two decades since their inception. The problem is that some of the lows are really low, and consist of the group trying to reach outside what they do best. Some of the group’s members weren’t on the same page for this album’s creation and it actually comes across a little in the music. Overall, it falls short of why we love the New York crew in the first place.

5. 8 Diagrams (2007)
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This is the infamous album that came after a long hiatus, largely due to the tragic, untimely death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. This was the first Wu-Tang album since their debut to feature RZA’s production on every single song, even though he had credits on the vast majority of all of the albums in between. His style of production on 8 Diagrams was a point of contention for Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, who didn’t like that the album wasn’t true to the cold, gritty sound that they considered the group’s signature. It was what birthed Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, which intentionally didn’t include any input from RZA. Despite Rae and Ghostface’s frustrations with the sound, most people enjoyed the fact that the group stepped outside of their comfort zone.

4. Iron Flag (2001)

Iron Flag was put out a year after the group’s last album, The W. It was a quick turnaround that had some skepticism about the group’s status and how much longer they’d be together, but those rumors were dispelled on the LP. The sound of Hip-Hop was changing around this time. Jay-Z had just dropped The Blueprint and the turn of the new millennium meant new things were on the horizon. Iron Flag was a great combination of Wu-Tang Clan adjusting to that, but keeping their raw feel too.

3. The W (2000)
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For many, The W is the best album of the year 2000. It was the last Wu-Tang album to feature ODB and saw them mostly stick to their stripped-down, dirty sound, with some songs that tried to step into other genres in a way that the aforementioned Iron Flag and 8 Diagrams did in a bigger way. It felt only right that after a classic debut album and a classic sophomore follow-up, they should step out of their bounds a little bit. While the album falls slightly short of those kinds of honors, it’s a solid project that’s only a step below their best work.

2. Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

After their classic debut album in 1993, some of the group’s members had great solo success. In 1995, GZA put out Liquid Swords and Raekwon put out Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, two of the better albums to grace the genre. Due to that though, the pressure was on when the group came back together for their second album, Wu-Tang Forever. Could the magic be there a second time around? The answer was a resounding yes. For many, this album could easily top the list of the best Wu-Tang Clan album, but coming second place is nothing to turn your nose up at. Its lead single ‘Triumph’ was ambitious, coming in at 6 minutes and conforming for no one. It got airplay regardless. The Wu really couldn’t miss on this one. It turned 25 earlier this month and hasn’t lost its edge at all.

1. Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

To complete our list of ranked Wu-Tang albums, which coincidentally is every Wu-Tang album in reverse chronological order, here’s our #1 pick, 36 Chambers. It isn’t so much a debut album as an introduction to the entire world of the Wu-Tang Clan, which is why its title is so fitting. The samples were unlike anything anyone had ever heard before. The beats were grimy and took you straight to the streets of New York. The bars from every member were mesmerizing and came together with a chemistry that most artists could only dream of. To top it all off, it could have easily been an underground classic, but it received a lot of commercial success too. The album truly hits all marks and is easily one of the best Hip-Hop albums of all time.


Which 12 New York Rappers You Should Know?

While New York’s rap movement is currently ignited by its combination of OG’s, superstars, and upstarts, another wave of talent is waiting to surface. Across the state of New York, specifically the tri-state area within Westchester County and New York City, MCs are steadily building their audiences while adding to their resumes.

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Whether it’s releasing music videos that attract millions of views, collaborating with one of the culture’s biggest acts, or touring alongside a Grammy-nominated artist, this list of rappers has done a bit of everything and getting closer to introducing themselves to hip-hop’s mainstream audience.

Here’s our list of 12 New York rappers you should know.

Young Devyn
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Coming from Brooklyn, NY, Devyn has established herself as a talented rapper and songwriter with the ability to make many records– ranging from drill to soca. Over the past year, the 20-year-old MC has signed with Island Records, released a new EP (Baby Goat), and performed at Rolling Loud.

Dougie B
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Alongside his close friends and fellow collaborators, Kay Flock and B-Lovee, Dougie B has become a prominent Bronx drill act. Inspired by his infectious energy, Dougie has provided various standout verses (I.E., “T Cardi” and “I’m Back”), worked with fellow Bronx native and multi-platinum MC Cardi B, and performed at HOT 97’s Summer Jam earlier this month.

Malz Monday
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Coming from Westchester County, NY, Malz has become an early favorite for those loving lyricism and storytelling. Coming off of his acclaimed December 2021 release, Super Heroes Don’t Exist, Malz has reached over 215,000 monthly Spotify listeners and is performing at the Mercury Lounge on July 2nd.

Ice Spice
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If you’re really into New York drill, you’ve probably entered a rabbit hole and discovered plenty of artists before– with Ice Spice being one of them. The Bronx, NY native is gaining a lot of steam right now as her standout single, “No Clarity,” has nearly 200K views on YouTube, and she got featured in Converse and Foot Locker’s Black Music Month campaign.

Kenzo B
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Within the last five months, Kenzo B has quickly caught the attention of fans around New York City, and for a good reason. Aided by her slick wordplay and smooth delivery, the NYC native is positioned to have a good summer as her “Bump It” single is consistently being played at events and throughout neighborhoods.

Niko Brim
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Whether as an activist who played a crucial role in making Juneteenth a national holiday to touring with Grammy-nominated MC, Cordae, Niko Brim‘s star has been steadily rising over the past year. The proud Mount Vernon, NY native, who’s also a co-founder of the buzzing rap collective, CYN, has been busy releasing new and well-received music— an April-released joint EP with Kai Ca$h titled ELEVEN53 and various freestyles.

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Coming out of New Rochelle, NY, STEELYONE has become one of the Tri-State’s most respected and experienced lyricists. Fresh off releasing another stellar project in Lost City last January, the Stainless Global leader completed another sold-out overseas tour through Europe and is gearing up for more releases before the end of this year.

Iman Nunez
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In recent years, Iman Nunez has produced one heck of a resume. Between exchanging verses with the legendary Styles P, performing alongside Lil Wayne and Machine Gun Kelly, and making his SXSW performance debut this year, the Yonkers, NY MC is sure to take off even more in 2022-’23.

Shawny Binladen
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The “King of Samples” may catch people by surprise with his name, but his music does all the talking. With “Whole Lotta Wickery” being a massive success and following singles such as “Shawn Ye” and “Hercules/Paradise” gaining traction, it’s not a surprise Shawny got added to Rolling Loud’s New York lineup for this coming September.

The Girll Codee
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The evolution of The Girll Codee over the last year is a clear example of consistency at its finest. Brooklyn’s Shaa Bigga and Siddity have done nothing but deliver incredible verses, great energy, and a fun live show– the latter, I witnessed during their performance at HOT 97’s Summer Jam. Next month, they’re reportedly releasing a new EP.

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Regarding top-notch videos, Melvoni is one of the few artists from New York in that conversation– especially as an up-and-coming artist. “Feel Alive 2” is quickly becoming a standout record of his, and there’s a lot to like about Melvoni– great melodies, strong songwriting, and a good ear for production.

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Even though record labels are making a great effort to sign artists from New York, the pairing of Def Jam and 26AR makes me excited. Ever since his Rocko Ballin-assisted “MANEUVER” got over seven million YouTube views, the new Def Jam signee has been on a hot streak– most notably releasing “MY SET Pt.II,” “Beatbox Freestyle,” and most recently “Hottest In My City.”


Channel Tres Discusses Self-Care, Working With Tyler, The Creator, and More

The growing state of hip-hop has and is continuing to witness an evolution with its sounds, personalities, and acceptance of what’s “in.” And while specific genres and other areas of interest have either failed at the start of their new eras or lost steam throughout their run, hip-hop’s embracement of change sees no end to its success. Why? Because that’s where Channel Tres enters the picture.

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Coming from Compton, CA, home of legendary hip-hop acts NWA and Kendrick Lamar, Tres doesn’t fit your picture of the “average” rapper from there.

Although he’s a talented MC who displayed his excellent songwriting and flows with Tyler, The Creator (their 2020 “fuego” collaboration is special), Tres’s magic comes in the form of blending hip-hop with bounce music and R&B; ultimately creating an experience where you have no choice but to dance or feel your emotions.

“I took self-care more seriously [throughout this pandemic],” Tres told me following his performance at Governors Ball. “Along with getting sober and losing weight, it was a great time for me to refresh and discover the things I wanted to work on in my life.” As Tres embarked on his journey for self-care, he built upon the momentum of his 2020 surprise mixtape, I Can’t Go Outside, and collaborations featuring Emotional Oranges and Terrace Martin by releasing new music this past March (the soulful seven-track instrumental EP, refresh).

ONE37pm had the chance to speak with Channel Tres about the importance of self-care, working with Tyler, The Creator, and what his most significant piece of life advice would be.

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ONE37pm: When thinking about what’s happening with you this year, what was your biggest point of focus entering 2022?

Tres: To work out more, be more positive, and appreciate the moments I see my family. Of course, being able to be outside and travel is important too. But I’m also learning how to smell the flowers and enjoy myself.

ONE37pm: It’s been discussed– the impact this pandemic had on artists and their ability to make music. How did you initially handle it?

Tres: I had the chance to become a reflective person and see the things I wanted to work on in my life. It seemed like time was moving fast, and I was always on “go mode,” but I was able to slow down, and that time was precious for me. I saw what was happening in my mind for one of the first times in my life.

ONE37pm: Alongside releasing your own music, you’ve had some noteworthy collaborations (Tyler, The Creator, and Emotional Oranges). What did you learn most while working with them?

Tres: There are beautiful artists and cool people out there who are doing the same thing as me. It’s nice to know those people and have the chance to make music with them. I’m interested in collaborating with others and have some collaborations in the works.

ONE37pm: Last question for ya. What is your biggest piece of life advice?

Tres: I’m not qualified to give advice, but if I were qualified [laughs], I would say, “be yourself.” Do so without anyone’s opinions or filters on your thoughts, and find out what you like and stick to it.


Getting to Know Fresco Trey with ONE37pm

Fresco Trey has been steadily growing as an artist. Earlier this year, the talented Memphis-born rapper had a collab video with Draft Kings, and has recently gone on to perform at VeeCon, as well as landing a feature on Vory‘s latest album, ‘Lost Souls.’ Fresco makes the difficult look easy, and is taking his time on his journey – with his creation, his fans, and growing as a human along the way.

When Fresco Trey dropped his “Draft Kings” video, he threw an event at the VaynerMedia office in Long Island City. I had the luxury of meeting Fresco there, and getting an early look at his video. He even sang for Sean Millea and me when we were all talking, which was remarkable. He’s really got it. By it, I mean charisma, confidence, and a clear vision of where he’s headed.

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In the time since meeting Fresco Trey, I had plenty of time to consider what was left to learn about him. Not too long after, DRock reached out to say he was going to be with Fresco in Memphis, and checked if there was anything we wanted to ask him.

There were plenty of gems in this interview that you would have never known about Fresco, like the fact his sister was the one who got him started in music. Even the fact that Fresco frequently collaborates with the esteemed ukulele-playing producer Einer Bankz is pretty obscure. Even if you did know about Einer, Fresco names two other low-key producers who you likely don’t know yet. Gems like that are part of why interviews are so cool; if you pay close attention, you’ll start to be able to connect the dots between artists, producers, et cetera.

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If you haven’t heard Vory’s project, ‘Lost Souls,’ yet, this is a perfect opportunity. Fresco Trey is on the first song of the project, immediately followed by Kanye West on track two. As if that’s not impressive enough, the album also features NAV, Yung Bleu, Landstrip Chip, and BEAM.

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Curiously Curated 004: The Undiscovered Realm of Producers

The Undiscovered Realm

The term ‘undiscovered artists’ in 2022 has come to represent talent that aren’t known by your average person. There are so many niche areas of entertainment that it’s virtually impossible to be totally ‘undiscovered.’

The talented group of producers we bring to you today are all in the undiscovered realm. Though they are all respectively developing committed fanbases, it’s safe to say your average music fan isn’t aware of them yet.

Without further ado, let’s take a look into the undiscovered realm and introduce you to three producers you need to know.

1. Dylvinci
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Dylvinci is one of the most creative producers out when it comes to content creation. Not only are his beats so easy to appreciate, the way he delivers them to his audience is on a whole other level.

In this day and age, music production is one of the most competitive areas of the entertainment industry. It seems like everybody is a “producer” nowadays, and with programs like Splice making it easier than ever to create beats, the best producers have to get creative to be heard.

Whether he’s producing in his room, in the park, or some other random environment, Dylvinci always seems to have his setup on him. It’s very admirable. Take a look:

<code><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="" data-video-id="7058382347711892782" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px"> <section> <a target="_blank" title="@dylvincigtc" href="">@dylvincigtc</a> Outside cookup before it snows ❄️ <a title="dylvinci" target="_blank" href="">#dylvinci</a> <a title="fyp" target="_blank" href="">#fyp</a> <a title="plugg" target="_blank" href="">#plugg</a> <a title="pluggnb" target="_blank" href="">#pluggnb</a> <a title="kashdami" target="_blank" href="">#kashdami</a> <a title="yvngxchris" target="_blank" href="">#yvngxchris</a> <a title="earlsweatshirt" target="_blank" href="">#earlsweatshirt</a> <a title="realyungphil" target="_blank" href="">#realyungphil</a> <a title="flstudio" target="_blank" href="">#flstudio</a> <a target="_blank" title="♬ original sound - Dylvinci" href="">♬ original sound - Dylvinci</a> </section> </blockquote></code>

Not only has he cracked the code for his content, Dylvinci is no stranger to landing placements with top-notch artists. He’s produced songs for Tony Shhnow, Casey Veggies, Yung Bans, D Savage, Jasiah, and many more notable names. Take a deeper look at a collection of our favorite Dylvinci-produced songs below.

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2. Austin Millz
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Like many Austin Millz fans, I first came across his music via TikTok. One of his videos making a mashup was the first of many that I came to consume. His energy reverberates through his music so clearly; Austin Millz delivers great energy in the form of great music.

<code><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="" data-video-id="6918398980615392517" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px"> <section> <a target="_blank" title="@austinmillz" href="">@austinmillz</a> Had to flip this Texas classic. Drop your area code in the comments! <a title="texas" target="_blank" href="">#texas</a> <a title="houston" target="_blank" href="">#houston</a> <a title="ugk" target="_blank" href="">#ugk</a> <a title="pimpc" target="_blank" href="">#pimpc</a> <a title="remix" target="_blank" href="">#remix</a> <a title="htx" target="_blank" href="">#htx</a> <a title="portarthur" target="_blank" href="">#portarthur</a> <a target="_blank" title="♬ original sound - Austin Millz" href="">♬ original sound - Austin Millz</a> </section> </blockquote></code>

As if his mashups aren’t fire enough, believe it or not, his original music might even be better. Austin Millz frequently connects with insane vocalists to make unforgettable tracks. We handpicked ten of our favorites from him for you to get familiar with. If you’re a fan of electronic and hip-hop music, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

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3. Popstar Benny
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The third and final producer on today’s edition of Curiously Curated is Atlanta native Popstar Benny. In addition to making a big name for himself with his calculated placements, Benny is also becoming well-known for his indie label, Popstar FM. He is experienced with graphic design, production, and music business, which each come with massive subsets of specific knowledge. It’s not easy being good, but it takes even more to be great. And that’s what Popstar Benny’s done in each of these realms.

Popstar Benny not only has landed placements with big names like Lil Yachty (he designed the cover art for “Minnesota”), Rod Wave, 6Dogs, UnoTheActivist, and Thouxanban Fauni, he’s also kept a close ear to the underground, linking early with talent like Tony Shhnow, Bear1Boss, and other rapidly rising artists.

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Benny is making a big wave out of Atlanta, taking his time with the newest generation of artists. All the while, he’s making even bigger placements look easy. Take a listen to some of our favorites from Popstar Benny.

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With yet another week in the books, we’re starting to pick up even more steam. Thank you for staying tuned, we’ll be dropping Curiously Curated 005 at the end of this week! For now, here’s our updated playlist – featuring Dylvinci, Austin Millz, and Popstar Benny.

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The 29 Best Nas Songs

Nas is, without a doubt, one of the greatest rappers to ever touch a microphone. He has at worst, multiple classic albums and some of the greatest concept records ever. He’s your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, so ranking some of his best songs of all time is no easy feat… but that isn’t stopping us from trying. Below are the 29 best Nas songs of all time. Let us know what you think about our selection.

Best Nas Songs
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<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed1. '2nd Childhood'</code>
1. ‘2nd Childhood’

Between classic DJ Premier scratches on the chorus, Nas first tells the story of a typical child, before flipping the script and talking about a man and woman who live their life selfishly and without responsibility, comparing them to children.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2. 'Adam And Eve'</code>
2. ‘Adam And Eve’

While a seven-song Nas album produced by Kanye West sounds like gold on paper, the end result that came in June of 2018 left a little to be desired for many. With that being said, the standout track for many was “Adam And Eve.” The “Gol-e Yakh” sample is a perfect backdrop for Nas to do what he does best.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3. 'Affirmative Action'</code>
3. ‘Affirmative Action’

This song is as cinematic as Hip-Hop gets. This was the introduction to The Firm, a group that framed its members as mafiosos, which made up much of their content too. This first offering to the world is arguably still their best. The group reunited in 2020 for “Full Circle.”

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed4. 'Daughters'</code>
4. ‘Daughters’

Jay-Z got a lot of praise for his 2017 album 4:44 and how it conveyed great maturity, but when it dropped, many pointed to Nas’ 2012 effort Life Is Good for his own growth. “Daughters” is one of the standouts from it where Nas raps reflectively about his own fatherhood, its consequences, and more.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed5. 'Ether'</code>
5. ‘Ether’

Wherever you stand on the “Ether” vs. “Takeover” debate, there’s no denying that Nas’ diss track is as scathing as any to ever be recorded. It was so impactful that now, “ether” has become common slang for destroying or ending them. It forced Jay-Z to go too far with ‘Supa Ugly’ and then apologize, which for many is the win itself.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6. 'Fetus'</code>
6. ‘Fetus’

A remix of the song of the same name which was set to appear on I Am…, the clue to this song’s concept is in what he says before he goes into the first verse. “Beginning of me… I could see through my belly button window.” Nas takes us through the thoughts of a baby in the womb.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed7. 'Got Ur Self A Gun'</code>
7. ‘Got Ur Self A Gun’

This song samples “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3, which makes perfect sense since it’s also the song used in the intro for The Sopranos. Nas was going for a mafia theme around this time. This song has no special concept like many others on this list but is a great showing of bravado.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed8. 'Hate Me Now'</code>
8. ‘Hate Me Now’

“Hate Me Now” is one of the best anthems of all time. It’s the perfect song to appear on soundtracks and be used as walkout music for fighters and legends like Nate Diaz and Frank Mir have done so. Getting Diddy for the chorus was incredible foresight and a great choice.

<code><iframe width="790" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9. 'I Can'</code>
9. ‘I Can’

Nas himself calls “I Can” one of the most important songs he’s ever made. He’d made so much music that his own daughter and other kids couldn’t listen to by this point that he felt he owed them something that they could relate to.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10. 'I Gave You Power'</code>
10. ‘I Gave You Power’

With It Was Written’s “I Gave You Power,” Nas penned one of the greatest stories ever told in Hip-Hop. He raps from the perspective of a gun, giving it complex emotions like lust for revenge and sympathy for itself. For this song alone, Nas is immortalized.

<code><iframe width="794" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed11. 'It Ain’t Hard To Tell'</code>
11. ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’

The lead single and outro of Illmatic samples Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” which Nas was able to get cleared because they were both on Columbia at the time. The Large Professor beat is hypnotic and Nas weaves in and out of it with ease.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed12. 'Last Real N*gga Alive'</code>
12. ‘Last Real N*gga Alive’

When the Jay-Z beef comes up, “Takeover” and “Ether” get mentioned, but everyone forgets about the next round of songs which on Nas’ end, saw him address it on “Last Real N*gga Alive” from God’s Son. From a mature standpoint, he talks about Biggie, his stance on the Jay-Z beef, and more.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed13. 'Life’s A Bitch'</code>
13. ‘Life’s A Bitch’

“Life’s A Bitch” often gets remembered for being the world’s introduction to AZ and Nas’ father’s trumpet solo at the end, but overall, it’s an exceptional record. No matter who you think got the better of who, the song is timeless.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed14. 'Live N*gga Rap'</code>
14. ‘Live N*gga Rap’

Nas and Mobb Deep both repped Queensbridge, so collaborations were a no-brainer. “Live N*gga Rap” is a fan favorite of the bunch. It was originally done for Hell On Earth, but Nas loved it so much that he bought it from them for his own album.

<code><iframe width="805" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed15. 'Made You Look'</code>
15. ‘Made You Look’

When talking about this song, Nas credits it with getting Hip-Hop away from the R&B sound that it was geared towards. The Salaam Remi production here is dirty and over it, Nas delivers verses that are stellar and make up one of the signature songs in his discography.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed16. 'Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)'</code>
16. ‘Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)’

“Memory Lane” is regarded as one of the best Hip-Hop songs of all time. Nas takes us back to his childhood where he was forced to grow up quickly, witnessing things no child should. The DJ Premier production, despite his own thoughts on it, is classic.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed17. 'N.Y. State Of Mind'</code>
17. ‘N.Y. State Of Mind’

Arguably the best song on the arguably the best album of all time, “N.Y. State Of Mind” would be a gem in any rapper’s discography at any point in their career. The fact that Nas wrote it in his teens is unbelievable. It was made to portray to the world what was going on in New York at the time. This introspective look into the tumultuous lifestyle of a teenager struggling in the “Big Apple” is one of the hardest-hitting Nas songs ever made.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed18. 'Nas Is Like'</code>
18. ‘Nas Is Like’

Up until this point, DJ Premier had done a bunch of classic records with Nas, but he always wanted to get his first single. “Nas Is Like” ended up being just that. On the track, Nas combines braggadocio with introspection as few others can.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed19. 'No Idea’s Original'</code>
19. ‘No Idea’s Original’

Another entry from The Lost Tapes here. Over production from The Alchemist, Nas paints one of his most vivid pictures ever. If indeed no idea is original, the QB rapper does a great job of making his own stories sound fresh.

<code><iframe width="801" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed20. 'One Mic'</code>
20. ‘One Mic’

“One Mic” from Stillmatic is another classic in Nasir Jones’ discography. The chorus is quiet and unassuming but the verses rise in energy and rage to a crescendo, quite like Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” the song it samples. A fun fact: Jungle wrote the first four lines of Nas’ first verse.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed21. 'Poppa Was A Playa'</code>
21. ‘Poppa Was A Playa’

For this Lost Tapes cut, Nas channels his inner Temptations and takes inspiration from “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” It’s a dedication to his father who was in his life unlike many of his friends at the time. Despite what the credits say, this song was actually produced by Kanye West.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed22. 'Purple'</code>
22. ‘Purple’

The content of this song isn’t dissimilar to a bunch of other great Nas records. He jumps from perspective to perspective, telling different stories with great detail. The catch here is that he uses the weed, a.k.a. purple, to get away from it all. The instrumentation is mellow, which suits the title of the song perfectly.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed23. 'Queens Get The Money'</code>
23. ‘Queens Get The Money’

Produced by the great Jay Electronica, this beat is stripped down and features a hypnotic, melodic piano. Over it, Nas is Picasso. It serves as the intro to his Untitled album and maybe its best song. There’s also a very slick 50 Cent diss in here too.

<code><iframe width="950" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed24. 'Represent'</code>
24. ‘Represent’

When a vocal minority talks about Illmatic feeling a little monotonous with age and citing its production as a reason for that, perhaps they’re forgetting about “Represent.” It’s one of the more upbeat records on Nas’ debut album and a fan favorite.

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25. ‘Rewind’

“Rewind,” as the title suggests, sees Nas telling a story backward. It starts with a bullet leaving a gun and goes from there. The song is really impactful when you read the lyrics from the end. Creatively, on the only part of the song that doesn’t feature a quote backward, the beat is in reverse instead.

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26. ‘The Message’

Even if you’re not a big Nas fan (for some reason), you might know “The Message.” It’s the opening song on It Was Written but it’s more well known for being a song that offended 2Pac enough to diss Nas. Nas later confirmed that he was actually dissing Biggie in the song. With that side though, it’s yet another example of some of the best storytelling and picture painting in Hip-Hop.

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27. ‘The World Is Yours’

“Whose world is this?” Pete Rock asks in the chorus. Nas responds “it’s mine.” It’s a reference to Scarface, to which this song and its accompanying music video both pay homage. Even if you’ve never heard this song, you’ve heard something directly influenced by it. There’s no doubt in my mind that this Golden Era Hip-Hop gem is one of Nas’ best songs of all time.

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28. ‘Undying Love’

The last song on I Am… is “Undying Love,” a cruel tale about infidelity. But of course, this is Nas and nothing is ever as simple as that. He paints the picture of himself in Vegas, staying loyal to his girl, only to find her in bed with another man when he gets home. It’s beautifully done and will leave you staring into the abyss for a minute or two after you listen.

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29. ‘You’re Da Man’

On perhaps my favorite song of his, Nas spits over Large Professor production and a chorus that actually says “sugarman,” but sounds like “you’re da man.” The verses are some of his most poetic. In the second, he utters “I saw a dead bird flying through a broken sky,” which could genuinely be mistaken for Shakespeare.


Curiously Curated 003: 5 Artistic Aficionados

Every week, we put you all onto a set of artists or producers that are on the cutting-edge of culture. Last week, we introduced you to four very talented producers. This time, we’ve got five masterful artists for you to get familiar with (in no particular order).

1. Sampha
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Featured on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, Sampha is no stranger to the limelight. He’s previously been featured on records with Drake, Alicia Keys, Solange, Headie One, and many other stars. You might remember his role on ‘Nothing Was The Same’: “Don’t think about it too much, too much too much…”

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Sampha has an extraordinary voice. Not just “good enough,” it’s one of a kind. It’s no wonder he’s become such a coveted feature; his voice is an instrument that nobody else has. Even though he’s already had a memorable career thus far, Sampha’s latest feature on MMATBS is bound to equate to even more success. After all, his role in the chorus of “Father Time” is a large part of why it’s one of the album’s most memorable songs.

Check out Sampha’s Tiny Desk performance below:

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2. Rome Streetz
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Next up on our list is NYC rapper Rome Streetz, who’s signed to Griselda Records at the end of 2021. Rome has taken the road less traveled to success, one characterized by challenges, solutions, hard work, and thorough artistic development.

Even though NYC is considered home to the Griselda rapper, he was born in London, moved to New York as an infant, and then was sent back to live with his aunt in London after getting into too much trouble as a kid. Right as he caught steady momentum in London as a rapper, his aunt sent him back to NYC. He would pick up right where he left off, and continue to refine his rhyming skills over time. Just like wine, Rome Streetz’ value has only gone up with time – and it seems like that won’t be changing.

Inspired by what he calls the “golden era” of hip-hop in the 90s, Rome Streetz has a classic sound. There’s no better place for “golden era” hiphop artists of today than Griselda Records, alongside a roster of akin trailblazers. Just like the rest of that roster, Rome Streetz’ music sounds like an evolution of the story told in the “golden era.” Take a listen to a sampling of his best:

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3. Belis
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Another talented act well-worth knowing is Belis. Her catalog sounds like nothing else you’ll find on DSPs; each release continues an evolution of something that’s so obviously special.

Not only is she wildly gifted and innovative, she’s also one of the most inspiring artists you’ll hear of. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks healthy nerve tissue in the central nervous system, Belis started suffering muscle pain, slurred speech, and more. This diagnosis came at a time when she was already establishing herself as an artist. Regardless of her diagnosis, she kept the same energy she had before; if anything, she turned things up a notch.

This optimistic reaction to troubling circumstances and the resulting art she’s allowed herself to make is one of the most heartening stories you’ll find in music. Take a listen to some of our favorite work from Belis below:

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Founded in 2010, BADBADNOTGOOD is a Toronto-based band with a knack for blending genres in the most artistic way. They’ve made appearances on some iconic records in the past, and are yet another example of a very coveted feature in music.

You probably will recognize their song “Time Moves Slow” from its sped-up remix on TikTok, which blew up in a major way last year alongside the Adult Swim TikTok trend. In the time since, they’ve found a way to progress, which is no easy feat after traction like that.

You’ll notice elements of jazz, hip-hop, alternative and experimental electronica in their jam-packed catalog. Take a look at one of their latest drops with Daniel Caesar along with much more heat in the playlist below.

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5. FNF Chop
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Emerging from the DMV is a star rapper by the name of FNF Chop. While he was locked up last year, his song “Walk Down” was going crazy on TikTok. Enough so to score him a co-sign from Pharrell Willams on his OTHERtone podcast, while the legendary producer and recording artist was interviewing Soulja Boy.

Since getting out of jail, Chop has only progressed. His latest project is the only proof needed. Featuring Young Nudy, Sheff G, Stunna 4 Vegas, YungManny, Kwad, and XanMan, ‘No Way Out‘ gives first-time listeners a perfect understanding of Chop’s style and ability.

This debut album is a phenomenal step forward for FNF Chop, and makes up a large part of our playlist of essentials for the DMV talent.

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That concludes our third edition of Curiously Curated. Take this as an opportunity to dive into these artists’ impressive catalogs – even when you’re done checking out their music, there’s still videos to see.

Here’s our playlist combining the best of this week’s featured talent with the two editions before: