Welcome to Week 2 of AFTR PRTY Radio. With the release of Juice WRLD’s first posthumous album, UnoTheActivist’s latest project, SahBabii’s third full-length album, Summer Walker’s EP, a Kid Cudi and Eminem collab, a YG single called “SWAG” (?!), and a 100 gecs Remix album (again, ?!), this was a big Friday, to say the least. Tears were shed, friendships were tested (don’t worry, Jalen and Tye always make it out strong), SahBabii quotes were exchanged, group FaceTime calls were joined from up and down the Eastern seaboard, and I even started sweating at one point… but alas, we made it. Below are our 5 highlighted songs from the past week(ish) of new music. Enjoy!
“Stay High” by Juice WRLD
The release of Legends Never Die, Juice WRLD’s first posthumous album, quite literally crashed spotify. This marks the second Friday in a row that we’ve received a posthumous album from a recently deceased, larger-than-life hip-hop icon. Unsurprisingly, Legends Never Die, the Chicago artist’s third solo major-label album, is decidedly pop-heavy, with contributions from Halsey and Marshmello that come perfectly prepackaged for radio play. But Juice has always blurred genre lines—combining rap, hip-hop, rock, punk, and pop (to name a few) to create a truly unique sound, often totally devastating, sound.
Thematically, this album is full of Juice WRLD’s classic motifs, including addiction and depression. My dear friend (and easily the biggest Juice WRLD fan I know), Andrew, described beautifully the particular “potency” and weight that these lyrics carry following the then 21-year-old’s tragic accidental overdose (caused by cops executing a drug raid at Midway Airport in December of 2019). While Juice has always been dubbed an emo-rapper, as Andrew points out, we now realize that “the stakes are really that high.”
“Stay High” is a perfect example of this completely gutting effect: on the second verse, Juice WRLD raps,“Wockhhardt in my body, I can’t help myself / I get so damn high that I can’t feel myself / My girlfriend worried about me, think I’m gon’ kill myself / Sorry, baby, I’m just really tryna feel myself”
“Poppin’ Shit” by SahBabii
Though SahBabii clearly draws on his Atlanta roots (i.e., former comparisons to Young Thug), he easily and definitively sets himself apart as one of the most original rappers out there—not only in the absurdity of his lyrics (see below), but also in his totally weird, totally unique, often totally horny, always totally beautiful sound. His music is cohesive and immediately identifiable: his melodic, auto-tuned, and often harmonized flows layer over dreamy, ambient, psychedelic production. SahBabii’s sound often reminds me of running through a sprinkler on a hot, Southern summer day. But while tripping. Also imagine you’re naked and your body is covered with glitter. You get me?
While SahBabii’s flows on Barnacles as a whole lack the front-to-back solidity that they maintained on his two previous full-length projects, S.A.N.D.A.S. (2017) and Squidtastic (2018), the project is full of spectacular, jaw-dropping moments.
“Poppin’ Shit” combines energetic hi-hats with a beautiful keyboard loop that ranges in character from the sonic quality of an upright piano to that of an electric organ.
Memorable Quotes on Barnacles:
"Big booty bitch, that shit on Elephanzo ('Phanzo)
gave her both of these balls, Lamelo and Lonzo" - "Giraffes & Elephants"
"I'm taking they chips, they like, "Who ate the Lays?" (Who ate the Lays?)
She got a donut booty, I'm finna glaze (Glaze)
She gon' cover my meat like some Sweet Baby Ray's (Sweet Baby Ray's)"- "Purple Umbrella"
"Just like a lil' kid, gotta pack a toy
She got a small top with a big bottom like a trapezoid" (excuse me)- "Trapezoid"
“Das Him” by UnoTheActivist
“Das Him” hooks you from the very beginning: a dramatic loop of what sounds like a full orchestral string section is joined by Uno’s flows, which build momentum together until they are ultimately introduced to a full-bodied, disturb-your-downstairs-neighbors bass and an almost Justin Timberlake-esque synth. Throughout the project, UnoTheActivist’s voice is perfectly hoarse and hits all the right highs and all the right lows in all the right moments. The Atlanta rapper’s melodic flows effortlessly traverse any terrain, from the intensity of “Das Him” to the playfulness of “Can’t Go” (a great showing from Ty Dolla $ign as well) to the ethereal nature of “Night Mode.” While we only selected one song for the playlist, this album is a fantastic listen front to back with at most one to two skips. I’ll preface this statement by disclosing that I’m a huge fan myself, but I strongly believe that UnoTheActivist is easily one of the most underappreciated rappers of our time.
“Lingo Star: RETURN OF THE DRAGON” by Tobi Lou
On his latest EP Lingo Star, a masterfully curated three-song collection with seamless transitions that carry the listener straight through, Tobi Lou is truly at his best. He ever so slightly tones down the pitched vocal adlibs and the cartoony, bubble-gum production which has previously led many to consider him ”corny”—all while keeping the bounce. “RETURN OF THE DRAGON,” in particular, is bursting with his signature upbeat, bubbly, infectious energy. And okay, maybe he’s still a little corny, but he sounds incredible. These tracks are all prime examples of Tobi Lou’s undeniable ear for melody and meticulously tight timing.
“Cascades” by Denai Moore
British-Jamaican artist Denai Moore first received widespread recognition for her vocals on “The Light,” which was released on side one of SBTRKT’s 2014 album Wonder Where We Land. A week ago today, Moore released her most recent project, Modern Dread (her first project since 2017). Her voice is smooth and straightforward yet poignantly emotive: she transitions swiftly and effortlessly from a gentle breathiness to a powerful robustness. “Cascades” showcases Moore’s delicate harmonies, which flow over dynamic electronic-pop production.