XXL Freshman Perform At The Novo

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YBN Cordae — The Lost Boy

YBN Cordae finds himself at a pivotal moment in his career with the release of his debut project, The Lost Boy. Following plenty of buzz thanks to songs like “Old Niggas” and “Kung Fu,” the 2019 XXL Freshman delivers a star-studded new effort.

Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and Arin Ray are among the album’s guests. Meanwhile, J. Cole, Terrace Martin, Masego, Dem Jointz, Cardiakk, and Daytrip are among the LP’s producers.

The rising MC discusses the struggles he’s overcoming throughout the project. “Whoever said this shit was easy forever lied,” he laments on “Wintertime.” “I mesmerize how simple decisions can jeopardize / When Martin Luther cheated and stared in Coretta’s eyes / This is lyrical exercise, told my idols to step aside / My momma said I’m buggin’, no need for the pesticides.”

Cordae recently spoke about the album’s narrative during an interview with Billboard. “This whole album is a journey,” he said. During the interview, he also discussed the album title’s significance, by saying he found himself through music. “That’s when I found my path and my journey.”

Find The Lost Boy below.

Rich Brian — The Sailor

Rich Brian sets sail with a new album. The 88 Rising MC, who broke out with his “Dat $tick” single, is back with The Sailor. It follows last year’s Amen and comes with some surprises.

On this particular trip, Brian reflects on his status in the game. That’s particularly evident on the single “Kids,” where he promises more to come. “I’m putting numbers on the board and blowing more digits,” he raps. “I haven’t even started, these are just the before pictures.”

He goes on to describe his thought process while making The Sailor: “Been in the studio, I forgot how to sleep / Not trying to make an album they forget about in a week / They said the fruit never gonna fall far from the tree / I used to be the kid, now the kids wanna be me.”

To help him tell his story, Brian tapped Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA for a “Rapapapa,” Beckon for “Yellow,” and frequent collaborator Joji for “Where Does the Time Go?” He also nabbed producers Frank Dukes, The Donuts, and Bekon behind the boards.

“I put everything into this album and I’m so excited for you guys to hear it,” he wrote on social media. “Thank you for growing with me and see you very soon.”

Meet The Sailor below.

Rick Ross feat. Drake — “Gold Roses”

Renzel and Drizzy are at it again. Rick Ross is prepping for the release of his highly anticipated forthcoming album, Port of Miami 2, with a familiar friend. After joining Drake on “Money in the Grave,” the high-profile duo teams up once more on Rozay’s newest single, “Gold Roses.”

The 6 God kicks this cut off by name-checking Kevin Durant and referencing his Achilles injury. “All smiles, Kevin Durant trials,” he raps on the song. “Had to blow it on the court, I must’ve blew a milli / I’m walking on all charges, that’s my new Achilles.” He also adds an ominous note about 2020: “Mentally I’m already on next year, that’s some 20/20 clear vision.”

Over the soulful sample, which was produced by OZ, SykSense, Vinylz, and The Rascals, Rick Ross raps about Grammy nominations and more. “I was nominated but never won a Grammy,” he acknowledges on the track. “But I understand they’ll never understand me.”

Ross and Drake have become quite the twosome. The duo has collaborated on a series of tracks throughout the years, including “Aston Martin Music,” “Pop That,” “I’m On One,” and “Stay Schemin.” Listen to their latest tag-team on “Gold Roses” below.

Big Sean feat. Jhené Aiko & Ty Dolla $ign — “Single Again”

Big Sean season has seemingly arrived. Just one day after releasing his “Overtime” freestyle, Sean Don unveils his newest track, “Single Again.” It features his Twenty88 partner and former girlfriend Jhené Aiko as well as his “Play No Games” collaborator Ty Dolla $ign.

Sean, Dee Lilly, Cam O’bi, Take a Daytrip, and Amaire Johnson produced the track, which borrows from Carl Thomas’ “I Wish.” It allows Sean and Jhené to harmonize about their newfound independence in tandem. “I’m single again,” they sing together. “Told them that we better off friends / Blaming you was just so easy / But maybe the problem’s me.”

The Don goes on to rap about why he’s better of alone at this point in time. “Looking for the love in somebody else that I probably should have gave to myself,” he raps. “Cycles I need to break in myself / If I’m alone, I’m second to no one else.”

Taking to social media, the Detroit MC revealed the song’s inspiration. “I never knew that I didn’t know how to be alone in life,” he explained. “I always would find so much joy n happiness in a relationship or being with friends, but I didn’t know how important it was to be in a relationship with yourself. There’s beauty in being your own source of happiness and fun and working on yourself. That’s the process I been going through personally and it can be a scary thing. But when you work on yourself and bring your best self to something, I believe that’s truly how to experience a love where you are bringing happiness and joy and not dependency.”

Listen to “Single Again” below.

E-40 — Practice Makes Paper

Practice makes perfect? No, E-40 reveals how Practice Makes Paper with the release of his newest album. The Bay Area vet rolls out a star-studded 26-song effort and keeps money on his mind throughout the LP.

Newer stars like A$AP Ferg, Roddy Ricch, Quavo, ScHoolboy Q, G-Eazy,and Tee Grizzley show up as guests. They all join veterans like Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, Scarface, Boosie Badazz, Redman, Method Man, Fabolous, and Anthony Hamilton on the Bay Area Ambassador’s newest collection.

Fonzarelli boasts about his longevity throughout this LP, particularly on “GOAT.” “I’m the G.O.A.T. since 1988,” 40 Water raps. “I’m the realest nigga in it from the cradle / Paved the way for hella independent labels / Bricklayer that laid the bricks, helped pioneer this / And you a nerd if you ain’t got me on the playlist / I’m one of the greatest of all time, it ain’t no question…I’m your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper and my voice is an instrument / 28 studio albums strong, three decades, I’m still relevant.”

Listen to Practice Makes Paper below.

Bryson Tiller — “Blame” & “Smile”

Pen Griffey picks up his bat once again. Two years removed from True to Self, Bryson Tiller unleashes a brand new single, “Blame” and a new DJ Snake collaboration, “Smile.”

The Louisville crooner-rapper picks up where he left off with a trap-inspired soulful track in “Blame.” Over Teddy Walton and J-Louis production, Pen Affleck sings about an old flame.

“I’ve been praying for myself like you used to,” he sings. “Embracing myself like you do too / I know things are different, your name is different / As strange as it is, I’m okay with this / I can’t say it different / Never even met him, I can’t hate the nigga.”

He also appears on “Smile” off DJ Snake’s star-studded Carte Blanche LP. “The song was produced by Snake, Major Seven, and King BNJMN. “I like to see you smiling,” Tiller sings on the track. “I ain’t seen it in a while.”