With the West Coast on his back and co-signs from everyone from Dr. Dre to Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar drops his highly-anticipated debut good kid, m.A.A.d city. Hailed by Dre and Snoop Dogg as the “new king of the West Coast,” the 25-year-old MC paints a vivid portrait of growing up in Compton on the 12 tracks, which feature appearances from Dre, Drake, and Jay Rock, plus production by Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Tha Bizness, Just Blaze, and T-Minus. Did Kendrick live up to the great expectations? Find out below.
Eighteen years after the release of her multi-platinum debut, Brandy basks in the glory on her sixth album Two Eleven. Boasting big-name collaborators including Chris Brown, Frank Ocean, Rico Love, Sean Garrett, and Bangladesh, the set aims to please the toughest of R&B critics with cuts like “Wildest Dreams,” “Hardly Breathing,” and “Scared of Beautiful.”
“No gimmicks, real R&B music,” said the now 33-year-old singer of the project, which pays homage to her late idol Whitney Houston with its title.
Miguel puts his own stamp on R&B with his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream, available now. The L.A. crooner delivers 11 effortless tracks, with production from Salaam Remi, Jerry Wonda, and Pop & Oak, plus the No. 1 hit “Adorn” and follow-up “Do You…” Did Miguel’s seductive sound make noise with critics? Find out below.
Lupe Fiasco has been waiting years to release his most bold and brash album to date, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. While 2011’s Lasers aimed for commercial success, the Chi-town lyricist doesn’t compromise, tackling political, social, and cultural issues on the conscious cuts. The outspoken rapper has criticized everyone from President Obama to Chief Keef, but how did the critics receive his latest? Find out below.
Nearly one year after first being announced, the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer finally arrives in stores and online this week. With Kanye West at the helm, the 12 tracks feature members of the hip-hop crew, with guest appearances from Jay-Z, R. Kelly, Ma$e, The-Dream, and more. Kanye’s albums have fared well with critics in the past, but did G.O.O.D. make the grade? Find out below.
Trey Songz masters the art of seduction once again on his fifth album Chapter V, in stores and online now. The 27-year-old heartthrob calls on a star-studded cast of collaborators including Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, T.I., Meek Mill, Diddy, and Rick Ross, with production from Rico Love, Benny Blanco, Stargate, Troy Taylor, and more. The ladies love him, but did the critics fall for his charm? Find out below.
What a difference a year makes. This time last year, 2 Chainz was still best known as Tity Boi, one half of Southern duo Playaz Circle. Since then, he’s been featured on tracks for everyone from Kanye West to Justin Bieber and dropped his highly-anticipated solo debut Based on a T.R.U. Story this week. The star-studded set includes appearances from Drake, Nicki Minaj, Kanye, John Legend, Chris Brown, and more.
Did the critics give 2 Chainz two thumbs up? Find out below.
No one can hold Rick Ross back. After making his debut six years ago with Port of Miami, the Maybach Music CEO has steadily risen up the ranks to become one of hip-hop’s most prolific MCs. The Bawse’s fifth album God Forgives, I Don’t arrives this week boasting big-name collaborations with Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, André 3000, and Usher, plus top-notch production from Pharrell, Rico Love, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Cool & Dre, and more. Rozay calls it his best work yet. Do the critics agree? The reviews are in.