Childish Gambino – KAUAI
Purchase on iTunes
On October 2nd, Childish Gambino released his double project STN MTN / KAUAI, and the stronger half of that project was the retail EP, KAUAI. The EP is seven songs deep, six if you exclude the 3005 remix tacked onto the end, and features a strong level of Gambino’s smooth, singing style. Outside of the intro ‘SOBER’, the EP felt a bit uninspired, and the Jaden Smith interludes took away more than they added. This is the type of project you’d want to listen to if you were in Kauai, Hawaii, but wouldn’t likely motivate you to plan a trip to Kauai.
Elias Abid – INSCRIBE
French-American electronic artist Elias Abid released his solo debut INSCRIBE in 2014, and the project showed ambitious strides of what is to come. The EP features features five songs, with two making use of vocals. The standout of the EP was ‘Hollow’ featuring vocalist Dolly Avenue, and while outside of a sub-par rap verse on ‘ESC’, you get drowned into Elias’ melodic piano compositions meshed with pumping drums and a heavy dose of high polys throughout the EP. Elias has a handful of projects he has been working, and I can almost guarantee 2015 will be a huge year for the Chicago-based artist.
OG MACO & Key! – Give Em Hell
In July, OG Maco & Key! teamed up and dropped an eight song EP titled Give Em Hell. The EP featured big hits for both artists – specifically Maco’s career-solidifying hit ‘U Guessed It’, but outside of that track & Key!’s biggest solo hit thus far in his carrer ‘Give Em Hell’, the EP featured a few older solo tracks and what sounded like a few unmastered demos. Thankfully for us, both of these artists released better solo projects this year.
The-Dream – Royalty: The Prequel
The-Dream was set to drop his long-awaited album Fruition in 2014, but the only project we received was this short seven song EP Royalty – The Prequel. The EP felt like some throwaways, which for most artists would be practically duds, but with Terius, he delivered a quality project that held me over during the year. The standout and must listen of the EP was his track ‘Lake Michigan’ – a somber, key-heavy production that makes you feel like you are lonely and lost on a boat during the late 90’s. Needless to say, we need a whole project in this sound.
Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
Purchase on iTunes
Vince Staples released his debut retail project this year via ARTium Records/Def Jam Records titled Hell Can Wait. The effort features some of the most intriguing rhymes over some of the most distinct production from a major-label release this year, but the hooks on many of the songs fell flat on their faces. Vince has continuously improved with every project that he has released, and under the guidance of No ID, I am sure the improvement will be vividly noticeable in his 2015 releases.