This roundup of new hip-hop bursts at the seams. Following a desultory start to the 2013 season, the rap scene has gathered momentum through what some pundits called "Super Hip-Hop Tuesday," or June 18, which saw the release of Kanye West's Yeezus, J Cole's Born Sinner and Mac Miller's Watching Movies with the Sound Off (and, more quietly, efforts from Statik Selektah and Quasimoto.
Yeezus has earned wildly ecstatic praise as well as heated criticism for being misogynist and defamatory; it may be the most divisive work in West's already polarizing career. It monopolized our attention last week, which makes the high chart showing of Born Sinner even more impressive. Much like his hero Nas, J Cole makes honest, lyrical yet accessible music that his fans cherish, even if many critics and industry tastemakers do not. Meanwhile, after shocking the world with the No. 1 ascent of 2011's Blue Slide Park, Mac Miller falls closer to Earth with Watching Movies, but its still-impressive chart showing only confirms how competitive Super Hip-Hop Tuesday was.
There's much to enjoy here beyond the obvious headliners. Yessir, Whatever isn't exactly new material -- it mostly consists of B-sides and non-album tracks by Madlib's alter ego -- but any Quasimoto music is appreciated. Homeboy Sandman continues to grow beyond his true-school rap base with Kool Herc: Fertile Crescent, as does blog-rap fave Fat Tony with his Smart Ass Black Boy. We expect full-length statements from Action Bronson and Kid Ink in the months to come, but for now there are the EPs SAAAB Stories and Almost Home, respectively.