It’s no surprise if the entirety of your hip-hop focus this week has been fixated on the shocking murders of Pittsburgh rapper Jimmy Wopo and controversial artist XXXTentacion at just 20. XXXtentacion left behind a checkered legacy, which has led to heated discussion on social media and a swathe of coverage trying to contextualize his life. Several artists have done tributes to XXXTentacion, and Trippie Redd released a posthumous XXXTentacion verse on a song featuring Ski Mask The Slump God, a former close friend of XXX who is mourning his death along with his devoted fanbase. That said, there was still other quality music released this week. Here is some of the best of it:
XXXTentacion Tributes: Chris Rivers, “Rip X” & Paris, “Falling Up”
Several artists dropped melancholy tributes to XXXTentacion. His abuse of his ex-girlfriend (and a former gay cellmate) may have rightfully kept many music listeners from becoming fans, but he clearly touched the lives of his musical peers like Tekashi 69, who championed his “positive energy” in a reflective Instagram post. Artists like Chris Rivers (son of late rapper Big Pun) and Paris looked to pay homage to that energy with their latest offerings.
Trippie Redd ft. XXXtentacion, Quavo, Ski Mask The Slump God, “Ghost Busters”
Trippie and XXXTentacion previously collaborated on “Fuck Love” on the late rapper’s 17 project, showcasing a strong chemistry that was fractured as Trippie began working with Drake, who XXX had his qualms with. “Ghost Busters” was recorded when the two were on better terms. It looks like Trippie is letting any ill will rest with XXX by dropping this loaded collaboration, for which fellow XXX friend Slump dropped new vocals. In a tongue-twisting verse, Slump says he’s aiming to carry on XXX’s message and “bring white and blacks together.”
Rick Ross ft. Future, “Green Gucci Suit”
Is it almost Port Of Miami 2 time? Rozay looks to be back in good shape and ready to go this summer, starting with his “Green Gucci Suit” collaboration with Future. The track follows up on the exhilarating energy of their past “No Games” collaboration. Ross and Future both drop braggadocious rhymes on the ode to a cash-colored suit.
G Herbo, “Swervo”
G Herbo is back with some new. This time, the busy Chicago rhymer hooked up with producer Southside, who laced him with a typically thumping trap production to deliver his gruff rhymes. The track’s high-pitched synth immediately harkens to the infamous Dr. Dre synth that was all over The Chronic, which shows a subtle nod to gangsta rap of the past by one of its present crown-holders.
Prodigy, “Stay Chisel” and “Thief’s Theme” Freestyles
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since the rap game lost Prodigy. His death sent shockwaves through the industry much like what we’ve seen this week. Luckily, Prodigy still has people looking to hold down his musical legacy like longtime producer and friend Alchemist and his Mobb Deep partner-in-rhyme Havoc. The latter decided to pay homage to Prodigy’s premature passing by dropping two early ’00s freestyles. The first freestyle is from 2002, and the second is from 2004, which is right before the Mobb’s move to G-Unit. Prodigy has two more entries in his Hegelian Dialectic album series in the vaults, but for now these will have to do.
Rich The Kid ft 2 Chainz, YG, Gucci Mane, “Plug Walk Remix”
Rich The Kid looks to be all good after the scary home invasion that he experienced last week, and now he’s stepping past that setback with the “Plug Walk” remix. Rich’s tribute to his inner Narcos was treated to an all-star remix featuring Guwop, 2 Chainz, and YG, who all sound right at home on the hit song. YG turns the track into “Blood Walk” and reminds “new n*ggas” that they “just now learnin’ how the Bloods talk,” chastising people who think his lifestyle is a fad.
Tory Lanez ft. Rich The Kid, “Talk To Me”
If the previous wasn’t enough Rich The Kid, the Atlanta artist also collaborated with Tory Lanez on “Talk To Me,” a sultry track in which Tory and Rich The Kid are choosin’ and trying to set the mood. Tory goes full R&B on the yearning chorus, while Rich The Kidd fills in with a triplet verse where he lets a lady know “it’s a one-night thing,” though he later says he “might miss her” when she calls him.
Jaden Smith, “Ghost”
Jaden Smith previewed “Ghost” at Rolling Loud and had his fans clamoring for a full version of the hypnotic banger. Jaden decided to finally drop the full thing, and it’s currently available on Apple Music. Jaden Smith is often lauded for his humility, but he’s feeling himself on “GHOST,” radiating an intriguing cool on the track in which he rhymes, “tryna make sure I just leave a good world for my niece.”
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie ft. Nav, “Pull Up”
A Boogie recently released his International Artist project in which he collaborated with a range of artists based outside the United States. The melody man got up with Canadian artist Nav on “Pull Up,” a true to the new school duet that showcases the two crooning over an 808-based soundscape. Boogie and Nav both show off their vocal chops for the ladies.
Lil Skies, “Name In The Sand”
After previously canceling a tour due to “unforeseen health issues,” Lil Skies lets us know it’s all good by dropping “Name In The Sand,” a typically contemplative offering. The cavernous reverb on his vocals help radiate the tension in vocals like “need your love, it’s my drug” and “when it rains grab my hand, scrawl your name in the sand.” The lovelorn loosie was well-crafted by producer Meloh, who was true to Skies’ name with the vast soundscape. Hopefully, he’ll be performing this on big stages this July, as he has new tour dates scheduled.