I am proud to present the first installment of Casulin’s Hip-Hop Hitlist, a curated collection of the standout tracks from the best albums of the month. That is not to say that these songs are all on the Billboard Top 40, even though some may be. I want this playlist to enlighten, intrigue, interest and expand your musical breadth and depth. You should find new artists to fall in love with and new tracks by your favorite artists every month via this collection. Most importantly, the Hitlist should be fucking good. If it’s not, if I’m missing something, or there are tracks on it that belong in the same category as Rebecca Black, tell me. I want – no, need – the feedback to make the Hitlist your go to playlist for the month. So without further ado, here is Hitlist No. 1: September Slammers.
Love$ick – Mura Masa, A$AP Rocky
This A$AP Rocky and Mura Masa collaboration was an absolute must. Not only was the original Mura Masa track a banger, but Rocky comes in to body this beat with his unmistakeable flow. No real explanation needed for this song. But, we can’t forget that Rocky was apart of another notable release, “Crazy Brazy” with features from most of the A$AP Mob. Couldn’t find it on Spotify, but definitely worth the honorable mention. With that being said, Happy Birthday Rocky!
Surfin – Kid Cudi ft. Pharrell
This is the first release of Cudi’s highly anticipated new album “Passion, Pain and Demon Slayin'” and it creates a different kind of wave. With Pharrell on the beat, you are nearly guaranteed to have quality. Nonetheless, the two superstars pulled through. With a sound that reflects the celebration of an Earth Wind & Fire track with the heavy tribal drums that characterize Yeezus, Cudi and Pharrell scored big time. His other release this month, “Frequency” wasn’t so hot. So far, Scott is 1 for 2.
through the late night (ft. Kid Cudi) / goosebumps (ft. Kendrick Lamar) – Travis Scott
These are the tracks we live for. Travis Scott + the old Cudi and another with Kendrick Lamar. There shouldn’t be much else to say. If you know these tracks, then you understand. For those who haven’t, shame. Travis even spits his own rendition of Day N’ Nite to cap off “through the late night”, one of the best songs off the new album. Another track that competes for the top record of that album is “goosebumps”, and for good reason. The bottom line is it fucking bangs and Kendrick comes through to do what he does best, give a high energy verse. If you haven’t listened through this project, do so ASAP because you’re slipping.
Decemba (Remix) – $ilkmoney ft. Andre 3000 (prod. ICYTWAT)
I have always been a Divine Council fan, and no one does it better than the $ilkmoney, ICYTWAT combo. They make the perfect combination of trap rap lyrics with an electronic twist. But, what makes this song more than just another Divine Council Soundcloud track is the verse by Mr. 3000 himself. Andre has been murdering everything he’s touched the last couple of months, and this is no exception. He creates an entire storyline in one minute, and it’s amazing. If you couldn’t follow the notoriously fast lyricist, look up the words, it’ll blow you away.
Cranes in the Sky / Mad (ft. Lil Wayne) – Solange
I was never much of a Solange fan, but these tracks had the perfect blend of vocals and soft jazz to keep me interested. It is super soul. She has a completely different style than a Beyoncé per say, and it works well for her on this album. “Cranes in the Sky” uses a symphonic backdrop to contrast her inability to escape the ever present “it”. An “it” that is globally relatable, whatever “it” may be. This selection is meant to intrigue you to check out Solange’s brand new record “A Seat at the Table”. Overall, The project addresses the civil unrest throughout our country right now. Nonetheless, it succeeds without the aggression of an NWA record. Worth the listen.
Deja Vu – Post Malone (ft. Justin Bieber)
What a great combination here. Post Malone put together an amazing mixtape leading up to his debut album release, but we’re still waiting. In the meantime, I’m sure this R&B track will keep you and that special someone busy doing the dirty. It’s fucking Bieber for god sakes! Enjoy.
May I Have This Dance / My City’s Gone – Francis and the Lights
These two tracks are the odd ones out in the playlist, but for good reason. The new Francis and the Lights album, “Farewell, Starlite!”, is filled with these abstract and ambient instrumentals paired with minimal vocal interruption. But it all works, and deserves to be included. When a group can put together something as artistic as this, it can’t be overlooked. Take these tracks with a grain of salt, but know that Kanye helped worked on the later one, “My City’s Gone”.
Day to Day – Robert Glasper Experiment
Had to include this track for two reasons. 1) Robert Glasper is a fantastic jazz and hip hop producer that I deeply respect. 2) It’s such a head bobbing feel good track. “Day to Day” brings together an old school sound with jazz piano and an electro soul, Daft Punk feel. Interesting vibes, and a good track all in all.
Communicate (ft. Ravyn Lenae) – Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins enlisted Kaytranada, one of his go-to producers, as well as the extremely talented Ravyn Lenae to make “Communicate” the standout track on his new album “The Healing Component”. While his Hip-Hop isn’t the most conventional, Mick Jenkins is growing into quite the notable artist. Start riding this wave before it gets too crowded.
Dang! (ft. Anderson Paak) – Mac Miller
My favorite song on “The Divine Feminine”, “Dang!” has kept it’s shine over the course of the month. Not only is Anderson Paak the absolute truth, but Mac finds himself in a groove that perfectly compliments his voice and flow. Both musically and lyrically, he is growing up. Mac has other notable tracks on his new album such as “We”, “My Favorite Part” and “God is Fair, Sexy Nasty”, but this track encapsulates them all. Be sure to listen to the rest of the album if you haven’t.
The MOVE – Kaytranada, Reta DeVito
I’ve been a fan of Kaytranada since he was only a small act on Soundcloud. With Reta DeVito, we get another look at the versatility of this consistently improving producer. Although his synths are distinctly his, Kaytranada manages to always compose unique tracks, even after putting out a full length album and an hour and half long mix. “The MOVE” isn’t his best work, but still needed to be included because, well, Kaytranada.
Hello / ??? (Where) (ft. Migos) – Ty Dolla $ign
The most popular track on Ty Dolla $ign’s new album “Campaign” is the song that yields said album’s namesake. However, with a feature on it like Future, many forget to give the rest of the westside rapper’s project the time of day. Well, “Hello” and “??? (Where)” both showcase a better image of what Dolla $ign can do. The former has a more upbeat R&B beat and lyrics and the later is surrounded by trap hi hats and a dark synth lead that is sure to light up clubs all month. Not to mention, the Migos contribution is absolutely money.
Wats Wrong (ft. Kendrick Lamar, Zacari) / Stuck in the Mud (ft. SZA) – Isaiah Rashad
I have been listening to this album throughout the month of September. With the weather getting colder, and school picking up for many of us, nothing is better to walk around to or study with then a chill beat and magnificent lyrics. While he’s from Tennessee, his sound is more relatable to the rest of the TDE gang and their westside roots. “Stuck in the Mud” highlights his long struggle with alcoholism and pill addiction that prevented the completion of his album “Sun’s Tirade”. Isaiah reminded us all why he’s a rapper to stay on the look out for. Of all the albums mentioned this month, I’d give “The Sun’s Tirade” my Gold Star of approval.
Leftside / Hypocrite – Audio Push
“Audio who?” Thats exactly what I said when one of my boys told me this was his favorite album of the month. But, after a couple of listens, I couldn’t disagree that these guys had a great project on their hands. “Leftside” is a westside anthem that brings me back home with it’s latino flare and minimalist production. “Hypocrite”, on the other hand, is a social commentary on the way our society works these days. “90951” demonstrates a new way to build an album.
If you made it down to this part of the commentary, I love you and I hope you all enjoyed September’s edition of the Hitlist. Don’t forget to share the playlist if you enjoyed the music, or even if you didn’t. Either way, see you here next month with the second installment. Should be a good one.