11.23.2015

best-of-2016-albums

Album Highlights from Audible Treats’ 2016 Client Roster

Here’s a concise list of the strongest albums we did publicity for this year, with a special subsection called “Who’s Got Next?” for clients whom we think represent the future of the Hip-Hop biz.


Best Albums:

Young Dolph – Rich Crack Baby

Paper Route Entertainment – 8/26/2016

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With guest spots from T.I., Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz and more, and featuring perhaps the most ridiculous (read: best) cover art of 2016, Dolph cemented his reputation as the King of Memphis with Rich Crack Baby, which peaked at #6 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart. One of three impressive projects from Dolph in 2016, Rich Crack Baby is the purest distillation of Dolph’s appeal, with memorable couplets and hypnotic rhythmic hooks over booming Southern beats. With highlights such as the sinister “Foreva,” featuring T.I., the 2Pac-interpolating “Trappa,” and the triumphant title track, Rich Crack Baby demonstrates how Dolph overcame a rough childhood with crack-addicted parents to become one of the most successful independent rappers in the game.

E-40 – The D-Boy Dairy, Vol. 1 & 2

Sick Wid It – 11/18/2016

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Featuring 44 tracks of unfiltered 40 Water, The D-Boy Diary, Vol. 1 & 2 is another monument to E-40’s unparalleled stature in the rap game. With a massive, all-star guest list, including features from Gucci Mane, Lil B, G-Eazy, Nef The Pharaoh, Droop-E, Jay Rock, Kid Ink, Mistah F.A.B., Eric Bellinger, Casey Veggies, AD, Joe Moses and more, the quality of the double LP speaks to 40’s status as a Hip-Hop icon, and speaks to his unprecedented longevity and relevance in the rap game. Quoth E-40, “I played my position, I laced the unlaced: I’m telling my stories and other people’s stories all in one, about being brought up how I was brought up. It’s a blessing to be a rapper and talk about things that I’ve been through or my partners or family been through and we’ve conquered it. I’m very grateful about how my career has turned out.”

Maxo Kream – The Persona Tape

Kream Clicc / TSO Music Group – 6/27/16

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“Sometimes, diving deep into Maxo’s world feels almost like Being John Malkovich or The Cell”,” raved the Houston Press about local favorite Maxo Kream‘s latest release. “You can easily get lost in the dalliances of gun talk, the endless supply of lean, and ultimately Maxo’s penchant for leaving bodies all over the place. It’s akin to looking at Chucky, the best friend of Fresh, talking about his favorite comic-book hero, The Punisher.”

Picking up where he left off with 2015’s Maxo 187, Maxo Kream improved upon his own sinister blend of noirish Texas rap with The Persona Tape. Featuring appearances from fellow Houston rapper Paul Wall and Atlanta rappers Playboi Carti, Key!, and Rich the Kid, the tape finds Maxo Kream exploring the intricacies of his public profile versus how he perceives himself. Praised by Red Bull, who said the tape was “packed with sordid tales from Texas, with Maxo flexing his narrative skills over a crusty trunk full of bangers,” as one of the best mixtapes of July, The Persona Tape is the best project yet from one of Southern Rap’s rising stars.

Taylor Gang – TGOD Volume 1

Taylor Gang Entertainment – 10/11/16

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A worthy showcase of the Pittsburgh-based label’s wide array of talent, TGOD Volume 1 was Taylor Gang’s first release after signing a landmark deal with Atlantic Records. A Datpiff exclusive, TGOD Volume 1 is an epic release, giving a chance for stars like label boss Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign to flex, as well as showing off the skills of relative newcomers like Chicago’s JR Donato and Houston’s Sosamann. Raves Vibe, “The 27-track mixtape is the perfect fit for Taylor Gang’s stoner feel, and illuminates a nostalgic vibe that feels like a throwback to the Diplomat’s 2003 release, Diplomatic Immunity.”

Bankroll Mafia – Bankroll Mafia

Bankroll Mafia/EMPIRE – 4/25/16

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In 2016, Young Thug and T.I.P, two of rap’s biggest stars, joined London Jae, YSL Duke, and Shad Da God to form Bankroll Mafia, an Atlanta-based supergroup dedicated to spinning gritty street tales and exalting the iconoclasm of black crime dynasties. Despite the high-wattage star power that made headlines, Bankroll Mafia succeeds on the strength of its lesser known members. Featuring guest appearances from Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Peewee Roscoe, and the late Bankroll Fresh, the album received praise from XXL, who gushed, “the more time you spend with [Bankroll Mafia], the more you learn the eccentricities of every member in the crew. They each contribute with a sensitivity to the next one’s style, allowing room for each other while still letting themselves mark their territory. It’s the way these puzzle pieces fit into the larger picture that makes the album such an enjoyable listen.”

Nef The Pharaoh – Neffy Got Wings

Sick Wid It – 1/22/16

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“Nef has this easy, natural delivery, and he can navigate these simple-but-demanding beats with grace and charm and panache,” praised Stereogum in their Album of the Week review of Neffy Got Wings.” The things he’s saying don’t matter as much as how he says them.” An album-length collaboration between Nef and acclaimed rap producer Cardo, Neffy Got Wings, which features appearances from Mozzy and Philthy Rich, is an evolutionary step forward in the career of one of the Bay Area’s most promising young artists.

Raves Tom Breihan of Stereogum: “His voice never rises above a conversational volume. Sometimes, he gets that dry croak at the back that you get when you’re really tired, but he never sounds sleepy. Instead, the effect is more that he just woke up and started rapping, that he never really stopped. And when he references older music, something he does often, he’s never attempting to channel that music. Instead, it’s about feeling. ‘Michael Jackson’ is a song about feeling so cool that it’s like you’re moonwalking over everyone. And Nef finds ways to communicate that sense of joy and exhilaration without ever battering us with it.”

Peewee Longway – Longway Sinatra

MPA Bandcamp Music/1017 Records – 11/4/16

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A cult figure in Atlanta rap who introduced Young Thug to Gucci Mane and counts LL Cool J as a big fan, Peewee Longway did it his way on Longway Sinatra, his latest mixtape, which features guest appearances from E-40, Offset from Migos, and TK Kravitz. Produced entirely by Cassius Jay, Peewee’s tight-spun, quick spit verses provide a perfect complement to the Jay-produced bangers, including titanic trap anthem “Master PeeWee.” “I just came along some of his music and I felt like I was hanging out with him,” explains LL Cool J about PeeWee Longway. “When you watch his videos, you feel like you’re there. He’s a cool artist.”

Berner & B-Real – Prohibition Part 3

Taylor Gang Entertainment – 11/10/16

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Marijuana magnate Berner and Cypress Hill veteran B-Real push for legalization in their vibey full-length Prohibition 3, their third “joint” 🚬  effort in three years. Featuring appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Dizzy Wright, B-Legit, Devin The Dude, Paul Wall, and Demrick, the album is an ideal listen for a late-night smoke session or for a windows-down drive along the California coast. Outspoken advocates for marijuana legalization, the longtime “buds” 🍁  released Prohibition 3 a week earlier than originally scheduled as a reaction to the legalization in four states during the 2016 election.

Explains Berner, “The Prohibition series represents marijuana culture. The growers, breeders, shop owners and smokers who have been affected by a law we all know makes no sense. We are the voice for the community. We provide a vibe that people could use right now. This is the sound most artists today run from or just ignore. Looking at all the press on marijuana legalization in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada as well as the states that went medical, we felt like releasing it early was not only the right thing to do but very necessary.”

SosaMann– Sauce Eskobar

Taylor Gang – 4/26/2016

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“As a music genre, Sauce contains high amounts of mischievousness, and Sosamann’s songs are especially disruptive,” explained Noisey in their profile of the eccentric Houston emcee. “Like a vintage cigarette advertisement, he interweaves menacing content and cheerful lyrics into playful templates, excitedly stacking syllables on top of each other to craft openhearted yet grimy songs. On Sauce Eskobar standout ‘Just Want to Win’ he recites, ‘get you buried for a couple of dollars / I don’t worry / Hakuna Matata,’ while on ‘#WTDD,’ he riffs, ‘I got shoes made out of Pterodactyl / stop fronting / you’re an actor / I can tell you are cappin’ / tabernacle.’ The tension in the music creates a chilling effect, even as the energy remains high.” Featuring appearances from Wiz Khalifa, Young Dolph, Sauce Walka, Sancho Saucy, and XO, the album is an ideal exemplar of Sauce, a particularly mischievous and energetic form of Houston rap. “Sauce is what I’m spilling,” explains Sosamann. “It is what I’m dripped in. It is what splashed.”

Ezale – The Tonite Show With Ezale

Fresh In The Flesh / Foreal Foreal Ent. – 09/07/16

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“Not since D-Lo has Fresh worked with someone as unique and compelling as Ezale, a talent complementary to his own,” praised Pitchfork in their review of The Tonite Show with Ezale, an accomplished collaborative album by DJ Fresh and Ezale, Oakland’s funkiest human. An eccentric character with a love for ’80s electro and funk, Ezale’s effort earned him praise from The FADER and Passion of the Weiss, who called Ezale, “a bundle of dopamine and serotonin with a glinting, carefree grin.” With production from DJ Fresh and Hawk Beatz, The Tonite Show With Ezale is a remarkably cohesive effort, with Ezale skating over the smooth, funky instrumentals with drawling ease.

WHO’S GOT NEXT? 🔮 👀

Caleborate – 1993

TBKTR/EMPIRE – 8/28/16

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A complex look at the millennial experience by a charismatic and intelligent young rapper from Berkeley, California, Caleborate’s 1993 is an accomplished statement and an engaging listen. Premiered in August by Complex, the versatile album bounces from Kanye-style chipmunk soul (“Game Over”) to Kaytranada-esque beats (“Consequences”) with surprising ease, all grounded by Caleborate’s down-to-earth charm. Praised by Uproxx, The FADER, and Earmilk, 1993 is an album for anybody who is, or who has ever been, in their 20’s.

Well$ – The Way I’m Living Makes My Mom Nervous

Immaculate Taste – 10/21/16

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A critically acclaimed young rapper with an aggressive flow, a unique lyrical voice, and an energetic live show, Well$ takes the next step with The Way I’m Living Makes My Mom Nervous. Featuring appearances from North Carolina stand-outs such as Sylvan Esso, Deniro Ferrar, Angelo Mota, JK The Ripper, Doms, Alec Lomami, and Sipho the Gift, along with varied production from Metro Boomin, Angelo Mota, Sipho the Gift, Jimmy Kelso, and others, the mixtape explores how the North Carolina emcee’s American lifestyle clashes with his Congolese immigrant parents’ African values. “My parents came to America to escape a tyrannical regime,” explains Well$ to Pigeons & Planes, who premiered the mixtape. “For them, pursuing formal education and a career is the only way a person can make something out of themselves; unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer, you ain’t shit.” Praised by Mass Appeal, XXL, and HotNewHipHop, TWILMMMN proves that Well$ can successfully tackle any style.

Rexx Life Raj – Father Figure

Rexx Life/EMPIRE – 6/23/16

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Praised by Free Bread as “Bay Area Hip-Hop’s best kept secret,” Berkeley’s Rexx Life Raj released one of the year’s best debut albums with Father Figure. Premiered by Noisey, who praised the album as “accessible, relatable, and deftly political” and recommended it to “anyone who likes breathing and/or good music,” the 26-year-old rapper seamlessly transitions between crooned melodies and swift bars over ambient production, displaying a unique combination of self-awareness and raw emotion that sets him apart from his counterparts. Featuring standout tracks such as “Handheld GPS,” “Moxie Java,” featuring Nef The Pharaoh, and “On Ice,” featuring ymtk, Father Figure is the culmination of hard work and strong relationships as it traces Raj’s evolution from a Division I football player to a full-fledged artist.

“This project is about growth,” Rexx Life Raj explains to Noisey. “Growth in the music I’m doing and personal growth. It’s about giving some of the game that I’ve learned over these last few years to whoever is listening. To me, a father figure is someone you look to for guidance, someone who gives game and drops gems. That’s what I wanted to do in this project.”