HIP HOP REVIEWS: Allblack, Moneybagg Yo, and Price

Rapid fire: Three rap albums that are getting repeat spins from me:

F.O.E.S. by Price. Audio Push member Price, hailing from L.A., balances woke tracks like Golden and Grown Folks Business that target economic, racial and gender equality against hip hop norms in songs like Rank. The content is smart and mature, full of honest references to faith and family, without sacrificing the street perspective. This can be a hard line to walk, but Price does so with deft skill.

Out of the three albums reviewed today, this one is the one I’ve returned to most often.

A Gangsta’s Pain by Moneybagg Yo. Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo is by far the best known of the three rappers featured today. And the best reviewed. And, frankly, the most accessible. “I just looked at my wrist, I got time today…” His hooks, delivery, and tough lines are exactly what you’d expect both from his prior work and the genre. But what makes this album stand out is that it also has depth.

Fuck it, though. This album debuted at #1. He doesn’t need my help. On to the last album of the day…

TY4FWM by Allblack. Does anybody remember laughter? Humor in hip hop is a sign of a confident emcee, and Allblack’s debut is full of humor. I’ve seen a lot of critical reviews of this one, but I really dig it. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for Oakland.

Most of the complaints I see are about how many features there are–and that’s legit. Allblack’s voice can get buried under the volume of the other voices here, and maybe he’s not strong enough (yet) to hold his own as a solo artist in a posse cut–but the potential is there. And I love the mix of hard street stories with playful delivery.

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