A few recent rap releases that are more than worth your time. First, Conway the Machine’s new EP, “No One Mourns the Wicked.” Produced by Big Ghost LTD, who Conway has worked with before, this EP has more great songs than most overstuffed albums.

Conway doesn’t need a lot of guests. He has the versatility and ability to tell stories with grit and humor all by himself. This EP is further evidence that Conway is one of the best rappers working today.

And speaking of the best rappers around, Polo G just dropped his second album, and the title stakes a claim as the Greatest Of All Time.

GOAT isn’t a big departure from G’s last album, a debut that instantly put the Chicago rapper in the forefront of the rap world. It’s street tales, brags, and songs for the fallen. But a change isn’t really necessary when you’re this good.

Polo G is so good, in fact, that he overcomes a big crutch: He uses heavy overproduction on his vocals. I usually hate this, and I’m still not a fan, but at least G’s not using it as a substitute for lyricism.

Conway and Polo G are two sides of the same coin: Both have hardcore content, but where Conway comes out with force and aggression, Polo G has a much more laid back, modern vibe. But unlike Conway, Polo G has released 15 songs–and that’s just too many, too soon after his last album, and the filler songs (like Chinatown and 33) just sound too much like other songs on the same album that are much more interesting. Still, there are plenty of bangers here.

Is Polo G’s album going to make my end-of-year list? Unclear at this point. But for now, it’s definitely a very strong record.

Runner Ups:

First Yves Tumor’s Heaven to a Tortured Mind. There’s a lot of creativity here, but your mileage will vary based on your tolerance for experimental hip hop. Pitchfork went super high, giving it an 8.5. So intellectual critics like it. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how often I’ll need to hear it again.

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