Public Service Announcement: Effective immediately, Guardian of the Rap will shift its focus towards spotlighting artists who aren’t powered by major industry machines.
Case-in-point: as much as I love arguing about rap no matter who released it on what level, I’m bored. Already. Like, why give the word count towards niggas who don’t need my help, as if I’m that much help anyway? Who am I: a rapper moonlighting as a writer masquerading as an industry nigga? Just a nerd who made the keyboard pay him eventually? I squabble in the DMs (where it goes down) for ** all ** the raps, but alas… I’ll get much more out of diggin’ and puttin’ on than caping for niggas who run SoundScan up already. Not to mention how we’re on rap overload as is? Yeah, no: no more 10-blurb blogs for ya boy. You’ll get a few takes this month, but that’s about it.
Which means returning to you, the viewer: if you happen to be a rapper who ain’t got a PR budget or some label head’s son bankrolling you, I want GOTR to be a space where someone like you gets some shine for inquiring minds to peep your sound, and… for industry folks who can help you. I don’t know who peeps my shit, it’s impossible to tell. But, what good am I doing if I’m not furthering the legacy of the writers before me? Ain’t no tellin’ what hell I’ma invite to my collective inbox clutter by doin’ this shit, but let’s do it coughs, checks notes
……....for the culture.
Send me your music to firstname.lastname@example.org
**Megan Thee Stallion - Fever ** This album sounds like I got it thrown back on me just to get robbed once I walk out the apartment. If you think I’m bullshittin’, Megan has a line on here where she reassures her sexual partner that he wouldn’t have made it to her crib if she wanted him touched. This is the crown jewel of Hot Girl Shit: Megan tears through every record on her ruthless shit, whether she’s commanding the assclap or setting up aforementioned licks. She aims for the jugular while crafting an album that can dominate the rager on its own.. Fever is spiteful and spiritual, and a strong indication of what Megan’s capable of once she expands her range even further. The album sounds like Hennessy done off an abdomen, with the bottle aimed at someone’s cranium. Fighting will be unnecessary, though, you seen all this ass thrown in here?
**Young Nudy + Pi’erre Bourne - Sli’merre ** Remember when I said Slimeball 3 wasn’t hittin’ properlike? Sli’merre confirms why: Pi’erre wasn’t behind the boards! This is a dream team you can’t fuck up: the spacier, more oddball Bourne’s beats become, the more animated and hypnotic Nudy allows himself to be. Full disclosure: we know Nudy raps about six general topics, all dealing with street shit or sexual prowess. You’ve come here for the dexterity of his execution, the way this nigga embodies a slimy Zone 6 motherfucker at his most regular or vicious. He can rattle and ramble his way into any territory he pleases, but he’s inclined not to break what’s unbroken. The man can illustrate the SHIT outta some depravity, and with a boorish grin, at that! Not to mention: he’s damn near got one of the hottest songs of the summer that’s not even on this joint due to a sample clearance. (Carti’s cut from a similar cloth, a primary stylist over any depth at all.)
**Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain ** I won’t lie when I expose my initial apprehension towards this gentleman once I saw how quickly all the Hip Artsy Undergrads were flocking towards him. (I say that like I don’t still border that demo at age 25.) Alas, a young nigga was ** wrong **: Slowthai is the fuckin’ BUSINESS! I spent three days with this album before this man’s voice began to narrate my internal monologue. Slowthai symbolizes the modern potential for mainstream-level rap music that’s politically-engaged without sacrificing fun or grit. He’s the self-proclaimed Brexit Bandit, a mixed-Black man who came up from poverty and dabbled in many pathways of life that could’ve killed him. But his glory comes from reveling in survival, and embracing how fucking wild he is. Issa biopic, a call-to-action, and a thrill ride through a horror film funhouse wrapped up in one madman. Damn the UK bias, tap in. You’ll be shouting the word “abdominal” in no time.
**ZelooperZ - Dyn-O-Mite ** See, this is my kinda content right here: the Brusier Brigade young bul, tearing through Black Noi$e beats across many a style, being fucking weird and captivating the whole time he’s doing it. There’s no facade of invented weird or fake cool, ZelooperZ been that nigga since the homies slapped “Hit a Lick” on the way to the grocery store when I was 19. My recent reconnection via Dyn-O-Mite treated me to how much he’s grown: his humor’s become more agile, his punchlines still hit even when the undertones aren’t as outlandish, and he can grace any style even as Black Noi$e’s sample-first minimalism reels ZelooperZ back in from the fringes of his more experimental material. He never sounds unnatural, or even challenged: this is rare underground talent that deserves more flowers than he’s received, youth aside. That nigga’s fie at painting, too: cop sum’n.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.