It’s been a difficult week for Young Stoner Life records and the extended Hip Hop family. Charges piled up against Young Thug and the YSL crew as they continue to battle RICO charges. Right as the legal troubles flared, tragic news broke that Lil Keed passed away, reportedly from kidney failure, at the young age of 24-years-old. 

It’s difficult to write about new music amidst the mourning and the feeling that the genre is under assault from the powers that be. But maybe the best way to protect rap is to uplift the artists we love, support them and share flowers while they’re still here.

In that spirit, this week’s edition of New Music Friday runs through the best albums of the week, from Boldy James in collaboration with Real Bad Man, Dreezy and L.A.’s Hit-Boy and Babyface Ray. 

Boldy James & Real Bad Man – Killing Nothing

Boldy James doesn’t receive the same recognition as his Griselda peers like Benny The Butcher, Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn, but his output over the past few years proves he’s worthy of equal attention. Killing Nothing, his second collaborative LP with Real Bad Man, comes two years after the first, Real Bad Boldy, released in 2020.

Real Bad Man, the Los Angeles-based production crew, is known for their clever sample flips, which can be heard on songs like “Bo Jack (Miller Lite)” and jazzy undertones (“Hundred Ninety Bands”).

Dreezy & Hit-Boy – HITGIRL

Dreezy’s been masterfully lacing tough verses on trap beats since 2014’s Schizo. Her acclaim rocketed with 2017 smash hit “Spar” with 6LACK and Kodak Black, as well as Big Dreez which dropped two years later.

But HITGIRL, Dreezy’s latest effort in collaboration with Los Angeles producer Hit-Boy, is by far her biggest look to date. The Chicago MC’s bars are on full display: songs like the ravenous “Jackson 5” find her breathlessly spitting 16s over flute-backed production. Others, like the Future-assisted “Sliders,” is an enthralling showcase of Dreezy’s dexterity.

Babyface Ray – FACE (Deluxe)

Detroit has always been a beacon for Hip Hop, long before the new wave of euro-stepping MCs emerged on the scene. But Detroit’s burgeoning generation is one of the most thrilling crops in years. Among them is Babyface Ray, an artist who could out-rap most with a lackadaisical yawn.

After releasing FACE in late January, the “Paperwork Party” spitter has come forth with a deluxe, adding eight new tracks to the album’s original twenty.

Lil Durk – 7220 (Reloaded)

Lil Durk, one of the original founders of Drill music, didn’t receive his due flowers for years. Though he had contributed handfuls of classic records to the genre, he never quite broke through into Hip Hop’s mainstream until the last five years. Through albums such as Just Cause Y’all Waited 2The Voice and 7220 Durk became a certified superstar.

Releasing a deluxe edition to the latter, Durk injects his melodic crooning on the sole new addition in “Computer Murders,” but more importantly, it’s a reminder of why the project earned him his first entry on Billboard’s top slot.

Stunna 4 Vegas – Rae Rae’s Son

Hailing from Salisbury, North Carolina, the DaBaby-signed rapper Stunna 4 Vegas just released Rae Rae’s Son, an eleven-song project which brings him together with Icewear Vezzo, Spinabenz and YRB Tezz.

The opening track, “Rae Rae’s Intro,” sets the tone for what listeners can expect: a long, winding narrative of street escapades and breaking free from the hood.

Ravyn Lenae – HYPNOS

After years of anticipation waiting for a follow-up project to R&B singer Ravyn Lenae’s 2018 Crush EP, the songstress has finally emerged with HYPNOS. Spanning 16-tracks, HYPNOS is ripe with Lenae’s delicate whisper of a voice and all-star features from Steve Lacy and Smino to Mereba and Fousheé.

Clear frontrunners include the delicate “Skin Tight” and “Mercury,” but for fans who have been waiting years for a full-length debut, there likely won’t be any skips.

BIGBABYGUCCI – Soda & Syrup

Born in Charlotte, North Carolina but residing in Los Angeles, BIGBABYGUCCI is a bubbling rapper who falls into the same lane as artists such as Young Kayo, Yeat and THOUXANDBANFAUNI. He already has a few commercially successful songs in “Drop Top Lexus” and “Can’t Feel Shit.” Still, BIGBABYGUCCI sounds rejuvenated thanks in large part to excellent production from Dream Awake, jackpott and more.

Also be sure to stream this week’s Honorable Mentions: DIE BOUT IT by Lil Gnar and Nick Cannon’s Raw & B.