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Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar has finally dropped his long awaited follow up to Good Kid, m.A.A.d City

Albums of the month

Kendrick drops his new album, LSDXOXO mellow out, and Tinashe teams up with Ryan Hemsworth to take us back to childhood

FUTURE – 56 NIGHTS

We barely had time to get over Atlanta rapper Future’s 808-laden, Zaytoven-produced mixtape Beast Mode before he dropped the equally hard-hitting 56 Nights, a mixtape named after the amount of days collaborator DJ Esco spent in a Dubai prison for marijuana possession. The tracks merge Middle Eastern melodies with trap beats and druggy atmospherics, as Future raps in hollow-eyed tones about casual sex, pharmaceuticals and Instagram. Nice.

KENDRICK LAMAR – TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY

It’s not hard to see why everyone’s going mad over this new Kendrick. “This dick ain’t free,” he scowls over a torrent of shuffling jazz rhythms in “For Free?”, his voice making patterns over breath-taking instrumentation. “Oh America, you bad bitch, I picked the cotton that made you rich.” Kendrick essentially takes the mirror that defined Good Kid, m.A.A.d City and swivels it to face America itself in this fearless and triumphant musical creation.

LSDXOXO – SACANAGEM

LSDXOXO delivers minimal house for the emoji generation in this mellowed-out morose mix tape. “After my last release, I sank into a bit of a dark space,” LSDXOXO explained to Dazed last week. “But no one likes a bitter Betty, so I put the project to the side for a while, and let life play out until I wasn't as in my feelings. If you listen closely, you can sort of hear my moods change throughout. That's a Gemini for you!”

EARL SWEATSHIRT – I DON’T LIKE SHIT, I DON’T GO OUTSIDE

The Odd Future breakout delivers a torrent of dark, introspective flows over bass-heavy beats and faded melodies in this gloomy, but brilliant, second album. It in, the 21-year-old diverts from the shock-tactic lyricism of his first album in favour of a far more personal flavour. It’s also pretty short, so in the words of Earl himself: “WHEN YOU GET DONE LISTENING TO IT, LISTEN TO IT AGAIN, THATS WHY ITS 30 MINUTES NUMBNUTS”.

RATKING – 700 FILL

Written during the best part of one week, this surprise drop from NYC rap clan Ratking was released on BitTorrent in a free bundle with instrumentals and a short film. The nine-track EP blends Sporting Life’s woozy, melodic production beneath Wiki and Hak’s slick-tongued, unique flows. And if you’re wondering what a 700 Fill is, it’s a type of North Face jacket stuffed with goose down.

FANTASMA – FREE LOVE

South Africa has always given rise to a myriad of radical sounds and this sun-splashed debut from electro-zulu collective Fantasma embodies the glittering musical eclecticism of the country. Speaking about the infectious, good-vibe track “ShangriLa”, Spoek Mathambo told Dazed, “Originally the lyrics were Bheki singing about how all murderers are going to burn in hell...but the summer was more about love and sunshine, so that theme came in.” It’s the perfect record to listen to as the clocks go forward.

TINASHE – AMETHYST

Whilst most of us were busy doing shit-all last Christmas, Tinashe was holed up in her childhood bedroom crafting seven jams for this sultry, R&B mixtape, the follow-up to last years debut Aquarius. The record features production from our favourite sensitive tastemaker Ryan Hemsworth ("Wrong"), as well as Legacy (“Looking 4 it”) and Iamsu ("Worth It").

JLIN – DARK ENERGY

Just like Chicago itself, this debut album from Jlin has the ability to swallow you whole. “Dark Energy comes from failure and experience,” Jlin explained to Dazed last week, and it’s not hard to sense the agitation and frustration in that statement via the visceral, jagged edges and crunching patterns of this stormy footwork masterpiece.

GHOSTPOET – SHEDDING SKIN

London experimentalist Ghostpoet has always been adept at telling stories, and his latest album does just that via his unique, downbeat bars. “For me, we’re going through a strange time, where it’s difficult to live, and I wanted to get that across to a certain extent,” he told Dazed earlier this month. “It’s not politically focused exactly, but it is informed by change and what I’ve seen happening across the world.” The record also features a handful of surprising collaborators including Lucy Rose, Melanie De Biasio and Maximo Park’s Paul Smith.

JAM CITY – DREAM A GARDEN

Heavy-lidded vocals and lo-fi, cloud-rap beats collide in London producer Jam City’s second effort, a swift departure from his glossy club debut. However, buried beneath the mesmeric waves of the music lies a sharp critique of capitalist ideals. “Behind those aesthetics, behind those glossy sheens of luxury, is disgraceful human suffering,” he told Dazed. “I don’t think it’s okay to just represent without talking about the other.”