The Beat Drop

Sean Bessette, Scene Editor

Welcome to The Beat Drop by Sean Bessette, my weekly column where I’ll write about the music I listen to on a weekly basis. My music taste focuses around hip-hop/rap, a little R&B and a little pop. I’ll review recently released songs and albums plus general events that have happened in the music industry lately.

“The Voice”

Lil Durk released his sixth studio album, “The Voice” on Dec. 24, 2020. On Jan. 29, 2021, Durk released the album’s deluxe version, making the total album 28 songs long.

A 28-song tracklist is long, especially for trap music. With albums that long, beats start to blend and the album becomes uninteresting. Unfortunately, that’s sort of the case for Durk here. Some of the songs seem too similar for them to be included.

That’s my biggest complaint with “The Voice”. After I look past the long tracklist, it’s only positives from that point on.

While some songs sound repetitive, they’re not repetitive in a bad way. “The Voice” is consistently very good.

The best song on this album is easily “Stay Down” for me. 6LACK and Young Thug provided great additions to this track. This was a dream collaboration. 6LACK performed like an MVP with a catchy hook and bridge connecting to Young Thug’s verse. The song includes one of Durk’s best performances on the album. It’s only fair to mention the great Metro Boomin beat on this song as well.

Other highlights include “Finesse out the Gang Way”, “When I’m Lonely”, “Still Trappin’” and “Coming Clean”. King Von’s posthumous appearance on this “Still Trappin’” was special. 

Outside of those songs, not much else stands out. I enjoy most of the album but I’m left feeling like Durk has more left in the tank. Admittedly, I’ve never been a very big Durk fan. This definitely isn’t Durk’s peak and his future is bright but additional refinement of a tracklist is important for his next project.

New Music 2/19

Another week, another Friday without an inspirational album release. The best thing released last Friday, Feb. 19, was the new Tory Lanez single, “F.E.E.L.S.”, featuring Chris Brown.

Lil Yachty’s new single featuring Kodak Black named “Hit Bout It” is whatever. I don’t like it and I don’t dislike it. It’s nice to hear Kodak on a song after being recently released from prison but his energy is low and his verse is way too long. Yachty’s part is rather uninspiring.

I found “NEON SHARK vs Pegasus”, Trippie Redd’s rock-infused deluxe album to his release “Pegasus” from October 2020, to be a complete miss. I liked the idea behind this album but the execution is poor.

Another bright spot was R&B artist ELHAE’s newest single, “Separated”. I’m absolutely in love with the chorus of this track. I highly recommend ELHAE to anyone who hasn’t heard of him before.

“Go Crazy” by Chris Brown and Young Thug was one of the biggest songs in the world last spring. Last Friday, it got a remix with new verses from Future, Lil Durk and Mulatto. This remix is so unnecessary, especially since the main song released last May. It comes off as a bland attempt to profit off of an old hit.

The first anniversary of Pop Smoke’s death

Last Friday marked the one year anniversary of Pop Smoke’s death. He was murdered in a home invasion in Los Angeles on Feb. 19, 2020, only 12 days after releasing his mixtape “Meet the Woo 2” (MTW2).

Pop Smoke’s death is the most impactful celebrity death I’ve experienced. His music clicked for me as soon as MTW2 released. His harsh tone and electric energy set him apart from every other artist. He had mastered the Brooklyn drill sound.

He was an upcoming superstar and I have no doubt he was going to dominate the industry for a long time.

His debut posthumous album, “Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon” (SFTSAFTM), was a landslide success. I was on a camping trip without cell service or internet when the album released and I literally drove 40 minutes into town so I could download it and listen for the rest of the trip.

The album debuted as the #1 album in the country and sold 251,000 units in first-week sales. It spent the most weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart since 2012.

SFTSAFTM was my most listened to album of 2020 and MTW2 was my third most listened to album of 2020. When I look back on 2020 in a decade, I’ll remember it as the year of Pop Smoke.

I miss Pop Smoke. The smoke will never clear.