Album Reviews

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By: Neil MacAlister and Mikaela Nuval

Love Yourself: Her by BTS

BTS, known for aggressive hip-hop tracks, surprises with Love Yourself: Her: an album heavily influenced by pop and EDM. It is surprisingly vibrant and cheerful, which is especially encapsulated by the track, “DNA.”

     Although the seven-member Korean boy band is deviating from their hip-hop roots, BTS stays true to their sound with their personalized lyricism. “Go” talks about how youth live in the present by sacrificing their futures, while their hidden track, “Sea,” only available in physical albums, details their struggles in finding success.

     For those who miss their hard-hitting sound, “MIC Drop” has their old-school hip-hop beats, and rap verses with clapbacks meant to remind listeners of how BTS garnered its international fanbase in the first place.

Even though I prefer BTS’ grounded hip-hop sound, this album weaves each member’s distinct flair and their signature lyricism into other musical genres, marking another evolution of BTS. – MN

Humble Beast by G Herbo

The word ‘underrated’ gets thrown around a lot in hip hop, but G Herbo is deserving of the term — although he’s adored in his hometown of Chicago. Since starting out years ago under the name ‘Lil Herb’, G Herbo’s always straddled the line between his city’s popular drill scene and more conventional hip hop. With each successive project, he’s owned his sound a little more. Humble Beast is the groundbreaking project he’s spent his whole career working up to. It’s been several years in the making, and the finished project is a masterpiece of bitter, conflicted vitriol, and unapologetic skill.

     “Malcolm” features some of the most intense storytelling I’ve ever heard, the Lil Uzi-assisted “Everything” is already climbing the charts, and tracks like “Red Snow” and “No Way Out” have an almost operatic feeling of grandiosity. Herbo proves his versatility by rapping over a variety of different beats while calling in help from local legends like Lil Bibby and Bump J. It’s one of the more aggressive projects you’ll hear this year, and it’s a raw masterpiece. – NM

Drive It Like It’s Stolen by Injury Reserve

With a sound reminiscent of everything from Cool Kids-esque boom-bap to the mid-2000s crunk scene, Injury Reserve has served up some seriously impressive hip hop. They’ve returned less than a year after Floss with a new EP: Drive It Like It’s Stolen. To be honest, this project didn’t have the immediate appeal that I found in their last album, but over time it’s absolutely grown on me.

     “See You Sweat” is too much fun to ignore, “Boom (X3)” is a relentless gut-punch of a song, and “North Pole” unarguably features the best songwriting Stepa and Ritchie have put out thus far. Drive It Like It’s Stolen proves that Injury Reserve has talent, consistency, and amazing potential for growth: they’re only becoming more impressive as their career goes on. – NM