With so much good music being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to listen to first. Every week, Pitchfork offers a run-down of significant new releases available on streaming services. This week’s batch includes new albums, projects, and EPs from Run the Jewels, Armand Hammer, Drakeo the Ruler and JoogSZN, Sleepy Hallow, Flatbush Zombies, NNAMDÏ, and Big Havi. Subscribe to Pitchfork’s New Music Friday newsletter to get our recommendations in your inbox every week.
At long last, Killer Mike and El-P return with RTJ4, their new album that features Zack de la Rocha, Mavis Staples, Pharrell Williams, DJ Premier, 2 Chainz, and others. Sheldon Pearce closes his Best New Music review of the album, “The [record’s final] song builds, the rage builds, and as it draws to a close, Mike makes clear who all this is for: the do-gooders that the no-gooders abused; the truth-tellers tied to the whipping post; the strange fruit left hanging from trees—the Eric Garners; the George Floyds.”
Armand Hammer: Shrines [Backwoodz Studios]
Armand Hammer (the duo of ELUCID and billy woods) follow 2018’s Paraffin with the new album Shrines. The record features contributions from Earl Sweatshirt, Moor Mother, KeiyaA, Quelle Chris, Pink Siifu, AKAI SOLO, R.A.P. Ferreira, Navy Blue, and many others.
Los Angeles rapper Drakeo the Ruler has been incarcerated since his arrest on murder charges in 2017. He was acquitted of murder and conspiracy to murder, but is awaiting trial on charges of criminal gang conspiracy and shooting from a motor vehicle. Drakeo recorded his verses for the JoogSZN-produced Thank You for Using GTL over the telephone.
Sleepy Hallow: Sleepy for President [Winners Circle/EMPIRE]
The animated cover artwork for Sleepy Hallow’s new album Sleepy for President finds the Brooklyn drill rapper with his feet up on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. Outside, the country burns; fighter jets can be seen flying overhead. The tracklist for Sleepy for President features fellow Brooklyn artists Sheff G, Fivio Foreign, and Jay Critch.
Flatbush Zombies’ new now, more than ever EP is the Brooklyn rap trio’s first project since 2018’s Vacation in Hell. Watch Flatbush Zombies’ “iamlegend” music video and head to their website to buy merchandise, with proceeds going to BEAM, Equality for Flatbush, and Everybody Eats ATL.
Chicago’s NNAMDÏ recorded his three-song Black Plight EP over the past week. Al proceeds go to eatChicago (a non-profit dedicated to assisting post-incarcerated and marginalized people in the city) and the grassroots political activist organization Assata’s Daughters.
Big Havi: No Pen, No Pad, Just Pain EP [Commission]
In a press release for his new EP, Atlanta’s Big Havi said, “There’s a lot of sh*t going on in the world right now, and everybody’s been going through it. I pray my music is something that people can latch onto because it’s nothing but real music, real experiences, real pain.” Havi’s No Pen, No Pad, Just Pain EP follows February’s Personal Problems.