In May 2014, as he was preparing to write and record Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album, Ruban Nielson and his wife welcomed a third person into their home and marriage. Due to United States immigration laws, Nielson and his wife have since returned to being a traditional couple, but as the title makes clear, the experience of 2014 had a massive influence on Multi-Love. The album’s music is the familiar psych pop of UMO’s first two releases, but the lyrics focus largely on Nielson’s emotions as he attempted to navigate a summer of polyamory. Taken together, the music and lyrics form an incredibly raw whole that is both beautiful and terrifying.
Rocky’s second major label release dropped at midnight (a week earlier than scheduled, so is that still a surprise release?), and is the epitome of a major label rap record. Immaculately produced, chock full of guests (Future, M.I.A., Schoolboy Q, Kanye West, Juicy J, Lil Wayne, Mos Def…Rod Stewart???), and completely lacking in grime, At.Long.Last.A$AP is made to get Rocky to the level for which he’s seemed destined since breaking on the scene in 2011. It will succeed in that goal. A.L.L.A will not be the best hip hop record released in 2015, although it is quite good, but there won’t be many that will sell more copies.
Boosie Badazz, formerly Lil Boosie, has been releasing southern fried hardcore rap since 2003 (with a gap from 2010-14 due to imprisonment), but Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is his major label debut. It’s frankly shocking that a major would sign a guy like Boosie in 2015, and even more shocking it would let him put out a record that fits with his discography, but he actually may owe his signing to the prison stretch. The ‘Free Boosie’ movement that cropped up while he was doing time (he was only ever convicted of drug possession charges, but initially given a total of 12 years prison) greatly increased his profile and created a brand Atlantic felt it could sell. Whatever the reason, the world needs more artists like Boosie releasing albums like this with major label backing.
An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: www.last.fm/user/cafreema Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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