What up, Hip-Hop Wired Nation? We’re back with the first CRT FRSH AKA Certified Fresh playlist of 2024! Part of our duty as a publication and crew is to school the masses on who is doing what musically and there’s no better way to do that beyond our CRT FRSH (Certified Fresh) bi-weekly playlist.
The CRT FRSH playlist is a labor of love. We don’t take payments nor do we do favors. We only add joints to our playlist that fit the theme and vision we’re going for and don’t seek to waste the listener’s time. Further, we don’t stick to one lane of Hip-Hop. We believe that all aspects of the music should get some light, whether it’s young lions in the trenches or those hoping for that one shot to blow up to grizzled veterans puffing out their chests with lots more to say.
For a change of pace, I want to speak in my voice and explain how I approach curating the CRT FRSH playlist. Most importantly, I don’t segregate my Hip-Hop. Every form of music from the main cultural tree deserves a listen and a look. When I’m putting the list together, I want to include all regions across the States and, when applicable, across the globe. I also want to entertain every fan of Hip-Hop, not just those who enjoy one segment of it. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to it. – D.L. Chandler
Welcome back to longtime supporters of the CRT FRSH playlist, and welcome to the new folks on board.
As explained above, our bi-weekly (which is the hope) playlist features 50 songs in total. The first half is typically bigger acts that most should already know about, while the second half is reserved for the vast, always improving underground scene. Since we didn’t do a top list of Hip-Hop projects list for 2023, this CRT FRSH update is dedicated to our favorite songs of last year.
Let’s get to it.
The playlist opens with Killer Mike’s “SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS” and while the highlight of the song for most is the André 3000 verse, the artist born Michael Render also delivered on the track from his latest studio album, MICHAEL. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne reconnected for the Welcome 2 Hollygrove project and while it was packed with standout moments, “Bars” stood out for us in 2023.
Drake is as polarizing an artist as any these days and there were mixed reviews for his latest album, For All The Dogs. With the six-pack Scary Hours 3 tacked on the deluxe version of the album, Drizzy got back into his elite rapping bag and traded verses with J. Cole on “Evil Ways” to pleasing results.
Speaking of polarizing, Doja Cat has her fair share of fans and detractors but she certainly had some tracks from her Scarlet project that stood out, notably “Paint The Town Red” among them. And Gunna, who dropped a strong AOTY contender in a Gift & a Curse, his “fukumean” single didn’t leave our rotation. We’re not in street business, we’re just checking out the music, thanks.
Benny The Butcher is now in the major leagues with Def Jam and was everywhere in 2023 with his dealings with the Black Soprano Family, features, and more. The track “Big Dog” with Lil Wayne finds the pair rocking over an amazing beat from The Alchemist.
The ladies got it in, and big up Nicki Minaj for coming back to reclaim her throne as the Queen from Queens. She dropped off Pink Friday 2, and “Everybody” with Lil Uzi Vert seemed to be a favorite of many who rocked the project.
Lay Banks and her viral “Ick” hit was everywhere, and “Put It On The Floor Again” saw an epic pairing of Latto and Cardi B in another song that fans on social media couldn’t get enough of. Megan Thee Stallion also came back with the triumphant “Cobra” track, signaling that she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Veeze dropped one of the most entertaining albums of 2023 in Ganger and the opening track “Not A Drill” set the tone for the Detroit spitter. In the deep trenches of the underground, the talented klwn cat showed off his impressive production chops on PRELUDE, linking with past collaborators Matt Draugos and unruly. Apollo Brown and Planet Asia once again locked in for the sequel to their stellar Anchovies album with Sardines and the track “Broad Dayin'” was the one of us.
Westside Gunn dropped what he says will be his final full-length studio in And Then You Pray For Me, an album we personally loved while longtime Griselda fans didn’t appreciate the trap-leaning tracks. That said, “Kostas,” produced by Tay Keith, features the aforementioned Benny The Butcher and a scene-stealing verse from Conway The Machine.
Speaking of Conway, La Maquina has his own situation with Drumwork Music Group, and his artist, 7xvethegenius (Love The Genius) is a star in the making. On the track “Flame” produced by Conductor Williams, 7xvethegenius and Conway trade bars in expert fashion. Washington, D.C. artist Sideshow is one of our favorite rappers to emerge in years, and his track “S.H.O.W. Ent” from his excellent 2MM DON’T JUST STAND THERE! album stayed on repeat.
MIKE, one of the young leaders of the underground Hip-Hop youth movement, delivered a masterpiece in his latest album, Burning Desire. With an emphasis on his production as dj blackpower, Big MIKE had several standout moments but our favorite was “Mussel Beach” featuring D.C.’s El Cousteau and Florida’s Niontay.
Larry June and The Alchemist teamed up for The Great Escape album and while the whole thing rides, “Orange Village” featuring Slum Village was our standout.
Salute to all the folks who helped provide the soundtrack for our daily grind such as Blaq Chidori, Rome Streetz, Stik Figa, Oddisee, Kipp Stone, Noname, Aesop Rock, Blockhead, Earl Sweatshirt, blank thought, Dave, Central Cee, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Nas, Lil Tecca, Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar among others. Thank you for your art.
We’ll be updating the CRT FRSH playlist in two weeks with 50 new tracks!
Photo: blackCAT / Getty
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