November albums of the month

Photo courtesy of XXL Mag

Erin Harper, Alex Metzger, and Maddy Kessler

“Stokeley” by Ski Mask The Slump God

By Erin Harper

Rating: 9/10

After waiting for seemingly 3,000 years and constantly checking every day to see if it came out, Ski Mask The Slump God finally released his debut eponymous album “Stokeley” on November 30. Ever since the release of Ski Mask’s first song “Catch Me,” I’ve been on the Stokeley bandwagon. I have to say that I believe “Stokeley” is his best release to date, and possibly one of the best albums this year.

With most albums, there are songs you like and songs that just aren’t your style. In “Stokeley,” I love absolutely every song that was produced. One song I think should be on everyone’s playlist is “Nuketown,” featuring Juice Wrld. While the beat of “Nuketown” is pretty mellow, Ski and Juice offset it by mimicking XXXTentacion’s aggressive rapping style, and it was nice to hear a different side of Juice on the song. While this is the first collab of Ski Mask and Juice, I can tell that they will be having a lot more of them in the future.

Though it’s hard to decide my favorite song from “Stokeley,” I have to say that “Foot Fungus” is up there with being my all time favorite banger. Ski Mask’s flow and beat of the song samples Snoop Dogg’s classic “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and lyrically dominates much of what I’ve heard so far this year.

Overall, the reign of Stokeley has just begun and I am interested in seeing what he has in store for us in the future.

“Let The Vultures In” by Des Rocs

By Alex Metzger

Rating: 7/10

Feet are stomping, drum brakes are pounding, and moist lips are being pressed against a microphone to scream the background chorus to “HVY MTL DRMR,” a track on “Let The Vultures In,” the first album by a new indie punk/rock singer Danny Rocco, or Decs Rocs. “Let the Vultures In” consists of five songs Rocs has put out this past year, a great way to wrap up 2018.

Despite Rocs’ signature voice and proficience on the electric guitar, I found “Let The Vultures In” to heavily rely on a mix of catchy drum beats and bass lines. I quite enjoyed Rocs’ ability to create catchy hooks such as the ones used on tracks “Used to the Darkness” and “HVY MTL DRMR,” which had some of the most tantalizing bass lines. However, the amount of time given to the killer chorus’s was juxtapositioned by the weak and lacking verses.

Compared to other alt-rock projects that were released in 2018, Des Rocs’ first project “Let The Vultures In” just barely edged out Fall Out Boys’ project “M A N I A” to fulfill my fantasy album this year! Overall, “Let The Vultures In” is an incredibly strong step in the right direction to showing Rocs’ incredible potential. Rocs has a type of “re-glorified” Rock n Roll vibe which is present for the whole album and hopefully, these five strong singles from an incredibly strong artist are only the beginning of a great career in the thriving genre.


“Oxnard” by Anderson .Paak

By Maddy Kessler

Rating: 8/10

The king of experimental neo-soul, Anderson .Paak, returns to the drum set and microphone on “Oxnard,” his newest album which he named after his hometown California city. After huge success with his Grammy-nominated album “Malibu,” he drew in a massive global following, all anxious for new music. After months of teasing singles to rouse excitement (especially with the release of “Tints” with Kendrick Lamar), Paak finally released his third studio album on November 16, which would feature the synthy and soulful single, among other hits.

.Paak’s raspy voice and choppy, yet tempoed flow is similar to Lamar’s, making their work effortlessly cohesive in its transitions. Both hailing from California, they have set the stage for a new generation of Golden State artists, while drawing from the classics, such as Snoop and Tupac. .Paak brought out West Coast legends, such as Snoop Dogg on the old school sleek textured track “Anywhere,” and Dr. Dre on the boisterous “Mansa Musa.”

“Cheers” highlights .Paak’s sensuous smooth as silk vocals and rapping. The song features A Tribe Called Quest’s frontman Q-Tip, and stunts .Paak’s accomplishments and radiates a cocky persona and swagger. “6 Summers,” a simple yet head-bopping track, ridiculously kids about President Donald Trump’s love child and kicking a girl out of his apartment for spilling sake, while also making important societal critiques on the government, gun violence, and drug abuse.

All in all, Oxnard’s lavish images transcends listeners into the passenger seat of .Paak’s “spaceship” coasting down the Pacific Coast Highway, blaring old school anthems.