Lil Uzi Vert: Pink Tape

With 26 tracks clocking in almost 90 minutes, Pink Tape is hard to get through, especially with Uzi’s Auto-Tune singing in the later numbers. Even his sexual braggadocio gets boring. There are some shining moments like “Suicide Doors” and “Mama, I’m So Sorry.” Uzi’s style is not my cup of tea.

John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy: Evenings at the Village Gate

Recorded in 1961, the sound quality was poor, but the performances were top-notch. Coltrane’s quintet featured McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and special guests Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone, bass clarinet, and flute. Dolphy played an eccentric solo on “My Favorite Things” with his flute. Coltrane just blazed it. The rest of the album is filled with extended improvisations and experimentations. It is always a treat to revisit Coltrane.

Balmorhea: Pendant World

I keep returning to Pendant World for its natural beauty. I was driving home from work in the scorching heat and yet Balmorhea’s music took my mind to a different space. The melodies, textures, and harmonies are soothing on the surface, yet deeply in the core. I didn’t have to pay attention to the music and yet it was there to please me. I don’t even know what I am writing. Just give it a spin.

Phi-Psonics: Octava

Listening to Octava reminds me of Kind of Blue. Right off the opening “Invocation,” the vibe is laid-back, relaxed, yet commanding attention. “Green Dreams” is meditative yet uplifting. It is a soothing album to kick back to after a long, stressful day. A few glasses of wine will also help.

Kaliii: Toxic Chocolate (Area Codes Edition)

Kaliii has a sexy voice with a laid-back flow. She got hoes in different area codes—a play off on Ludacris’s infamous “Area Codes.” As a female rapper, she turns the toxic, misogynist raps, which dominated by alpha male rappers, on their head. In “Eat It Up,” she boasts, “I’m a classy bitch, never trashy sis’ / Never had a broke nigga on my mattress.” Then she throws in a little political punchline, “If I had a gold digger with a matching wrist / I’d be up a billy’ if they didn’t tax the rich.” Her delivery is a bit monotonous, but the bouncy beats help.

Kevin Sun: From All This Stillness

Kevin Sun is a virtuosic saxophonist and a fine composer. As a leader, he leaves plenty of space for his accomplishments and only plays when he finds the right time. “Internal Choruses” is an example of his saxophone blazing in and improvising. His pianist shines on “From the Unseen Center (1) & (2).” From All This Stillness is a captivating modern jazz album. I will spend more time with it for a while.

Sexyy Red: Hood Hottest Princess

Females rappers exploit sex as well. Hood Hottest Princess is Sexyy Red’s soundtrack to PornHub videos. Back up by pounding productions, Red gets freaky and filthy as fuck on “Mad At Me,” “Strictly for the Strippers,” and “Pound Town 2” with Nicki Minaj. No crime in that, I suppose. Most of her lyrics are too explicit to be quoted, but I find her some of punchlines hilarious. On “I’m The Shit,” she talks shit, “Bitch, you ain’t tough, I’ll slap you in the head / How you sleepin’ on me? You ain’t even got a bed.”

George Freeman: The Good Life

Mr. George Freeman is obviously living The Good Life. At 96, he still swings “Up and Down” on his guitar with his band. His low notes are airy and hypnotizing. Even he plays the blues on “Lowe Groovin’,” he never used feedback or vibrato. He just keeps it cool. “Sister Tankersley” is another blues beauty. On the title track, which closes out the album, Mr. Freeman showcases his intoxicating fusion chops. I love every track on this album.

Coi Leray: Coi

Coi takes it back to the old school with a new twist. “My Body” is Leray’s reinterpretation of Lesley Gore’ “It’s My Party” with the chorus changed to: “It’s my body, I could fuck who I want to.” “Players” is a rejuvenating sample of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message.” Leray has filthy-ass lyrics to go with her dope-ass flow: “If you ain’t gettin’ money, I ain’t fuckin’ with you / Go and grab your calculator / Go and pop that pussy like a percolator.” I can bop with that.

Gunna: Gift & a Curse

The downbeats give Gunna the space to rhyme. His deliveries are laid back—even when he flows fast—and his lyrics are personal. He had many issues he needed to address, especially to his haters. On “Go Crazy,” he declares: “It’s deeper than rap and this life can get crazy.” Without any guest spots, Gunna takes control of his narrative throughout the album.