Lupe Fiasco tries to balance the hip-hop scene with his fourth album, while Mel Carter, who takes after his famous uncle, Jay-Z, makes his introduction to the world. There’s also R&B crooners and a heavy spitting lady lyricist in this week’s Sonic Boom.

Lupe Fiasco – Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1

Lupe Fiasco is back with Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1, which is available today. Lupe’s fourth album finds us six years after he burst onto the scene with his debut effort, Food and Liquor, and shortly after his highly publicized label drama with Atlantic. Not one to bite his tongue, FLII is what we’ve come to expect from Lupe, he’s teaching, like on “Audubon Ballroom,” a civil rights inspired song about respecting yourself, and occasionally has more radio friendly attempts like “How Dare You,” which features Bilal on the hook. Other collaborations include Guy Sebastian, Casey Benjamin and more. Overall, Lupe made a solid attempt at trying to create balance in the hip-hop world but there’s not enough artists trying to do the same thing so, you know what to do—support.

Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 is available where music is sold.

Skye – Brochures

Skye is a burgeoning singer/songwriter who has several songs under his belt, some produced by heavy hitters like Jimi Kendrix (Jay-Z, Ashanti), The Heavyweights (Ne-Yo, Rihanna), Grand Staff (Fabolous, Chris Brown, Ryan Leslie) the Souldiggaz (Beyonce, Missy) and more. He has also been featured on Essence magazine, JET and has sang backup for James Brown. So, you get it, he’s talented and now he has an EP to prove it. Brochures features eight sexy, romantic, melancholy and sensual songs including “Runaway Bride,” and the title track. It lives up to his description of “targeting the ladies but identifying with the fellas,” and best of all, the download is free.

Get it here.   

Gizmo – “Love Song #3” ft. Casey Benjamin   

At only 21-years-old, Gizmo is already an accomplished saxophone player and musical director. He has directed projects for Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello and Lalah Hathaway, and as an artist, he has shared the stage with Talib Kweli, Zap Mama and more. Therefore, it makes sense that he would remake a Meshell Ndegeocello classic and he tapped another celebrity bassist, Casey Benjamin, to assist with some riffs. This version of “Love Song # 3” is simply the male interpretation of the song, no changes other than the extra testosterone and some riffs here or there, and you can check out the video of Gizmo’s live recording of it, which is the second installment in his video series at the Breeding Ground NYC. Gizmo as an artist is sonically reminiscent of Eric Roberson, Dwele and more of the like but of course he injects pieces of his own soul into his sound and does it well. His album, Red Balloon will be available on October 2 but do your self a favor and check out “Love Song #3” here and then find out more about the young virtuoso here.

Mel Carter – Popular Stranger

I have story to share with regards to this and I promise it will make sense. I saw Jay-Z perform when I was a kid, probably in Junior High School, back when Jay was first coming out on a national level. He opened for the Fugees at the Apollo and performed “Ain’t no Ni- -a” as Dame Dash and two random little boys danced around with him on stage. My sister and I tried to figure out who the little boys were until Jay-Z shouted them out as his nephews. I’m convinced that one of those kids was Mel Carter. Fast forward to today, Mel Carter has released his mixtape debut, Popular Stranger, and he takes after his uncle—but then again, he better, considering that he spent years studying the man from the inside. He’s definitely next up.

Download here.

Rocky Rivera – “Bulletproof”

The California native respectfully borrowed the beat from Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.” and made it her own with, “Bulletproof.” She’s kicking the troof to the youth straight spitta style. Basically, Rivera is spitting about how nice she is but also about how she’s trying to school a new generation of emcees, hoping that they follow her lead and veer in a more positive direction. “Bulletproof” is the first offering from her forthcoming project Gangster of Love, which is coming out some time next year. Back story, Rocky Rivera is a hip-hop journalist/MC who got international acclaim by winning a Contributing Editor position on MTV’s docu-series, “I’m From MTV.” In the meantime, check out the video for “Bulletproof” here.

More about Rocky here.

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a pop culture junky who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun toting b-movie heroine, and aspires to save the world from the impending #ZombieApocolypse… In reality she’s a freelance entertainment journalist/blogger who muses about music, TV, movies and love. Follow her on Twitter@GangStarrGirl.