14 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Rapper who’s more like a singer” isn’t exactly a novelty nowadays, but few pull off double duty more gracefully than Rod Wave, the Florida native who offsets gruff bars about trauma with achingly soulful melodies. His predilection for the latter has never been more obvious than on Ghetto Gospel: “Close Enough to Hurt” is a straight-up soul ballad, albeit one about keeping people at arm’s length because of past betrayals, and “Counted Steps” offers one of his most powerful vocal performances to date. Picture Kevin Gates, if Kevin Gates had near-perfect pitch—fittingly, given that the Baton Rouge rapper is credited as the project’s executive producer and pops up for two world-weary guest verses.

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Rapper who’s more like a singer” isn’t exactly a novelty nowadays, but few pull off double duty more gracefully than Rod Wave, the Florida native who offsets gruff bars about trauma with achingly soulful melodies. His predilection for the latter has never been more obvious than on Ghetto Gospel: “Close Enough to Hurt” is a straight-up soul ballad, albeit one about keeping people at arm’s length because of past betrayals, and “Counted Steps” offers one of his most powerful vocal performances to date. Picture Kevin Gates, if Kevin Gates had near-perfect pitch—fittingly, given that the Baton Rouge rapper is credited as the project’s executive producer and pops up for two world-weary guest verses.

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