If you’ve already played the joints from last week to death and are looking for something fresh to help you recover from your New Year’s weekend hangover, you’ve found it. We’ve got some hot tracks to start 2017 off right, including some surprise songs from elusive artists like Aphex Twin, the Avalanches, and Chief Keef, as well as new songs from Run the Jewels, Action Bronson, Quavo, and others. Check them out!
The Avalanches (feat. Freddie Gibbs) - Bad Day (Two Versions)
Since reemerging for the first time in 16 years with the 2016 release Wildflower, beloved Australian electronic hip-hop group the Avalanches is showing no signs of slowing down. Aside from announcing a string of festival shows in 2017, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi also celebrated New Year’s Eve by sharing two versions of an unreleased track called “Bad Day,” which features smooth and cold-blooded rhymes from Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs.
The “OG mix” of the song features Gibbs spitting over a lush field of soulful samples, including surprise soundbites from Shuggie Otis. The “rough Christmas jam” version is a more raw and lengthy version that includes pitch-shifted vocals from the singer-songwriting legend Stevie Wonder. Gibbs pays respect to the Notorious B.I.G. in his first verse, reprising lines from the classic track “Juicy.”
Run the Jewels (feat. BOOTS) - 2100
Clearly overcome with the holiday spirit of giving, the dynamic rap duo Run the Jewels decided to treat fans by releasing their new album, Run the Jewels 3, three weeks early. On the single “2100,” featuring the R&B singer BOOTS, Killer Mike and El-P go on a verbal rampage about the grim current state of the U.S. political system.
Killer Mike is the first to tackle the punchy beat, rhyming, “How long before the hate that we hold/Lead us to another Holocaust?/Are we so deep in it that we can’t end it/Stop, hold, ever call it off?” From there, RTJ trade off high-impact verses that chisel away at illusions casted upon the everyday citizen by the ruling class.
Aphex Twin - tnodvood104
A delectable track from the elusive electronic music icon Aphex Twin kicked off this past week. Shared from his low-key user18081971 SoundCloud account, the song “tnodvood104” boasts clanky drum sequences and a haunting group of disharmonious voices that join together to create an ominous arrangement. Once the ghoulish track climaxes at the midway point, the beat slowly dissipates into a percussion-driven groove, rounding out yet another unique track from veteran producer Richard D. James.
Secret Circle (feat. Despot) - Satellite
A new track surfaced this past week from the underground hip-hop supergroup Secret Circle, which consists of rappers Antwon, Wiki, and Lil Ugly Mane. “Satellite” is like a haunted carousel ride featuring hip-hop’s darkest voices. Antwon and Wiki are first up on the darkly mysterious Shawn Kemp-produced beat, dropping ominous lines about “street genocide” and a hook that ends with “just let me go, just let me die.”
The song features a rare appearance from the elusive New York City-based rapper Despot, who follows the somber mood of the track with some downtrodden lies of his own, such as: “Ain’t worth the shit on your shoes until you gone/Fell out the hearse in the dirt with a suit on/Dropped out the rat race/I ain’t wit the cheddar chase.”
Meechy Darko (of Flatbush Zombies) - Gotta
Brooklyn’s Flatbush Zombies have built a sizable fanbase with their drugged-out and conscious style of hip-hop. Last week, rapper Meechy Darko shared his new solo track, “Gotta,” produced by fellow Zombie producer-rapper Erick the Architect.
Meech flows seamlessly over the smooth, funky beat, rapping in his rugged voice about the different girls he’s got around the world and the things they do for him. Despite the globetrotting, at the end of the day, there’s no place like home for Meechy Darko, who claims to be the “Prince Akeem” of Brooklyn.
Action Bronson - Dealer Plates
Queens rapper Action Bronson has been occupied with his cannabis-centric television shows this past year, but the weed-loving rhymer and culinary connoisseur always seems to find the time for a collab with Brooklyn-based producer Harry Fraud.
On the new track “Dealer Plates,” Bronsolino further solidifies his rap game return in an hysterical manner that’s come to be expected, rhyming, “You know we’re still here, don’t get mad at me/I’ve just been hooked on Grey’s Anatomy/A good thing about that, is I could probably be a surgeon/’cause I could cut flesh with no burden.” Fraud provides his psychedelic and funk-infused production to complement Bronson’s quick-witted rhymes, leaving fans hopeful that a follow-up to his last album, Mr. Wonderful, will come sometime in early 2017.
Chief Keef - Dope Smokes
Chicago drill scene pioneer Chief Keef made a triumphant return on New Year’s Eve by dropping his new 17-track mixtape, Two Zero One Seven. On the self-produced track “Dope Smokes,” the young and ruthless rapper talks about drinking lean, dodging police, his love for that dope smoke, and even whipping around with “M16s in a two-seater.” The song showcases Keef managing to maintain the catchy style that made him famous, while also showcasing his versatility as a trap producer.
Check out the new track, and listen to the Two Zero One Seven mixtape on SoundCloud.
MadeinTYO x 24hrs - You
This past week, Atlanta-based rappers MadeinTYO and 24hrs dropped 24hrs in Tokyo, a 4-track collaborative project that showcases the two young talents spitting and crooning over southern trap-influenced beats. On the track “You,” MadeinTYO erupts with two ferocious verses, while 24hrs intervenes with a soft-sided Auto-Tuned hook about wanting a girl that can roll a good blunt.
At the start of the track, MadeinTYO pays homage to local legends like 2 Chainz and Gucci Mane, rhyming, “I told Tity I’m goin’ in/I put a ten on a Gucci lens.” If there’s any wonder why this track is so hot, give some credit to the producer K. Swisha, also responsible for creating the beat of MadeinTYO’s hit single “Uber Everywhere.”
Quavo x Lil Uzi Vert x Shad Da God - 200,000
In 2016, Quavo, of the Atlanta rap group Migos, was prolific with collaborations, rapping alongside Kanye West, Yo Gotti, YG, Travis Scott, Young Thug, and many others. This past week, he teamed up with Lil Uzi Vert and Shad Da God on the Wheezy-produced track “200,000.”
The song kicks off with another memorable Quavo line: “I’ve got more keys than Alicia/These niggas be talkin’ policin’,” leading into catchy hook centered around his $200,000 timepiece. Lil Uzi Vert jumps in with an Auto-Tune-laced verse, giving a shout out to Migos and Thugger. Finally, Young Thug affiliate Shad Da God wraps up the track with a melodious finale, encapsulating a fine effort from the trio of hip-hop young guns.