You know what’s fun? Listening to new music. Sadly, you might have a job and/or better things to do than spend all of your time seeking out new music to listen to. Sadly for me, I do not. Below are the ten best songs released this week. I should know, because I listened to every single song that came out in the past seven days, including the bad ones. Every. Single. One.
Wiki - “Pretty Bull”
Wiki, New York hero and front-dude of the city’s Ratking collective, dropped a new song called “Pretty Bull,” released on indie-behemoth XL Records (who also put out his 2012 EP Wiki93). At his best, Wiki’s work encapsulates the cross-cultural milieu of his home city’s downtown set, weaving dense internal rhymes with equal parts grit and heart. To some (read: my editor) Wiki is like the millennial, aural torchbearer of Kids and Nov York — plus, how could you deny that toothless smile?
Sannhet - “Way Out”
You’d expect a metal band with a name like “Sannhet” to be all badass and terrifying, but in real life Sannhet’s music is gorgeously textured drone-metal that makes everything you’re doing feel dramatic and important and beautiful, even if you’re just taking a shit or something. Well, at least that’s what I did while listening to this new one.
Thaiboy Digital - “Magic”
From now on, if anyone tells me that my posts –– no matter whether they’re referring to the ones I do for money or the ones I do on social media –– are bad, I’m going to send them this music video. If they continue to insist my posts are bad, I will send them this music video again, but disguise the link by turning it into a bit.ly. If they tell me my posts are bad a third time, I will appear in the mirror, pull this video up on my phone, and make them watch it.
Boris - “Memento Mori”
Boris is a Japanese band that oscillates between metal and experimenting with all sorts of musical forms. They have put out one million songs, most of which are good, and all of which are interesting. The group released “Memento Mori” in advance of their upcoming album Dear, due out on July 14. It sort of sounds like what you’d get if you asked a drone-metal band to make a theme song for a James Bond movie, in the best possible way.
Z-Ro - “He’s Not Done”
There are very few rappers whose names carry with them a guarantee of supreme and unambiguous excellence, but Houston’s Z-Ro — both as a solo artist and as half of A.B.N. (Assholes By Nature) with Trae tha Truth –– is without a doubt one of those rappers. The Mo City Don possesses a deep baritone capable of switching between fast-rapping and Vandrossian soul singing so seamlessly you swear there isn’t a difference between the two, and as a result, he’s one of the few people who could literally rap the phone book and still command attention.
Z-Ro has teased that his 21st solo album, No Love Boulevard, will be his final, but judging by this song’s title and the line, “I am Michael Jordan, I’ll retire, come back and retire for the fuck of it,” I’m going to hold out hope that his threats of bowing out of the game are just a meta-commentary on how he thinks all new hip-hop sucks. (Which it does, especially if you compare all new hip-hop to Z-Ro.)
Are you over 18?
Culture Abuse - “So Busted”
“So Busted,” the new joint from the band Culture Abuse, is basically the pop-punk equivalent of a power ballad –– a catchy-as-shit, straight-up declaration of love by a group of dudes who usually play slightly faster and are decidedly more aggro. There’s a certain tenderness to be had here, the sort of wistful romanticism John Hughes spent the entire ‘80s capturing.
Tarquin, TSVI & Luru feat. Jammz - “Come to the Dance”
There’s a certain subset of Grime that’s chiefly concerned with Seinfeld-ishly deconstructing the nitty-gritty of going out. Think Skepta’s “Too Many Man,” which is about how there’s too many men at the rave, or Wiley’s “Can I Have a Taxi Please,” which finds Wiley rapping as a bunch of different people trying to order a taxi. Add “Come to the Dance” to that list. It’s a UK Funky/Grime hybrid produced by Tarquin, TSVI, and Luru in which MC Jammz berates fools at the rave for not being hype enough. It’s both funny as hell and the sort of track guaranteed to get people moving in the exact ways that Jammz raps about people not doing.
E-40 and B-Legit f. JT the 4th - “Fo Sho”
E-40 and B-Legit are two veterans of the innovative, idiosyncratic Bay Area hip-hop scene. They’re cousins, and they got their start as members of The Click, which also featured 40’s siblings D-Shot and Suga-T. In their post-Click days they’ve collaborated more times than you can shake a stick at, and basically every time it’s been amazing –– listen to how they bounce off each other in “Check It Out,” or on Mystikal’s “Here We Go.” Because E-40 and B-Legit are motherfucking hip-hop humanitarians, they’ve taken it upon themselves to record an album called Connected and Respected, the cover of which is a picture of the rappers as high school band kids. In the same Instagram post where 40 Water announced Connected and Respected, he also teased a new project from The Click, which, like, hell yeah.
Are you over 18?
Spectacular Dynamics f. Conway the Machine, Chris Crack, and Nolan the Ninja - “Rambo Bars”
No-frills, meat-and-potatoes hardcore rap is good, and anyone who doesn’t like it is objectively incorrect. Two of the best new voices working within the form are Buffalo’s Conway the Machine and Chicago’s Chris Crack, and the former’s gruff tough serves as a perfect complement to the latter’s animated, loopy style as they rap over Spectacular Dynamics’s instrumental. And while I’d never actually heard of the Detroit rapper Nolan the Ninja before listening to “Rambo Bars,” his performance here serves as the ideal midpoint between Conway and Crack, and more importantly it led me to tracking down his extremely good album on SoundCloud.
Poppa - “R. Kelly”
Last week, I wrote about Trinidad James’s “Dad,” which is a song about how Trinidad James is everybody’s dad. Today, I’m continuing my run of posting paterna-rap songs with Poppa, who made a kind of incredible song called “R. Kelly” that’s about feeling like a bitter loser after a breakup. I couldn’t really find anything about Poppa online, other than that he’s from Detroit and seems like a crazy-genius warbly crooner who somehow manages to sing on two frequencies at once. Here, listen to some of his other songs so you can make yourself seem cool before “R. Kelly” goes viral. You can be all like, “This dude’s like Fetty Wap meets Ol’ Dirty Bastard” to your friends, and your friends will nod in appreciation that you found out about him on a website about weed.
Are you over 18?
Follow Drew on Twitter