Lead photo: A screenshot of Joey Badass in his new "Land of the Free" video.
While you tread carefully through the internet this fateful April Fools' Day and attempt to decipher what's true or just an elaborate hoax, we’ve got a musical safe-haven filled nothing but the realest tunes to propel you through this weekend and beyond. On this week’s SoundCloud playlist, we’re bringing you a fresh collab between the R&B queen Mary J. Blige and the one and only Kanye West, some spine-tingling shoegaze from the band Wilding, a buttery smooth jam delivered by the Internet’s frontwoman Syd, and much more.
Young Thug (ft. 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa & PnB Rock) – Gang Up
Known for flooding the big screen with a star-studded cast that includes Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Tyrese, Michelle Rodriquez, and the late Paul Walker, it only makes sense that the eighth addition to the expansive Fast and the Furious saga does the same with its soundtrack.
The new film's score, The Fate of the Furious: The Soundtrack, will feature the banger “Gang Up,” a triumphant number boasting an impressive lineup of Young Thug, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, and PnB Rock. Invincible Beats uses a slew of orchestra-minded samples, kicking this epic track into fifth gear right off the bat. After 2 Chainz rolls through with some racing-related puns, Young Thug overtakes the track with his melodic rhyme scheme. While PnB Rock handles hook duties, Wiz Khalifa crosses the finish line to end this collaborative effort strong.
Thugger even drops an homage to Walker, who died in a car crash back in 2013, spitting “Here's R.I.P. to Paul Walker homie, he gotta stand up/We had you main on us, no we got stains on us.”
Wilding - Ghost Deer
As considerably fresh faces in the Los Angeles indie rock circuit, the shoegaze trio Wilding have prepared themselves for lift off in the song “Ghost Deer.” Wobbling gently on a foundation of muddled guitar effects and emphatic bass lines, this powerful three-and-a-half minute offering will flood your ears with tingly distortion and an endless chamber of reverb.
Singer Dave Woody supplies elegant vocals over the mind-bending instrumentals, invoking the spirit of some of the genre’s best, such as My Bloody Valentine and Los Angeles' very own Autolux. As the distant crash of drums burst in the backdrop, the quivering guitar effects create an interstellar vibe that seems to flutter above the Earth's atmosphere. The warped ballad is coupled with a visual depicting astronaut training and shuttle launching, hinting that the sky's the limit for this talented new band.
Tiny Viper - K.I.S.S.
Based out of Seattle, Jesy Fortino had mastered acoustic ambience under her moniker Tiny Vipers before going on an eight-year hiatus to study civil engineering (and also collaborate with experimental artist Grouper). This past week, she finally returned under with the same stage name, albeit with a completely different sound.
On the electronic single “K.I.S.S.,” Fortino bids farewell to her acoustic guitar and welcomes an atmospheric synth into her repertoire. Known for using space as an instrument in its own right, the latest Tiny Vipers piece features dissonant synthesizers and the persistent rumbling of an oncoming storm. Fortino breaks the lurching clouds with her meditative voice, which hums softly over the brooding soundscape. “K.I.S.S.,” will be featured on her upcoming release Laughter, her first full-length since 2009’s Life on Earth LP.
Freddie Gibbs - Alexys
This weekend, the Gary, Indiana-based rapper Freddie Gibbs dropped his fourth studio album You Only Live 2wice, an undoubtedly celebrated release by fans who have been waiting for his hiatus to end. After escaping sexual harassment allegations levied on him in Austria during a tour last year, the embattled quick-spitter has resurfaced with a refined perspective that offers even more brutal honesty than his past work (which was already pretty damn raw).
On the project’s standout track “Alexys,” Gangsta Gibbs teams up with Toronto producer Kaytranada and the Canadian jazz quartet BadBadNotGood. While the beat itself provides a setting with ringing samples and shuffling percussion, the Midwestern rapper goes over the serene production at full-force. Gibbs seems to have learned a valuable lesson during his extradition, returning to the game as a wiser man with lines like, “Black as hell but rap got me thinking I need a foreign bitch/Take my black queens for granted got me ignoring them.”
Coupled with other offerings like the previously-released single “Crushed Glass,” You Only Live 2wice shows Freddie Gibbs clawing his way out of desolation, emerging with a new outlook on life.
Joey Badass (ft. Schoolboy Q) - Rockabye Baby
After winning over the hearts of hip-hop old heads with his '90s NYC-styled mixtape 1999, rapper Joey Badass is now taking aim at the political establishment and racial injustice in his forthcoming album All-AmeriKKKan Badass. On his latest single “Rockabye Baby,” the Brooklyn native links up with West Coast rapper Schoolboy Q to spew lyrical venom touching on the not-so-subtle racist tendencies that has poisoned the country’s political discourse.
1-900 and Chuck Strangers break out some menacing piano samples to conjure up a boom-bap beat that the two bicoastal rappers wreak havoc over. Joey Badass and Schoolboy Q take turns addressing the throes of the street life, pleading with their respective communities to redirect their animosity from each other to the orange-tinted megalomaniac occupying the White House. With unrestrained lines like “Time is running up, feel the burn in my gut/And if you got the guts, scream, ‘Fuck Donald Trump,’” it’s clear that Joey Bad will be holding no punches back on his upcoming release, which is due out on April 7.
Mary J. Blige (ft. Kanye West) - Love Yourself
When R&B legend Mary J. Blige begins to croon over the tumbling piano in her latest song "Love Yourself," the singer is coming straight for your soul, no holds barred. But one minute after the passionate introduction, sprawling horn samples and a gritty drum sequence transform it into an anthemic piece that is graced by none other than Kanye West.
The poignant number, premiered by DJ Funkmaster Flex on Hot 97, features a provocative Yeezy verse that starts off with “I decided not to use my color as a handicap/He a designer, artist, producer, and he rap/Never found virtue from patience.” The seasoned ‘90s singer offers a simple piece of advice to the listener, stating that “you gotta love yourself/If you really wanna be with someone else.” Her first release since 2014, “Love Yourself” is the second single off of Mary J. Blige’s forthcoming project Strength of a Woman, out April 28.
Syd - Treading Water
Coming off of her highly touted solo debut FIN, Syd has separated her identity from the R&B group the Internet, carving out her own lane with neo-soul-styled tunes. Although her album is filled with soothing songs like the single “All About Me,” the rising singer had to cut what she claims on Twitter “was my favorite song from #FIN.”
This past week, Syd treated fans with that long lost track, entitled “Treading Water.” Fueled by sporadic bass notes and percussive clatter, this unreleased ballad of female empowerment is a sultry example of the R&B singer’s vocal range. With an emotionally-charged chorus that reads “Feels like I'm treading water/Waiting on your call/And it's getting harder/Trying not to drown,” this anthem of heartbreak will have you experiencing all of the feels. This smooth instrumental was produced by fellow bandmate Steve Lacy and Ronald “Flip” Colson.
“Treading Water” was presumably which cut from her record because it was the same beat used on Big Sean and Jhené Aiko’s recent collaborative effort “Selfish.”
Cende - Bed
If you’re familiar with the current indie scene of Brooklyn, you might be familiar with the distorted droning of the band LVL UP or the synth-powered millennial love ballads from Porches. Two members from the aforementioned bands have branched off to form Cende, a side project with two other local NYC musicians, that successfully mends LVL UP’s jangly instrumentation with Porches’ high-strung expressionism.
Their latest offering, “Bed,” is an introspective breakup song that seems to acknowledge the pain of heartbreak without succumbing to it. “You’ll be better off when I’m not around,” howls Cameron Wisch, Cende’s singer and also the drummer for Porches. The nearly three-minute ditty manages to showcase both an angry sentiment and complete understanding in the same breath, creating the perfect song to help you move past the most bitter pangs of lost love. “Bed” will be featured on Cende’s upcoming debut #1 Hit Single, due out May 26 via Double Double Whammy.
Desiigner - Holy Ghost
Some rappers work their whole lives hoping to achieve viral status, fame, and a co-sign from Kanye West. But for the outlandish Brooklyn rhymer Desiigner, all it took to put himself on the map was a chart-topping hit called “Panda.” Determined not to fade away as a one-hit wonder, Desiigner has kicked off 2017 on a rap game rampage, changing up his mumbled style while keeping his hyphy persona intact. After dropping the adlib-laden banger “Outlet” back in February, the GOOD Music newcomer has resurfaced with “Holy Ghost.”
Surprisingly, the energized rapper is unprecedentedly coherent in his latest cut, swinging quick lyrical jabs from the left and right. The CashMoneyAP-produced beat is equipped with rattling trap percussion and eerie samples that sound as if they were lifted from a haunted carnival. Desiigner gives shoutouts to some of the music industry’s hallmark names, spitting lines like “I'ma fuck on Rihanna, put her all in designer” and “Shout out to Drake to get more life,” trying to place himself in the upper echelon alongside hip-hop’s heavy hitters.
Mr Jukes (ft. BJ the Chicago Kid) - Angels/Your Love
Before Jack Steadman became an extravagant soul producer under the righteous moniker of Mr Jukes, he was the frontman of the UK indie rock group Bombay Bicycle Club. But since his band went on a hiatus back in 2016, the eclectic musician has set down his guitar and started digging through record crates.
His latest offering is the double feature “Angels/Your Love,” two sample-heavy jams that fuse into a five-minute whirlwind of brass instruments and funk-infused breakbeats. “Angels” kicks off with volatile trumpet sample and distant choir. Mr Jukes gives new life to a sample from Argentinian jazz legend Jorge Lopez Ruiz, interjecting a powerful saxophone solo that acts as the bridge between “Angels” and “Your Love.” While Steadman shows off his versatile production chops during the first-half, R&B singer BJ the Chicago Kid steals the spotlight with his potent vocals in “Your Love," repeatedly crooning out “Would you be my love?” — a simple question that demands an answer.