As we find ourselves freshly rejuvenated and frolicing along into the spring, what better way to enjoy your sunny day than with the best new tracks in hip-hop, R&B, indie rock, and electronic dance music?
We've ventured through the depths SoundCloud to find you the latest and greatest from across the musical spectrum. On this week’s playlist, we’re bringing you the highly anticipated return of Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs, an unreleased ballad by Sean Lennon and the late actress Carrie Fisher, a new banger from NYC's viral hip-hop sensation Young M.A, and much more.
Juelz Santana (ft. Migos & Jim Jones) - D’s Up
Way back before the Atlanta trap trio Migos became the crown jewel of the rap game, the prolific and eccentric New York City collective Dipset was considered to be among the cream of the crop. If any of you true oldheads were wondering what it would sound like if these two vastly different eras of hip-hop collided, well today is your lucky day.
Earlier this week, after wrapping up his role the latest season of the television show Love & Hip Hop: New York, the Dipset pioneer Juelz Santana returned to the studio alongside Quavo, Offset, Takeoff, and Harlem-bred rapper Jim Jones. The five rappers trade bars over the minimalistic-heavy beat, which was produced by Southside. The banger features Juelz and Takeoff exchanging lines using the start-and-stop flow inspired by the Migos gang. “My niggas got sticks that's bigger than you/Can't swim with the sharks, then stay in the pool,” the Dipset legend forewarns.
The latest track is a followup to Juelz's triumphant single from last week, called "Dip'd in Coke," a drug-laden joint featuring French Montana and fellow Diplomat confidant Cam'ron.
Matthew Stevens (ft. Esperanza Spalding) - Our Reunion
When New York-based guitarist Matthew Stevens and renowned jazz bassist and vocal virtuoso Esperanza Spalding come together on the track, you can always expect some majestic grooves to arise. The duo first collaborated on Spalding’s 2016 album Emily’s D+Evolution, and now the pair has joined forces on new epic cut “Our Reunion.”
The new six-and-a-half-minute track has a subtle industrial influence fueled by tastefully distorted guitar work. Spalding provides masterful vocal work over the lengthy piece, creating an ethereal and spiritual experience that will lift your right off of your feet. Halfway through, the tune suddenly transforms into a prog-rock jam, eventually winding down into its experimental conclusion. “Our Reunion” is the first offering from Stevens’ forthcoming album Preverbal, scheduled to drop on March 24 via Ropeadope.
Father John Misty- Total Entertainment Forever
As Father John Misty gears up for his forthcoming album Pure Comedy, the the outspoken indie folk star has left a trail of musical breadcrumbs to build up hype for the imminent project. On his latest offering, “Total Entertainment Forever,” J. Tillman provides a controversial sneak peak into the future, one where we’re all having virtual reality sex with celebrities.
“Bedding Taylor Swift/ every night inside the Oculus Rift,” he croons in the opening line. From there, his lyrics continue down a dark and digital path, ending up in a scenario where “the historians find us we'll be in our homes/Plugged into our hubs/skin and bones.” Backed by jangly acoustic guitar, tumbling piano, and a roaring horn section, Father John somberly belts out an wistfully anthemic chorus of “oohs," setting the stage for an endless barrage of meaningless entertainment.
You can expect Tillman to continue his musical critique on the state of humanity throughout his LP Pure Comedy, due out April 7 via Sub Pop/Bella Union.
Freddie Gibbs - Crushed Glass
After undergoing a unfathomably rough year that revolved around false sexual assault accusations in Austria, Indiana gangsta rapper Freddie Gibbs has stepped into 2017 with a vengeance. This past week, the ruthless rhymer announced an upcoming mixtape You Only Live 2wice, and also released a new visual for the project’s first single “Crushed Glass.”
Produced by Speakerbomb, Aaron Bow, and Teddy, the beat-making trio provides impenetrable trap percussion and eerily orchestrated samples for Gangsta Gibbs to tear up with his rapid-fire flow. This brutally honest joint holds no punches back, as the renowned Midwestern rapper speaks openly about beating the rape case and returning back home only to find Donald Trump as president. “Donald Trump gon' chain us up and turn back to slaves, nigga,” he politically probes.
As for the music video, director Eric Nelson symbolizes the desolate place where Gibbs’ mind has been over the last year, trapped in the middle of a desert and alone in his own thoughts.
Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda - Om Shanti
Known as the widow of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane and one of the few renowned harpists in the history of jazz, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda found solace after her husband's death in the ‘70s through the form of Hinduism. From then up until her own passing in 2007, the spiritually reborn artist set jazz aside to weave together melodically charged Vedic chants.
Although Coltrane Turiyasangitananda passed away ten years ago, David Byrne’s record label Luaka Bop has just revealed a new compilation of her unreleased music, entitled The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. On the nearly seven-minute devotional ballad “Om Shanti," the reformed musician fuses the potent words of her Eastern religion with the powerful spirit of a gospel-styled organ. As a group of subdued voices quietly join in on the Hare Krishna-centric chanting, Coltrane carries the meditative number with her serene voice and pious conviction.
Sean Lennon (ft. Carrie Fisher & Willow Smith) - Bird Song
The title of this collaboration might read like a bizarre round of Mad Libs, but yes, John Lennon’s son Sean and the late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher really did write a song together. The sentimental ballad, entitled “Bird Song”, was originally penned by the Fisher and Lennon years ago, but never found its way into the studio until now. After the widely celebrated big screen star passed away at the tail-end of last year, the Beatles' offspring legend finally decided to record the heartfelt number in memory of his beloved friend.
Accompanied by the tranquil voice of singer-actress extraordinaire (and daughter of Will Smith) Willow Smith, Lennon warbles away over the classically arranged piano and pronounced guitar notes. The lovely piece comes equipped with a heartfelt message from Sean, detailing the memories he had during his time with Fisher. “Carrie and I used to stay up til dawn chatting and pontificating about life. They were my best moments. Anyway... we wrote a song about staying up too late and hearing the birds sing,” he writes.
Woods - Love Is Love
Seeing the way that last year’s presidential election transpired, the seasoned indie folk band Woods was admittedly afflicted by Donald Trump’s shocking victory, a feeling that a majority of us can relate to. But instead of burrowing themselves in depression or building up rage, the Brooklyn group returned to the studio to create what they call a “meditation on love."
Woods recently announced the followup to their 2016 release City Sun Eater in the River of Light, and released the album’s title track “Love is Love." The galvanizing jam is packed with bluesy guitar notes and rattling drums, setting the backdrop for the song’s repetitive mantra “Say that love is love.” Although the tune starts off as a calm collection of lightly strummed strings and subtle horns, guitarist and vocalist Jeremy Earl rips through the middle of the track with an expressive and lengthy solo. Spanning a hearty five minutes, the distinctive cut offers a political remedy to those still reeling from their daily dose Trump.
Raekwon (ft. Lil Wayne) - My Corner
This past week, the smooth-spitting Wu Tang Clan veteran Raekwon surfaced with a hard-hitting banger “My Corner," featuring none other than the outlandish Cash Money legend Lil Wayne.
Produced by G Sparkz, the single features a street-infused boom-bap percussion coated with distorted saw synths and arpeggiated blips. Raekwon the Chef cooks us up vivid memories of “those good ol’ terrible blocks," reminiscing on his time in the streets surrounded by killers and snitches. “I seen it all, done it all and still doin' it/Who gave you crime action stories, live from the bricks?” he rhymes with unbridled bravado.
Weezy comes correct with his usual witty wordplay in the second verse, wittingly rapping about how he’s “on point like a swordfish” and wearing a “Ben Franklin straightjacket." This uninhibited banger will be featured on Raekwon’s upcoming album The Wild, due out on March 24.
Young M.A. - Hot Sauce
Since gaining unprecedented viral fame for her smash hit “OOOUUU,” the East Coast up-and-comer Young M.A. has been looking to solidify herself as the hottest MCs on the hip-hop circuit. The Brooklyn rapper has finally emerged with the followup single “Hot Sauce,” a spaced out trap banger that proves the city slicker has much more than just a one hit wonder in her repertoire.
On “Hot Sauce," Young M.A. holds no punches back over the Showtyme on the Beat production, dismissing all of her haters while counting up her ever-growing piles of cash. “While they making disses I'm just making hits/'Cause if it don't make dollars it don't make no sense,” she philosophizes. Barely taking a breath between bars, the NYC hometown hero remains unapologetically boastful throughout, knowing damn well she’s got your girl singing along to every word. The fiery cut will be featured on the forthcoming Herstory EP, set to drop sometime around the end of March.
Mick Jenkins (ft. GoldLink) - Pressed For Time (Crossed My Mind)
The Chicago young gunner Mick Jenkins made some serious waves last year with his studio debut The Healing Component. His most recent offering is “Pressed For Time (Crossed My Mind)," a electrifying collaboration with Washington, D.C. rapper GoldLink. Both suave spitters take things slow over the pulsating and glitched out beat, created by fellow Chi-town producers Monte Booker and THEMpeople.
Throughout this thoughful groove, the two rappers serenade an enchanting lady friend, letting her know that there’s no rushing when it comes to falling in love. “You fragrance is enchanting, I swoon and I dance/Such a sophisticate, damn/Yeah, you articulate style and we gon' be so meticulous, this shit might take a while,” Jenkins swoons. GoldLink chimes in on with a third verse with the swagger of a confident romanticizer. Mick Jenkins is preparing for an even bigger year in 2017, ready to embark on his North American tour starting in April, and also promising to release two new projects by the end of the year.