Dare I say, this was arguably the best week for new music this year?
From Childish Gambino unveiling the next chapter of his music career to the brothers Sremm dropping a triple-album that was somehow still shorter in length than Culture II, to Leon Bridges updating his sound for a succinct sophomore collection of soul, we were truly blessed.
Childish Gambino — “This Is America”
The year’s best music video. Dazzling SNL performance. Blistering social critique. Young Thug ad-libs. The “shoot” dance. “This Is America” makes it really hard to remember how bad of an artist Childish Gambino was at one point.
Rae Sremmurd — “Buckets” ft. Future
Fact: Rae Sremmurd dropped three albums and all of them are must-listens. Another fact: “Buckets” 100% should have been a single as it's simply a banger of epic proportions. Another fact: Future levitates.
Swae Lee — "Offshore" ft. Young Thug
While SR3MM and Jxmtro alternate between spacy club bangers and smoked-out afterparties, Swaecation, true to its name, plays out like a late night in a tropical hot tub. For standout “Offshore,” Swae Lee pulls the listener in before ceding the floor for an extended, colorful Young Thug feature where he manages to both seduce a female with promises of getting it on like a motorcycle and promising to "slap the shit out Donald Trump any day" in the span of about 12 seconds.
Slim Jxmmi — “Anti-Social Smokers Club” ft. Zoë Kravitz
In one week’s time, Zoë Kravitz went from fucking while the world was ending on one of the best songs from Janelle Monáe’s excellent new album to rapping with Slim Jxmmi and smoking Backwoods in the club over a warped Mike WiLL beat on Jxmtro's standout.
Valee — “Womp Womp” ft. Jeremih
Similar to 2006 Clipse classic “Wamp Wamp,” “Womp Womp” features two artists deftly trading bars and a name I can’t fully understand but can't stop saying. There's no Slim Thug in this comparison, but Valee's latest is a smash, regardless.
Skepta — “Pure Water”
“I just came back from Mars on my new spaceship it was a perfect landing…” Skepta returns from the cosmos over an apocalyptic beat rapping about pure water with lots of ice and forcefully reasserting his throne.
BlocBoy JB — “Outro”
Over a soulful sample of the Five Starships' "Ooh Child," crafted by go-to producer Tay Keith, BlocBoy JB’s Simi outro is at once a eulogy to fallen friends and recounting of the harsh realities of street life, and an inspirational reminder to keep hustling in the face of adversity and violence from an artist currently experiencing breakthrough success.
Leon Bridges — “Mrs.”
Leon Bridges’ new album Good Thing is phenomenal. Go listen right now.
Stefan Ponce — “Nowhere” ft. Dana Williams, Julian Bell, Daye Jack & Ohana Bam
Chicago producer Stefan Ponce quietly dropped off his debut album The Boy Who Fell From Earth… last week, and it’s a mostly bright, soulful affair that collects a host of talented artists, including Vic Mensa, Mick Jenkins, Rejjie Snow, Xavier Omär and more. “Nowhere” is the collection’s most twilight-aimed track, grouping Dana Williams, Julian Bell, Daye Jack and Ohana Bam for a mix of sweet crooning and tight raps over production that mixes Pharrell-esque percussion with warm house bounce.
Rico Nasty — "Smack a Bitch (Remix)" ft. Cupcakke
Rico Nasty's "Smack a Bitch," produced by Kenny Beats, actually sounds like getting smacked in the face. For the remix, Cupcakke matches Nasty's irritated aggression while dropping references to Patrick Star and Lunchables.