Between Pusha vs. Drake, Chief Keef vs. 6ix9ine, and Kanye West vs. conventional thought, this past week has been exhausting, annoying, and absolutely entertaining.
I'd like to think of it as a reminder of how blessed we are to be living through these crazy times, and also how cursed we are to be living through these crazy times. Sometimes you just want to pack it up and move to the vast, wild expanses of the Wyoming countryside and... great, now Kanye's there too.
Headlines aside, though, it’s the music that counts. Which is why every week we bring you the 10 New Songs You Need This Week, filtering through hundreds of recent releases to give you the essentials. As always, you can listen via this simple Spotify playlist.
Kanye West — “Ghost Town”
In just a few short days, Kanye West’s eighth studio album, ye, has been eviscerated, commended, and everything in between. Is it good? I think so. Is it the worst full-length release of his storied career? I think so. Is Kanye’s lyrical input the worst part of every song? Unfortunately.
The album is devoid of insight in any meaningful regard, sounds painfully rushed and sonically incoherent, and paints Kanye as even more out-of-touch than the past two months of Twitter commotion and TMZ absurdity had soundly accomplished. That said, there are bright spots of transcendence that pepper the 23-minute experience: Valee rapping “medulla oblongata” on “All Mine”; the sultry, three-headed R&B monster of PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih, and Ty Dolla $ign on “Wouldn’t Leave”; the ageless hook acrobatics of Charlie Wilson.
ye’s shining highlight is “Ghost Town,” where after a gorgeously soulful sample of Shirley Ann Lee’s “Someday,” a mumbled intro from who I think is PND, two oddly enunciated hooks from Kid Cudi, and a half-sung Kanye verse that manages to avoid any jarringly corny bars, 070 Shake breaks through to absolutely steal the show with a lifting, captivating outro that champions numbness as a path to freedom. It doesn’t even matter whether a stove can make you bleed.
Pusha-T — “The Story of Adidon”
Not quite sure who Pusha’s referring to on this new song, but my sympathies go out to them.
Black Thought — “Thank You” ft. KIRBY
Black Thought is one of the greatest rappers of all time, so please excuse me if his long-awaited first non-Roots solo project, following a career of excellence, was a bit disappointing; a five-track wordplay clinic that didn’t reveal much more than technically precise raps and some of my least favorite 9th Wonder beats in recent memory. “Thank You” is the exception and concludes the EP with heartfelt staying power.
Garren Sean — “Call Failed”
Garren Sean’s GARREN, LP was far and away one of my favorite—and one of the most criminally overlooked—albums of 2017. “Call Failed,” his latest single, is a chunky new example of his timeless sound.
Alexander Lewis — “Pearl Magnolia” ft. Brasstracks, Armani White, & BXRBER
Gorillaz — “Humility” ft. George Benson
As a vocal critic of Humanz, Gorillaz’ grating mess of a fifth album, it brings me joy to know Damon Albarn is bringing back his animated icons for a follow-up LP after such a short break, and that the group’s forward-thinking sound is back in a sonically pleasing territory. “Humility,” one of two singles from The Now Now, coming later this month, is a shimmering groove.
J Hus — “Dark Vader”
As the weather trends warmer, new J Hus music becomes a necessity.
MadeinTYO — “Ned Flanders” ft. A$AP Ferg
The two artists who Kendrick Lamar replaced on the official version of Rich The Kid's “New Freezer” team up over K Swisha production for the tribute to Ned Flanders we've always needed.
Curren$y — “The Count” ft. Wiz Khalifa
I’m a sucker for Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa team-ups and Darondo’s “Didn’t I” samples.
Joe Moses — “No Yee Shit” ft. Snoop Dogg
Ty Dolla $ign signee (and Bless The Booth alum) Joe Moses taps Uncle Snoop for a sticky West Coast cruise between red and blue.
Album of the Week:
Kanye West — ye