As much as I refuse to believe that this week could have truly gone by so quickly, it seems Friday is once again upon us. It was a busy week. The Warriors won their first NBA championship since 1975, simultaneously crushing my hopes for a Game 7 and opening up J.R. Smith's Friday night to hit the club. Donald Trump announced he was running for president, which should at least make for a hilarious campaign full of struggle. Perhaps most importantly, it's been announced that taco emojis are on the way.
Yes, it's a glorious world we live in, made even better by the constant output of great music these days. It can be overwhelming though, but we at DJBooth not only understand and sympathize with you, we're here to help you out. It's the reason we are so selective with the music we post, why our charts exist, and why every week I sort through all the noise, putting my team on my back in LeBron-esque fashion to deliver the best of the best to you with the accuracy of Curry behind the arc. NBA analogies aside, these are the four most essential songs of the week.
Okay, so this song came out last Friday, which would technically render it unavailable for my choosing this week. It's a good thing I make the rules here. The Toronto navtive, OVO affiliate and artist formerly known as Jimmy Johnson is still a Prime choice for this today's installment, as it had yet to grace my ears by the time I had finished last week's Essentials. "Star Baby" is exactly the type of song that Golden Age elitists will point to as an example of the crumbling quality of hip-hop, and yet I can't get enough of it. I've had a full week to reflect, and a week full of floating through the clouds as a result of constant "Star Baby" replays. TrapMoneyBenny has crafted a masterfullly bouncy beat, over which the half-mumbled ramblings of Jimmy float effortlessly. The chorus is infectious, and I haven't been able to stop myself from publicly shouting out, "why the stars are all oooooooooooover youuuuuuuuuuuu" and "but I can't keep you to myseeeeeelf" at random like I have some form of Auto-Tuned Tourrets. I don't mind at all.
When Brockhampton made their SXSW appearance, I was intrigued but skeptical. Who was this group of misfits all clad in purple ponchos? Did we have another Odd Future on our hands? They say they're a boy band? I'm always down for the odd and unconventional, but the music has got to be there. Not being weird just for the sake of weird, it has to support great art. Thankfully, the music has been impressive, and this is their best effort yet. It's tough to hold my attention for over six minutes, and that goes for just about anything in life, but "Hero" manages to switch up enough to fool the listener into not realizing how long they've been hearing the same song. The rhymes are solid, the chorus and bridge are hauntingly good, but the real "Hero" here is the production from Romil, Jabari and Bear//Face. It's trap, it's hip-hop, it's rock, it's audio dope and I need more. Oh and that guitar solo at the end? Good. God. If you aren't ending your songs with epic guitar solos these days, much like this and another one of my favorite records this year, then you can git out.
A GOLDLINK SONG TWO WEEKS IN A ROW???? You're goddamn right. The DC buzzmaker seems to be everywhere these days, organic artist or not, and though I've been a fan for a good while now his newer material is on another level. Much like water itself, I'm estimating I need about eight servings of "Aquafina" a day. I'm happy to hear Falcons signed to Fool's Gold, as he's been hidden production gem over the last couple years and should now get his proper shine. Chaz French, who I had not been as familiar with before seeing him open up for GoldLink recently, has made me an immediate fan with the energy he brings to his records. I would go on, but honestly this song has me so fucking hyped up right now it's hard to think of anything besides mobbing out to this live again. The bird noises are an especially thirst-quenching touch.
The other day, as I was reading Yoh's column, I said to myself, "Wow I should really delve deeper into this guy's catalogue, hopefully he'll drop some new stuff soon." Just like that, the musical heavens opened up and spawned this bundle of funk. That or the Brainfeeder SoundCloud. Brainfeeder is the indie label of genius producer Flying Lotus, who co-produces on the record. What the two end up with is pure smoothness, if that is actually a word, a head-bobbing juxtaposition of layered production and gliding vocals that come together seamlessly. I always hope for a feel-good record in these lists, and "Them Changes" is that song this week. Maybe next week, too. My only gripe? Not enough sax. Especially if you're not going to end with an epic guitar solo, at least turn up the sax amount by 50% and you should be good to go.
It's the four most essential songs, which I believe we've reached, and so that ends my rant for the week. For the sake of your well-being and your playlists, I hope you've been paying attention to this series from the start, but if not you should at least be covered for the next seven days. Thanks for rocking with DJBooth for another week.
[By Brendan Varan. He lives his life with the opinion that more sax is always a good thing. Follow him on Twitter.]