May 1. Time to take your heavy sweaters and boots and shove them into the furthest reaches of your closet, because it is officially summer. Yes, I know that is completely unfactual, but it might as well be gospel after the months of frigid misery I've endured. So throw on a pair of shorts, grab your sunglasses...
...and head back inside to your TV because it also happens to be one of the greatest weekends in sports that I've ever laid my eyes on. There is game two of the Washington Capitols and New York Rangers series (yes, hockey), the remainder of the NFL Draft, the Kentucky Derby (which I'm pretty sure roughly translates to "day drinking"), a Spurs/Clippers game seven, and of course Mayweather v. Pacquiao to look forward to. I have also been made aware that many people are also excited for the Red Sox and Yankees, and I am even more aware that I won't be watching any baseball. Life is too short.
If you'd rather head out of the house than sit in front of a TV enjoying these events, however, you are in luck. Your car stereo and/or headphones will be stocked with the freshest of bangers because you are a DJBooth reader. You understand that you will not be wasting your time sifting through music no one wants to hear, because not only are we so selective with the music that we feature and that makes our charts, but also because I'm here to give you the best of the best, the "Mayweather v. Pacquiao in the Fight of the Century" music. These are the four essential songs that you need to hear this week, and they won't cost you a hundred bucks via pay-per-view.
I believe I've said this before, but your environment has a tremendous influence on your ability to listen. I pressed play on this song by BENJ as soon as I stepped out of my building the other day. It was early in the morning, I was on my way to work, the sun was shining bright, and I realized this was the exact moment that I needed to hear this record. With a completely different setting for my first listen, when I was deep into a post-lunch food coma in a dimly lit office, the vibes increased dramatically and my opinion of the song went from "this is good" to "I will be playing this all summer." I'm admittedly not as familiar with the Canadian rhymesayer's music as I should be, but he's made a perfect song for a beautiful day, perfectly encapsulating a drive with the windows down inside a single record. A big shout out to Mark Pellifor this glorious instrumental as well.
Did I mention your car stereo earlier? You are probably going to need it. Marco is only 17, but this young phenom is making some truly dope music out of Orlando and his Studio Nights project just dropped is a near must-download. Producer MjNichols is making his second appearance in an Essentials entry, and for good reason. This beat is so fly my computer might just levitate. One minute I'm sitting here and the next I'm in the clouds, floating by while the bass hits and attempts to pull me back down to earth. Having said that, Marco's flow is certainly deserving of the production, as he's got a smooth delivery and switches up his flow multiple times to glide through the breezy backdrop and attack the track from all sides. Flowcaine is a more than apt title, as this is audio dope at its finest.
Music for the soul right here. Simple is often better, this is true for style, food, technology and just about everything else in life. Music is no different; why complicate things when all you really need is a one great central aspect. In this case its Leon Bridges' voice, genuine and powerful. You can almost feel when an artist brings you a sound that comes straight from their heart, like everything that they are feeling is taken directly from their soul and conveyed directly through the music. With Leon's soulful crooning and the light strums of his guitar, that's the case with River. Yes, I know, it was in this Marcus Mariota video. Despite it being used for a Beats By Dre commercial, the bottom line is it's excellent. This is timeless music, a record that I wouldn't be surprised to see myself enjoying 60 years from now, when I'm laid up in my palatial retirement home community estate. If you dislike this song, I think there is a good chance that you might not be human.
Another Post Malone selection? Each week there seems to be one verse, one hook or one record that gets stuck in my head more than anything else, and this week that honor goes to the chorus of On God. I feel like "catchiness" is an underrated aspect when it comes to grading music, and that usually when something is stuck in your head it means, for the most part, that your brain enjoyed it. Post's hook has been on repeat in my head and that's completely acceptable with me, and though I've only known of the young Dallas native for a few months now, he's definitely made me a fan with the few releases he's has shared with the public. We'll see if Bryce Hankins sees hype similar to his Texas comrade in the future, but he certainly shows promise here. At the end of the day though, this beat is just an absolute monster. I would gladly bump this on my way into the ring.
Alright, another week in the books. If you have the opportunity this weekend to dominate the Bluetooth speaker at your next social gathering, don't blow it. Stick to these four records and you'll be fine. Thanks for rocking with The DJBooth for another week.
[By Brendan Varan. He's too cheap to pay for the fight himself, and that's On God. Follow him on Twitter.]