Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


I was on vacay in England last week, and as I sat back down at my desk this morning, I realized that a massive amount of new music came out while I was gone. I'm going to try something new with quick one to two sentence recaps of some Read more

Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

070 Shake, “Accusations”

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070 Shake
“Accusations”

Digital Single (G.O.O.D. Music)
Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music has been around for almost 15 years and has produced exactly one bona-fide star: Travis Scott. Aside from him, you’ve got perpetual nearly man Big Sean, professional mumbler Kid Cudi, and Teyana Taylor whose biggest musical moment involved dancing in a someone else’s music video. Not great, Kanye. Not great.

For that reason, I’ve been a little slow on the 070 Shake bandwagon. Sure, her performances on Kanye’s turgid new album were just about the only bright spots, but we’ve seen plenty of newcomers steal a track on a Kanye project then never get anywhere near that again (hi, Desiigner?). However, this moody, starry-eyed new single is starting to convince me to get on board. Something about her voice and delivery is convincing in a way that someone like Post Malone could never be, but her sing-song delivery scratches many of the same angsty itches that has made Post such a star. And that’s good news for G.O.O.D. Music.

Future, “Hate the Real Me”

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Future
“Hate the Real Me”

Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic)
The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015’s legendary “Beast Mode” tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over triumphant, lush keys from the masterful Zaytoven.

It’s hard to imagine another A-list artist speaking this honestly about his own pain and addiction (especially, while making it sound so damn beautiful), but Future is a one-off. And though it hurts to hear him detail the depths of his anguish, it’s also exciting to hear him get back to his musical best. That dichotomy has been central to the Future experience and is precisely why his music has connected so viscerally with so many people.

Troye Sivan, “Dance To This” (f/ Ariana Grande)

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Troye Sivan
“Dance To This” (f/ Ariana Grande)

Bloom (out 08.31 on EMI Australia)
The candlelit, whispered two-step of “Dance To This” might seem a surprisingly low-key choice for two artists with such big voices. But Troye and Ariana’s obvious chemistry and subtle vocal inflections (especially in the gorgeous verses) make this track a winner, even though it likely won’t turn into a smash. It’s the rare modern collab where it feels like both artists are in the same room (though they likely weren’t), and that palpable intimacy provides the little bit of electricity that every good duet requires.

Future: “What’s Up With That” (f/ 21 Savage)

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Future
“What’s Up With That” (f/ 21 Savage)

SUPERFLY Soundtrack (out now on Epic)
Apologies for the weeks without a post, but I went on a long Euro vacation and got engaged. Now that I’m officially an honest man, I can’t think of a better first post than the most romantic man on the planet, Mr. Future Vandross.

Though he’s been a little bit quiet — in fact, this is the first time the Hot 100 hasn’t had a Future song in it since April 2015 — Nayvadius has hinted that he readying another double-barreled assault on the charts. His Superfly Soundtrack feels more like an appetizer than a proper entrée, but it’s got some fantastic moments, namely this heartfelt, mid-tempo collab with 21 Savage. Future SZN approaching.

Playboy Carti, “Shoota” (f/ Lil Uzi Vert)

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Playboy Carti
“Shoota” (f/ Lil Uzi Vert)
Die Lit (out now on AWGE)
Though he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, few producers shaped the sound of rap in 2018 more than Philly native, Maaly Raw. The man behind much of Lil Uzi Vert’s sticky sweet early work comes through with an absolute gem here. Bursting with youthful energy (think: Kirby’s Dream World), the unique beat is the ideal canvas for Uzi and Carti to smear playful, sing-song bars on top of. If this isn’t one of the songs of the summer, I’d be shocked.

Snail Mail, “Let’s Find An Out”

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Snail Mail
“Let’s Find An Out”

Lush (out 06.08 on Matador)
Though I’ve somehow not written about them yet, I’ve been loving the Baltimore trio’s pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, “Let’s Find An Out,” is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan’s plaintive vocals with beds of fingerpicked electric guitar. She captures the freedom and trepidation of making the decision to start over with grace, humanity, and wisdom that belies her 18 years. Magic.

Natalie Prass, “Lost”

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Natalie Prass
“Lost”

The Future and the Past (out 06.01 on ATO)
I’m a few weeks late to this one, but this gorgeous, heartsick ballad is too good to ignore. A sharply-written look at the way a bad relationship can keep dragging you back in, “Lost” sees the fed-up 32 year-old refusing to fall into the traps of an ex. It’s the kind of thing that just about everyone has been through, and the way the track makes you feel will directly relate to how far away you are from that kind of relationship.

joan, “i loved you first”

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joan
“i loved you first”
Digital Single
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, first of all, thank you. I see you. Secondly, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for power ballads, and holy fuck, the Arkansas sweetboyz come through with a big one. Complete with verses that sound like the Backstreet Boys, a cheesy ass guitar solo, and a glorious group vocal climax, “i loved you first” hits all the right beats and will leave you seriously considering texting your ex*.

*don’t

Skepta, “Pure Water”

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Skepta
“Pure Water”

Digital Single
As UK hip-hop continues to grow at an astonishing rate, it’s easy to forget that nobody has meant more to this iteration of the genre than Uncle Skeppy. Luckily for us, the 35 year-old came though with a reminder of his unrivaled power with this muscular, razor-sharp new single. Like the best Skepta tracks, there’s not one ounce of fat on “Pure Water” — just a banging beat, two magnetic verses, and an infectious hook. He’s not reinventing the wheel here, but with a style that’s this groundbreaking and singular, he doesn’t have to.

Rae Sremmurd: “Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)

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Rae Sremmurd
“Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)

Swaecation
Though I’m still processing the Mississippi superstars’ excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing “Offshore” feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And my god, does he oblige.

For nearly three minutes, Thug treats us to a single unbroken, spellbinding verse, showing off the idiosyncratic vocal gymnastics that made so many fall in love with him in the first place. A true natural, he seamlessly slaloms between choppy, magnetic bars and legit R&B crooner vocal runs, stretching his voice in ways that both keep the listener on their toes and make perfect sense together. It elicits the kind of feeling that only peak Young Thug can deliver and is a reminder of what a singular, special talent the 26 year-old really is.