Thousands of new songs hit streaming services every week, let's make this easier.
Once upon a time, DJBooth had many charts, each with 20 songs, each updated once a week. Unfortunately, with the rise of streaming services, social media, and the nonstop flood of music and content, there is simply too much music and not enough time to go around.
So we simplified things.
Here are 10 new songs from the worlds of hip-hop and R&B that you need to hear this week. (Listen to them all in a Spotify playlist here.)
Frank Ocean — "Moon River"
Frank Ocean has reached the point where each time he surfaces from the reclusive abyss he inhabits it’s often to deliver the best thing you’ll hear all month (or year). “Moon River,” his beautiful, minimal Audrey Hepburn cover, will probably make you cry, and if it doesn’t, the fact that you still haven’t received your Endless vinyl will.
SAINt JHN — "I Heard You Got Too Litt Last Night"
SAINt JHN heard you got too lit last night, mixing purple with your purple Sprite, saucing on ‘em, dancing naked on a table—you know, typical night out shit. The Brooklyn rapper wrote this tune in response, which somehow becomes catchier with every repeat listen. Hangovers shouldn’t feel this good.
Young Dolph - "Paranoid"
As BlocBoy JB, Moneybagg Yo, and Key Glock signal a new wave of national attention on Memphis, Young Dolph sent out a reminder that bubbling competition means little in the wake of multiple failed attempts on his life. On “Paranoid,” the standout from his excellently titled new N****s Get Shot Everyday EP, Dolph couldn’t actually sound any less paranoid as he confidently boasts over a winding beat from Izze The Producer.
Wale — "All Star Break Up"
Skeptical as I was when Yoh alerted me to a new Wale single, "All Star Break Up" is a reassuring companion for all those who, like Wale, don’t believe in Valentine’s Day. Though it would benefit from shedding the NBA tie-in to lean harder into sentimental territory more fitting with its stirring production, the DC rapper’s future looks brighter as a newly independent artist than it did upon SHINE’s release.
YG — "Suu Whoop"
“‘YG don’t you got a daughter?’ Yeah I’m a gangbangin’-ass dad.” Along with the most intimidating cover art of the year (so far) comes the latest from Bompton’s most notable Piru, a warning shot to anyone claiming Blood with isn’t living it (or who has "pink hair").
Diplo — "Look Back" ft. DRAM
DRAM steals the show on a theatrical, slow-building single from Diplo that provides the perfect soundtrack to a movie scene where someone digs deep in order to push through at the last second and win a race with all the odds against them.
Valee’s “Miami” is over a year old, but now that the buzzing Chicago rapper has inked a deal with G.O.O.D. Music, the G.O.O.D. prez has blessed his new signee with a typically technically proficient verse for a newly-updated version.
G Herbo — "Everything (Remix)" ft. Lil Uzi Vert & Chance The Rapper
Last year’s quietly great Humble Beast just received the deluxe version treatment, adding on another project’s worth of new tracks to G Herbo's debut. “Everything”—with it’s booming trap beat, aggressive mentality, and oddly conventional yet admirable rap verse from Uzi—is just about the last track from the LP I could have pictured Chance The Rapper joining for a guest feature, but here we are.
Valentine’s Day is over, but “Maybe,” a sultry new collaboration between New York producer TGUT and New Jersey dual threat Dutchboy, is sticky enough to last much longer.
Cozz — "Hustla's Story" ft. Kendrick Lamar
"Hustla’s Story," a standout from Cozz's Dreamville debut Effected, will draw in many because of its Kendrick feature, but Cozz takes center stage here, breaking down the ins and outs of life in his South Central neighborhood over swirling synths and a fat bassline.
For the better part of the last decade, Tyga has fallen somewhere in between the “This is fine” dog meme of rappers and a never-ending car crash where, every time a car runs into another, the sound is an Auto-Tuned squeal.
To be clear, this end result is not for a lack of trying, or even due to a lack of previous success; Tyga's cranked out or been a part of legitimate hits like “Rack City,” “Faded,” and “BedRock,” and there’s nothing any of us can do to take that away from him.
Tyga's newest album, Kyoto, is everything that is fascinating and abhorrent about his music rolled into 14 tracks. At times, it’s an Auto-Tune-heavy, poorly appropriated dancehall rip-off (think Less Life), while at others it's fairly catchy. Ultimately, it's an empty romance album filled with serviceable production and radio-friendly hooks.
This is not the worst album you can listen to, but that doesn’t make it good, either. In short, Tyga made the Olympus Has Fallen of rap albums.
Despite the album's fine production and the well-constructed catchiness, Tyga’s quintessential trademark at this point is his penchant for abysmal lyrics, and that is where I come into the picture. For every song I started to enjoy, such as the club-friendly, Gucci Mane-featuring “Sip a Lil,” or "Boss Up," which features some slick sampling, there are numerous acts of lyrical terror being committed by Tyga at every turn.
So grab a drink before continuing (preferably moonshine), here are the 15 worst lyrics from Kyoto:
"I lost my watch and I still found time" ("Temperature")
We aren’t more than 45 seconds into this album, and Tyga has already begun rapping like an Instagram caption. With production best described as a “Blem Type Beat” and Tyga with a ridiculous Jamaican accent as the backdrop, these lyrics are surprisingly worse in audible form than they are on this page.
"Uh, girl your hot and cold, that makes you warm / Let your ex-man stay in the storm / When you don’t have to force it, it’s a force / All I ever want is more" ("Temperature")
Confirmed: Tyga has been ghostwriting Bryson Tiller’s tweets this entire time.
"And what’s left in the love if I gave you all of me, be patient / And when you need space, I give you a spaceship" ("Temperature")
For some reason, I'm imagining Tyga in the middle of a fight with the woman on this song, saying something like, “Oh you need space?! Well, maybe I’ll just give you a spaceship then! Is that what you want?!” Then birds fall from the sky and all the rivers turn to blood.
"See she can wear leather in the rain, she can find pleasure in pain" ("Leather in the Rain")
Honestly, are these not lyrics to a Savage Garden song from the late '90s?
"What number do you wanna be?/ I make you number one, yeah, one is all I need, yeah yeah/ They say you tripping, how you fall for me though?" ("Come and Ball Wit Me")
“Come and Ball With Me,” clearly the spiritual sequel to Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” is filled with lines like this, but my favorite Tyga lines are always the ones that sound like backhanded compliments to both his girl and to himself. Only Tyga can pull that off.
"Get mixed up with me, that’s the perfect mixture" ("Boss Up")
Somewhere in Tyga’s house sits a book of every noun in the world, that he sifts through before each album to figure out how many puns he can mine from them. Once that’s complete, he’s already 80 percent done with the album.
"Every time you go out, it gets you nowhere / I been waiting right here, still I’ve been everywhere / And it’s like June now, but I love you like February" ("U Cry")
Tyga’s concerned trolling at the beginning of this lyric isn’t even the funniest part when you consider that he almost certainly forced the release date of this album to coincide with the “love you like February” line because that’s the most Tyga thing imaginable.
"When you cry, I cry, we cry, together" ("U Cry")
Tyga quite literally breaking down the way crying works in the middle of this Avant song from hell (Nah-vant, if you will) is my favorite thing about this album. It’s like the crying version of the children’s book Everybody Poops, where Tyga gives step-by-step instructions as to how being sad works.
"I been unfaithful, I been lying like the king of the jungle / But I ain’t lying when I say that I love you" ("King of the Jungle")
Let’s leave the irony of an artist named Tyga writing bars about lions being the king of the jungle on the table for a second. We can even leave Tyga’s backward logic about how lying works there as well. The absolute best and worst part of this lyric is knowing that Tyga probably spent all day thinking of this line, and the studio engineers had to sit there timidly nodding along like a JAY-Z gif as their faces melted off like the Nazis in Indiana Jones.
"Pushing through the city in my four by four by two / Yeah, barely fit it through the drive-thru / Wanna slide by you" ("Hard2Look")
Tyga refers to the size of his car the same way you would describe what size photo you want on high school picture day.
This is the first time in recorded history that not being able to fit through a drive-thru was a badass attribute to one’s vehicle.
Does the woman Tyga is singing about work at a fast food drive-thru window? Does she work at a bank?
"But it’s so hard not to pick up the phone, bang your line one time and ask 'bout your day" ("Hard2Look")
*scene opens with phone ringing*
Travis Scott: “Hello?”
Travis Scott: “Listen, man, I know it’s you. She’s not available right now. You’ve got to stop this.”
Tyga: “I just... I just need to ask her about her day. Just... just one last time.”
*Call clicks, dial tone ensues, scene ends*
"My girl is better than yours, aha / She’s wetter than yours, aha / She coming to see me like I’m going on tour" ("I Need a Girl Pt. 3")
Imagine setting the bar so low in your relationship that the mere fact that your girlfriend comes to see you serves as a moment to boast. It’s almost as bad as dating a 17-year-o…(feed cuts out).
"Got a baby for my body high, baby for my bed high/ got a lil baby for my bedtime" ("Sip a Lil")
If anyone ever refers to their nighttime drug usage with the phrase, “Got a lil baby for my bedtime,” you have probably just encountered the chief of police, and this is some sort of sting operation.
"That face is first place, yeah, can’t be replaced, yeah / I race to your side, I try and fail but never fail to try" ("Faithful")
In the midst of Tyga and Tory Lanez recreating a musical Spider-Man pointing at a slightly smaller Spider-Man meme, this classic palindrome-styled lyric is enough to call any ex you’ve ever had and remind them that, despite trying and failing to make it work, you never failed to try. It’s a sure shot way to make sure you never see or hear from them again.
"Don’t curve me, your hips, your thighs / I told them other hoes, yeah, bye bye" ("Ja Rule & Ashanti")
Only Tyga could wind down his album by ripping off a bad Ja Rule song with even worse lyrics, mash a bad pun about curves into the front, and then top it off with “bye bye” because he just couldn’t quite think of anything else to rhyme with *squints* thighs…
If you're going to waste your time on Twitter, you might as well follow the right people.
Let’s be honest, most of us spend way too much time on Twitter. We're on it to pass the time when bored. To fill the void when lonely. To send out fire tweets that feel like a Steph Curry three (because you’re a comedy genius), only to see them bounce off the rim like a Shaquille O’Neal free throw (because genius isn’t defined by the number of faves and RTs, you tell yourself).
If, like me, you spend a stupid amount of time glued to Twitter—aimlessly scrolling, occasionally interacting, always laughing—you might as well follow the right people. People who are going to broaden your musical tastes, spark interesting discussions and, at the very least, make you laugh so hard you forget about the shit you should be doing with your time.
Excluding the many artists who are as entertaining on social media as they in their songs (word to Vince Staples, Chuck Inglish and Your Old Droog, to name a few), here are the 10 people every rap fan needs to follow on Twitter.
The self-proclaimed George Constanza of hip-hop, Big Business has turned trolling into an art form. Among his prolific 350,000+ tweets are gems like “chief keef dropped a classic album at 17 years old which makes him better than nas and most of hip hop artist debuts,” which prompted a *JimHalpertStare* from Questlove (though some might’ve actually *JimHalpertHighFived* at that tweet). When he isn’t slaying hip-hop’s sacred cows, Big Business is a must-follow for his rap nerd knowledge, endless supply of hilarious .gifs and sincere, passionate discussions about the latest hip-hop and R&B.
Amir Abbassy is hip-hop’s answer to the Dalai Lama. As the manager of Freeway and Sylvan LaCue, and founder of the independent management/marketing company Blame The Label, Amir channels his years of experience into a daily stream of motivational messages, constructive criticism and words of wisdom to help you navigate both the music industry and life in general. He’s twice as nice in person, too.
Craig Jenkins is one of the best and most respected music writers around. He’s written for Pitchfork, Complex and Noisey, and interviewed the likes of El-P, Mac Miller, and Damon Albarn. These days, you’ll find him on Vulture weighing in on everything from punk music in the Trump era to the new—and exhausting—Migos album. Though he makes no secret of his disdain for every living soul on Twitter, you’ll often find him sprinkling some of that astute music criticism onto your timeline. Just don’t get on his bad side.
If you haven’t heard of Desus and Mero by now, you must be smoking rock, let alone living under one. The Bronx duo are the hosts of the hit late night talk show Desus & Mero, as well as the Bodega Boys podcast (day ones will remember Desus vs. Mero, too). Before we saw their faces or heard their voices, though, Desus was already building his now-gigantic online audience with his witty and snappy tweets—even trolling clueless news anchors with gems like the one below.
Since its launch in 2007, FakeShoreDrive has become an institution of Chicago hip-hop. From Chief Keef to Chance The Rapper, Andrew Barber is always first when it comes to the Windy City’s ever-exciting rap scene. While that’s a good enough reason alone to hit that follow button, FakeShoreDrive is a valuable resource for his insider knowledge, informed debates about ’90s and ’00s hip-hop, and throwback footage of your favorite rappers.
Gunner Stahl is as hilarious on Twitter as he is talented behind the camera. When he isn’t capturing candid shots of your favorite rappers (everyone from Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar to Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert), you’ll find Gunner firing off witty captions, hits-blunt shower thoughts and hilarious anecdotes involving his famous friends. As his name suggests, Gunner’s caustic humor sometimes leaves casualties—especially if you rap and your name is Russ.
Brandon Jenkins, better known simply as Jinx, is this generation's Fab 5 Freddy. As the host of Pigeons & Planes’ YouTube channel, Complex’s The Culture series and TIDAL’s Group Chat podcast (alongside fellow Complex alumni Emily Oberg and Speedy Morman), Jinx is the cool and collected face of hip-hop culture in the digital landscape. When he isn’t interviewing legends like Kobe and Kendrick or introducing new artists like Yaeji and Yung Pinch, you can catch Jinx kicking game, waxing poetic and posting fire playlists every quarter on Twitter.
Desus may have a considerably larger Twitter following than his partner-in-comedy, but The Kid Mero is no less hilarious or loveable. In fact, Mero doesn't seem bothered in the slightest considering everything he tweets—strictly all caps, word to DOOM—sounds like it’s being yelled in between bites of a chopped cheese outside the bodega. If there’s one thing you need to know about dudes that hang outside bodegas, it's that they’ll roast the living shit out of you. Yakubians, be warned.
In a world full of petty debates, swift cancellations and threats of nuclear war over breakfast, Shea Serrano is a beacon of positivity on Twitter. Middle school teacher-turned-staff writer at The Ringer and best-selling author of The Rap Year Book, Shea’s unbridled love for Cousin Stizz, the San Antonio Spurs and his beautiful family—affectionately known as The GOAT, Boy A, Boy B, The Baby and their dog, Younger Jeezy—will warm your heart and put fire in your belly. With over 200,000 followers, Shea even has his own #SheaHive, aka the FOH Army, only they’d rather raise thousands of dollars for flood relief than flood your mentions. Lifehack: be more like Shea.
Often imitated but never duplicated, UpNorthTrips is the original online museum of hip-hop history. Founded by Evan “Ev Boogie” Auerbach and named after the classic Mobb Deep cut, UpNorthTrips kickstarted the trend of commemorating anniversaries of important rap albums and iconic cultural moments that you see all over Twitter today. What the copycats don’t have, though, is a whole archive of hip-hop history from someone who was there to actually witness it. Respect your OGs.
Hip-hop and philanthropy have a long-standing and heartwarming relationship, but Drake’s latest music video for “God’s Plan,” in which he gives out money, toys, clothing, and food to families in need, takes that relationship to the highest of levels.
Shot on location all across Miami, we see Drake following in the footsteps of the greats—Diddy and JAY-Z—and his contemporaries 2 Chainz and Chance The Rapper, using his position and his platform to really do the most. Money may not buy happiness, but it can certainly afford you comfort and peace of mind, which may be worth more in the long run.
Drake’s music has a track record of bringing fans to tears, but these new tears of joy are all the better.
'Everything Is Recorded' is an album about being lonely to your bones when your bones are failing you.
Life is beautiful, and then she tries to leave you.
Confronting mortality is no easier at 17 than it is when you’re past your college years. We tend to romanticize these “events” by calling them something banal, like an “event,” for instance. The truth is, near-death only jolts you if you let it—life is as up to us as it isn’t.
XL Recordings co-founder and record producer Richard Russell knew this in 2014 when, after recovering from a life-threatening illness, he went into the studio to produce his debut full-length album, Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell.
Everything Is Recorded is an album about being lonely to your bones when your bones are failing you. Russell’s production is at times skittering and consuming (“Be My Friend”), sandy, sultry, and syncopated (“She Said”), grimy and snarling (“Wet Looking Road”), or situated in the pit of a chamber orchestra from 3018 (“Bloodshot Red Eyes”).
For his eclectic range, he’s recruited an impressive and unexpected host of guest features: Wiki, Sampha, Giggs, Kamasi Washington, Infinite (Ghostface Killah’s son), Green Gartside, Ibeyi, Syd, and many more.
At the very least, this album is a master class in the art of the pivot. Moving from the hard-bop stylings of “Mountains of Gold” to the taut and tightly wound bass notes on “Show Love,” the new rhythm plays like a natural extension of Washington’s saxophone. In that breath, no voice on this album is without a sonic counterpart. As collaborative efforts go, Everything Is Recorded is a musical communion.
For all the external voices on the record, this LP is very much Russell’s brainchild. Everything Is Recorded has two guiding lights: a vocal sample unpacking the depth of loneliness, and Sampha. The album opens with the lines, “There are moments in our lives, that we feel completely alone. We feel as though no one knows what we’re going through. It is possible to be alone, and not live alone. It is possible to feel alone and not work alone,” which are neatly stitched into a series of sonic vignettes showcasing the rest of the album.
As we move into the second track, “Close But Not Quite,” Sampha amends the opening sentiment, singing the thesis of the record in an orchestrated duet with the late Curtis Mayfield. Over a bed of sprightly and lilted keys, we find ourselves in the heart of the plot: “I feel like I don't have the words / Because I can't speak,” because certain pains transcend language.
The opening sample is baked into warmer and warmer soundscapes. The wobbly and ethereal tones of “Echoes in the Bone” reframe the sample and the setting of the record. Where we once felt overwhelmed by the notion of isolation, it now sounds like a far-off dream. Like a standard acid trip in a spring field, the distance from the sample provides us with a temporary wholeness.
Even still, on the closing and titular track, “Everything Is Recorded,” we find our enduring and situated selves at war. Sampha’s verses push the ideal that every moment and every memory is critical, for better or worse. Electronic flourishes and Sampha hitting every note in his range from syllable to syllable give us a picture of nostalgia sans rose tint. Following the breadth of sounds and emotions, this realism is as grounding as it is soothing.
Then the main sample returns. Logic would dictate that the album ends on an enduring high, but life and logic rarely coincide. Instead, damp and near-choking accents clutter the sample. The final 20 seconds of the album are claustrophobic and heavy, like a panic attack. Then the sound cuts out because life does not ask—sometimes she only takes.
Harrowing, but there is good news: we can always replay Richard Russell’s opus. Not all is lost.
Three Standout Tracks
“Close But Not Quite” ft. Sampha
This track positions Sampha to be our emotional guide throughout the album. The sheer genius of sampling Curtis Mayfield and putting him in conversation with Sampha on the chorus is reason enough to file this one for all future playlists.
“Mountains of Gold” ft. Sampha, Ibeyi, Wiki & Kamasi Washington
Between XL favorites like Wiki laying superb verses and Kamasi Washington treating us with an equally moving saxophone solo, this is one of the more enduring and traditional cuts on the record. Play "Mountains of Gold" to hook new fans, then suggest they listen to the album from top to bottom.
“Show Love” ft. Syd & Sampha
Some deeper house influences and a fantastic Syd feature should be enough to sell anyone. Syd’s vocal is sinuous and velvety goodness and an apt distraction from the heavier themes of the record.
Kendrick Lamar isn't the only hip-hop talent with a Hollywood skill set.
When Kendrick Lamar and TDEwere announcedas executive producers for Black Panther The Album, the news was met by next to no qualms. The early consensus was that director Ryan Coogler, Disney, and Marvel appointed the appropriate hip-hop king to score the rise of T’Challa. Underneath the ovation for the forthcoming music, any whispers of disdain went unheard. Fans had faith, built up after years of listening to Compton Kenny deliver soundtracks in the form of albums for movies unmade.
Released one week before the film, early assessments of Black Panther The Album have been enthusiastic and favorable―Kendrick didn’t let Wakanda down. Critical and commercial success surrounds the film, and now the soundtrack is also being uplifted in this adulatory moment of artistic excellence.
Hip-hop bridging the mediums of music and cinema isn’t some avant-garde feat, but, in 2018, it’s holographic Charizard rare to see a rapper in the curator’s chair for big blockbuster films―a sign of Kendrick’s juggernaut celebrity and Hollywood’s potential embrace of rap's genius.
Eminem’s work on 2002's 8 Mile and 2015's Southpaw, Diddy’s 2003 Bad Boys II soundtrack, JAY-Z's role of executive producer for 2013's The Great Gatsby soundtrack—these are the biggest instances of a star rapper curating an entire soundtrack for a film. Luckily, success breeds opportunity, and Black Panther The Album has the promise of unlocking doors for rappers to do as Kendrick and TDEhave just done.
Hip-hop is home to various audio visionaries capable of bringing their meticulous skill set to the silver screen. If struck by the good fortune of being aligned with directors and films kindred with their artistry, hip-hop could become synonymous with great curators for movie soundtracks. Hip-hop artists could follow in the footsteps of soundtrack legends like Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Willie Hutch, and Prince. The vision isn’t farfetched.
Here are seven hip-hop artists that Hollywood absolutely must pay attention to when it's time to add the music.
Kanye West: Late Invitation
Compatible Directors: Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing”), Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas”), Ava DuVernay (“A Wrinkle in Time”)
Why is it that Kanye West has yet to conduct a movie soundtrack? For an artist of his genius, collaborative success rate, and rock star stature, Hollywood should be doing all they can to secure his position behind the scenes of an upcoming blockbuster. Just last year, The Guardian’s Stuart Heritage penned a detailed article on the influx of movies and television trailers using Ye's music. Yet, the last time he scored or soundtracked a movie was his ownfull-length film (Runaway) for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010.
The world is closing in on a decade since Kanye last brought the magic of music and movies together. Unless Kanye has resisted, turned down, or been too busy to accept their offers, it's disappointing to know that his strongest artistic qualities aren’t being maximized through a medium he would surely succeed in. Give him any director, any movie genre, and he'll deliver. There’s no need to explain why Kanye is best fit for such a position―that would be a waste of words stating the obvious―but I would love to know why it hasn’t happened yet. I need answers, Sway.
Tyler, The Creator: Color Theory Golf Boyz
Compatible Directors: Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), and Greg Mottola/Seth Rogen (“Superbad”)
Tyler, The Creator’s excellent interview with Jerrod Carmichael peels away the process behind the collaborative assembly of artists for his latest album, Flower Boy. With each person involved―and even the artists who rejected his production―Tyler intentionally sought them out. Every guest, from Rex Orange County to Jaden Smith, had a role that Tyler envisioned before the manifestation of their audio offerings. This natural vision is perfect for compilation―creating with the concentrated forethought of Kanye's MBDTF, rather than the fame-filled clusters DJ Khaled continues to call albums.
Tyler lives up to his name as a world builder―creating characters, personas, and storylines for each conceptual album in his discography. In many ways, he’s a director posing as a rapper with the heart of a producer, the perfect internal trifecta to sonically craft the sounds of a feature film. He’ll eventually write, direct, and score his own movie—that’s predestined—but first, I would love to see him focus simply on a soundtrack.
Kevin Abstract: Fear & Loathing in Suburbia
Compatible Directors: Gia Coppola (“Palo Alto”), Richard Linklater (“School of Rock), Brian Robbins (“Varsity Blues”)
BROCKHAMPTON’s Kevin Abstract has the eyes of a visual artist. All but two of the group's award-deserving music videos have featured Kevin in the director’s chair. Musicians blessed with dictatorial vision are capable of seeing songs as scenes. The short films “Billy Star” and “Runner," the music videos for “Empty” and “Echo”—all display an understanding of audio’s role in visual storytelling. By itself, music can articulate a feeling or fill the background because sound, even without words, is able to strike the soul when silence isn’t sufficient.
Teenage alienation, high school melodrama, and the stages of adolescent love are all subjects Kevin explores with the keen precision of a Trevor Noah monologue. I don’t expect Kevin to Peter Pan his music career, but hopefully, before mature concepts change his direction, we see the 21-year-old outsource his magic to a coming-of-age movie soundtrack.
Kid Cudi: The Sounds of Deep Space & Melancholy Soul-Searching
Compatible Directors: Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darko”), Gaspar Noé (“Enter the Void”), Ridley Scott (“Alien: Covenant”)
When the hallways of Cudi’s music are painted midnight black or overcast grey the melancholy sinks into the listener’s skin. I liken the experience to a doctor’s syringe piercing through flesh. Cudi's advantage over rappers who excel in lyrical proficiency has always been his ability to make engulfing, esoteric music. The Cleveland-born Moon Man pairs melodic contemplation with enchanting production to induce a mood like sinking into a groundless Sunken Place. Both his sound and style are a respectable match for an epic space odyssey, psychedelic science fiction, or films rooted in thrilling suspense.
Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, and Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon are three albums that exemplify attention to detail, cinematic thoughtfulness, and world construction. 808s & Heartbreak stands as a testament to what is possible when Cudi finds a kindred spirit with a solid direction. He has all the tools for Hollywood, this time not as an actor, but a curator.
Wale’s music video for “The Breakup Song” is a perfect companion to one of the most revered records in his immense archive of music. The Walu-directed visual borrows its theme and aesthetic from Marc Webb’s excellent romantic comedy, 500 Days of Summer. There’s a serenity to their overlapping, like a remix impressive enough to stand alongside the original. Capturing authentic portraits of black women, black love, and black life has been a career-long accomplishment for Wale. Bedroom bangers, wedding chapel anthems, and quiet storm classics―it would be easy for the former Atlantic Records signee to craft a romantic comedy script inspired by all the songs he has illustrating relations between man and woman. Look no further than the 2016 mixtape, Summer on Sunset.
With his imaginative penmanship and appreciation for movies like 500 Days of Summer and Love Jones, it would be a seamless transition for Wale to bring hip-hop flavor to big screen love stories.
The Weeknd: Strange, Freaky Vampire Fantasy
Compatible Directors: Wong Kar-wai (“In the Mood for Love”), David Lynch (“Mulholland Drive”), David Robert Mitchell (“It Follows”)
Abel Tesfaye's first love wasn’t music, or drugs, or fame, but films shrouded in suspense and terror. The Weeknd was a Canadian youth infatuated with fantasy and fear. He wrote screenplays and watched David Cronenberg-directed films. Last year, I wrote about the connection between his music and movies―how the cinema influence is as important to his artistic roots as Michael Jackson. Underneath the pop star exterior is a horror film savant with William S. Burroughs' appetite for the psychologically disturbing and twisted. I would happily accept a remastered version of David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch scored to the sounds of Kiss Land.
The success of “Earned It” and the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack wasn’t a fluke; if the placement of one song can have a career-changing effect, imagine if Hollywood gave Abel an entire soundtrack to sink his teeth into?
It’s not as apparent since The Weeknd’s music underwent evident commercial alteration to transform the faceless songbird into a world-dominating pop star, but there are plenty of bizarre songs and unorthodox visuals scattered across his musical sea to make a convincing case. If the Starboy drops the mask and returns to madness the possibilities could inspire Jigsaw to start a new game.
Knxwledge: Boyz in the Hud
Compatible Directors: Rick Famuyiwa (“Dope”), Ernest Dickerson (“Juice”), Shinichirō Watanabe (“Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door”)
Guilty Pleasure Bonus: Hype Williams (“Belly”)
Producers are the cog-turners who keep hip-hop rotating. Rappers, more often than not, need beats made. It’s impossible to remove the producer without the entire music universe spinning off its axis. There are, however, beatsmiths who dare to take an even more uncertain road, finding success outside the shadows of a vocalist. Knxwledge is one of the best examples of a beatmaker rewriting the rules. His prolific output of beat tapes rivals Wayne’s mixtape madness period; Knx isn’t allowing his exuberant fan base room to miss him.
The dusty chops, sampled soundbites, and soulful loops have taken him far, but I believe he could go even further. His process for beat construction takes an inventive mind who is able to see these puzzle pieces and produce the best picture. The same practice can be applied to film scores and soundtrack curation. Scoring a film isn't the same thing as constructing an instrumental album, but both require a similar creative approach.
The right opportunity has the potential to do for Knx what Samurai Champloodid for the late, great Nujabes. With all the music he has amassed, let us pray a director hears his sound, sees the promise, and provides a project for his music to transcend into the heavens.
Unfortunately, for Redd, he wasn't able to turn in his finished verse on time.
However, despite missing out on a potential once in a lifetime opportunity—the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its opening week and is already eligible for multi-Platinum certification—Redd doesn't appear to be focusing on the rear view.
"I'm not gone be salty about it," Redd commented on Instagram in response to a fan trying to pour a vat of the mineral in his figurative wound. "I got plenty of time to have that opportunity again."
Redd's right. He's 18. He hasn't even released his full-length debut. Time is absolutely on his side.
Missing out on the chance to score a guest 16 on an eventual No. 1 single would likely keep Redd up at night if his career was on the downswing, but with a considerable amount of buzz attached to his name, two Gold plaques ("Love Scars" and "Poles 1469") on his wall and an all-star management team by his side, God clearly had a different plan in mind.
Four artists are dominating hip-hop at the moment.
Apple Music might be poised to overtake Spotify in U.S. subscribers by this coming summer, but for the time being, the Stockholm, Sweden-based on-demand streaming service is the biggest platform in town (read: the world).
As such, tracking streaming trends on Spotify, based on the sheer volume of the sample size, is the most accurate way to measure overall popularity.
With this in mind, below you will find the 10 most popular hip-hop records over the past seven days, with the total number of streams each song has produced to date.
But first, a few friendly observations:
This entire list is essentially made up of four acts: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and Migos.
With the exception of BlocBoy JB's "Look Alive," released through OVO and Warner Music, every record on this list is the product of an artist who is signed to a record contract under the Universal Music Group umbrella (TDE, Capitol, Interscope, Republic).
Drake's "God's Plan" has done 190 million streams in less than one month, which is more than half the total for Post Malone's "I Fall Apart" (No. 8), a record first released in December 2016.
Earlier this week, the official Twitter account for Eric B. & Rakim decided to kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug, and then jet by dissing an entire generation of rappers.
“You are now witnessing the devolution of rap music,” its February 12 message stated. “The death of poetry and smoothness, they use this. The absence of a message. The inability to create meaningful change through words and verses, but the worse [sic] is, they don’t even know they hurt this artful purpose, it’s tragic.”
By Wednesday, the account boasted that the message had spread to nearly a million people, and the hip-hop media landscape was reporting on the rant by two of hip-hop’s most iconic pioneers, with many of them attributing the rhyming message directly to Rakim, the spitting half of the seminal duo.The Source even want as far as to claim “Rakim sets the world on fire with tweets about today’s rap music,” and that “The Goat emcee and one half of the legendary DJ/Rapper duo Eric B & Rakim, took to Twitter on Tuesday to […] make his opinion on the rap scene today known.”
You won’t be able to see those tweets anymore, though. With the exception of a Questlove tweet from 2010 and the duo’s pinned tweet (an Eric B. media appearance from February 9), their entire Twitter history has been deleted.
To make things even more interesting, I think I might have caused this.
From the jump, there was little to no ground to make the assumption that the God MC was the author of these tweets. Even a perfunctory glance at their timeline revealed the account mostly dealt in media appearances by Eric B., and what celebrities had their picture taken with Eric B.
Last year, the account even beefed with singer Eric Bellinger for a while, after he titled a series of EPs Eric B. Is President. Bellinger’s initial press release called the move a tribute to the iconic song, but the official account for the duo said, “This clown Eric Bellinger still trying to fool listeners into thinking his music is @EricB’s so they download it.”
Furthermore, the bio for Eric B.'s solo account links to the duo’s verified account, but Rakim’s solo account—which hasn’t been active since 2010, a short time after the release of his last solo album—doesn’t. The account was created in 2009, seemingly to promote Rakim’s The Seventh Seal album, but Ra lost his interest in social media soon thereafter.
It seems much more likely that Eric B., or at least people connected to him, have been behind the duo’s account. In fact, there is no obvious reason to assume that Rakim has ever been involved with or connected to the account. Before reuniting for concerts last year, the duo hadn’t been on speaking terms for many years.
“I don’t wish him no bad luck, but I don’t call him,” Rakim toldHipHopDX in 2013. “I’m a loyal dude, and you know doing certain things, especially when you are breaking bad with people, you gotta keep it 100 with that person. And it was a couple things in business that I felt that he didn’t handle right that left a real bitter taste in my mouth.”
A hint of what might have caused that bitter taste can perhaps be found in the longstanding rumors surrounding Eric B. paying off other beat creators as ghost producers. In 2008, Marley Marl claimed he produced the duo’s debut 12”, despite only getting credited as a studio engineer. “I took the records to Marley Marl’s house in Queensbridge and paid Marley Marl to be the engineer,” Eric B. said in 2008, responding to the allegations. “Marley got paid. That’s why he’s not a producer, that’s why he is not getting publishing. I brought the music. I just couldn’t work the equipment because that’s not what I did. If you look on the record, it says mixed by Marley Marl and MC Shan.”
Meanwhile, Eric B.’s involvement as a producer with the duo’s classic debut album Paid in Full has also been overstated, at least according to Rakim himself. “The drum programming on the album, our engineer Patrick Adams did a lot of that”, he told author Brian Coleman for his book Check the Technique. “He's a real talented cat. I'd basically just take my break beats and ideas in, and he'd sample it up and put the 808 on it.”
In that same book, Rakim stated he himself was responsible for the brunt of the album’s beats: “Back then, Eric B. wanted to be a businessman so I said, 'Okay, you can take care of the business, I'm going to stick with this notebook right here.' So by not getting involved, he was right there telling them to print whatever he wanted them to print on the album cover. That was my mistake. If we did ten tracks on the album, I did like seven of the beats myself. A lot of times they were just old park records. I had a record collection, I had turntables, I had all the breakbeats.”
With all this in my memory, I decided to email the press agent for Eric B. & Rakim, along with the email contact on Rakim’s official Facebook page and a few other folks who might be able to put me into contact with the duo. My question was simple: “Could you please confirm or deny whether Rakim typed this message like various media outlets are reporting? And if he did not type this message, did he have prior knowledge to its publication, and does he agree with the statement (that we are "witnessing the devolution of rap music") or not?”
A simple fact-check. Like journalists are paid and supposed to do.
Apparently, I was the first to do so, because within half an hour after sending that email, voicing my doubt about Rakim’s involvement with the statement, the comments that had Twitter ablaze for the last three days had been deleted. Along with the entirety of the account’s Twitter history.
By now, an official answer still hasn’t been given. The disappearance of almost nine years worth of messages is probably as close to an answer as we’ll get.
A representative for Rakim has been notified of this article and its contents, but as of press time, DJBooth has not received a response.
We asked British producer Kurtis McKenzie, known professionally as The Arcade, to share the backstory behind "Redemption," the song he co-produced with Teddy Walton, Scribz Riley and Aaron Bow for 'Black Panther The Album,' which features vocal performances by "LOVE." co-star Zacari and South African artist Babes Wodumo.
Last September, I was in my studio in Los Angeles, working on random ideas, when I found a rare percussion conga loop break while digging through my samples.
Scribz Riley, one of the song’s co-producers, had given me a folder of random samples that he had collected and I found a soulful, jazzy piano loop in there. It had this nostalgic, happy vibe, like something about it was very familiar. Once I heard the sample, I already knew what I wanted to do.
At the time, I had been listening to a lot of baile funk, African-inspired music, and I was heavily influenced by that sound. I wanted the record to be uptempo, for the drums to hit hard and for it to have an African tribal groove. I took the piano loop and played chords around that to fill it out and give it more body. Then I found this wild female Spanish vocal sample and used that as the intro to give the track more character.
With most of the records that I produce, I usually try to create something that already has a lot of character. That way, when you press play, it grabs the attention of the artist. With the beat for “Redemption,” the Spanish vocal at the beginning was meant to do just that. Straight away, it grabs your attention. You can you feel something coming.
The original beat I crafted was actually slower in tempo and a lot more chilled, but after I played it for a few artists—everyone was really hyped about it—I felt like the original bass wasn't right and it needed more of a groove, and so I asked Scribz to play a new bass line.
A couple months later, Sam Taylor, who worked at Kobalt Music, linked me with Teddy Walton, who came by my studio. I only played him one idea, which was the beat that became “Redemption.” Teddy only heard the first five seconds and straight away said, “This is the one.” It must have been fate because, days prior, Kendrick had hit Teddy up asking for production with a similar vibe as the beat I had played for him.
We were going crazy in the studio when we saw how hyped Kendrick was about the beat.
Immediately, we switched up the original vibe and made it a lot more aggressive and dirty. We sped it up, changed the structure, and added more drums and distortion. It took us about 30 minutes and then Teddy texted Kendrick the beat.
He texts back like 20 fire emojis.
It was a surreal moment. We were going crazy in the studio when we saw how hyped Kendrick was about the beat. He hadn't even had the beat for two minutes before he told us that Babes Wodumo would feature on it.
A few weeks later, Teddy told me that Kendrick was working on the soundtrack for the Black Panther movie and that it was top secret. I was hyped because I knew how culturally significant the movie was going to be and how much of an impact it was going to make. I thought, to be involved on any level would be incredible.
In late December, I got the good word: the song would be titled “Redemption” and it made the album. I was ecstatic, all my family and friends back home in London were already hyped about seeing the movie and now they were even more excited knowing I was a part of the soundtrack.
Even after the song was finalized for placement, I ended up working on the beat right up until the last minute. The original drums had to be changed because of sample clearance issues. I probably ended up creating six different versions of the beat until I was finally happy with the one everyone has heard on the album.
I knew Babes was on the record because of Kendrick, but I didn't know Zacari was on the song until I saw the track listing like everyone else. On first listen, I was dancing around my studio; it was great to hear two artists from two very different cultural backgrounds connecting on one song.
I'm very, very proud to be a part of this soundtrack but also with a song that is as African-influenced as “Redemption” and which introduces an African artist like Babes Wodumo to the world.
Black Panther the movie and the soundtrack, curated by Kendrick Lamar, is a moment in history. I'm very grateful to be a part of that.
BACK ISSUES GOING BACK TO 2010! ALTHOUGH THIS SITE IS NEW, AND UPDATES STARTED VERY RECENTLY, WE DO HAVE OTHER SITES AND OFF-GRID VAULTS DATING BACK TO 2010 - WITH FULL COLLECTIONS FROM SOME PREMIUM POOLS AND VINYL-ISSUE RECORD POOLS!
FOR A ONE-OFF FEE, YOU CAN GET UNLIMITED AND LIFETIME ACCESS TO THIS, AND NEVER HAVE TO PAY US AGAIN TO USE THIS SERVICE! PLEASE EMAIL US TO FIND OUT MORE!
We were put here to give the music BACK to the DJs & VJs who promote the tracks to death, and not only failed to get paid for this, but actually get CHARGED at premium rates :: NOT ON OUR WATCH!
ALTHOUGH THIS SITE IS NEW, AND UPDATES STARTED VERY RECENTLY, WE DO HAVE OTHER SITES AND OFF-GRID VAULTS DATING BACK TO 2010 - WITH FULL COLLECTIONS FROM SOME PREMIUM POOLS AND VINYL-ISSUE RECORD POOLS!
FOR A ONE-OFF FEE, YOU CAN GET UNLIMITED AND LIFETIME ACCESS TO THIS, AND NEVER HAVE TO PAY US AGAIN TO USE THIS SERVICE! PLEASE EMAIL US TO FIND OUT MORE!
We have several thousand (and rising) unique visitors daily. The common interest/career all our visitors have? They are/want to be/used to be a DJ or VDJ. If you own a business that you think our visitors would be interested in, please email us to discuss advertising on our website :: email@example.com