Here we are in the last week of July 2018, which has proven to been the most jam-packed of the month, new songs wise. The release of A$AP Mob’s AWGE DVD Vol. 3 introduced us to WANGSAP – the collaborative project between A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator – and their first single “POTATO SALAD,” with a video filmed in Paris featuring a Jaden Smith cameo. Two solo Lil Uzi Vert tracks surfaced on the world wide web, and Charli XCX dropped a no-boys-allowed weekend party anthem “Girls Night Out.”
Both Blood Orange and BROCKHAMPTON have given us a taste of their upcoming albums with the excellent “Jewelry” and “1997 DIANA” respectively, each accompanied by their own cinematic music videos. The Jai Paul-led Paul Institute imprint dropped a couple of new records out of nowhere, including Ruthven’s classic pop experiment “Hypothalamus.”
All these and more in this week’s best tracks.
A$AP Rocky & Tyler, the Creator – “POTATO SALAD”
It was only a matter of time before A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator officially fused their collective clout, forming an alliance across the East and West coasts. “Potato Salad” is newly-minted duo WANG$AP’s first track, wherein the pair playfully spit bars over “Knock Knock” by Monica (an old-school Kanye West and MIssy Elliott production!). The lyrics are a goldmine of fashion and pop culture references, with Rocky shouting out Lil B, Tyler bragging about filling his houses with Leo Dicaps and Cole Sprouses, and throwing in basketball player Yao Ming into the mix. Drop the mixtape, my dudes!
Blood Orange – “Jewelry”
Devonté Hynes never disappoints and now that we’ve been invited to enter the world of Negro Swan, there’s no turning back. “Charcoal Baby” is a powerful opener, but the uplifting harmonies on “Jewelry” are so alluring and sweep you off your feet. The song is about entering spaces where you don’t traditionally belong and every time that I hear this part it gives me chills: “Still proud, best of my abilities/ Still I think about an exit/ No one ever will appreciate/ The way you bare your soul for them too/ I’m through.” The closing verse should have been included in Black Panther somehow because it is peak Wakanda.
BROCKHAMPTON – “1997 DIANA”
Yet another track from BROCKHAMPTON’s The Best Years of Our Lives has been bestowed upon us, and of course it’s good. Very good. Probably chaotic good. The word “bombastic” comes to mind, with the song’s sinister horn section, ’90s basketball game “Pump Up The Jam”-esque crowd cheers, and the occassional burp and maniacal laugh.
Charli XCX- “Girls Night Out”
At this rate, we’ll probably never get another official Charli XCX album, but who cares? Homegirl has dropped four solid bangers this year including this here certified bop. It’s been a year since she unleashed her instantly iconic “Boys,” but this time it’s all about Charli and her girls going out on the town. With perfectly-layered lush synths from SOPHIE and Stargate, “Girls Night Out” is basically “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” for anyone born after 1990.
Lil Uzi Vert- “Introvert”
INFJs, this song was made for you! We already knew that Lil Uzi Vert has an emo side, but “Introvert” confirms that it goes deeper than that. Although most of the lyrics boast about his ability to stay quenching the thirst, the Philly rapper also confesses that he has trust issues therefore he closes himself off to women. If you’re sensitive to energy, this is a mood.
Ruthven – “Hypothalamus”
Yet another year has passed and the mystery of Jai Paul and his album that never was has yet to be solved. Ah well, at least now we have something. As one of the first two projects of the Paul Institute (his self-run label / production house), we have Ruthven’s “Hypothalamus,” which is essentially what we’ve been pining for. Woozy, constantly ambling production from a rich world of fuzzy electro bounces beneath muffled yet piercingly affecting vocals courtesy of Paul’s protégé. The ‘80s mall-pop guitar solo is not so much an extra add-on as it is an essential piece of their delectable sonic world.
Santigold – “Run the Road”
A surprise, dancehall-inflected mixtape from Santigold arriving on one of the hottest weekends of the year seems almost too good to be true, but get with it, it’s here and it’s spectacular. Lead single “Run the Road” richly evokes the early-era Santigold that shot her to prominence a decade ago; her distinct flavor of acid-tinged, percussion-driven electro only works on the strength of her charismatic, yearning vocal delivery. Her latest feels destined for rotation in what’s sure to be a very sweaty August.
SwaVay & James Blake – “Billy”
Whatever gets James Blake back into the studio is honestly fine by us, we respect his creative process. His latest offering with SwaVay flows like a smooth stream of consciousness or a long exhale after you take a hit. This single marks the first track off a collaborative mixtape between the artists. The release date has not been revealed, but we’re willing to wait. Whoever the real Billy is, we hope he’s OK because the struggle is real.
Tinashe – “Throw a Fit”
Sorry, the old Tinashe is dead. It’s Nashe for this single, and don’t get it twisted. R&B’s most captivating chanteuse embodies the title of new single “Throw a Fit” with aplomb, delivering some of her sharpest bars to date over a beat that is practically sinful. You may not be enjoying the heat outside, but you will certainly be enjoying the heat between the sheets with this dirty ditty at your disposal.
YG – “Handgun” ft. A$AP Rocky
“Handgun” is a wonderful exercise in when worlds collide, the worlds here being YG’s neo G-funk and the radio-ready trap that dominates today’s music scene. It’s an interesting exercise that’s turned into an undeniably charismatic romp thanks to YG’s consistently-entertaining, off-kilter flows. A guest A$AP Rocky verse is just a cherry on top, as is the Stanley Kubrick-referencing visual.
In case you missed it, check out the previous edition of best tracks of the week right here.