The impressive rollout for Marvel’s – very well-reviewed – Black Panther has reached its climax with the long-awaited, Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment curated and produced soundtrack album. And let us just say this – 2018’s first truly excellent full-length is here. We had to prevent ourselves from naming all 14 cuts from the record as the week’s best new songs. Instead, we narrowed it down to two selections, because one really was not enough to convey its excellence.
That said, there is of course a bounty of excellent tunes that have arrived entirely separate from this meteoric event. Junglepussy made a welcome return with her blistering “State of the Union,” Calvin Harris linked up with PARTYNEXTDOOR for the year’s first summer-jam contender, and Blood Orange delivered his first new music in years (though nothing that will appear on his upcoming album).
All of those and more can be found in the below edition of Best Tracks of the Week.
2 Chainz – “PROUD” ft. YG & Offset
2 Chainz pulls together YG and Offset for a track all about owning up to and respecting your mama. Seriously. However, filial devotion to the mothers of the world has rarely sounded so foreboding thanks to the enticingly-dark beat that encircles this trio of MCs. An unexpected highlight from the Hair Weave Killer’s equally-unexpected new EP.
Blood Orange – “JUNE 12th”
Can Blood Orange do anything wrong? Can he make “bad music”? We simply don’t think it’s possible. My Dev, how we’ve missed you! Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange surprised dropped this cheeky EP this week, and we’re particularly diggin’ his ruminations on “JUNE 12th” – the perfect way to celebrate Black History Month.
Calvin Harris – “Nuh Ready Nuh Ready” ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR
We know that PARTYNEXTDOOR has been hard at work in the studio and that Calvin Harris is always busy cooking up bangers, but we had no idea the two were scheming together. “Nuh Ready Nuh Ready” is a ideal combination of afrobeat goodness and pop perfection, and we aren’t getting over Party’s vocal delivery any time soon.
Danny L Harle – “Blue Angel” ft. Clairo
Alright friends, there’s more than enough rap bangers on this week’s list, so let’s make room for some much-needed saccharine-sweet pop music. Once again, our boy Danny L Harle has come through with the wonky pop goodness you didn’t know you desperately needed, this time with internet teen extraordinaire Clairo on vocals.
Junglepussy – “State of the Union”
Junglepussy has made a much-needed return to the game with “State of the Union,” her first single in a minute. And just as the title indicates – she is hella in charge, espousing her dominance with wordplay that is breathtaking, even by her lofty standards. “Out the fucking window your career in a casket” is one of several particularly nice kiss-offs she manages to spit.
Kendrick Lamar – “Big Shot” ft. Travis Scott
The first of our two Black Panther picks, “Big Shot” carries in the vein of last year’s slew of flute-accentuated hits like Future’s “Mask Off” and Drake’s “Portland” with the inimitable addition of Kendrick-at-the-top-of-his-game swag. Travis is also on excellent form, making for one hell of a dynamic duo (a DC comics reference but you get the idea).
Kendrick Lamar – “X” ft. ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz & Saudi
In a soundtrack chock full of hits, “X” was the one that made the first and most immediate impact. Kendrick delivers an effortlessly catchy, sing-song hook over a loping beat armed to the teeth with trap-snares. We don’t know if the Black Panther movie will have scenes in a club, but here it has provided a banger that would shut any club down nonetheless.
Mahalia – “Proud of Me” ft. Little Simz
Mahalia’s star continues to grow with “Proud of Me,” a warm hug of a song featuring the one and only Little Simz. The vocal-heavy samples evoke College Dropout-era Kanye without the pitch-shifted accentuations, inevitably making a record brimming over with humanity.
Rae Sremmurd – “T’d Up”
Ahead of their supercalifragilisticexpialidociously anticipated triple album, the brothers Sremm humbly present us with the Metro Boomin-produced “T’d Up.” It has all the makings of a classic Rae Sremmurd – classic Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi banter, a sick beat, and just the right amount of “don’t fuck with me” attitude.
Tommy Genesis – “Lucky”
Tommy Genesis loves to tease us, and we’re entirely here for it. Who knew her latest single would be a playful reggae bop, after gaining recognition for her own brand of deliciously dark “fetish rap.” We simply feel lucky that Tommy continues to share different sides of her sound with us.
Check out the previous edition of Best Tracks of the Week right here.
- Cover Image:Christopher Polk/Getty Images