The intimidatingly-great album release calendar of Summer '18 ends not with a bang but a whimper, which is fine, as processing this year's steady flow of stellar tunes has been exhausting. And while summer ends in a week without a huge blockbuster release (surprise Eminem album aside), that doesn't mean this week was without its highlights.
Chief among these is "Elegance," a bold new track from Kilo Kish that puts the once-elusive rapper to the glorious forefront. Elsewhere, Mick Jenkins enlisted Kaytranada for a rich sophomore single from his upcoming project, Nehneh Cherry revealed that Four Tet is producing all of her upcoming album with a shiny new track to prove it, and the one and only Rico Nasty continues to crush everything she touches.
All those and more make this week's edition of Best Tracks of the Week.
E-40 - "Ain't Talking Bout Nothin" ft. Vince Staples & G Perico
The legendary E-40 is back. “Ain’t Talking Bout Nothin” recalls the good ol’ days of proper West Coast, G-Funk type beats, and we’re into it. This time around, he’s employed a touch of autotune (as one does) as well as the talents of fellow California boys Vince Staples and G Perico. As with any song Vince Staples is featured on, we really just wish the entire song was only him - our hearts are a-flutter as soon as he utters “Watchu saying.” - B
Kilo Kish - "Elegance"
Kilo Kish has been a bit of an enigma thus far, mostly keeping to the background of projects by collaborators such as Vince Staples and Gorillaz. No more. "Elegance" is a startling release, a fully-formed bit of electro rap that is razor sharp in intensity. The beat's menacing, industrial whine goes a long way in expressing why she and Staples are kindred spirits, but pairing it with clanging bells feels, if not wholly unprecedented, unexpected. Her upcoming MOTHE EP is now an essential in the year's final spate of releases. - J
Mabel - "One Shot"
Neneh Cherry is in full comeback mode at the moment, but her daughter has also been gearing up for a takeover of her own. When Mabel McVey initially broke out back in 2015, critics were quick to cast her in the shadow of her mother, but the 22-year-old has proven that she is in a league of her own as she sets fire to the dance floor with one banger after another. Her latest GA-produced single seals the end of summer with a kiss, calling for one last round of lighthearted fun before the mess that is cuffing season officially sets in. - S
Mick Jenkins - "What Am I To Do"
Kaytranada's feather-light production contrasts beautifully with Mick's dark, clear-eyed bars on the nature of black oppression on this gorgeous second single from Jenkins' upcoming project. We already knew Mick was a formidable MC, but his latest efforts never cease to amaze in the sheer amount of information he can convey over short bursts of time. Not to mention his innate storytelling skills. Consider us stans for whatever comes next. - J
Nehneh Cherry - "Shot Gun Shack"
One of the more unexpected moments in music releases this year came courtesy of legendary diva Nehneh Cherry linking up with Four Tet and Massive Attack's 3D for new single "Kong." Now, just a few weeks later, we get an even better single, along with the news that Four Tet is producing the entirety of her upcoming album. The news alone is exciting, but "Shot Gun Shack" is delicious proof of concept for their collaboration. The two are a match made in producer/artist heaven, and it sounds like they have the definitive trip-hop resurrection album of 2018 under their belt. - J
Oscar #Worldpeace & Ragz Originale - “Send”
We love a good meta statement on communicating with potential love interests in 2018 (the struggle is real), and one of our favorite U.K. rappers on the rise Oscar #Worldpeace gave us just that this week, and the best part is, it’s actually a song we want to listen to. With the help of his frequent collaborator Ragz Originale, like his previous single “Twix,” Oscar #Worldpeace nails a kind of hip-hop that’s laid back while still managing to make a major impact. - B
QUIÑ - “Remind Me”
QUIÑ has this magical way of giving listeners the experience of being transported to another galaxy through her self-described fantasy soul music. You know that overwhelming sensation that completely takes over your mind when you're deep in your feelings for someone else and the intensity builds with every moment you spend with this special person? That's exactly what "Remind Me" sounds like as the song slowly unravels like a hazy daydream. This track offers a taste of what's to come on QUIÑ's forthcoming LUCID EP. - S
Rico Nasty - “Wanna Do”
We’ve come to expect nothing but the best from Rico Nasty, at this point. Sorry to put pressure on you girl, but not to worry… you delivered the goods once again with “Wanna Do.” Over a technicolor beat produced by TheRealChinoo, TaydaProducer, and Miss Nasty herself, Rico assures us that she’s gonna do whatever the heck she wants, most notably with bars like “I'm too busy hangin' with the wolves, to be countin' sheep.” - B
Spencer. - “Want U Back”
Here's something that nobody ever wants to admit in regards to relationships, situationships, and everything else in-between--breaking up is hard to do! There's no need to sugarcoat how much it sucks. BROCKHAMPTON-approved artist Spencer. laments this soul crushing ordeal on his wavy ballad "Want U Back." The feeling of missing someone so badly that it sickens you from the inside out doesn't seem so embarrassing when a guitar and bass tune out all that begging and pleading. -S
Yves Tumor - “Licking An Orchid” ft. James K
I love a good orchid. Not sure I’d ever lick one, but if I did, I would be listening to Yves Tumor’s latest song, coincidentally. Tumor comes through with his signature wandering guitar strums and a vocal performance reminiscent of some of my favorite indie bands circa 2008, and James K (check her out if you haven’t already) adds a layer of her breathily beautiful voice for good measure. As the skies turn grey, and the temperature drops, I’ll definitely be adding this track to my “despondent autumn” playlist. - B
Be sure to check out the previous edition of Best Tracks of the Week right here.