This year in music, much like Drake's career, so far can now be neatly broken down into two categories: before Pusha-T's "The Story of Adidon", and after Pusha-T's "The Story of Adidon". Single-handedly reviving the true rap beef, Pusha delivered an evisceration for the ages just days after unveiling his triumphant new album. The week's best new songs start and end right there.
Well not really, there were of course some fairly huge other tracks. There is, of course, new Kanye, which despite its extremely bizarre release must be mentioned. We were also given another taste from The Internet's upcoming album Hive Mind, not one but two new singles from Gorillaz, and a much-needed dose of new Charli XCX.
All of those and more make this edition of Best Tracks of the Week:
A$AP Ferg - “Harlem Anthem”
Yet again, A$AP Ferg proves he’s the indisputable MVP of A$AP Mob. Declaring “Welcome to Harlem” with perfectly autotuned backing croons, Ferg reps his New York borough in a funk-sampling hip-hop track with horns and screaming guitar that will make you want to speed walk through the streets, then run onto a basketball court for a lay-up.
Charli XCX - “5 in the Morning”
The collab queen has finally hit the brakes to drop off a bop of her own that commands your full attention. “It's 5 in the mornin', I'm busy ballin’/ I ain't even stoppin’”, Charli repeats in the chorus over a spiral of heavy beats. Good luck keeping up with this pop star — she’s still on the rise, but she’s climbing her way to the top on the fast track.
Gorillaz - "Humility" ft. George Benson / "Lake Zurich"
Hardly a year removed from their surprise (yet unfortunately, a bit tedious) return album Humanz, Gorillaz seem to have tapped into some serious inspiration. "Humility", our first taste from the upcoming The Now Now, is all gelatinous synth and layered levels of sun-drenched funk. Just as enticing is "Lake Zurich", the accompanying B-side that is full-on hazy electro-club vibes with a serious emphasis on 'more cowbell.' It might just be that their next record is the comeback album we were hoping for.
Hayley Kiyoko feat. Kehlani - “What I Need”
Hayley and Kehlani connect on this empowering bop that is all about finding the courage to completely own your sexuality. Figuring out who you are on your own is hard enough, but that journey is even more complicated when it involves a person that’s not fully ready to commit to you. Certainty from someone else is never guaranteed, but self-validation always leads to a clearer path. The best part of the track is when both of their voices smoothly blend together on the bridge as they make a declaration for real love. As for the accompanying visual, sometimes what you’ve been searching for has been waiting right in front of you the entire time.
The Internet - "Come Over"
Is Hive Mind on your list of albums to get your tan on to this summer yet? Because if not, it should be. The second single released from their upcoming project proves that The Internet are back in full force with their latest; the guitars on "Come Over" are massive - capable of being Stevie Wonder-levels of funky while also able to seriously shred in moments of sun-dappled ennui. We need this record like we need a membership at the secluded country club pool.
Kanye West - "Yikes"
"Shit could get menacin', frightenin'" is the most accurate summary of what it's been like anticipating Kanye West's troubled new album. It's here, of course, and it's going to take a lot more time to process than it took him to make the iPhone-shot album cover. That said, "Yikes" announces itself as a proper Kanye-bop, laced with a bleak darkness we haven't seen from him since at least Yeezus.
Lykke Li - “sex money feelings die”
The lead up to Lykke Li’s new album So Sad So Sexy dropping June 8 continues, and the Swedish songstress blessed us with two new songs this week. Although we love everything Aminé does, his verse on “two nights” included, it didn’t quite get us going like “sex money feelings die”. Whereas we decided “two nights” is the perfect sonic accompaniment to vaping alone in bed, “sex money feelings die” would probably be best experienced on the back of a motorcycle as the sun rises, with its jubilant trap beat and watercolor melodies encapsulating the feeling of just living.
Mac Miller - “Small Worlds”
There’s nothing better than a song where Mac Miller speaks straight from the heart without a filter. Despite his recent setbacks that have been covered in the press, the Pittsburgh rapper is continuing to grow as an artist and this single is proof of that. It’s four and a half minutes of smooth talking while a funky arrangement sets the mood in the background. Nobody’s perfect and Miller is fully aware of that.
Pusha-T - "The Story of Adidon"
2018 has been a marvelous year for hip-hop, and though there have been a huge handful of albums worthy enough to substantiate that claim, a large part of this year's rap legacy will come solely from this track right here. Rap beefs had largely become little more than Twitter-fodder, but Pusha-T has single-handedly kickstarted a revival of the brutalist MC takedown not seen in decades. No matter what happens now, Drake will not be the same.
Suicideyear & Yung Lean - “Spider Feet”
It’s been five years since Suicideyear and Yung Lean linked up on the Swedish rapper’s breakthrough hit “Hurt", and “Spider Feet” was totally worth the wait. The Baton Rouge producer cooked up a deliciously glitchy beat seasoned with an unsettling, metallic melody, and Yung Lean unleashes his benzo-ingesting sad boy vibes on the bars.
Be sure to check out last week's edition of our Best Tracks of the Week series right here.