Bout to Blow: 10 Dope New Songs You Should be Hearing Everywhere Soon

The weather has finally turned all the way to "good," and people are hunting for that elusive Song of the Summer—here are our picks for the most promising.

katy perry

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katy perry

It's May, which is the best month every year, and not just because it's my birthday. The weather has finally turned all the way to "good," and people are hunting for that elusive Song of the Summer—the record which will be absolutely everywhere, but kind of annoy you the whole time because it's not the one you like.

Luckily, we're aiming for those "ones you like" that don't quite make it. Three cheers for the underdog.

This column has two goals:

1. To use the many tools available to us today to get some idea of what songs were really bubbling with "the people"—in other words, to insert some science into the process.

2. To contextualize that information, because raw numbers in a vacuum would have you thinking an anonymous rapper dropped onto a stellar track was hip-hop's next big rap star when he was more like an empty, tattooed vehicle for a dope beat and a hook.

The post is obviously intended to be somewhat predictive. There's also an element, though, that is cheerleading. Many of these songs might be flourishing in certain markets but could use wider exposure. They're tracks where the metrics suggest some forward momentum, even if the clubs and radio play don't reflect that. 

After a long decision-making process, we narrowed May 2017 down to the 10 best records you have to know. It's this month's edition of Bout to Blow: 10 Dope New Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon.

Sada Baby "Stacy"

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This song may have been released last year, but it's become one of the most popular records in Detroit of late—and only in Detroit. Sada's personality, though, feels larger than the songs he's on. "Stacy" is the biggest, wielding an edgy sense of humor that's one part 2 Chainz, and two parts the uptempo, post-Blade Icewood Detroit street sound that has dominated the city in the last few years. His "quotables": "Yeah I fucked my niggas sister/ That lil bitch was grown, she shouldn't have been trynna give me that pussy;" "Music, money, sex, and selling drugs/ That's the type of shit that got 'em jelly-ous;" "Homie caught a body on the yellow bus;" "Blood stains on my shirt they look like Robitussin." To get a more explicit idea of his shock-and-LOL sense of humor, check out "Return With My Strap."

Kur "Stuck in My Ways"

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This Philly rapper received a Meek Mill cosign early on, but his style—despite showing more of a Philly fast rap influence than fellow Keystone State native Uzi Vert—doesn't much reflect his influence, and has evolved into its own dense, intricate, yet musical approach. Released in November, "Stuck In My Ways" has blown up in recent weeks, and its predecessor—"Uptop! Uptop!"—is close behind. In a time when melodic rappers are dominant, there's something refreshing about Kur's ability to make rappety-rapping musically engaging, catching unique flows and riding them out.

Swoosh God f/ Famous Dex and Rich the Kid "Get Out My Face"

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A Famous Dex cosign is a big look; though some of his peers are objectively bigger right now, with both Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti tackling the Hot 100, Dex seems to sit right at the center of SoundCloud's aesthetic universe. "Get Out My Face" exploded almost immediately after being teased by Famous Dex on his Instagram stories prior to its release. But it's Swoosh God's distinctive hook style that stands apart, its discordant, shouted hook an incessently catchy moment over a subtle beat from Mexikodro (that "plug!" drop is his). Swoosh God is a new artist, with some kind of ASAP Mob affiliation, and this is certainly his biggest song to date; last year's "Blow A Case" did modestly well on YouTube, but his voice feels unique in the current environment, possibly owing to his New York origins.


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When San Francisco-based rapper Ramirez drops music, it tends to do well on SoundCloud—after all, he raps in the Three 6 Mafia/Memphis-derived style that has become the lingua franca of that part of the online universe. It's heavy on typewriter-stab Lord Infamous flows that have made unimaginative pastiche artists like Suicide Boyz into underground heroes for a generation whose awareness of rap history extends as far back as SpaceGhostPurrp. Ramirez's new record isn't an innovative new sound exactly, but it does take a refreshing new approach, adopting the smooth, pop-adjacent sounds of '80s R&B without sacrificing the pulp '90s gangster rap aesthetics that animate his style. It may not change the world, but it'll undoubtedly be Ramirez's most popular record, reaching beyond its inspirations to become something that faces the outer world for the first time.

King Imprint "Benny Whip"

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If King Imprint's name is familiar to you, it's likely as a YouTube dancer—his video for iHeartMemphis' "Hit the Quan" rests comfortably at 70 million views, by many miles the most popular video for the viral dance anthem. Now, following the path of "Rolex" rappers and dancers Ayo & Teo, King Imprint's "Benny Whip" promises to turn the distinctively-coifed dancer into an artist, too. "Benny Whip" is the sound of springtime, a cheery sunbeam with a reggae-like groove built around the upbeat. May this soundtrack warm weather all 2017.

Creek Boyz "With My Team"

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"With My Team" has been bubbling for some time in the DMV. Driven by a repeated melody sung in unison by group members Turk P. Diddy, ETS J-Reezy, Young Fedi Mula, NTO Young Chris, and singer ETS Breeze, the song is reminiscient of a Baltimore trap version of Nappy Roots, complete with unmistakable Baltimore pronunciations. Its rare for a street record to have a sing-along chorus, but now that 300 seems to be in their corner, there's a good chance the world will follow suit. 

WizKid f/ Drake "Come Closer"

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Afrobeat is poised to continue its encroachment on popular music in 2017. WizKid's ballad "Come Closer" (which originally was premiered as "Hush Up the Silence" in February) may not be the massive crossover smash the genre is looking for—too subtle, too breezy—but it's tough to deny and rewards replays. Unlike French Montana and Swae Lee's overrated Weeknd cover "Unforgettable," which feels almost like a parody of "tropical," WizKid's song has a sophistication and lightness of touch that doesn't hang so heavily. Unfortunately, "Unforgettable" seems destined to be bigger than the superior real deal. But with any justice, WizKid's song will earn some long-term love as America comes to understand the nuances of African pop music.

Nebu Kiniza f/ TK Kravitz "Coastin'"

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A pleasant, breezy discovery from the creator of "Gassed Up" and "Myself," there's not so much to say about this piano-driven pop trifle from Atlanta rapper Nebu Kiniza. Despite being fairly content-free—literally anyone could be rapping on this record—it has a casual, relaxed feel that no one you know could possibly take issue with. "Won't upset anyone" isn't a great sales pitch, but there's a place for it in anyone's rotation, which has to be worth something.

Lady Donli f/ Tomi Thomas "Ice Cream"

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Lady Donli is a singer from Nigeria—via the UK—whose 2016 EP Wallflower stuck with me longer than I'd expected. There were no breakout records on it; it felt like an EP of album tracks, but good ones—the songs you don't skip between the hits. There's something about her sound, which has a bohemian, poetic flavor, that nonetheless feels like something which could really find a broad audience with the right exposure. "Ice Cream," her latest, is her best to date, an obvious conceit with terrific execution, full of little musical easter-egg details that pop out like magic eye illustrations. As of this writing, it only has 5,000 streams on SoundCloud, but that it doesn't feel like I'm going out on a ledge for it speaks to the song's quality. It's early, but Lady Donli is onto something.

Katy Perry f/ Migos "Bon Appétit"

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This song has become divisive and, in some ways, that's no surprise. Katy Perry sucks. In just my limited awareness of her personality and persona; highly believable allegations of casual n-bomb dropping surfaced recently and reflect a long history of her carelessness regarding race. The tide seems to be turning against her also because of a shake-up on her creative squad; she's working with new people, and single "Chained to the Rhythm"—which debuted in the top ten—fell quickly off the charts. This song, meanwhile, only debuted in the 70s on the Hot 100. Bad sign.

And yet. "Bon Appetit" is kind of banging. Many of my friends disagree, and it's hard to fight for a song from an unliked lame whose star is falling and doesn't seem to even have the people behind her—at least yet. But when it comes to Rhythmic Radio crossover jams, which increasingly flirt with R&B/hip-hop (see also Calvin Harris' "Slide" with Frank Ocean and the Migos) could do a whole lot worse. The lyrics are corny, sure, but so were the lyrics on "California Girls," a song with huge potential for vivid imagery and memorable SoCal touchpoints that stuck to banal observations about "bikinis on top." The Migos sound great here, the beat is bright and upbeat, the melody is memorable—I can't think of a reason why this song doesn't deserve to be big, in spite of everything working against it.

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