It’s a big day, folks. June 21 marks the official first day of summer (not that you’d know it if you‘ve been in New York City this week). We’ve already been blessed with a few early contenders for song of the summer (“Old Town Road” will remain inescapable for the next three months, as will literally anything by Megan Thee Stallion, trust), but as things heat up, we’ll be on the lookout for songs that make us move, even in 85 degree weather with 85 percent humidity. If you hear something, say something.
These are the best new songs of the week.
TM88 f/ Lil Uzi Vert, “Slayerr”
Bad news for anyone who, for whatever reason, still has yet to ride the emo rap wave: Uzi is still out here. The rest of us will rejoice to the tune of “Slayerr,” which was technically leaked in April. With the official release, we can rage guilt-free to Mr. Vert’s reflections on the difficulties of both being a rockstar and dating one. It’s always fun to hear one of our patron saints of mumble rap revert back to more decipherable vocals, especially when the lyrics and the emo wails are honest and vulnerable. Here’s hoping for a Very Uzi Summer. —Carolyn Bernucca
Lil Nas X f/ Cardi B, “Rodeo”
Lil Nas X’s debut EP finds the Georgia native branching out from the neo-country sound that put him on the map and into everything from more pure trap to pop punk to R&B. The brand is still strong, though, and thanks to that we’ve got “Rodeo,” which opens with a guitar riff not unlike that of Heart’s “Barracuda.” A co-dependency anthem, both Lil Nas and Cardi are making their bonds with their partners known, for better or for worse. Cardi in particular shows out with some Gone Girl bars: “That's a fact, dressed in black, my heart break, bones will crack/I be chilling, watching Oxygen, my favorite show is Snapped.” Things wrap up with a horn riff reminiscent of a good ol’ fashioned shootout. Can I get a yeehaw? —Carolyn Bernucca
Lil Baby f/ Future, “Out The Mud”
The next bad flute sample I hear will be the first! Quay Global’s fast-paced beat serves as the perfect backdrop for Future and Lil Baby to get off a quick 12 and 16 bars, respectively. Short and anything but sweet, “Out The Mud” opens immediately with a Lil Baby verse, one that includes what could be a Soulja Boy diss, and a couple of baseball references to mark the official end of NBA season. Meanwhile, Fewtch does a 180 from the agony of Save Me to remind us that you can take the man out of the trap, but you can’t take the trap out of the man. —Carolyn Bernucca
Gucci Mane f/ Gunna & Lil Baby, “ICE”
Radric Davis take a nap challenge! Today we’ve received Gucci Mane’s fourteenth(!) studio album, Delusions of Grandeur, and with it comes a plethora of features, including two of 2018’s biggest stars, to whom Gucci mostly takes a backseat. Guwop handles the chorus, but the verses belong to Gunna and Lil Baby, who take turns flexing about their cars, their clothes, and their women, while Turbo offers key-laden production as chilly as the song’s title would imply. —Carolyn Bernucca
Benny the Butcher f/ Black Thought, “Crowns for Kings”
On the first day of summer, Benny the Butcher offers us The Plugs I Met, his six-track (seven if you count the intro skit), 24-minute follow up to Tana Talk 3, which literally sounds like a hot, sleepy day on the block. Opening track “Crowns for Kings” establishes this vibe early with a hazy beat courtesy of DJ Shay and Benny’s tales of his drug dealing days (and the lessons he’s kept with him). Halfway through, Black Thought picks up where Benny leaves off to speak on his own journey. It’s four and a half minutes of East Coast excellence, and the perfect primer for the remainder of the project. —Carolyn Bernucca
Rick Ross f/ Wale, “Act A Fool”
If I'm being honest, Rozay has been so quiet that I wanted his return to be a forceful slam dunk. Instead, with "Act a Fool," we get a nice little floater. There's nothing to write home about here per se, but even a Renzel in cruise control is still a Renzel worth listening to. Once again, he proves how he can make even the banal sound regal through his singular baritone delivery and intentionally off-kilter pronunciations: I'm gonna be reciting "act a feewwwwwwl" all weekend. Throw in a capable Wale verse to remind me about all the sneakers I missed out on this year just as I was starting to come to terms with the L, and we have a solid reminder of what MMG can do in their sleep. —Frazier Tharpe