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

Yes, Fetty Wap has another hit.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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It's July 1, there's a 96.14% chance "Cheerleader" is your song of the summer, and it's time for Bout to Blow.

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. In July, Fetty Wap takes his run to Akon-like levels, threatening to up the ante to T-Pain at any minute; meanwhile, Chicago's drill scene unloads two unlikely anthems halfway across the map. And much as Future managed a comeback, one of 2013's biggest heels is threatening to take back urban radio.

All this and more, in this month's edition of Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon.

David Drake is a writer living in New York City. Follow him @somanyshrimp

Fetty Wap "Again"

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Yes, again. Fetty Wap's got another one, just one month after "679" really took off, Fetty's returning to the charts with "Again," making him 2015's Akon, with potential to be T-Pain by the end of the year. Obviously, his train of hits will only last so long. A sound that takes over to the extent Fetty's has can only run the world for a limited time. Whether Fetty can carve out a space for himself as a rapper, beyond pure songwriting, will be up to his personal muse. For now, we should enjoy the rare pleasure of having found an artist who can capture lightning in a bottle over and over.

Lil Herb "I'm Rollin"

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Three 6 Mafia's influence never really disappeared from hip-hop. Since the mid-2000s, its had a perpetual presence, with the gradual ebbs and flows between trends—like 2013's Migos flow mania, swiped indirectly from Lord Infamous—to more subtle influences. Of late, artists like indie rapper Denzel Curry and BeatKing have channeled the group, but neither has quite captured the all-rough-edges spirit quite as aggressively as Chicagoan Lil Herb, on the majorly bubbling underground single "I'm Rollin." It doesn't replicate Three 6 exactly—Herb's rap style is completely his own, and the song's groove is ungainly, relying on brutish, distorted kickdrums for maximum disorientation. But from its druggy aggression to the "Yeah hoe!" vocal samples, its spirit is more Three 6 than those more explicitly emulating the crew's best work.

Big Sean "Play No Games"

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Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise was well-received on release, but the initial gleam seems to have dulled. After the success of the therapeutic "IDFWU," the album ended up being a dour, serious affair, tough on replay value—with one major exception, now finally getting the push it deserves. "Play No Games" samples Guy's 1988 record "Piece of My Love," and, as its Martin-homage video suggests, it's a lighthearted, mischievous party record. The classic soul sample doesn't pluck the heartstrings, but adds to the song's sense of whimsy. The song is helped by Ty Dolla $ign, whose presence in the background suggests he may have had some involvement as a songwriter, alongside producers Key Wane and Jay John Henry—it bears his stamp as readily as last year's equally playful Lupe Fiasco rehab, "Next 2 It." The irony of the song's chorus—"I want you to take me serious"—is that Sean's at his best when he's not being that serious at all. The only downside? It's not as good as Trick Daddy's record of the same name (but what is?).

King Louie f/ PartyNextDoor "Clique'd Up"

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Every summer, King Louie locates a record to take Chicago by storm. Although his initial forays were banger-oriented, like "Val Venis," last year's single "To Live and Die in Chicago" was an unexpected blend between ballad and anthem. This year may go in an even odder direction, with the dragging, ominous "Cliqued Up" featuring PartyNextDoor. The song oozes and bubbles upward like a pot boiling over, noxious and disoriented. With a memorable hook ("moved my mama out the apartments...") and a cleverly written concept to illustrate isolation ("all my haters cliqued up!"), Louie may have the most counterintuitive Chicago banger since "Love Sosa."

Janet Jackson "No Sleeep"

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A groove this clean, this pure, this sumptuous is too good for an America this course, this messy, this rough. Jackson and producers Jam and Lewis have been working this vein of tactile deep house for years, sometimes to great effect, and others to widespread silence. But with records like Taylor Swift's "Style" and Arianna Grande's "Love Me Harder" returning Top 40 to a svelte disco fever, it's hard to imagine a better time for Janet's breathy sexuality to return to its place at the creative apex of American popular music. 

Puff Daddy & The Family f/ Pharrell Williams "Finna Get Loose"

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One of Puff's strongest talents is a gift for the boldly unconventional, a sense of confident leadership—the certainty that if he leads, the people will follow. Sean Combs has played it safe, but never for very long. In relying on Pharrell, who's remained a consistent pop chart draw, he's leaning hard to the right after angling the production and songwriting straight out to left field. "Finna Get Loose" is apt to remind longtime Puffy fans as reminiscent of experiments like Diddy and Felix Da Housecat's juking "Jack U," last year's collaboration with house producer Guy Gerber, or—especially—his Miles Davis-sampling "Get Off," a James Brown-like dancer-oriented masterpiece that never got the respect it deserved. Yet with a high-profile premiere on the BET Awards and Pharrell's involvement, this time he might have hit the right balance to blow this thing wide open.

Meek Mill "Check"

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Of a piece with non-album records "Monster" and "B-Boy," "Check" is not only the best of several recent rap records with that name, but a highlight of Meek's consistent new album Dreams Worth More Than Money. With its chilling piano lines and "Fuck Up Some Commas"-style "Ironside" siren, "Check" has that anxious upbeat Meek Mill ambiance that "Dreams and Nightmares" played with so effectively. The disembodied melodies and Meek's searing rap style orient around the song's groove, a deft kick drum that bounces forward like an ever-increasing pulse.

Trey Songz f/ Ty Dolla $ign "Loving You"

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Trey Songz has been interpolating a pretty wide variety of older records on his most recent material. His latest flip isn't "Fu Gee La" or "Fuck You Tonight"—this time around, he and Ty Dolla $ign have swiped "525,600 Minutes" (yeah, the song from Rent) to convince his new love exactly how many girls he's willing to give up. It's a number that seems so exaggerated it puts Wilt Chamberlin to shame, and suggests Trey is more interested in bragging than he is loving you, but hey: at least he's digging deep into the crates this time around.

Chinx f/ Meet Sims "On Your Body"

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When Chinx was murdered last month, his feature on French Montana's "Bloody Money"-referencing, Rampage and Busta Rhymes ("Wild For Da Night") homage, "Off the Rip," was already helping to propel that record to the next level. Unfortunately his appearance on the record was too brief to serve as a proper career capstone for a long-underrated MC. "On Your Body" is an explicit pop record, but it's also brimming with euphoric energy. This deserves to be a transcendent pop moment, its hooks-on-hooks melodies and quotable lyrics an easy smash with just the right amount of pressure—the "Slow Motion" to Chinx's Soulja Slim.

Robin Thicke "Morning Sun"

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Just as "Fuck Up Some Commas" brought back Future just as the mainstream media counted him out, "Morning Sun" promises to redeem Robin Thicke in the wake of his massive pop media-driven debasement in 2014. A lush, captivating classic soul record, "Morning Sun" is a supreme '70s makeout record tribute, and a likely smash for the disgraced former spouse of Paula Patton. OK, so it's doubtful it'll reach the heights previously attained by everyone's favorite wedding anthem "Blurred Lines," but this is an R&B radio hit par excellence, and if it doesn't get at least a little rotation, Thicke has an even worse uphill climb than Future did. Either way, I'm looking forward even more to Robin Thicke's version of 56 Nights. 

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