As we all know, time is a social construct, which means that summer starts this weekend with Memorial Day, and not at the end (!) of June. With a great season comes great responsibilities, and some rules. Of course, you can officially wear white now, but there are some other guidelines we should lay out before we launch into this season of blessed chaos.
Rule #1: We’re not spending the entire summer talking about the Game of Thrones finale. Y’all can have a couple more weeks, but that’s it. What’s done is done, people!
Rule #2: We’re wearing our SPF and staying hydrated so that we can dance to Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee on rooftops without causing permanent damage to our beautiful skin.
Rule #3: We’re throwing hands with everyone who stands in the way of safe abortion access, including our relatives at the family barbecue. No cousin is safe!
Rule #4: We’re dropping everything the second we get a new Playboi Carti single.
These are the best songs of the week.
YG, “In The Dark”
4REAL 4REAL is, like Stay Dangerous before it, no Still Brazy, but it does have some shining moments. The production recaptures the funky magic of the Compton rapper’s sophomore album, and while it’s stacked with features from the likes of Valee, Meek Mill, and Ty Dolla $ign, the standout track sees YG flying solo on early cut “In The Dark.” To be fair, this song sounds extremely similar to “Big Bank,” flow-wise, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The bars leave something to be desired at times, but DJ Mustard really did somethin’ with this beat, so we’re ignoring that. This shit bangs. Any questions?
Young Thug f/ J. Cole & Travis Scott, “The London”
Where were you when J. Cole tweeted that there was new music featuring himself, Young Thug, and Travis Scott coming in not 30 minutes, not an hour, not 10 minutes, but 24 minutes? “The London,” which is officially credited as Young Thug featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott, is an inconsequential bop, with a trappy, flute-heavy beat that screams summer. Cole is on his ign’ant shit, Trav is smooth and romantic on the chorus, and Thugger is horny on main, as per usual. It feels like the first real earworm of the season.
Steve Lacy, “Guide”
The musician jumped out! Steve Lacy’s first studio album, Apollo XXI, highlights not only his ridiculous guitar skills, but also his vocal range and penchant for buttery, horny bangers. “Guide” doesn’t fall into the aforementioned category, and is instead a sweet, punchy little ditty about guiding someone through a trying time and out the other side. Lacy’s guitar is, unsurprisingly, still one of the best we’ve got, and his falsetto is high-energy and assured. I will be pretending “Guide” is a unique pep talk written especially for me until further notice.
Flying Lotus f/ Tierra Whack, “Yellow Belly”
Flying Lotus’ Flamagra is a long and winding journey down paths that are at once lo-fi, jazzy, and, as always, experimental. The album’s features follow suit, with everyone from Solange to George Clinton to David Lynch making appearances. We don’t play favorites around here, but we are giving this one to patron saint of left-field hip-hop, Tierra Whack, whose repertoire of voices and flows makes her the perfect fit for an album whose throughline is uninhibitedness. The goofy innocence of verse one’s “My shoe is untied/He said I’m trippin’” carries into Whack’s more vulgar “He’s got titties in his face!” at the end of verse two, making for a low-key and entertaining track that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Denzel Curry, “Speedboat”
The second single from Denzel Curry’s upcoming ZUU is a somber and meditative track that finds the 24-year-old rapper reflecting on his new lifestyle, the things he’s had to overcome to reach it, and the things and people he’ll need to keep close to sustain it. The track appears to have been inspired, at least partially, by the untimely death of his close friend XXXTentacion. On the track, Curry notes, “My dawg didn’t make it to 21, so I gotta make it past 24” and “My dawg is gone and the result is to have my teflon.” Rugah Rahj’s haunting keys add to the song’s grim earnestness, making for a very different vibe than the album’s lead single, “Ricky.” It’ll be interesting to see how it all comes together when the full album drops next week.