Diplo, “Express Yourself”
A double dose of Diplo this week. First, check out “Express Yourself,” a solo track from the man of a million tastes that stars New Orleans bounce don Nicky Da B. Weirdly, unlike Lady Gaga's “Born This Way,” “Express Yourself” does not rip off Madonna's “Express Yourself.” Rather, it rips off Madonna's “La Isla Bonita.” Actually, it rips off A Tribe Called Quest's “Bonita Applebum.” Actually, it rips off the original design for Nelly's Apple Bottom Jeans. Actually, just listen to it.
And here's “Climax,” a track Diplo produced. Usher busts out the falsetto to tell us about his feeeeelinggss, and the result is his best song since (WARNING: SERIOUS ARGUMENT STARTER) “Love In This Club.” You see what you could have had, M.I.A., if you hadn't rejected the musical puppeteering of the Dipster?
Cassie, “King of Hearts”
As far as I can tell Cassie has spent the six years since we'd last heard new music from her dramatically shaving one part of her head and (one can safely assume) spending a lot of quality time lounging poolside at one of Diddy's many glorious international condos. But “Me & U” , that old-timey single, is still an all time classic – and “King of Hearts,” dear friend, you are no “Me & U.” Fun fact! “Me & U” was produced by Ryan Leslie, who went to Harvard blah blah blah how about that Jeremy Lin!
Kendrick Lamar feat. Gunplay, “Cartoons & Cereal”
Here's a weird thing: not more than a week ago I flippantly mocked Gunplay in a post, implicitly portraying him as nothing more than a forgotten Rick Ross weed carrier. Now, though, implausible as it may sound, he's gone and landed himself a real nice spotlight in a new heater from the can't-miss Kendrick Lamar. And when he says, “I ain't seen the back of my eyelids / for about the past 72 hours,” you feel that heavy. The lesson here: never, ever count Gunplay out.
J.J. Doom, “Banished”
This collaboration with Jneiro Jarel is dope and everything, but how many cheekily named one-off duo projects can Doom do? (Madvilain, Danger Doom, whatever they're gonna call that Ghostface album that's never coming out … ) OK, maybe just one more? Amos Doom? No? OK Cool. No prob.
These Miami metal dudes stay heavy but know how to write hooks. It's like they're telling you, with every riff: life is about compromise. Don't be afraid to change. Listen to Torche, people. They know what they're talking about.
Charli XCX, “Valentine”
This young Brit hasn't been around long, but she's already making a claim as quite possibly the greatest-ever female musician named Charli. Sorry, Charli Baltimore!
Rich Kidz feat. Waka Flocka Flame, “My Life”
Here's a suggestion: tonight, at the party you are throwing – say, your kid's bar mitzvah, or your grandmother's 87th birthday -- play the chorus to this song, over and over. Should be a good time.
So if Skrillex exists on one end of the spectrum as the evil “brostep” Americanized-mutated version of London dubstep, Burial is at the other as the progressive-minded vanguard of the true word. Listening to his new track – a plaintive, careful meditation, layered with pathos and pain – you can really see why OH NO IMPROMPTU SKRILLEX BASS DROP wwwbbbbbwbwb kzzzzkdkdk bwbwbwbwbwbwbwbwb wwhooooompo ddkwkwkk wbwbbbbwbwbwb.
Look, it was one thing for Tyga – long a card-carrying member of the YMCMB junior varsity – to land himself a radio hit with “Rack City.” Hey, every dog has its day, we told ourselves, as we went about our business enjoying a Tyga song. But now … now there's two good Tyga songs? Arthur McArthur's maudlin beat on “Kings & Queens” is a delight, Nas is totally dialed in (“I've been in pressed silk since breast milk”? Buddy, save some of that for the solo album), even … even Tyga's verse is good. Is it … can it … will Careless World: Rise of the Last King be the best rap album of the year?!