The Weeknd – Sidewalks (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
Abel is on top of the world. In five years, the Canadian rapper has went from dropping mixtapes on DatPiff to having the number one album in over 80 countries worldwide. Starboy features the song Sidewalks, which pairs The Weeknd up with rapper and longtime friend Kendrick Lamar, who blends several of his varied styles into an amazing verse, while The Weeknd utilizes 808s and Heartbreaks inspired autotune for the first verse and hook. Overall, all of these elements combine for the best song of the week.
Kevin Abstract – Runner
With his recent tape, American Boyfriend, Kevin Abstract lives up to his name. Blurring the lines between genres like indie pop, shoegaze, and hip-hop, Kevin Abstract tells a story through both instrumentals and lyricism, discussing topics such as love and blurred sexuality. The underground musician is all talent and raw emotion recently.
John Legend – I Know Better
Veteran singer John Legend is building up to his best release to his date. The extremely minimalistic beat lets Legend show that he could sing with the best of them. The singer belts out self reflective lyrics, telling us of his flaws and how much further he feels he has to grow as a person and a musician. He states “Legend is just a name,” but as more time passes, it seems to become a status for him as well.
Flatbush Zombies – Aries (ft. Deadcuts)
Musically, this single is classic Flatbush Zombies, with an added flare. The hook and instrumental are supplied by British band Deadcuts, fitting perfectly with the Gorillaz-inspired sound the rap group has built up recently. Meechy Darko continues to be a beacon of consistency, coming through with an alliteration and assonance packed verse, while Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott show their continued growth as rappers, building up the Brooklyn rap group for continued success.
6LACK – PRBLMS
The debut album from Atlanta rapper/singer 6LACK was the atmospheric vibey album all of his fans were hoping for. A standout track is PRBLMS, which features 6LACK over a beat very reminiscent of the OVO/Toronto dark R&B sound that artists like PARTYNEXTDOOR have pioneered recently. If the Atlanta crooner’s debut tape FREE 6LACK is any indication, he should be a mainstay in this modern sub genre.
words by Jason Arroyo