Long story short: pulling together my five favorite music projects of 2018 was a struggle. Hopefully you’re able to find something new.Read More
“Family Feud” is a piece of a larger tapestry, of course, but, similar to “LUST.” on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., "Family Feud" is 4:44’s axis; feuding with others — and most crucially, himself — led to this album’s creation in the first place. It’s not so difficult to live a decent life; if we all treated others with the care and consideration we'd like to experience ourselves, we’d live in a much happier world. But our lustful, self-serving impulses tend to handicap us in the worst possible ways, and until we recognize these impulses as more detrimental to the collective good than as beneficial to our personal individual goals, we’ll continue to see the same negative results.Read More
Yet of my favorites, “Butterfly Effect” is the clear standout, three minutes and eleven seconds of a soundscape only Travis can create in 2017. I wish I could expound more eloquently about what makes Trav so unique, but I can’t; I’ve always admired his ability to make his voice work on these beats, beats other folks likely wouldn’t be able to touch. “Butterfly Effect” is one of those instrumentals, no? It's the quintessential Travis Scott song: Cudi-like shapeshifting throughout the track, Trav's random, silly adlibs coming in from every which way. Which other rapper can you imagine on this song? Better question: which other rapper do you even want to hear on this beat?Read More
Any and all of DAMN. could’ve made this list’s cut (“ELEMENT”., “LOYALTY.”, and “HUMBLE.” nearly did), but “LUST.” exists as the most fun story on the album, and that’s clearly for a reason. Not to step on next week’s DAMN. essay — spoiler alert: DAMN. is one of my top-5 albums this year, never could’ve guessed that one — but “LUST.” is the axis upon which this album rotates. Listening to DAMN. front-to-back? Lust has been Kendrick Lamar's issue the entire time — coveting material things in the pursuit of happiness, only to recognize none of it ultimately matters. Listening in reverse order? “LUST.” is where things begin falling apart for Kendrick, his bragging about losing expensive jewelry and bouncing city-to-city for more millions taking on a much more sinister tone. It’s a neat trick, one Lupe Fiasco used to pull with ease: there’s a clear moral to this song, but it’s up to you to figure out what it is. And it might not be the same for everyone. At no point does Kendrick make “LUST.” sound boring; on the contrary, I’d love to experience both vignettes in the first verse and Kendrick’s personal testimony in the second. But is it good for you? Now that’s an entirely different conversation.Read More
GoldLink isn’t actually talking to anyone on “Meditation,” right?
Wait, let me rephrase. He’s talking to a young lady, but not really. Most guys (and probably ladies, too) know exactly what’s happening here: our young protagonist made eye contact with the most beautiful woman in the room, and now he’s clueless on what to do next.Read More
Everything’s a vibe nowadays, but “Dance Willie” is ridiculously infectious. Listen to his first few records — which I personally like — and you can hear the growth in his flow and his lyrics. “Why should I listen? / We moved downtown before the Pistons” is such a glorious stunt, my Lord. That line has been stuck in my head for months. Forgive the convenient comparison, but it’s analogous to GoldLink's “Crew” in so many ways: “Dance Willie” is the manifesto of a mid-20s black man loyal to his city and his friends, and he’s determined to make something of himself while remaining true to his roots. And he’s doing it legally. And the music’s good!Read More