Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and we’re wrapping up an impressive week in the world of hip-hop. 2 Chainz returned to form with a solid new EP; Drake started the Views from the 6 promotional campaign with a spicy single; workaholics Young Thug and Future prepped and released new projects; we heard fiery new verses from Nicki Minaj. That’s a ton of action, so it’s no surprise this week’s picks lean toward hip-hop a little more than usual.
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DJDS, "In the Flames":
Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy used to record together as DJ Dodger Stadium before shortening their name to DJDS. Their new album Stand Up and Speak came out last week, and it’s full of organic, heartbroken dance music. "In the Flames" was released as a single last September, and it remains a clear standout, pairing a beguiling, chopped vocal sample with a percolating bass melody.
Drake, "Summer Sixteen":
"Summer Sixteen" may have kicked Views from the 6 hype into high gear, but it sounds more like an If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late outtake than a step forward for the world’s most popular rapper. Drake licks shots at Meek Mill and Toronto upstart Tory Lanez, waltzes over a signature beat switch, and craps on Kanye’s (apparently) mediocre pool in the most polite way possible. It’s more of a warmup than a full sprint, but it’s still going to be inescapable for a while.
Future, "In Abundance":
"In Abundance" is another transitional track, one bridging the gap between Future’s January mixtape Purple Reign and his new album EVOL, which is premiering tonight on DJ Khaled’s new Beats 1 radio show. (If it’s a Sonic Youth reference, I’m almost positive it’s accidental.) As far as contemporary Future goes, this is pretty textbook: cloudy Metro Boomin beat, atonal warble, plenty of Percocet and Xanax. We’ll find out tonight if EVOL breaks from the pattern he’s established over the last 18 months.
Gallant ft. Jhené Aiko, "Skipping Stones":
Gallant’s young career was given a huge boost when his single "Weight in Gold" entered Beats 1 rotation during the station’s first few weeks on air. He sounds fantastic on "Skipping Stones," a yearning duet with featherweight R&B star Jhené Aiko. I keep running back and forth over his piercing, defeated first pass at the song’s chorus.
Jamie xx ft. Romy, "Seesaw (Four Tet Remix)":
This "club version" of a highlight from Jamie xx’s excellent 2015 LP In Colour leans toward the dance floor thanks to some tweaks from veteran producer Four Tet, who added some percussive bits and adjusted the original mix. The difference isn’t staggering, but it’s a nice excuse to revisit one of last year’s best albums.
Jazz Cartier ft. River Tiber, "Tell Me":
I’m really enjoying Jazz Cartier’s new album Hotel Paranoia, which landed on SoundCloud earlier this week without much notice — it’s a confident, aesthetically broad step forward for the young Toronto rapper. Fellow Torontonian River Tiber supplies the album’s only guest spot on "Tell Me," and it helps draw out Cartier’s versatility: he can hop between aggressive trap and simmering, personal R&B with ease.
Twin Peaks, "Walk to the One You Love":
Chicago foursome Twin Peaks are releasing their new album Down in Heaven on May 13th, and "Walk to the One You Love" is its opener and lead single. It’s scrappy, dusty power-pop, and it has nothing to do with the reboot of the David Lynch TV show. (You should listen to it regardless.)
Yo Gotti ft. Nicki Minaj, "Down in the DM Remix":
Yo Gotti’s winking ode to social media lechery started to pick up heat at the end of last year, and it’s going to reach even more impressive heights now that it’s been given a boost by a certified superstar. Nicki sounds typically imperial over the course of two separate verses, and she manages to reference both her iconic confrontation with Miley Cyrus at last year’s VMAs and… Peggy Bundy? It’s a hilarious, filthy lap around the track.
Young Thug ft. Lil Durk, "Ridin":
"Ridin" is an amorphous highlight from Young Thug’s new mixtape I’m Up, which was originally called Slime Season 3 and framed as the successor to last fall’s Slime Season and Slime Season 2. Young Thug and Future are feuding, but they’re quite similar when it comes to prolificacy and consistency: "Ridin" is another in a long line of would-be Thugger hits reliant on elliptical lyrical logic, wobbling beats, and ad-libs that stick to the beat like gum to a desk.
2 Chainz, "MFN Right":
Mike Will Made It and Zaytoven collaborated on this beat, and it’s been lodged in the back corner of my head for a solid week. The flute’s whimsy gets your attention; the little piano doodles lock it down; 2 Chainz raps like he’s freestyling to himself to pass the time while folding laundry. (That’s a compliment.)
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have an awesome weekend!