“play with us then he get cut like a brick”
the beat on “arcadia” has the insistence of a classic neptunes track filtered thru 5 years of soundcloud rap. Some synths slither around the background as others burble up around PBC President Lil Paycheck, who continues to showcase a high degree of versatility in both his choice of beats and his vocal approaches to tracks. Full of growled shit talking, this track is a flash in the pan that indicates we’ll be getting more fire from Paycheck later this year.
“I’m so fresh I need a fuckin lint brush”
The first two bars of “T’d Up” are a quick headfake: the somber piano chords quickly give way to a rewound melody and Mike WiLL and Metro Boomin’s signature cavernous 808s and stuttering hi-hats, respectively. And while the first 2 verses are thoroughly enjoyable, it’s the third verse by Swae Lee where things accelerate to the stratosphere. A quick flow switch announces a singsong verse full of simple flexes about trips to the bank and late nights of debauchery. SremmLife 3 on the way.
“feeling good, yeah i’m feeling polite, and we’re moving all night, all night, all night”
A standout on Lenae’s just-released Crush EP, “The Night Song” has a comparatively subdued backing track when juxtaposed against the rest of the EP. This allows Lenae’s vocals and cascading harmonies to take centerstage, her voice matching the dreamy qualities of the instrumental. The whispery vocals of the prechorus in particular invite comparisons to various female R&B artists of the past five years, but that would do Lenae, her contemporaries, and her forebears a disservice; Steve Lacy’s executive production can be distinctly felt all over the record, and combined with Lenae’s vocal prowess, creates a sound at once distinct and warmly familiar.
“don’t even ask me for the weed you ain’t matching”
Wiz Khalifa’s last project, the “commercial mixtape” Laugh Now, Fly Later saw the rapper enter a lane similar to fellow stoner Curren$y: surprisingly good, and more than ever, startlingly consistent. New single “Captain” continues in this vein, with a sticky hook and a pinging beat courtesy of E. Dan. Wiz’s autotuned singing is neither grating nor barely tolerable, but actually enjoyable, almost disorientingly so. And while Khalifa isn’t coming for the spiritual lyrical miracle crown any time soon, his repeated chants of “what’s happening?” don’t wear thin due to smart rhymes that go hand in hand with this song’s club-ready vibe.
“I want my revenge on all y’all”
Those piano chords have been waiting for Lil Boat for 48 years (originally from Baba O’Riley by The Who). Digital Nas flips the classic chords into an unorthodox and playful beat for Yachty to tear into, and not since Summer 6ixteen has a song filled me with such seething rage at those who have wronged me. “Revenge” feels like a throwback for Yachty, bringing to mind this flip of the Rugrats Theme. This song sticks out among recent Yachty songs for two reasons. One, Yachty’s melody-infused rapping and the way lines float off into sustained singing feel highly reminiscent of his early work, the Lil Boat many felt was missing from Teenage Emotions. And two, his use of adlibs, clearly influenced by his proximity to the Migos, particularly Offset. If this is an indicator of what we can expect from Yachty in the future, those who wrote him off after his first album will be sorely mistaken.