I know I’m late. I’m unfortunately still in the age range where it’s acceptable for someone to ask me to help them move, so I’ve spent the last 3 days lifting heavy things moving my cousin into a new house.
It was hard to pick a favorite new track this week (always a nice problem to have), so there are a few honorable mentions I want to go through.
“It’s Not My Choice” is a new track from Mykki Blanco’s new album “Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep” featuring none other than Blood Orange. I came for Dev Hines, but Blanco delivers an entertaining verse. The song’s nearly 3 minutes, but feels much closer to two, and could’ve used another verse from Mykki.
My 2nd honorable mention goes to ‘What’s Life” a collab between Cordae and Common from the latest edition of the ESPN Music for the Movement series. Neither rapper delivers a top tier verse, but it’s the best Common feature I’ve heard in a while (I guess he’s been distracted getting his ass kicked by John Wick), and I have yet to hear a bad Cordae verse.
The last honorable mention, “Disco Pantz” by Rejjie Snow, Tinashe & grouptherapy, was penciled in for this week’s favorite track originally, but got beat out for the spot in the end. It lives up to it’s name though, and it’s had me dancing at my standing desk while WFH a lot this week.
I should also mention this week’s “old” track came out last year. I think we’re officially defining an old song as anything that can’t be accurately described as new. I’m not saying it’s accurate to call it old either, but it’s less accurate to say it’s new. Right?
I will try and avoid doing tracks this recent though, and will definitely leave tracks that came out this year alone. Speaking of…
Favorite New Track: “Chaise Lounge” by Wet Leg
Ok first- I lived in London for 3 years until this past Christmas. I have never heard anyone call a lounge chair a “Chaise Lounge”, and I have at least four posh friends. Apparently this is thing, so I’ll add it to the list of words to say wrong to annoy British (and French?) people.
Now that we’ve got the important stuff out of the way…
This is the debut single from Wet Leg, an English indie-rock duo who- according to their Spotify bio- decided to start a band at the top of a ferris wheel and have a penchant for French disco. I’ll admit, French disco is a gap in my musical knowledge, but the track is definitely danceable with a simple bassline and riffs that remind me of something from “Is This It” by the Strokes.
The USP of the song though is the tongue-in cheek lyrics, mostly revolving around double entendres about getting it on on the titular sofa. Both thematically and musically it feels like it could be used on the soundtrack for the next season of Netflix’s “Sex Education”- although Wet Leg’s lead singer definitely doesn’t remind me of Ezra Furman’s yelpy, dramatic voice. That’s not to say they’re lacking personality; the vocals are delivered in a matter-of-fact, understated tone and the pairing gives the track a lot of charm, which isn’t easy to pull off. It’s just a debut single, but we could use more bands with personality that don’t take themselves too seriously, so I’m keen to hear more from Wet Leg.
Favorite Old Track: “Mama Mia” by Lil Wayne
I was living in “Ghosttown” (if you know you know) Baton Rouge, Louisiana when Tha Carter III came out. To this day I have never seen an album take over an entire state, let alone the hood the way Wayne’s mainstream breakout did. I was only 9, so despite my sister playing it in the car constantly for months, I didn’t fully understand what made the album and Wayne so special. I knew the beat on “Got Money” was insane.
But there was one thing that was very clear, even with my limited knowledge of Hip-Hop. There is no rapper- dead or alive- that sounds like they’re having as much fun just dropping bars as Lil Wayne. And that’s what makes him so entertaining.
Maybe it’s nostalgia-goggles, but I don’t feel like Wayne’s had that same energy on a record since. There are moments, like 6 Foot 7 Foot, but I don’t think he’s put together a full LP where he sounds that energetic, that engaged. Wayne was launched into super stardom after Tha Carter III- he became the first rapper white people would mention to sound like they knew real Hip-Hop, a title now passed on to J. Cole. So it’s understandable that he just hasn’t been quite that hungry since, and has often leaned on concepts, gimmicks, trends and features in his newer material.
Funeral was another record that I feel that way about, but again there are highlights. “Mama Mia” is my personal favorite track on the album. The glitchy, spacey beat doesn’t scream peak Wayne, but it actually works in the tracks favor. His flow changes every five bars it feels like, and the start-stop herky jerky beat emphasizes just how much is going on. Those classic clever Lil Wayne bars that legitimately make you laugh but don’t need much thought are all over the place here, peaking with “titty fuck yo baby mama, she breastfeed yo child while I do it”. Then the beat stops, and Wayne says it again just to make sure you heard it.
Wayne’s just picking up from the end of each bar to get to the next, but not in the way MCs do with a freestyle. He’s not trying to connect anything together, he’s not trying to keep his flow going, he’s dropping a bar, doesn’t give a fuck if you got it and coming up with another one that’s just as good. The flow bends to wherever his one-of-a-kind brain takes it, and he just drops bars. And like I said- no one sounds like they’re having as much fun doing that as Lil Wayne.