Officially, we’re in the last couple weeks of Summer. As far as the music industry is concerned, Summer is over.
That means we’re in for a lull in releases from major artists. And this week there was a lull in releases period, let alone good ones. I’ve only got one honorable mention for this week:
The individual members of Brockhampton have mostly been quiet since they announced the group will be breaking up after the release of their final album later this year. I say mostly because Merlyn Wood is never quiet. He’s released a few singles in the last few months and while they’ve been pretty rough “ONE OF US” is at least a step in the right direction, with much stronger structure and focus. Merlyn stans exist, so you might like it more than me.
Favorite New Track of the Week: “Too Much” by Freddie Gibbs featuring Moneybagg Yo
This week Freddie Gibbs announced his latest album “$oul $old $eparately” will be out later this year.
Obnoxious title aside, I’m looking forward to it. I’m not as big a fan of Gibbs as a lot of the internet, but he’s almost always entertaining at least (we won’t talk about that verse on Cordae’s “Champagne Glasses”).
What I’ve found lacking with Freddie Gibbs is ambition. Or to be even more dramatic, artistry.
Freddie Gibbs is a rapper. He’s not an artist.
Which is fine. Not every rapper has to be Kendrick Lamar or Jpegmafia or Black Thought for their songs to be good. There are rappers who try to be that, and their music is worse off for it. Like Logic in the latter half of his run at Def Jam, or y’know, the entire discography of Hopsin.
There is space in hip-hop for MCs who are here to spit a verse that isn’t trying to reinvent rhyme schemes, over a tight beat that keeps things sonically conventional.
But when you’re as good at rapping as Freddie Gibbs, not gonna lie, I wish there was more going on.
“Too Much” is nothing new and nothing surprising for Freddie. It’s done well though. It’s a thumping trap beat, with some vaguely nocturnal embellishments in the production.
The hook dominates the track a little bit… too much (there was no way around it, I’m so sorry), leaving no room for Freddie or Moneybagg to really lock-in on their verses. Luckily it’s a solid hook.
Lyrically it’s exactly what you’d expect from Freddie Gibbs, flexing with a couple decent quotables at the start of his verse – the ‘Michael Jackson-Michael Tyson-Beat It’ bar is great.
It’s a good song. I’ve just heard this from Freddie so many times. I’m definitely not expecting anything different on “$oul $old $eparately”, and I’m sure that will still be a solid record anyway. I can hope though.
Favorite Old Track of the Week: “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
This is the best Whitney Houston song. Yeah I said it.
“I Will Always Love You” is iconic. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” is a top 10 dance floor filler of all-time. “How Will I Know” & “I’m Every Woman” are karaoke classics.
“I Have Nothing” is better than them all.
It is one of the greatest vocal performances of all time, from one of the greatest vocalists of all time. It is immaculately produced. It embodies late 80’s, early 90’s power balladry in the absolute best way.
It’s one of those songs aunties hear at the family reunion and say ‘y’all don’t know nothin’ about this’ and, honestly, I get it. If I was around when this came out, I’d gatekeep it too.
No one listens to Whitney Houston for poetic language, but lyrically “I Have Nothing” is by far the strongest moment in Whitney’s discography – ‘Stay in my arms if you dare, or must I imagine you there’, paired with the way Whitney delivers the line, is one of my favorite moments in any song, ever.
And that key change. My god. Perfect in every way.
Apparently some imperialist died yesterday. Y’all can have your little block party outside Buckingham Palace. I’ll be bumping this masterpiece, thinking about the far more palatable legacy of Whitney Houston instead. May she rest in peace.