In a summer full of blockbuster album releases, this week has been relatively calm. Which is not to say that Blood Orange’s Negro Swan isn’t an absolute stunner – it is! – but the past seven days have generally brought forth a more subdued variety of sonic delights. Which is probably for the best, if we’re being honest (remember all the G.O.O.D. Music madness?!). As summer winds down, it seems our favorite artists are on the same wavelength.
Young Thug notably shook things up this week with his remix of Elton John’s classic, moody banger “Rocket Man,” and it’s definitely not a turn-up anthem. Empress Of unleashed an ode to catching feelings with “When I’m With Him” from her upcoming album Us, 6LACK gets real on “Nonchalant,” and Christian Rich distill the essence of the season coming to a close with “Dripping Summers” featuring Little Dragon and Vic Mensa.
Turn on, turn in, and drop out to all those and more in our latest edition of Best Tracks of the Week below.
6LACK has got us all up in our feelings yet again. Despite the track’s name, the Atlanta singer-songwriter-rapper is anything but nonchalant when it comes to the poignant verses he’s spitting. Over a moody beat by Stwo & LUCIANBLOMKAMP, 6LACK directly addresses his own career and his fans, shouting out everyone from Meek Mill and Big Shaq. – B
A primo cut from Bas’ new album Milky Way that just dropped, this song is probably best listened swinging in a hammock on a beach somewhere. Alas, it’s a wonderful sonic escape even if you can’t make it to a sandy shore, with laidback guitar, and J. Cole stopping by to lend some bars to his Dreamville signee. – B
Believe the hype. Yes, their stunning visual for last year’s “Territory” directed by Moonlight’s Oscar-winning helmer Barry Jenkins was as high art as the medium gets. But The Blaze have ascended to such a fever pitch of expectation for their debut album on the strength of their music alone. Ahead of the release of Dancehall, they’ve shared a slew of great singles, but “FACES” is the most brazenly affecting, the sort of dance music that pierces your heart instantaneously and shuffles you in the feels department whether you want it to or not. France has a long history of producing earth-shaking electronic duos, seems fair to go ahead and count The Blaze among them. – J
When I saw that there was a Puff Daddy feature on this track, I had to do a double take. But no, for real, Diddy is really there in all of his smooth ’90s Puff Daddy glory. From Dev Hynes’ gorgeous piano arrangement and backing vocals, to Tei Shi’s voice straight from the heavens, to Puff’s classic adlibs, “Hope” is just an incredibly beautiful song, simply put. If you haven’t already, go listen to the rest of Negro Swan right this second! – B
Our favorite brother production duo is at it again! Gleefully squeezing the last bit of summer out of us with a symphony of wavy synths punctuated with a rattling trap beat, Christian Rich managed to link up with both Little Dragon and Vic Mensa, and with their help, everything just falls into place, like an impromptu trip to the beach that manages to be everything you wanted and more. – B
I feel like we all need a constant reminder that feelings are only temporary and they’ll come and go as they damn please so there’s no point in allowing emotions to fully consume you. On the other hand, do listen to your body when it’s trying to communicate with your brain—it’s essential to be in tune with your inner self at all times. Less listening to your heart, more going with your gut! All of this comes to mind when I listen to “When I’m With Him.” This track is fresh off Empress Of’s forthcoming full-length album Us due out on October 19 via Terrible Records. – S
This is a ridiculously good song and if you disagree, all I ask is “Who hurt you?” If you can’t handle this single then you definitely won’t be ready for Father’s forthcoming album anytime soon. – S
Poppy’s introduction to the world was via a series of off-putting, bitingly smart videos that saw her do everything from read passage of the Bible verbatim to load a rifle to talk to a plant about her burgeoning pop star career. In the time since she’s released a slew of singles and a full-length, but this deliriously giddy dancefloor belter is the first indicator that this maybe-android is the real deal. And not to discredit her work, but the Diplo cosign is clearly doing wonders for her in the songcraft department. Sign us up for Poppy’s world domination. – J
Do all of the men on this track realize how lucky they are that Saweetie allowed them to be included at all? To be perfectly honest, she didn’t need any of them, but I appreciate her generosity! Anyway, this is a fun collaboration that sees all three rappers celebrating how they have successfully maneuvered in life. All the hard workers out there should have this on blast during Labor Day Weekend, you deserve to drink to your accomplishments more than anyone. – S
In this week’s edition of wholly unexpected collabs, we have Young Thug and Sir Elton John. We’re very much feeling Thugger’s melancholic interpretation of the legendary English musician’s classic “Rocket Man.” Who knew a soft trap beat and Jeffrey’s impassioned crooning would sound so incredible under Elton John’s piano riffs? – B
Be sure to check out the previous edition of best tracks of the week right here.