July 4th weekend is upon us. As you flock to the beach or wherever you plan to honor our nation’s independence by heavy day drinking, you’ll need some accompanying music.
It’s been a hell of a week of releases, with new material from some of the powerhouses of music.
Whether you’re trying to listen to some good ol’-fashioned hip-hop, groove to Calvin Harris, or get emotional to St. Vincent, we got you.
Jay-Z – 4:44
The king has returned. 4:44 dropped at midnight last night and has set the whole world ablaze.
This might be some of the realest shit we’ve heard out of Jay-Z, not to mention hip-hop itself, in a minute. Jay-Z raps about his infidelities, disses Kanye, talks about black-owned businesses, and his mother coming out of the closet.
4:44 is some grown shit. It’s great to have Hov back.
Calvin Harris – Funk Wav. Bounces Vol.1
After previewing snippets of Funk Wav. Bounces Vol.1 a couple weeks ago, courtesy of a dancing parrot, Calvin Harris dropped the album and it’s a pop/dance music masterpiece.
Harris supplies his trademark toe-tapping production, the musical equivalent of driving around Miami with the top down, and then pairs that instrumentation with an amazing guest list of hip-hop musicians.
Some of the collaborations include Migos and Frank Ocean; Thug, Pharrell, and Ariana Grande; and Snoop Dogg, John Legend, and Takeoff. That’s quite the group.
Funk Wav. Bounces will be ringing out all summer.
Washed Out – Mister Mellow
Washed Out, real name Ernest Greene, one of the originators of the chillwave sound that dominated the early 2010’s, dropped the true-to-the-name Mister Mellow on Friday.
Greene changed up the game with 2010’s Life of Leisure and 2011’s Within and Without, but although Mister Mellow has some serious chill factor, there’s nothing overly revolutionary about this album.
Still, if you’re looking to zone out, or spark a conversation about the merits of chillwave, Mister Mellow is worth a listen.
Trouble – 16
If mature rap about marriage and Black capitalism or fluffy pop-house music isn’t your thing at the moment, let me introduce you to Trouble.
Trouble is one of the most slept on dudes in the game, although he has somewhat of a cult following in his hometown of Atlanta.
Up until now, Trouble has been a mixtape rapper, but this 6-track “collection” is merely a preview for an upcoming full-length album with Mike Will Made-It.
16 is about as hard as it gets, so if you’re spending your July 4th weekend moving bricks instead of going to the beach, this should be your soundtrack.
St. Vincent – “New York”
On a completely different note, St. Vincent released a new single, “New York,” on which St. Vincent, real name Annie Clark, laments the loss of her partner and the city they shared together.
Clark sings painfully about the transformation of the city after a supposed break up, “You’re the only motherfucker in the city that can handle me.”
It’s a pretty big departure from St. Vincent’s catalog, much more emotional and melancholic than Clark’s other work. Anyone who has had a NYC breakup will feel this one deeply.
Tyler, the Creator – “Who Dat Boy” & “911/Mr. Lonely”
Tyler, the Creator released a pair of songs, the first music releases from the Odd Future rapper since 2015’s Cherry Bomb.
“Who Dat Boy” brings along ASAP Rocky and has menacing, horror movie-sounding strings for Rocky and Tyler to trade bars over.
“911/Mr. Lonely” is a more low-key track that brings along Frank Ocean, but then transitions into a snapping, fast-paced banger as Tyler raps about how lonely he is.
It’s good to see Tyler back to his old tricks.
Toro y Moi – “You and I”
Toro y Moi (Chaz Bundick) released “You and I” and accompanying visuals this week. “You and I” is the second release off Bundick’s new album Boo Boo after “Girl Like You” from a couple of weeks ago.
Another forefather of the chillwave sound, Bundick and Washed Out actually went to the University of South Carolina together and they’ve come a long way from their first releases years ago. They’re now making mature music, for better or for worse.
“You and I” is a soft, contemplative song about a relationship, it seems we’ll see a more open and emotional Bundick on Boo Boo, slated for release on July 7th.
More good news for Chaz as June 27th was named “Chaz Bundick Day” in Berkeley, California.
Future – “Extra Luv” ft. YG
Future has added another track to Future, one of his albums from earlier this year, teaming up with YG for “Extra Luv.”
It’s been a wild year for Future, as he became the first artist in history to have two different number 1 albums in back-to-back weeks.
Last week, Future announced a world tour and YG is apparently cooking up the follow up to Still Brazy and Red Friday.
Desiigner – “Liife” ft. Gucci Mane
Desiigner dropped his debut mixtape New English earlier this week, the highlight being “Liife” with Gucci Mane.
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t really buying into this whole Desiigner dude, but “Liife” is pretty dope, and, of course, Gucci Mane’s verse is brazy.
The young Brooklyn kid has taken a lot of heat since coming up, perhaps rightfully so at times, but shouts out to him. Just a kid trying to get paper.
Lil Pump – “Molly”
So… this is what the kids are listening to, huh? This dude Lil Pump has gained a ridiculous cult following after “Flex Like Ouu,” which has over 16 million plays on SoundCloud, dropped in March and, well, it sure is something.
On “Molly,” Pump raps about the various drugs he is taking over a simple lo-fi beat.
This whole new crop of young rappers are really making waves with this aggressive, drug-addled style of music.
Again, they’re getting a lot of hate, and it may not be your cup of tea, but there’s definitely something magnetic about rappers like Lil Pump, XXXtentacion, and Smokepurpp.