The music week in review: French Montana, Mura Masa, Lana Del Rey, & more
Yerrrr, happy Friday.
With new material from everyone from French Montana, to Shabazz Palaces, to Arcade Fire, it was a delightfully diverse week in releases, and you should have plenty of material to get you through the weekend.
Here’s what you should be bumping right now:
French Montana – Jungle Rules
French Montana has been on a roll. Once “Unforgettable” dropped in April, you just knew the Moroccan-born MC would dominate summer ’17.
Jungle Rules is French Montana’s second studio album, although he’s got plenty of mixtapes on his belt (shoutout the whole Mac & Cheese) series). With features from some of the best artists in hip-hop, including The Weeknd, Pharrell, Quavo, Future, T.I., and even Max B, Jungle Rules is a hell of a party.
Pull up to La Marina this summer bopping to Jungle Rules.
Mura Masa – Mura Masa
Mura Masa, a 21-year-old kid from Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel between England and France, has released possibly the best dance-pop record of the year.
Joined by the likes of Damon Albarn, Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky, and Desiigner, Mura Masa weaves bouncy, vibrating synths and steel drum production that compliment his features in a ridiculously smooth fashion.
Mura Masa sounds like if Mount Kimbie, new Calvin Harris, and Disclosure all had a baby and then you sprinkled in some French house and Caribbean vibes, which is to say that it’s the ultimate electronic record.
You can dance and vibe to this record, then all the sudden get a little introspective to the Bon Iver-lite “give me the ground.” This is an extremely impressive debut from the Guernsey native. Mura Masa just became one of the hottest artists in dance music.
Cousin Stizz – One Night Only
Boston’s own Cousin Stizz landed on the map with 2015’s Suffolk County and immediately earned a reputation within the alternative hip-hop ranks.
His laidback flow and infectious punchlines make him a good listen.
He’s a far cry from the ATL trap rap monotony that’s permeated hip-hop as of late, although “Headlock” does feature Migos’ Offset. I won’t count it against him that he has a G-Eazy feature. Everyone makes mistakes.
Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star & Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines
Shabazz Palaces have brought back their experimental jazz-hip-hop in the form of two full-length albums. The Seattle natives, Ishmael Butler on the lyrics and Tendai Meraire on the instrumentals, provide the most interesting and out there hip-hip you’ll hear in 2017.
It’s hard to classify their music. There’s definitely a lot of improvisation, yet the music has a distinct precision. It’s jazzy, but also industrial. Lyrical, but rough.
Ever since 2011’s Black Up, Palaces have held it down for the hip-hop heads that think Run the Jewels is mainstream garbage. Gorge yourself on two albums of the genius that is Shabazz Palaces, you may just have your mind expanded, man.
Marty Baller – Baller Nation
Harlem’s own Marty Baller released his mixtape Baller Nation earlier this week and it’s definitely a banger.
With that crucial A$AP Ferg co-sign, Marty Baller has all the right connection to thrive in the NYC hip-hop scene. Marty dispatches trademark Harlem smart-ass bars with a mean delivery on top of trappy, menacing production.
With features from Ferg, Rob Stone, and, Madeintyo, Marty Baller gets some assistance from some of hip-hop’s best up-and-comers.
Lana Del Rey – “Groupie Love” (ft. A$AP Rocky) & “Summer Bummer” (ft. A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti)
Hollister model turned tumblr darling Lana Del Rey dropped two tracks off her upcoming Lust For Life album, due next week, with some interesting features.
The “Video Games” artist enlists A$AP Rocky on both tracks and adds Playboi Carti on the other for the ultimate hypebeast assistance. Both songs have that signature A$AP inflection and combined with Lana’s vapid sad girl voice create this dark trip-hop-pop that’s kind of infectious.
Lust For Life is sure to be an interesting project.
Ty Dolla $ign – “Love You Better” (ft. Lil Wayne & The-Dream)
This is some certified heat.
Ty Dolla, Weezy, and Radio Killaaaa all on one song, man. The thirst is so real as this trio implores a love interest that they can love her better than the other dude in question.
The upcoming Beach House 3 doesn’t have a release date yet from Dolla, but it’s said to be on its way.
Earlier this week, Dolla $ign made headlines by saying he wouldn’t include his talented, imprisoned brother TC on his new album like his previous release Free TC as it allegedly caused TC some trouble with the prison guards.
Regardless, we’re ready for Beach House 3.
Arcade Fire – “Electric Blue”
Everyone’s favorite band that they love to pretend they hate has returned with their first music since 2015.
“Electric Blue” is a little funkier than what we’ve come to expect from Arcade Fire on their recent releases. You still end up getting that Arcade Fire wall of sound, it’s just through new methods. The guitar more percussive, the synths more prominent.
This track will appear on Arcade Fire’s upcoming album Everything Now, slated to drop on July 28th.
Nav & Metro Boomin – “Call Me” & “Perfect Timing”
Nav and Metro Boomin dropped a pair of singles off Perfect Timing, a collaboration album due next week. We’ve seen this kind of move from Metro before as he positions himself as an equal artist alongside an MC and produces the entire album.
Toronto producer/rapper Nav is a master of the lowkey, drug-addled hip-hop that’s so in fashion these days. While he may not be the best rapper of all-time, the impeccable production on these two tracks make Perfect Timing a promising project worth a listen.
Nine Inch Nails – “Less Than”
Nine Inch Nails, the brainchild of the ultra-talented Trent Reznor, was one of the seminal bands of the ’90s.
After announcing that a new album Add Violence is due next week, Nine Inch Nails released “Less Than,” a track that harkens back to the days of yore with grungy distorted guitars complimented with new-age synths.
There aren’t many more talented or interesting artists than Trent Reznor. Add Violence will surely bring the heat.