The music week in review: Toro y Moi, 21 Savage, Joey Bada$$ and more
July 4th has come and gone, which means we’re truly in the midst of summer.
Whether you’re trying to recreate last weekend’s shenanigans, or taking it easy because you embarrassed yourself, we’ve got some music for every occasion this week.
Toro y Moi – Boo Boo
Toro y Moi, real name Chaz Bear (legally changed from Chaz Bundick recently, yeah, I don’t know), has released one of the most interesting records of the year with Boo Boo.
In early June, Bear announced the release date of his new album in a statement, claiming he had become jaded with fame and that, “At times… felt unable to tell what was real.”
Bear wrote that he went into the Boo Boo recording process thinking about Frank Ocean, Daft Punk, Travis Scott, Oneothrix Point Never, and other artists’ use of ‘space’ in their music.
The South Carolina native has made an alt-pop masterpiece. At times the grooves will make you get up and dance, at other times you’ll want to take a long walk contemplating your own life, but it’s all so damn good.
Where he used to splice, cut, and distort his voice over layered samples and walls of bass, and crashing drums, Toro y Moi’s music has a new clarity to it. We hope he does too!
Toro y Moi released the album yesterday with visual accompaniment, which you can check out here.
Haim – Something to Tell You
HAIM, a trio of SoCal sisters who were initially signed as a tween-pop group that made songs for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack, flipped the pop-rock world upside down with their debut album Days Are Gone in 2013.
Days Are Gone was unpredictable, different, and just an overall badass record. The Haim sisters had matured beyond tween movie soundtracks and were now being compared to Fleetwood Mac.
In lieu of Days Are Gone, this week’s Something to Tell You feels like somewhat of a disappointment. There’s still shiny, fun pop-rock, like on “Little of Your Love,” but there isn’t anything altogether different about this album to HAIM’s first.
That may just be the basic challenge of being a hyped rock band, and this album is still pretty damn good, but HAIM are definitely victims of their own success.
21 Savage – Issa Album
My favorite thing about doing this weekly music roundup is listening and writing about music that is just the most different. Listening to HAIM and 21 Savage back to back is quite the experience, I recommend it.
Anyways, we covered the internet’s wild reaction to Issa this morning but I promise to never grow tired of writing about 21 Savage.
Issa Album displays 21 at a weird place in between his upbringing and his new life in Beverly Hills. On the opening track “Famous” 21 contemplates this conundrum, “I’m a street n****, yeah I’m famous.”
At times on Issa, 21 wants to leave that bullshit in his past, most notably on the meditative “Nothin New” on which 21 addresses the cyclical nature of poverty and crime in communities like the Zone 6 Atlanta neighborhood he hails from. At others moments, 21 claims he’s not going anywhere, “You knockoff gangbangers ain’t bangin’
In the hood / everyday, I’m hangin’.”
Shit is complicated, but Issa Album is more than just another ATL trap rap album. 21 might just take over the game.
Joey Bada$$ – “500 Benz,” “Too Lit,” “Love Is Only A Feeling”
Joey released a trio of Statik Selektah-produced tracks earlier this week. Despite releasing his album All-Amerikkkan Badass back in April, Bada$$ is still coming out with material for his fans.
All three tracks are pretty typical Joey and Statik. Statik Selektah provides the smooth, laidback, jazzy beats and Joey flows over them in trademark fashion. Definite spliff material here.
Joey is going on tour with Logic, starting today in Salt Lake City.
French Montana – “Bring Dem Tings” ft. Pharrell
Another of New York’s favorite rapper/producer duos, French Montana and Harry Fraud are back on this new set-it-off track “Bring Dem Tings.”
Pharrell spits some pretty fire bars (that he probably did not write himself) and Harry Fraud supplies the lit horns. Catch me pulling up to La Marina bumping “Bring Dem Tings” this summer.
Cousin Stizz – “Lambo”
Cousin Stizz came up with his 2015 project Suffolk County and gained a cult-like following in ridiculously quick fashion.
The shit-talking Boston rapper has become one of the most exciting prospect on the East Coast and his new single “Lambo” off next week’s mixtape Only One Night definitely shows he’s about to bring the heat.
Stizz is one to watch.
Billy Bragg – “The Sleep of Reason”
Punk rock’s favorite 60-year-old socialist Billy Bragg released his anti-Trump protest song “The Sleep of Reason” and it fuckin’ rocks.
Ol’ Billy ain’t holding anything back, “It’s over now, you lost my friend, move on just let it go / says the man who flies a Confederate flag / on his profile just for show.”
We need more Billy Braggs. How do we make more Billy Braggs?
AlunaGeorge – “Turn Up The Love”
Remember when, like, everyone was making noise-pop duos of pop-star potential woman singers and pairing them with anonymous, weird dude producers?
All the sudden, everywhere you turned there was another Sleigh Bells, Phantogram, Cults, Chairlift, The Kills, or AlunaGeorge.
Anyways, Aluna George, which consists of singer-songwriter Aluna Francis and producer George Reid (get it?) released a new song. It’s pretty cool.
A$AP Twelvyy – “Strapped”
Harlem’s own A$AP Twelvyy dropped “Strapped” and he’s rapping his ass off over a Sampha sample.
With help from Sampha’s “Beneath The Tree,” Twelvyy goes off, even Kendrick tweeted this shit out.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) July 6, 2017
Feels like Twelvyy is the next dude up in A$AP Mob. His mixtape 2127301090 is slated to drop sometime this year, with A$AP collab album Cozy Tapes Vol. 2 on the horizon as well.
Skepta – “Hypocrisy”
Sketpa, London’s number 1 MC, is back with a vengeance. He’s throwing his classic punchlines and ‘you ain’t shit’ bars.
The “Shutdown” rapper is always clowning, but he seems truly wronged on hypocrisy, I mean look at this chorus,
“They try to disrespect me/When they’re online especially/But everything cool when they check me/Because I’m so cool and deadly/See, I had to realize slowly/That nobody actually knows me/Yeah, man, I’ve got fifteen different iPhones/But I am so not phony.”