Hip-hop is moving as quickly as ever. Luckily, we’re doing the work to compile the best singles of the past week and highlight them in one space for you. It’s been a Kanye West kind of week for many reasons. While he possibly announced new music, he didn’t do one thing that the artists here actually have done — release new music.
From a French Montana track featuring Ye’s frenemy slash who-knows-what Drake, to a posthumous collaboration between XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, to new tracks from Lil Uzi Vert, Action Bronson and Brockhampton, this first week of fall was started off right.
Lil Uzi Vert, “New Patek”
Earlier this summer, Lil Uzi Vert both confounded and intrigued his legion of fans with the announcement of his Eternal Atake project, which took artistic inspiration from the Heaven’s Gate cult. though the artwork would have one thinking Uzi was delivering some off-the-wall content, that’s not the case on “New Patek,” where he sticks to the script over thumping 808s and glittery keys.
French Montana Feat. Drake, “No Stylist”
The artwork for French Montana’s “No Stylist” unmistakenly harkens to the 80s, but the track is very much in the mode of a 2018 banger, with slick drum programming and French trying to hit that autotune drenched high note. While French spends his time harmonizing, Drake is more intent with his rhyming, including dropping the following barb on one of the more fashion-conscious songs of the year: “Yeah, keepin’ it G, I told her ‘don’t wear no 350s ’round me.’”
Pardison Fontaine Feat. Cardi B, “Backin It Up”
Around the time that Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy album first dropped, there was a mini-controversy over her “Be Careful” track, which had a previous incarnation by fellow New York (state) native Pardison Fontaine. That miscommunication was cleared up, and the onetime collaborators are working together again, “Backin It Up” on Cardi’s first track since having a child. Cardi used her appearance to reference another controversy of her’s that’s on other people’s minds, rhyming “why don’t you chill with the beef and get some chicken instead?” Words to live by.
Lil Peep & XXXTentacion, “Falling Down”
Lil Peep and XXXTentacion were two of the new school’s most eclectic, gifted artists. Both of them were gone too soon. All that’s left is their catalog and wrenching wonder of what they could have been, and a stash of unreleased music. It looks like their team decided to put some of those unreleased vocals together on “Falling Down,” an alternative rock-influenced collaboration in which the two take turns dolefully harmonizing. The eerie, downtrodden of the track is intensified by the realization that both artists are no longer with us.
Though “J’Oveurt” is mostly known for festive implications, Brockhampton has brought some new vibes to the term on the searing track from their long-awaited Iridescence album. The pulsing track was matched with a thermal video that fans hope is a visual metaphor that the rest of the album is like “J’Oveurt” — straight heat.
Blocboy JB, “Down Bad”
Blocboy JB is back with more charging, gritty trap music in the vein of SIMI on “Down Bad,” a loosie he decided to treat our speakers to. Blocboy is true to his name on the thumping record, rhyming, “wonder what time you niggas gonna ride / this ain’t baseball we don’t let shit slide.” His Memphis core is likely hoping he stays out of the field and continues taking musical swings in an effort to accrue another hit like “Look Alive.”
Kevin Gates, “Me Too”
In one of the more unfortunate decisions in recent history, Kevin Gates has named his raunchy track “Me Too.” Once you get past the title, you’ll realize Kevin properly unfurls his melodic gifts on the track about completely consensual, mutually enjoyable romantic endeavors over a sensual, syrupy production.
Action Bronson, “White Bronco”
In a sea of 808s, look to Action Bronson as an outlier this week. His soulful, smooth “White Bronco” track — the debut single from the eponymous album — oozes New York at every turn of the jazzy composition, and his characteristic avant-garde lyricism is in tow. You know it’s Action Bronson season when you hear somebody who resembles Henry VIII rhyming, “all these women callin’ me Taye Diggs” with full conviction.
Moneybagg Yo Feat. Future, “OKAY”
Future laid the blueprint for a legion of trap rappers, and Moneybagg Yo shows himself a worthy disciple on “Okay.” On the catchy, uptempo track, the two southern stars take turns flexing over a smoky trap soundscape with a hypnotic synth melody churning in the background.
6lack Feat. Future, “East Atlanta Love Letter”
Future also made his presence felt on a record with 6lack, crafting an “East Atlanta Love Letter” on the title track from 6lack’s well-regarded sophomore project. The two pay homage to the Zone 6 area of Atlanta that raised them both in a dually nurturing and perilous environment. The ode was paired with a video that showed the two in the heart of Atlanta, no doubt with at least a couple future Atlanta music mavens watching along while living the opening lines of their own letters.
Tsu Surf Feat. Mozzy, “Hell Talk”
New Jersey rapper Tsu Surf has had a rough 2018 so far. After getting out of jail in January on what’s believed to be aggravated assault charges, he was shot five times in July. The MC and renown battle rapper collaborated with Sacramento rhymer Mozzy, another artist who knows how tricky it gets in the streets. The two deliver pain rap as good as anyone, which they did on their “Hell Talk” collaboration. In this case, the two take turns spitting heat, painting a daunting picture of the streets worthy of the silver screen.
FBG Duck, “Mama’s House”
FBG Duck has had one of the best summers for young rappers. His “Slide” track — especially the 21 Savage remix — finally brought the long fledgling Chicago rapper a well-deserved level of visibility, and his “Look What Happened” track followed up to raise his demand and help separate him as a drill artist who made some mainstream noise. Now, he’s back with another single, rhyming about how it wasn’t the corner, but his “Mama’s House” that served as the prime coming of age space.