Zentronix, love ya longtime.
THE WORD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE – “I Can Be Afraid Of Anything” – as described by alec arcenaux
I’m a big fan of hipstery post-emo bands with long stupid titles, and nobody really does it better than TWIABP. Their sophomore LP “Homelessness” just dropped last week (available here) and it delivers more of what they do best: delivering emo that’s conscious of its influences (Bright Eyes, The Promise Ring, American Football) while obstinately seeking to break out of the very narrow corner the genre has dug itself into. It’s brutal sincerity made palatable by a thin veneer of ironic pretentiousness. “I Can Be Afraid of Anything” in particular is a tour-de-force of depression that builds upon and elevates itself into moody catharsis, a solution that only music can really provide. This record is a testament to what emo at its most potent can accomplish: deeply emotive lyrics with skillful melody and orchestration that does the dirty work of convincing the listener to buy into the emotional journey.
NELLY – “Ride with Me” – as described by siena streiber
Chewing stale goldfish in the backseat, clutching my tote bag to my chest, windows rolled down, wind hitting my 6-year-old face; these are all memories I have long associated with this Hip-Hop classic. Was it entirely appropriate for me to be listening to this song as a kindergardner? Probably not. Did I love the song then as much as I love it now? Abso-freakin’-lutely.
OUTKAST – “Roses” – as described by auden ehringer
New year, new housing, new classes — its all fun and games until you realize they raised Coupa prices over the summer and someone puked in your communal bathroom last night. Don’t worry, you aren’t the only person upset about all the “crazy bitches” and it’s all going to be ok.
SCARFACE – “On My Block” – as described by alec arcenaux
It recently came to my attention that apparently a lot of people my age don’t know this song, which seems criminal. As part of my never-ending campaign to do everything in my power to promote Southern rappers, I have to use my soapbox to highlight one of the greatest to ever do it, Scarface of The Geto Boys. I don’t think I have to even say anything here. Bump this out of your low-rider Cadillac windows on a sunny day in H-Town and try to feel any sort of sorrow in the world. I dare you.
AWKWAFINA – “My V@g” – as described by victor liu
Men have been practicing the storied tradition of comparing dick sizes for many millennia. By why stop at quantitative comparisons when you can go qualitative? Why stop at dicks? Awkwafina, artist and genital competition innovator, stands at the vanguard of the new and improved version of this art, touting her vaginal triumph — one analogy at a time.
THE PHARCYDE – “Passin Me By” – as described by katie nesser
This track from 1992 (feat. a really great Quincy Jones sample) is the chillest song about unrequited like-like I’ve ever heard. Easy, breezy, beautiful, Pharcyde.
DONNIE TRUMPET & THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT – “Wanna Be Cool” – as described by beti girma
Surf dropped at the beginning of this past summer and was met with critical acclaim from many media outlets, including Complex and Pitchfork. Wanna Be Cool is one of its catchiest tracks, and it features Chance the Rapper, Jeremih, Big Sean, and KYLE. Listen to this track if you want to be happy and dance. Listen to the whole album if you want to be even happier and dance some more.
ANGEL HAZE – “Babe Ruthless” – as described by alejandra salazar
There are few things I love more than creative WOC kicking ass. There are few artists I love more than Angel Haze. Such a babe, such a ruthless talent.
MOBB DEEP – “Shook Ones, Pt. II” – as described by anthony milki
Havoc and Prodigy go back and forth, giving us an insane hook over maybe the greatest beat of all time; the slowed down sample of Herbie Hancock’s GORGEOUS “Jessica” is hauntingly sinister (imminent stank-face).
TINK – “Million” – as described by elisabeth dee
Put together soulful Lauryn Hill-esque voice with contemporary rap and you have Tink. After starting in Chicago’s aggressive drill movement, Tink has settled into her own sound, unafraid to broach the political and personal. Winters Diary 3, her 2014 mixtape, was one of the best R&B albums of that year. Her first album is due to drop this year, so look out.
TORY LANEZ x BAAUER – “N.I.N.A.” – as described by the lawrence neil
Remember Baauer? He did that song ‘Harlem Shake’ that everyone went wild over a few years ago. Also, he’s a sick producer, part of a clique of LA beatmakers and DJs (the WeDidIt Collective, boasting Shlohmo, RL Grime, Play Picasso, and D33J) that collab’d with one of my fav rappers of the moment, Tory Lanez, for a ~flame emoji~ five track EP this summer. Every song is a gem, and ‘N.I.N.A.,’ with the fewest Soundcloud plays, deserves a boost. The beat fits the mixtape’s vibe with eerie found-sound and drums over a haunted house bassline, all narrated by Tory Lanez’s moody, churning vocals. Listen to the whole mixtape though — it’s short. You’ll press rewind.
COUSIN STIZZ – “Dirty Bands” – as described by lance
Cousin Stizz is the hero Boston deserves. The 23-year-old with the sneak-cosign from Drizzy released his debut mixtape Suffolk County this summer, the rap equivalent of normcore (There ain’t really much to do around here / So we just really into gettin’ money) with exquisite production, on this track, by promising young gun Tee-WaTT. Stizz rides it with an unorthodox, sometimes slightly off-beat repetitive flow that proves hypnotic.
VINCE STAPLES – “Norf Norf” – as described by l. jean raynier
Long Beach weirdo Staples coasts in on a simmering LA heat wave spitting observational poetry with mind-melding syncopations. A stand out track on my favorite album of the year, Summertime ‘06. norf side long beach NORF SIDE LONG BEACH.
AZEALIA BANKS – “212” – as described by bojan srb
I miss pre-twitter Azealia Banks.