Wow. This week’s New Music playlist is stacked. The curators at Spotify have gone in with two songs from Kendrick Lamar – one featuring U2 and the other featuring Rihanna. This week’s list also features other additions from Tinie Tempah & MNEK, Linkin Park with Pusha T & Stormzy, Lethal Bizzle & Skepta, Frank Ocean with Jay-Z & Tyler The Creator, Jay Prince & Avelino, WSTRN & MoStack, Bossman Birdie and a heroic re-release from Shakka & Frisco.
Kendrick Lamar – XXX. FEAT. U2
Eerie and delightful at first, “XXX” quickly switches up to a sub-heavy scratched up beat. The production is definitely interesting throughout. Kendrick’s flow really starts to pick up around 1.20; there’s a lot going on in this track. Whenever the pianos come in the song becomes reminiscent of Kendrick’s classic To Pimp A Butterfly record. The song changes up again near the 3-minute mark and becomes a lot more familiar for fans of the King. “XXX” has an infinite amount of layers to it, and it’s hard to process at first, but it’s definitely cool. U2 sound great on this song, too.
Tinie Tempah – Not For The Radio (feat. MNEK)
In what is expected to be one of Tinie’s best albums, Youth stands alongside Kendrick’s DAMN. for today’s standout releases. “Not For The Radio” is backed by a pulsing beat that’s littered with 808s. Tinie sounds amazing on this track, for sure. MNEK absolutely slays the hook on this track – but what doesn’t he sound great on? Tinie uses “Not For The Record” to get some things off his chest and speak more on his career and the decisions he’s made in terms of his genre and style.
Linkin Park – Good Goodbye (feat. Pusha T & Stormzy)
As a huge fan of Linkin Park’s earlier stuff, I was very excited to check out this track which is littered with trans-atlantic star power. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park takes the first verse and the listener instantly gets hit with a lightning-strike of nostalgia – his flow is so classically Fort Minor. Pusha’s verse is a welcome addition to the song. Confident and level-headed, it adds another layer to the song despite being fairly short. With his first bar, Stormzy takes the song in another direction. He definitely has the strongest verse, it’s strong, well-delivered and conscious. A great new song from Linkin Park.
Kendrick Lamar – LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA.
“LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA” is very different to “XXX. FEAT. U2.” and is a much easier listen. Ri Ri’s vocals work brilliantly on the hook behind the excellently produced beat. Kendrick sounds deflated but it’s awesome; Rihanna comes back in the verse to deliver some sung bars. “LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA” is a new direction for Kung Fu Kenny, I suppose, but it’s definitely a very strong track.
Lethal Bizzle – I Win (feat. Skepta)
Taking the playlist in a different direction, Bizzle’s new song “I Win” is dominated by a brass-line that ushers in Skepta’s hook vocals. Infectiously catchy and just as hard, “I Win” is a real winner. Skepta’s verse on this track is awesome, he will never sound lack-lustre on a tune, it’s always 110% for Skeppy. The third verse is shared by Lethal Bizzle and Skepta as they start going bar for bar before the final chorus comes round. “I Win” is a welcome addition to Lethal Bizzle’s ever-impressive catalogue.
Frank Ocean – Biking (feat. Jay-Z & Tyler The Creator)
Just look at who’s on this song – how could it not be amazing? “Biking” starts off with Jay-Z introducing the song and spitting some bars over some electric piano sounds. So far, this track is very unique. When Frank comes in with his impeccable vocals, the beat grows ever so slightly with some acoustic guitars being introduced. “Biking” is tender and romantic before Frank’s flow switches up and becomes just that bit more aggressive. Tyler sounds dope on the third verse, there’s just something about his voice that takes control of the beat. Littered with metaphors, this song is another strong release in Frank’s recent conquest that also featured “Chanel” and “Slide”.
Jay Prince – Peace of Mind (feat. Avelino)
With a sample-led beat, “Peace of Mind” is an awesome rap record from Jay Prince. Flows and all, this song is almost perfect from start to finish in terms of it’s content. You’ll be head-bopping from start to finish. At points the beat is reminiscent of a Kanye & Chance collaboration, then at other points it becomes Island-influenced and vibey. Avelino comes in on the third verse and absolutely kills it; calm and deadly as ever. Definite shout for track of the week!
WSTRN – Social (feat. MoStack)
“Social” is a trap-influenced hood-banger that starts of with Haile delivering some cocky and braggadocio sung bars. All three members of WSTRN go hard on “Social”. This remix of the MNEK produced original is a stark contrast, but a welcome banger.
Bossman Birdie – Walk The Walk
Dirty and grimey, “Walk The Walk” is a hard banger from Bossman Birdie. The hook is infectious and will have you pulling a bass-face throughout. Bossman Birdie is stuntin’ on “Walk The Walk” but keeps his cool in his delivery. A ballistic, hard-hitting grime tune, “Walk The Walk” comes and goes but leaves a lasting impression.
Shakka – Rollin’ (feat. Frisco)
FINALLY. Sing it with me – FINALLY. This track is a Stone Cold Stunner at Wrestlemania. HARD. Who hasn’t been waiting for this to be re-released by Shakka? A true standout in his awesome catalogue, “Rollin’ With Elephants” turned a lot of people onto Shakka, and this release is bound to get him a whole bunch of new fans. Man, I’ve missed this track. Gassed. Frisco’s verse here is crazy too. A masterful track from hook to verse to beat; damn I’ve missed “Rollin'”.