Kanye West- New Slaves
Kanye proves once again that above all, he's the most interesting artist in the game. Somehow in wake of wifey-ing Kim K, and preparing for fatherhood, Ye is gearing up to make his weirdest and edgiest album yet. Yeezy served two drastically different performances on SNL this weekend, from the lively industrial stomp of "Black Skinhead" to the stone-faced power speech of "New Slaves". The early descriptions of the album as "dark but very good", seem silly and almost patronizing after getting a sample of what the music actually sounds like, and it's pretty exciting that it's an artist of his magnitude that's attempting it. At the very least, we know it will never fail to be interesting.
The Weeknd- Kiss Land
Two part tracks-- while they may have seemed a little more ambitious two years ago, they still deliver when done right. Abel is pretty much a pro in that department, as he's responsible for at least a handful of great song change-ups. "Kiss Land" is no exception, and the singer is yet to strike out on a project yet (even Thursday was pretty good), so hopefully we'll get a couple more winners on Abel's upcoming album of the same name.
Some rapping-ass rapping if I've ever heard it. Ace goes hard as he's programmed to, and Weezy turns in a 16 that offers some laughs where one might expect to cringe considering Wayne's recent track record. In a rap climate where new terms are increasingly run into the ground via trend-hopping and hashtagging, while the track will retain it's replay value, expect the phrase "We Outchea" to get old very soon.
The title of this track couldn't be more appropriate. The Weeknd has a habit of taking over songs that he's featured on, and this one is no exception. You could definitely say Abel "gifted" this one to French, who doesn't show up til almost the two minute mark. The R&B singer's "faded" almost reaches moments of parody in the hook, with lines like "they love me when I'm high", but his sedated mopiness is overpowered by the sheer catchiness of the hook. Plus, with trend-jumping tribute acts like PARTYNEXTDOOR around, Abel is always gonna have the upper hand.
Gucci Mane- Birds Of A Feather (All My Niggas)
This is most definitely some of the realest shit Gucci ever wrote. This some of the purest, no-filter rap I've heard in a while, and it's interesting not in a 'taking random shots at other rappers' kind of way (though there is plenty of that here, and that's no doubt where most of the track's attention will draw from), but in an almost confessional sense, even in its mean-mug delivery. It comes off as Gucci getting some things off of his chest more than anything, sounding pretty damn emotional in his shout out to the late Slim Dunkin. His assumedly pre-fallout Waka namecheck sounds pretty sincere as well.
This one really snuck up as one of the better crew tracks of the year so far. Bearing no resemblance to a Khaled assemblance, with 5 distinct and memorable verses, "Work" embodies everything posse cuts lack in 2013. While not all of them exceptional emcees, everyone on the track manages to bring their own style and charisma to their 16, which is really all you want for this kind of gathering.
Staff picks for the week of May 13th to May 19th
This feature highlights a hand-picked selection of some of the bigger tracks of the week. We have chosen a few of the tracks that landed within our top 25 most played, focusing on those that stood out, and left room for discussion. This edition features French Montana, The Weeknd, Ace Hood, and more! Take a look at the list in the gallery above, and feel free to let us know your own favorite tracks in the comments.