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So Necessary: Beyoncé’s Cookout Jam, “Old Town Hoe,” and Blood Orange’s Dream Music

Bey’s best ‘Homecoming’ track, as well as SOB x RBE’s growing pains and Insignificant Other’s earnest breakup song

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Because he has nothing better to do with his time, each Friday, Micah Peters riffs on the most awe-inspiring, confounding, addictive, or otherwise hilarious moments from the week in music. This week: [bug-eyed incredulity] BEYOOOONNNCÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ?!


When the brass section lapses into “Candy” on Beyoncé’s “Before I Let Go”

Of the many things that are mind-boggling about Beyoncé’s Homecoming—the sheer scope and breadth of it, the near-masochistic discipline it takes to chase immortality for eight months, the fucking diet—near the top is how seamlessly it bridges generations. Beyoncé never attended college, on account of obtaining pop stardom around the same time as her learner’s permit, so her 2018 Coachella performances sought to provide an experience she never had herself. “I always dreamed of going to an HBCU,” she says in the Netflix documentary, released Tuesday. “My college was Destiny’s Child.” As an aside, it’s nuts to think about how Beyoncé has been a mainstay in popular American culture since I was 6 years old.

There is a drum line and a second line on her cover of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go,” which appears out of nowhere near the end of the surprise companion album, to flatten you like a Mack truck. It’s produced by Tay Keith, and really makes u think. About plastic to-go cups at bar entrances; about times you’ve seen your parents dance at family functions; about how Morris Jefferson came before Bobby Shmurda; about uh, walking it like a dog to a Cameo song. Homecoming is all of Beyoncé’s many hits made new by de- and re-construction—and “Before I Let Go,” the album’s only “original” track, is no exception. It pulls in Maze, of course; DJ Jubilee; and at the first breakdown, the melody from Cameo’s 1986 classic “Candy,” articulated by the brass section. I just about fainted.

Odds have it this is what your weekends, cookouts, and weddings are going to sound like for the foreseeable future.

DaBoii talking about the size of his guns on SOB x RBE’s “Family Not a Group”

SOB x RBE’s newest project Family Not a Group comes as a surprise—not only because it was announced 24 hours before it was available to stream, but also because a lot of the discussion around their 2018 release Gangin II placed bets on just how long the North Vallejo foursome would stay together. Yhung T.O., the smoothest member with maybe the most crossover appeal, quit the group for four days last fall. Lul G, the youngest of the four, appears infrequently on Family Not a Group, and was conspicuously absent from SOB’s set at Coachella Weekend 1. He’s also not in the “Family Not a Group” video.

In a perfectly ordered universe they’d stay together forever, and this is neither in the spirit of the song, nor the tape, but DaBoii’s verse is the best here. Maybe it’s the spiteful way he says “bitch”? DaBoii’s verse also features a Maino reference, money management tips, and—AND—he claims to have guns the same size as Godzilla.

All of CupcakKe’s “Old Town Hoe”

From the intrepid Chicago rapper that brought you one of the very best opening lines of any rap song last year—“I thought that I came but I peed on the dick”—comes another song you can’t play in polite company. CupcakKe is the latest to seize on the “Old Town Road” moment, and her freestyle is, true to form, delightfully, hilariously specific in its raunchiness. There’s talk of oven mitts, puppets, Derrick Rose; she even pokes fun at Coachella’s numerous sound issues—“never turnin’ his mic off like Nicki at Coachella.” She’s not actually talking about a mic, mind you.

Sim Morales finding peace on Insignificant Other’s “i’m so glad i feel this way about you”

There’s a familiar restlessness to Sim Morales’s songs. And with a full band, based out of Alabama, that restlessness, the simmering panic, is fully realized. The hooks are exacting and claustrophobic; the guitars are rampant and awesome. Insignificant Other’s debut album was announced a day before it was released with “i’m so glad i feel this way about you”—a song about growing apart that, aggressively, sees no problem with it. Maintaining relationships is a demand on everyone’s time and energy, so why keep plugging away at them if it’s only birthdays and other life milestones with no meat in between? Why go through the motions? Why hold on to something that isn’t even actually there? The song starts with a bitter pill: “WE’RE NOT EVEN FRIENDS ANYMORRRRRRRE!”

It’s healthy, they promise. “I’m so glad i feel this way about you” rocks back and forth toward acceptance, and by the end, you believe the title of the song. Elsewhere, Morales sings, earnestly, “I hope you found someone who loves you, whether that’s someone else in this world, or you / I hope someone thinks you’re as beautiful as I do!”

Blood Orange—“Something to Do”

Blood Orange’s music slips through your fingers like smoke; the melodies never take a rigid shape, like a half-remembered dream. “Something to Do” is the song before the song—“Dark & Handsome,” performed on The Late Late Show With James Corden this week without Toro y Moi, who lends a verse—but there’s something uniquely mesmerizing about the interlude. Maybe it’s the minor fall as the backing voices sing, “waiting for something to looooose.” Maybe it’s the presentation: Dev Hynes, reclined on a patch of astroturf in a bucket hat, noodling a rhythm guitar next to a Union Jack.

The best part of his performance, though, is the end: “Dark & Handsome” turns to mud as Hynes stares through the audience, through the camera, into your living room, into your soul. The room turns cold. There’s a hesitant start to the applause. I’m gonna be thinking about that for a while, too.