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So Necessary: Logic and Eminem (and Chris D’Elia), Stormzy, and Japanese Breakfast

Also in this week’s music roundup: Taylor Swift appropriates, and OMB Peezy preaches

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:

Every single thing about Stormzy’s “Vossi Bop”

In November 2017 Stormzy was the subject of scrutiny over … not much of anything really. During his MTV EMA performance, @theyeezymafia noticed some inconsistencies with the curvature and uh, lift, of his Beluga 350s. They (@theyeezymafia, which mainly teases Kanye’s upcoming shoes) called Stormzy out for wearing fakes. “I’m a big fucking man to be wearing fake Crep’s” he tweeted, heroically, before getting Adidas’s VP of global entertainment and influencer marketing Jon Wexler involved to confirm that this was stupid and worth no one’s time. I struggle to think of someone other than Stormzy who makes refusing to suffer fools so … enjoyable? He’s gone after David James when the former England goalkeeper deigned to call Eni Aluko “wasted talent.” And now he’s gone after Boris Johnson on the front steps of the Bank of England.

“Vossi Bop” is Stormzy’s first new offering since 2017’s much-lauded Gang Signs & Prayer; he’s also in the middle of the Westminster Bridge, in front of the London Eye, and next to Idris Elba, exuding genetically unattainable cool. There’s a part where he rolls his shoulders in unison with his backup dancers, and there’s a hint of menace at the edge of his smirk. “Holes in my apparel while I’m rubbin’ shoulders with your girl.” Big fuckin’ man indeed.

Chris D’Elia’s guest verse on Eminem and Logic’s “Homicide”

Logic’s first swing at the “Homicide” beat is righteous and windy, and broken up by a private thought that accidentally comes out of his mouth: “Can a single one of you motherfuckers even rap? Shit.” Soon after, an Auto-Tuned metacommentary on the state of rap music, which is all about “hoes” and “designer clothes.” Needless to say there’s POWERFUL “debate me” energy on this song.

I haven’t worked up the courage to look at the YouTube comments under this yet, but I wonder what people think of Eminem’s acknowledgement of Chris D’Elia, who destroyed the rapper after his a cappella BET Cypher. The comedian realized that Eminem, for the last decade or so, has been able to hector listeners into believing in his still top-five-level dexterity by, as Joe Budden put it, “rhyming a lot of words.” As soon as you hear “you using way too many napkins,” it’s hard to take the preceding verse that seriously. Maybe that’s for the best?

The wistfulness of Japanese Breakfast’s “Essentially”

Michelle Zauner recorded her first new offering since 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet at a suite in the W Hotel in Bali, which she called “a very idyllic place to work.” “Essentially” carries the design of much of her 2017 album: spacey, languid, dreamlike, and indescribably mournful. Which doesn’t sound quite right, for a track with such energetic drums. But when she answers back to herself, during the refrain, after thinking aloud about how simple it could be for her and her would-be paramour, in a smaller voice—“Love, the thing you can’t buy”—there’s something very sad about it.

Taylor Swift’s darkening our doorstep again at the BBMAs

Civilization could collapse at any moment, so let’s keep this brief. Taylor Swift performed at the Billboard Music Awards this past Wednesday in pink, with a marching band, and it wasn’t even remotely as impressive as when Beyoncé performed in pink, with a marching band, on our TVs, just more than two weeks prior. It does not look great for Taylor, so soon after covering Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September,” which was the last new thing we heard from her before last week’s uh, interesting single.

OMB Peezy’s evangelizing on “My Youngin”

Mobile-by-way-of-Sacramento rapper OMB Peezy is at his menacing best when he’s not conflicted—“Blocka” from his debut project, 2017’s Humble Beginnings, is already the best song of 2020. Yet Peezy spends most of last week’s Preacher to the Streets trying to pass along to young hard heads the lessons that he hasn’t yet internalized himself. So it’s difficult to accept him, as a listener, in the role of “preacher.” “My Youngin,” however, is one of the times that it truly comes off. When he describes an itchy, solitary, goal-oriented youngin’ who’s set off down the wrong path, he’s at least partly talking about himself. “I ain’t like the name Paris, got ’em callin’ me Peezy,” he raps. “I ain’t goin’ out sad, bitch.”