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So Necessary: Octavian Rasps, GoldLink Slinks, and DJ Khaled Pouts

Also this week in music: a posthumous posse cut from Daptone Records, Young Thug’s ad-libs for Lil Keed, and Marika Hackman’s poppy turn

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:

The Coldness of Octavian’s Rasp on “Take It Easy”

In the music video for “Little,” fake baby Octavian slinks into the OVO store in hoop shorts and struts out wearing a Moncler puffer and a Gucci bucket hat. It’s a neat reimagining of the night Drake proved to the other attendees at a Golden Globes afterparty that he knew all the words to Octavian’s breakout hit “Party Here,” helping the Lille,France–born, South London–raised rapper’s ascending star rise even faster. Octavian opted out of the full stimulus package, though; there was no Drake verse on last year’s SPACEMAN, a chilly and genre-agnostic tour de force, and still no Drake verse on the recently released Endorphins, which is similarly bleak, playful, and accomplished. On “Take It Easy,” Octavian looks around at fewer neighbors and back on a relatively quick rise to notoriety: “Flow like 6 god / I used to be broke a lot, and then I looked to the stars / I said, ‘Is that far?’ / I said, ‘Is that so far?’”

It sounds better than it looks written out. Octavian’s husky, abrading voice has a way of sanding down the more awkward bits of his writing. It sounds distant and tinny, but immediate and full. Sort of like a coin rolling up the walls of a lead pipe. So while “I don’t really talk to people / I ain’t doin’ nothin’ legal” may not be the cleverest couplet you ever did see, it might be one of the cooler things you’ve heard. He’s forever stylish, stoic, and out of reach.

When the Synthesizer Hits on GoldLink’s “Spanish Song”

GoldLink’s Diaspora is brief in runtime but vast in scope, covering half the world in 40 minutes. By the time “Spanish Song” comes around, he’s already thrown parties in West Africa, the West Indies, and South London.

There’s something reassuringly blithe about “Spanish Song”— like it’s made specifically for balmy evenings on patios and rooftops with other people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and who also like to dance. It’s the sound of your bills paid and a clear schedule the next day—“liquor got me loooooose,” Goldlink announces. Then, right at the end, a Daft Punk–vintage synth line filters up from beneath and carries the song home. Think the outro to “Something About Us,” but you can freak to it.

The Life Lessons in the Family Daptone’s “Hey Brother (Do Unto Others)”

“Hey Brother (Do Unto Others)” originally lived on reggae group the Frightnrs 2016 album Nothing More to Say, released on Daptone Records. However, right before Nothing came out, Frightnrs lead singer Dan Klein died of ALS. On the occasion of the label shipping out its 100th 45 rpm release, Daptone shared a new arrangement of “Hey Brother,” adding in vocals from Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. Jones died of pancreatic cancer in 2016, Bradley of stomach cancer a year later. From the Daptone website: “We felt it to be a fitting tribute as well as an ideal composition to re-imagine as a soulful collaboration between all of our dynamic vocalists.” Still, it’s the less recognizable voices that provide the biggest chill: Klein, Bradley, and Jones all flutter around a low, bassy chant-like hook, reminding you that what you put out into the world comes back to you. “Do unto others, do under others as you’d have them dooooo, right back to youuuuuuu.”

Young Thug’s “WOO!” Ad-lib on Lil Keed’s “Million Dollar Mansion”

Few things better articulate the chaotic energy that attends the early days of summer than the moment about two minutes into “Million Dollar Mansion” when Young Thug shouts “WOO!” while rapping about sex on designer sheets over Pi’erre Bourne’s video game bleeps. The very next line? “I had me some Henny with the Act / now I’m deceeeeased.”

Everything About Marika Hackman’s “the one”

To borrow from Marika Hackman’s press release about “the one”: “I loved the idea of inhabiting this ridiculous arrogant rock star character who has totally fucked their career by writing too many sad songs.” The Hampshire singer-songwriter also calls it “the poppiest song” she’s ever written. If you wade down past the darting guitars and bouncy, buoyant production, the lyrics are also irresistibly fun. It’s easy to imagine Hackman flipping out on a team of producers on a video set or stumbling into a green room in a bathrobe and declaring: “I’m a god-sent gift / and all you fuckers want my dick.”

BONUS: DJ Khaled’s Taking Up Arms Against Billboard Over No. 2 Album

This is so inane that I’d prefer to keep it as brief as possible: Khaled’s latest album, Father Of Asahd, came in at no. 2 on the Billboard charts behind Tyler, the Creator’s Igor. Allegedly, this happened because Billboard disqualified in excess of 100,000 in album sales because of energy drink bundle deals, and not because Father of Asahd is turgid, overwrought, and bad. According to Page Six, Khaled is preparing a “monster lawsuit” against Billboard over the chart results. No one seems to be able to decide whether this is a layered marketing tactic or proof that we should never make a relentlessly positive person famous ever again.