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:
When the Saxophone Hits on Burna Boy’s “Anybody”
“Anybody” sounds gigantic and mischievous from the very beginning—there’s the snap of hollow drums and then a screeching saxophone, an announcement that summer is here and you’re either with the bullshit or you’re not. A Nigerian musician, Burna Boy has made a career out of observing black cultures in other countries—I’m pretty sure he brought a Haitian kompa band along for the ride on this track? Crucially, this is not “dance hall.” “AFRO FUSION” is what Burna Boy does.
Anyway, the act of dancing kompa seems pretty intimate and involves a lot of cheek-to-cheek and gentle caressing—the most prominent dance in the “Anybody” video is a move I can’t describe more accurately than a stomp. It looks exactly like this—
—and I will be wearing it out in the near future.
When Little Simz Gets Called by Her Government Name in the “101 FM” Video
The video for “101 FM,” like most of Little Simz’s released Grey Area, finds the London rapper retracing her steps through her old haunts. She paces through a cramped apartment, she wears a full Nike tracksuit, she looks at a younger version of herself sprawled out on a twin bed, listening to mixtapes and jotting down lines in a notebook. The song is muffled just then for emphasis: “Book smart with the bars but I never learned that from school / 16 doin’ up radio sets I was spinnin’ up all them fools.”
About a minute or so into the video, there’s a brief skit with Simz’s mom, who is distraught, pleading into the camera for Simbiatu (that’s Simz’s full given name) to please call her back. Simz’s previous album, 2017’s Stillness in Wonderland, was ambitious but a bit of a mess. Grey Area is grounded by a stronger sense of perspective, like the kind you get when you return home and can see how it’s changed since you’ve been away (or how you have changed). There’s a small bit of comfort in remembering that you’ve always driven your mother up the wall.
Christina Halladay’s Howl on Sheer Mag’s “Blood From a Stone”
You could probably guess that a song titled “Blood From a Stone” might have something to do with survival. Well, the lead single from Sheer Mag’s sophomore album, A Distant Call, is about just that. Christina Halladay, who has a tattoo of Thin Lizzy lead vocalist Phil Lynott on her thigh, also has the worn-in voice to match—when she sings about declined SNAP benefits and living check to check, it feels earned. It also resonates if you’ve ever felt as though there was no safe port in the storm, whether that storm be an endless succession of double shifts, or just life in “our current hellscape,” like the album announcement says.
Duke Deuce’s “The Style” Move in the “Yeh” Music Video
Duke Deuce is a rapper from Memphis, which is easily discernible from the short clip that found its way all over the internet this past weekend. A few days ago, inquiring minds wanted to know exactly what that dance from 0:14-0:20 was called. And on Sunday, Duke Deuce was kind enough to share:
The dance is called “the style” pic.twitter.com/pNFo9KGrUw— Duke Deuce (@yrndukedeuce) June 16, 2019
Deuce actually raps about some deeply personal stuff—both of his parents’ disapproval upon learning that he was banging; popping pills at 15, which he says could have killed him—but the tenor of the song is triumphant, and you know what? So is “the style.”
Everything About Lil Nas X’s “Panini”
Lil Nas X is the only musician working who’s actually any good at the internet. Look at this—
me making panini short to increase streams pic.twitter.com/1nT9NQscUt— nope (@LilNasX) June 20, 2019
It’s a tweet about his new song “Panini” from his 7 EP, produced by Take A Daytrip. This is funny because there can be no illusions about the entire Lil Nas X thing being a cash grab—not a single song on his new project exceeds three minutes. “Rodeo” is a second swing for the irreplicable “Old Town Road” phenomenon, featuring Cardi B. I don’t say any of this pejoratively, because it’s really confounding to watch in real time, and also there are moments of genuine inspiration, like the hooky, Nirvana-interpolating “Panini”—which credits the grunge band’s 1991 hit “In Bloom.”
BONUS: Coleman Hughes As “Coldman” (LMAOOOOOOOOOO)
On Wednesday, on Juneteenth, there was a U.S. congressional hearing on HR 40, a bill that would task a commission with studying the structural and continued effects of slavery and racial discrimination, and making a proposal about how America might be able to rectify its original sin. You’ll have heard this discussed as the reparations debate in Congress. You’ll have also heard that against Ta-Nehisi Coates, an undergraduate philosophy student named Coleman Hughes was trotted out on the Republican side to make pronouncements about how reparations would turn him into a victim “without his consent.”
So the undergraduate philosophy student who pulled a "Merriam Websters defines reparations as" in an attempt to argue against reparations in front of Congress...— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) June 20, 2019
IS A SOUNDCLOUD RAPPER
Here's his track "My Dick Works Fine!" by @coldxman (ht @lefthandstu) https://t.co/toegBiHVAA
Another thing you need to know is that Hughes goes by “Coldman” on SoundCloud, and has a song called “My Dick Works Fine!” which is the kind of song you make when your dick totally works fine.