Because he has nothing better to do with his time, each week, Micah Peters riffs on the most awe-inspiring, confounding, addictive, or otherwise hilarious moments from the week in music. This week:
The luxuriousness of Rick Ross & Drake’s “Gold Roses”
For whatever else you may think about “Money In The Grave,” one-half of Drake’s post–Raptors championship singles package, you have to agree that for a collaboration between Drake and Rick Ross, it wasn’t nearly palatial enough. The beat was skeletal and made for your car; the hook was sort of chanty. It was fine. “Gold Roses” begins, satisfyingly, with wistful piano keys and a whiny R&B sample. Ross seems to have smoked the requisite amount of hand-rolled Cuban cigars, and Drake has plenty of Facebook-status-update-type raps: “I’m all for spiritual lifting but I don’t fly Spirit.”
Everything about Dodgr’s “Hot”
Each episode of the new Zendaya-led HBO drama Euphoria shares a title with a recognizable song. At the end of “The Next Episode,” the most recent chapter, a new bit of drama unfolds in slow motion to raucous, scuzzy electro-trap, and just before the credits roll, the din gives way to sweet, hazy synth notes and a lovelorn, chipmunk’d voice. “Hot” is the first single by Dodgr, who dropped the “The Last Artful” sometime in between 2017’s joint release with Neill Von Tally, Bone Music, and “Hot.” (Also: Dodgr has been keeping up a good artist playlist on Spotify called “PARTySIZE,” the description of which reads “just lit.” It’s worth looking into.)
YBN Cordae and Anderson .Paak trading boasts on “RNP”
Anderson .Paak joined Cordae to perform this song on Kimmel while wearing a fuzzy terry bucket hat, and “RNP” is exactly that campy and light-hearted. There’s a funny moment when, in the third verse, the two start splitting couplets, and it’s Cordae, the upstart, that pulls Paak, the relative veteran, back from inadvisable shit-talk. On his own debut album.
Burna Boy inviting Future into his world on “Show & Tell”
Burna Boy’s breakthrough album Outside arrived last year; “Ye” remains leagues and leagues better than everything on ye. Combined. African Giant presents a more domineering Burna Boy, emboldened by, well, most everything up to this point working out. He’s a genuine pop star, and a strong enough presence to not only not be upstaged by bigger names, but to have them conform to an idea. Even as he cedes half of “Show & Tell” to Future, who stretches the end of each bar, salaciously, as far as it’ll go: “bad bitch come wherever I neeeeed, ‘Legendary’ tatted on her kneeeeeees.”
Rico Nasty blowing the lid off of her ‘XXL’ Freshman cypher
Rico is important for a number of reasons; Natelegé Whaley recently wrote at Levels about her as a figurehead in a movement of female hip-hop artists “crafting catharsis from rage.” XXL groups off its freshmen into cyphers where each is given a short amount of time to captivate the imagination of an internet audience; Nasty “won” by the sheer heat of her delivery and, of course, no small amount of, you know, skill.
But presentation is a big part of this stuff too, and in addition to the dexterous raps, Rico pulled up dressed like Darth Him. Legend.
Saying the DMV held their own is an understatement! @Rico_nastyy put on for MD & the ladies! The whole area been knew lyrically nobody is touching @YbnCordae anyway! Top #XXLFreshman2019Cypher pic.twitter.com/ZDLGU1BvnF— DMV (@DmvMusicPlug) July 24, 2019
BONUS: All of Tyler, the Creator’s Funk Flex interview, but especially the freestyle
If nothing else, Tyler, the Creator’s freestyles are actual freestyles. I’m a particularly big fan of the giant pauses he takes. This week we got a hammy thinking pose that he settles into every couple of bars or so, to plot out the next few. Sometimes what comes next is a great, twisty mockery of the form (“me and Flex lookin’ for buff net niggas for butt sex”), other times, surprisingly pointed (“They bringing up my past I don’t hide it / Goblin out now bitch buy it / Looking for them tweets, bitch. find it / The cancel couch is fake and I recline it”).
On the grounds of self-promotion, freestyles at radio stations aren’t mission critical for commercial success anymore. But they can still be tremendous content. Listen for the absolute best exchange, when Tyler asks for a topic and Flex tosses out cars. “Vroom vroom, zoom zoom.”