Monthly Bangers: January

In Monthly Bangers the UTM writers pick a handful of the most turnt and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.

Kanye West – Real Friends

It’s easy to forget rappers are human sometimes, but Kanye West is a different breed. If you follow the constant vapid media coverage of Kanye and manage not to sign any dumbass petitions, you’ll probably realise you share the same doubts and fears.

How many of us 20 somethings that have settled down with partners have been sitting in their newly mortgaged house, reminiscing about ‘the good times’, only to be crushed by the reality that the friends we once had aren’t our friends anymore?

‘Real Friends’ is the actualisation of this moment in audio format, and it’s so spot-on. The nostalgic piano sample and the throwback ‘Good Morning’ sounding beat give Kanye’s words form. Sad Kanye is best Kanye, because we share his self-doubt: “Real friends/I guess I get what I deserve, don’t I?”

Kanye West ft. Kendrick Lamar – No More Parties In LA

Admit it, for a minute we all thought Kanye had lost it. ‘Facts’ is still trash due to references that’ll quickly date and misused Metro Boomin production, while sidenoting a twitter beef with a “cool pants” compliment threatened to be this month’s Kanye news highlight. Fortunately, ‘No More Parties In LA’ exist as a reminder of his genius.

The Madlib assisted production revolves mostly around a warm beat and light, chirpy guitar line burrowed from Junie Morrison’s ‘Suzie Thundertussy’, leading to an unobtrusive instrumental that gives room for Kendrick Lamar and Kanye to go hard. Especially for the latter, as Kanye delivers his most impressively passionate bars for some time, as he expresses fears about his family, assures us that he’s over writer’s block and continues to rage at his goddamn laptop stealing cousin, (full diss track please).

Cadell – The Death Of Me

Following in his families rich grime tradition and fresh from sending for Stormzy (lol y) Cadell returned earlier this month, baring his heart on ‘The Death Of Me’. Produced by TeamSesh collaborator Virus and The Antidote Cadell spits what might, on the surface seem to be SBTV bars, but really, it’s a solid slab of soulful, heartfelt downtempo roadrap, as Cadell provides an introspective reflection of life on the road, fake fucking friends, and being sad. Sobering, introspective downtempo hip hop from the UK, that doesn’t descend to SBTV levels of faux-deepness, check it.

Aristophanes ft. Tien – Dreams Of Caves

By enlisting producer Hamacide, on ‘Dreams Of Caves’ Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes has managed to craft a track that sounds exactly like the story she intended to convey, an imaginative exploration of Pluto’s cave before venturing “to the unknown darkness in the outer space.”

The track starts claustrophobically with minimal noise and breathy synths before wandering out into a pummelling beat and wondrous hook from Tien, with Aristophanes gliding over the beat as a captivating presence, despite the language barrier. She may be best known for her scene-stealing turn on Grimes’ ‘Scream’, but ‘Dreams Of Caves’ proves that she can match her Canadian friend in constructing enticing worlds with her music.

Bones – RestInPeace

January 2016 has been a busy month for TeamSesh, Bones in particular has abandoned the xan’d out g-wave approach (thank god, maybe he’ll stop releasing a shitty mixtape every two months soon), bringing a shroomy, earthy experimental vibe to much of his new material. ‘RestInPiece’ builds on this sound, bringing a death grips-y, off kilter vibe going through the tracks detuned, distorted two and a half minutes.

Wiki – Living With My Moms ft. Nasty Nigel

I don’t live with my mum anymore, but when I go back, I do smoke joints out of the window when she goes out. Up until recently, I could blame it on the neighbours and say “no mum, I have no idea what that smell is. Probably Chinese cigarettes” and she would believe me.

Since Wiki released such a fitting anthem about smoking weed when your mum’s out, I’ve been careless. I heard Black Noi$e’s happy-high production and Wiki’s usual gas mark 9 levels of spitting and I just had to smoke and smoke and reload and reload the track until I tired myself out and forgot to put my weed in a safe place. She now knows what it is, and she told me off.

Did anyone need an anthem for this very specific event? Probably not. Now we have one, it’s time for everyone to blaze at their mum’s house until you get grounded.

Flatbush Zombies – Glorious Thugs

Look, we’re gonna keep telling you that dad rap sucks till you stop using dumb phrases like ‘lyrical hip hop’, but sometimes dad rap is worth paying attention to, specifically when it’s given a drugged-out 21st century twist by Flatbush Zombies.  In ‘Glorious Thugs’The Architect constructs the track around the dramatic piano line from Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Notorious Thugs’, and throws out the original clumsy beat, opting for a hypnotic hi-hat-centric one.

Meechy Darko twist his drug fuelled paranoia into money centric braggadocio (“Help me, I see dead people, I’m talking them Benjamins”) and Eric Arc Elliot focuses his bar on his skills as a producer, but it’s Zombie Juice who steals the title of track highlight with an intense flow and a personal tackling of issues like police brutality and black on black violence.

Commodo ft Rocks FOE – Set it straight

Deep Medi alumni Commodo collaborates with up and coming MC Sephirocks on the lead single from upcoming album and it’s weird as fuck, 2016 looks set to be a year full of weird fucking things. Rocks FOE brings solid, roadman flow to Commodo’s obfuscated bass weight, Grime doesn’t have to be as straightforward as 2015 may have dictated and if ‘Set It Straight’ is anything to go by, 2016 will be a year of paragons shifting all over the place, maybe the whole ‘roadman’ thing’ll die out too. A man can dream.

Lil Durk – Every Night

When we talk about killer hooks, we need to start mentioning Lil Durk. Going over a phenomenal D BROOKS EXCLUSIVE beat, Durk reinforces that he’s the realest – “I was born real, that’s how I’m gon’ die” – before coming in with a semi-sing-song “I be out here every night, every night, every night” that should be disarming, but gives you the impression Durk doesn’t fuck about.

This is the essence of Lil Durk in an artistic sense too – he’ll come with the realest track with hooks rivalling the most famous out there – underestimate him and you run the risk of being exposed for not knowing your shit. Get to know Lil Durk in 2016.

Yoshi Thompkins & XXXTENTACTION – Hit The Dirt

Hip Hop is going weirder, darker places in 2016, everyone and their mums got a shitty 90’s death metal logo for some reason and the Miami scene is going offffff at the minute; vicious upstarts and Denzel Curry cohorts Yoshi and XXTENTACION’s flows bring that trademark scorching Miami hatred on ‘HIT THE DIRT’; one of those rare bangers you pause, rewind to the start and smoke 4 zoots the first time you listen, it’s that fucking good. Whilst ‘HIT THE DIRT’ isnt the most subtle of tunes lyrically, it’s almost grindcore like simplicity and raw production enable the murderous flows to intermesh perfectly in ultra-violent fashion, resulting a perfect synergy of dark, firey Miami fucking hatred.

Yezi – 달나라 (The Moon)

Following her rising popularity from competition show Unpretty Rapstar, Fiestar’s Yezi  has been awarded with a banger-centric solo debut in ep Foresight Dream, which contains a true standout in ‘The Moon’. With a backbone of booming bass and snaky, piercing synth it’s perfectly suited to her biting verses and aggressive barks. In typical Yezi fashion, the track’s hook warns critics to “Watch your mouths”, while at the track’s final lap she self-assuredly says “Who is killin this track?/Yes it’s me”, and you know it’s impossible to disagree with her.

Chthe’ilist – Voidspawn

Montreal tech-old school death metallers Chthe’ilist just got fucking featured on noisey which was weird, because it’s not often Noisey streams actual good quality extreme metal but we’re not complaining. The crazy old school Canadians are a purveryor of that grinding prog-death style circa 1994, in a period in which extreme metal seems to be becoming viable and interesting again, ‘Voidspawn’ in influences from across the prog-death stream, if you like Demillich style rhythmic dementia sits neatly alongside Crematory style crossover death and fat choral synths (i.e. you’re an old school death metal fan) give this one a listen.

Nathan Butler, Connor Cass & Richard Lowe

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