Monthly Bangers makes a comeback as the UTM writers pick a handful of the most lit and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.
Joey Bada$$ ft. ScHoolboy Q – Rockabye Baby
I didn’t care much for Joey Badarse after his ‘1Train’ verse because I didn’t hear anything that came even remotely close to the New York newcomer that flowed and rhymed like a seasoned veteran.
However, I saw him on Mr. Robot and he was sick so with the release of ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ came an opportunity for Joey B to surprise me. As much as I can give credit to Chuck Strangers and 1-900 for the production on ‘Rockabye Baby’ and to ScHoolboy Q for coming through with the fire feature as he always does, Joey Bada$$ is actually the star of an already blinding show.
His smarmy delivery is the realest representation of the album’s title, and lines like “Time is running up, feel the burn in my gut/And if you got the guts, scream, ‘Fuck Donald Trump’” are unapologetically fierce.
Sorry I ever doubted you, Badarse.
Drake – Portland (ft Quavo & Travis Scott)
By now, we know that as soon as anything becomes cool, Drake is ready to steal and spoil it (sorry grime). However, the flute refuses to lose its magic even in the hands of the 6 man on this More Life highlight.
With Murda on the beat, the instrumental goes hard from the outset with rumbling bass and playful flute, but when Quavo and Travis Scott (a duo the world really need to hear more from) enter the track it elevates to true banger status. Both dive in with wavy water raps like Quavo’s joyous “Michael Phelps with the swim moves” and Travs’ brag of “ocean deep in my swimmin’ pool,” with the later chucking in atypically awesome beat changes and adlibs.
The combination of oceanic bars, la flame and the mighty flute could make even the biggest Drake sceptic yell ‘It’s lit!’
(Find it on streaming services you dingus)
Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.
Kendrick Lamar is overrated. Yeah I said it, wanna fight about it?
This hook is so much fun though – “(Hol’ up, bitch) sit down/(Hol’ up lil’ bitch, hol’ up lil’ bitch) be humble.” As El-P proved on ‘Full Retard’ with his Camu Tao homage of repeating “lil bitch,” there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from such a simple phrase.
Simplicity is the key to enjoying Kendrick – with those short and bouncy synths and the line “Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretchmarks,” all the previous preach speech gets distilled into Shit That I Agree With.
Denzel Curry – Ultimate (BADBADNOTGOOD Sessions)
By now, many are familiar with BadBadNotGood’s incredible knack for covering/reworking/improving bangers.
The bar has been set incredibly high by ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Bugg’n’, but with the force of a thousand memes behind it, this rework of Denzel Curry’s ‘Ultimate’ stands above the rest. As always the drum work is frenetic yet tight, and Denzel Curry’s delivery, although slightly less psychotic, still slashes and stabs in all the right places.
Not to knock BBNG’s more jazzy numbers, but they’re at their best when translating these covers into the idiosyncratic BBNG style.
Pixelord – Night Ship
Situated at the top of Russia’s burgeoning club scene, Pixelord has been incredibly prolific over the past year, with the release of the conceptual Human.exe on Hyperboloid, and a slew of smaller tracks, releases and features – the Russian cyber-futurist’s audial melting pot has found it’s way to Southampton based distro Pitchrider’s fourth anniversary compilation.
Driven along by a thundering, singular bass drone, and inflected with a plethora of melancholic melody ‘Night Ship’ is reminiscent of the comedown induced sadness of Burial’s output – updated for the modern climate with a tasteful inflection of wave-esque sound design.
DPR LIVE – Please (ft. Kim Hyoeun, G2, Dumbfoundead)
If you’re looking for flamey posse cuts, Korean hip hop is absolutely stacked with them, as DPR Live’s ‘Please’ proves, uniting four very disparate rappers for a no-hook, baton-passing banger.
Underpinned by hypnotic piano and a thunderous beat, DPR Live opens proceedings and challenges the others to follow his example with a spirited verse. Kim Hyoeun follows up with deep growl that brings a masterful calm, clashing with G2 who is absolutely wildin’, as his raw shouts bounce all over a sparse beat. The finale sees Dumbfoundead cap off a trilogy of killer khip hop features with a rapid-fire verse that violently broods.
‘Please’ stands as a dynamic 3-minute union that deserves a whole album for us to see the quartet play.
Ten Dixon X Jon E Clayface – Swear
Whilst W.A.V.E Gang dropped off the radar a little in 2016, the south east london dons have stormed into 2017 like they were never gone – bringing their gassed up bars and trap infused sensibilities to a slew of radio sessions, events and beefs (see: tennis bars lol).
Returning this month to actually put out a tune – a phenomena sadly few and far between in today’s climate of everyone and their Sports Direct owning dad running internet radio stations – W.A.V.E mainmen Ten Dixon and Jon E Clayface have returned with ‘Swear’, a no holds barred example exhibition of the duo’s tekkers, backed up by Filthy Gears production and driven along by a so-bait-it’s-good sample from a certain Alfred Hitchcock film.