The UTM writers pick a handful of the most lit and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.
Mellowhype – Tisk
This track is blowing the minds of many a ‘day one’ OFWGKTA fan for so many reasons… We really need to take a moment and digest this.
Firstly – MELLOWHYPE ARE BACK?! Hodgy Beats confirmed that he and Left Brain would be going their separate ways back in 2015, a year after their last official studio release, INSA, which coINSAdentally (I hate myself) was a really strong album.
Now Hodgy has tweeted out this new track ‘Tisk’, and confirmed a new album as well. That’s enough to rock you in yer boots, but there’s more…
Secondly – IS THAT FUCKING HODGY?! Hodgy Beats sounds COMPLETELY different, to the point where I had to check if Soundcloud hadn’t accidentally played me a different song. He’s like a whole new rapper – his flow before was very reliable, yet on ‘Tisk’ he weaves in, out and all over the place, flexing his vocal dexterity in a higher pitch to what Mellowhype fans were accustomed to. Even though old Hodgy was perfectly fine, new Hodgy is making my brain explode.
Thirdly – IS THAT A SON LUX SAMPLE?! Yes, yes it is! Perfect.
21 Savage, Offset & Metro Boomin – Ghostface Killers (ft Travis Scott)
In an era of half-baked, chemistry deficient collaborative efforts, 21 Savage and Offset surprisingly found common ground in the collection of spooky bangers that makes up Without Warning. The one track that remains heavily in the public’s, and UTM writer’s, collective consciousness is ‘Ghostface Killers’.
Setting off Without Warning with a strong statement, everyone is at the peak of their abilities. Metro Boomin understands the space these rappers need to thrive, bringing sparse yet gothic production, with a combination of an ominous descending bells, feint melodies and an unassuming beat trip, it allows someone like Offset to demand more attention. Here he proves he’s once again bested his co-Migo Quavo in crafting exemplary hooks, which is characteristically rapid but without losing his innate catchiness, meanwhile Travis Scott is drenched in autotune glory, once again comparing his dick to a cactus.
This track also does something special, it makes 21 Savage a hugely entertaining presence. Here he brings his biggest weapons – his biggest bombs rather – in his arsenal to deliver constant knockbacks in cold-blooded, deadpan comedy. Just try and stop quoting “Planet of the Apes, yeah I hang around gorillas” to your friends.
Virtual Self – Ghost Voices
Whether it be building up a world-encompassing live show from scratch or teaming up with a leading Japanese anime studio to create a tear-inducing animated music video, Porter Robinson‘s brand of electronic music has long aspired to transcend merely existing to rack up plays on a Spotify playlist or ‘dropped’ during an Ultra set. The EDM sphere might routinely get criticised for being uninventive – and now, dated – but Robinson’s determination to see his craft expand into other mediums of artistry has always made him an outlier in that scene.
Following a short break after one final collaborative live show with Madeon at Coachella, Robinson’s creative whims have now manifested in Virtual Self – an esoteric project that combines his love for DDR and early 2000s dance music with mind-bending lore concerning two A.I. beings and a late 90s JRPG aesthetic. Perhaps most paramount amongst Self’s initial collection of songs is ‘Ghost Voices’ – one of two tracks ‘penned’ by the avatar Pathselector, the ghastlier half of the project’s twin personalities. Superlunary and dark in its production, its pulsating lead refrain and precision trance breaks conjure images of cyberpunk nightclubs and dystopian dance futures. What impact Virtual Self will have on the music Robinson makes under his own name might be unclear, but it’s likely people will have only just finished decrypting the many layers of its code by the eve of the latter’s arrival.
Dumbfoundead – P.A.A.C. (Protect At All Cost)
Like he did with ‘Harambe’ previously, Dumbfoundead has observed what’s going on in the culture and welcomed it into a potent, serious banger. ‘P.A.A.C’ is an acronym for protect at all cost, surely a referencing Lil B’s recent attack by some lil pipsqueaks and subsequent internet demand to “protect the basedgod at all cost”, he even gets a mention within the track – “Protecting my fam with Lil B/Curse all my enemies’ energy.”
Over the scratchiest guitar and speaker blowing bass provided by Autolaser, Dumb makes pointed reference to current cultural evils. The alt right gets a deserved beating – “Punch a Nazi in the jaw/Tiki torches on the floor” – the take a knee movement gets a shoutout within a track that constantly riles against police brutality and drugs hold over hip hop is lamented. Ultimately Dumbfoundead’s anger towards the world continues to provide us his most impassioned work yet.
Jeon Soyeon – Jelly
There probably aren’t that many people who can call themselves seasoned reality TV veterans by the age of 19, but Jeon Soyeon is what you’d call a seasoned survivor of the South Korean entertainment industry’s vigorous televised music contests. Over the past two years, she’s partaken in the girl group assembly programme Produce 101 as well as the infamous Unpretty Rapstar – and whilst she didn’t emerge the overall victor in either competition, her bold performances were enough to drum up support, amass a loyal fanbase and launch an individual music career of her own.
With her official solo debut ‘Jelly’ – a collaborative composition with relative newbie K-pop production team Flow Blow – Soyeon serves up an audio delight that’s as sugary and appetising as its title suggests. Brimming with a confident demeanour likely stemming from the combative nature of her previous endeavours, she flows and finesses over rollicking percussion, spongy synths and a surprise house beat switch-up that would leave most rappers looking dumbstruck. In fact, Soyeon’s knack for rapping over eccentric pop tracks might only be eclipsed by her love for lemons. Man, never has anyone sounded so enthusiastic about lemons.