It’s been far too long since I introduced a new feature at You Must Learn. In my ongoing attempts to bring you music that I love, The Round Up is going to provide a weekly window into the new (and occasionally not so new) songs that are the populating my playlists. Expect it every Wednesday. Hold me to my word. (right click tracks to download)
“Swimming” – Killer Mike ft. Rock D the Legend (prod. Flying Lotus)
We’ll start with the not-so-new-but-new-to-me category. “Swimming” dropped last July. I’m not sure how I missed it but I’m glad I found it while perusing the tracklist for Mike’s upcoming Pl3dge, which you should buy. “Swimming” might already be one of my favorite Mike tracks. Over FlyLo’s buoyant, synth-packed production, Mike spins smooth love em and leave em rhymes and sounds as strong as ever (even delving into hashtag rap with the memorable “I’m a boyfriend’s nightmare/Wes Craven”). It isn’t exactly the revolution on wax that many have come to expect from Mike, but I’m sure there will be plenty of fire and brimstone to go around on the rest of Pl3dge. A feel great jam that should float you into the summer nicely. (“Swimming” is available for download across the internet, but out of respect to Mike and in a fledgling attempt to promote record–or at very least song–buying, I’m not providing a link…Google should work if you’re fiendin’).
A few weeks ago I told myself I wanted to stop posting music that was showing up on all the same blogs and dig a little deeper below the surface of the interwebs. Sometimes a song is so mean that you just have to say fuck 2dopeboyz (© Tyler, the Creator) and post it up your damn self. “Raid” is a face scruncher–honestly, I think all I need is that beat and Pharrell shouting his threatening nonsense. Just give me that for three minutes and I’m good. Pusha’s verses are craftsmanlike and serviceable and 50’s recent rejuvenation continues with his verse here, but it’s all about the beat and the hook.
Isn’t it nice when an artist comes through with really dope follow ups to really dope songs? After three songs, the boys in A.Dd+ have made believers out of me and I’m eagerly anticipating their upcoming album When Pigs Fly. I don’t want to make some sloppy cross south comparison between A.Dd+ and, say, Outkast/Goodie Mob or anything like that. I do, however, think they’re channeling the Dungeon Family aesthetic and that of underappreciated groups like Field Mob and Nappy Roots into an entertaining blend that crosses styles and sounds in a similar fashion to the most vibrant work of all of the above. We’ll see how the album shapes up in a few weeks time, but for now I’m legitimately excited to have another great group to check for.
Also, a brief word on producer Picnic Tyme. I don’t know anything about his body of work beyond A.Dd+, but these three tracks alone show the sort of versatility and vision of a great producer in the making. These beats have very little in common and it’s remarkable that they (and the previously posted “Likamug”) work perfectly in their own ways. He seems to totally understand the elements required to push each beat over the edge from simply sounding nice to being a fully formed song.
Hat tip to my boy Rajib on this one. I’ve been a fan of Jamie Woon since late last year, but I hadn’t heard “Lady Luck.” This one’s some serious Burial influenced (and possibly produced) Brit-pop. Eat your heart out, James Blake.
At this juncture, I’m not to keen on making grand statements about Odd Future. I feel like that’s happening elsewhere. The mythologizing has already long since spun out of control, I’ve certainly taken part in it, and it is, of course, not without reason. But every post doesn’t have to be about the second coming of Wu Tang or some attempt to “understand” these kids. Let them boys cook.
It’s nice to hear them branching out musically on “Less” into non-synthesized and less aggressive territory. I feel like MellowHype is secretly one of the most sonically diverse sub-crews of OF, leaning on a variety of sounds (sample based and otherwise) that some of the other members don’t necessarily explore (this is also something I’ve noticed about NRK on songs like “Contemporary Content”). Hodgy’s rapping on less is pretty strong and has been strong enough since BlackenedWhite to afford him legit second banana status. He’s definitely a very technically proficient rapper and I think he’s really starting to find his voice (god this sounds so ridiculous…he’s like 18…he’s been releasing music for a year!!! this is crazy…I also feel as if I’m falling prey to what I criticized above as I write, but c’est la vie). I swear to god every Casey Veggies verse I’ve ever heard starts with “ridin round town,” but he can definitely rap as well and he’s a fine swag rapper in his own regard. Left Brain’s beat is hypnotic and relaxed, words not often associated with the letters OFWGKTA–as Noz said about this song: “Like many Odd Future songs this one has absolutely nothing to do with rape, homophobia or satanism.” Amen.
“Last White Man On Earth” – Kosherbeets (of Supreme I.N.K.)
Think I Am Legend, but instead of Will Smith being the last human alive, Kosherbeets is the last white human alive. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything like this before, and it’s helped by Kosherbeets’ skilled, intricate storytelling and Lazymane’s fantastic beat. This sort of storytelling–delving into fantasy and jumping beyond traditional Hip-Hop settings and topics–seems wholly absent from even the best rap songs these days. Supreme I.N.K.’s album How Do This Happen?? definitely worth delving into and has some more conventional fare than “Last White Man On Earth,” but it’s nice to hear the duo diving into offbeat territory with a measure of success. I’m not sure what precipitated the song, but sometimes idiosyncrasy for its own sake is fine, especially when well executed.