Artist: A$AP Ferg (Ft. A$AP Rocky, French Montana, Trinidad James, Schoolboy Q)
Album: Trap Lord
Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA
Released: August 20, 2013
“I gotta close the window before I record cause New York don’t know how to be quiet.” What more can I say? You’re already completing the rest of Ferg’s adlibs, all the way down to the “who who who who.” Exactly. ‘Work’ was an anthem, a song you could hear on the radio, at a bar or in a park, it didn’t matter. It had an excellent beat that showcased five rappers whose combined level of bravado reaches stratospheric levels. Ferg actually heard the other rappers’ verses and confirmed in an interview earlier this year that he rewrote his verse four times because he “needed to go harder than that.” Well, it’s pretty clear that he did, and the opening verse of Work is the best.
“Work” was an instant mood changer. It was played and appreciated by a variety of scenes. It was a thug anthem embraced by the nerds, cool kids, jocks and the hipsters; no easy feat. It was essentially the popular kid in high school; the kind everyone wants to be friends with. It elevated Ferg from simply a member of the A$AP Mob to a certified Trap Lord.
Song: Pizza Guy
Artist: Touch Sensitive
Album: Pizza Guy/Show Me
Label: Future Classic
Released: April 19, 2013
2013 was all about the Aussies and after Flume’s debut album lit up the blogosphere in 2012, people turned their attention to his Future Classic label mates. Touch Sensitive’s ‘Pizza Guy’ is, quite simply, timeless. The song opens up with some smooth, sultry synths that instantly make you feel like you’re in the ‘80s cruising down South Beach.
The vocals come in and instantly warm your heart, making you feel all fuzzy inside. It makes you think of happy moments in your life but the pace of the track somehow slows them down for you, bringing to life every memorable detail.
I guess this would be called ‘Nu Disco’ – but who cares – just know that from the minute it came out ‘Pizza Guy’ was an instant classic.
Song: Life Round Here
Artist: James Blake (Ft. Chance The Rapper)
When working on remixes for Overgrown, James Blake recruited his pal Chance The Rapper to hop on the “Life Round Here” remix. Blake’s production is exquisite on this song and the intro is spooky and enticing, which makes for a powerful collaboration.
Blake’s ambient, dubby style meshes perfectly with Chance’s witty lyrics and delivery. Chance’s verse is actually the highlight of this song. It’s incredibly short and leaves you wanting more in a good way. He starts off humourous but quickly becomes reflective, wondering why he’s reflecting on life when he is, in fact, surrounded by death. Save yourself first.
Artist: Childish Gambino
Album: Because The Internet
Released: December 9, 2013
“3005” is the first single from Childish Gambino’s new album and let’s just say, it’s great. Gambino’s love for alternating between rapping and singing has been criticized in the past? Is he a rapper? Is he a singer? He’s neither and that’s a great thing. An introspective hook in which he declares his feelings towards a girl, no matter what she says or what she does, compliments his usual witty rhymes.
Having listened to Because the Internet in its entirety it became clear why “3005” was chosen as the first single. Camp was introspective too, but in a more critical, almost depressed kind of way. “3005” is about confidence, about doing whatever you want and not caring about the consequences.
Artist: Ryan Hemsworth
Album: Still Awake EP
Released: May 23, 2013
The Canadian prince’s Still Awake EP was an up-and-down collection of moody, eclectic tracks and the standout was “Perfectly”. “I hope it works this time,” says a female voice as the song starts, forming deep, atmospheric vibes in one’s ears. Perfectly has an incredibly warm mood to it and sounds like something you might hear played in the background of a Japanese romantic comedy. Think boy meets girl, boy and girl get along and boy and girl start frolicking through the streets of Tokyo, holding hands and smiling.