Last night, I was reading my phone as the clock struck midnight—and in that time, a few great things happened. First, the day became Friday (which, awesome), and it brought with it phenomenal weather. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I’m wearing short sleeves. But this Friday brings with it so much more than that: There is not only one good record release—as there have been for many Fridays in 2017—but a plethora of new and exciting music that is just begging to be shared with you all right now.
Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, and Migos
First, we’ve got what we never knew we needed, but now can never imagine living without. That’s right—Frank Ocean and Migos are on a track together, brought together by none other than Scottish hitmaker Calvin Harris. Now two Taylor Swift relationships removed, he’s probably due for another ten chart-topping singles or so, and the first looks like it’s going to feature our elusive R&B master and rap’s reigning holy trinity. It’s good that we’ve got some beautiful weather along the eastern seaboard today, because “Slide” is the first true summer jam of the year. Get ready to hear this thing for a loooooong time.
Next, we finally get the full version of Thundercat’s new album, Drunk. After releasing a handful of singles, each as soulful and groovy as the last, the album arrives with 23 tracks of Thundercat’s bass-playing and falsetto-crooning prowess, with Pharrell, Flying Lotus, and this guy Kendrick Lamar (who Thundercat collaborated with previously on the legendary To Pimp A Butterfly album) to fill the card out completely—and that’s before we even get into the fact that the lead single “Show Me The Way” features Thundercat going back and forth with old school stalwarts Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and “Friend Zone,” a catchy and funny earworm that you won’t be able to get out of your head. “I’d rather play Mortal Kombat anyway, hey….”
But wait, there’s more! For the second time in as many weeks, there’s a full-length LP release from one of the current kings of the hip-hop game, Mr. Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, who we, of course, know and love as Future.
The wildly prolific rapper dropped the 17-track-long HNDRXX after last week’s FUTURE—also 17 tracks long, making for over 34 songs and over two hours of the Atlanta rap king. As with any artist with such a deep and immense catalogue, it’s hard to sit through it all at once, and it’s not likely that it’ll all be particularly good. But—but—the reason why Future is so beloved is that he also has a particularly high hit quotient. The biggest hit—and one of the best tracks he’s ever made—from last year’s EVOL was “Low Life,” which saw him collaborate with fellow contemporary superstar The Weeknd. That pairing returns on HNDRXX with “Comin’ Out Strong,” which sounds pretty damn good upon the first few listens. It’s hard to gauge if it will reach the heights that “Low Life” reached (which included a very good performance on Saturday Night Live), but so far so good.
For our alternative/experimental/indie rock people, Brooklyn’s own Dave Longstreth and Dirty Projectors dropped a new self-titled album, Dirty Projectors a few days ago (it was supposed to come out today, but surprised fans by coming out ahead of time). Singles “Little Bubble,” and “Cool Your Heart” led the way in Longstreth’s more experimental direction—and given the band’s musical history, that’s really saying a lot—and the rest of the record follows down the same path.
It’s never exactly clear what direction the album is going to take next, which is always an exciting thing. The first album in five years and first since Longstreth’s real-life and professional break-up with Amber Coffman, it’s definitely worth checking out:
Last but certainly not least, we’ve been graced by a new single and video, “Safe,” from Young Thug. It’s been six months since JEFFERY, the most recent and career-best release from the normally-prolific rapper, which made waves in the hip-hop world, and only served to further project the 25-year-old emcee’s rise to the top of the hip-hop game. “Safe,” his new track, is more sing-y than anything we’ve heard him do before. As each year, and each project comes, Thug continues to add skills to his repertoire, reinventing himself over and over and over again. As he says in the video description, “I Will Never Quit.” New project soon? I wouldn’t bet against it.
And hey, check it out! He showed up for the entire video this time. What a guy.