“HUMBLE.” by Kendrick Lamar

 

Although it remains to be seen if this new single even makes the album, Kendrick Lamar hits even harder with “HUMBLE.” Yes, this track may possibly be another shot at Big Sean, but beyond that, there are some interesting themes dealing with authenticity in particular, with the music video providing some incredibly striking images. Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, the sound may paint a clearer picture of what’s to come– there’s reason to believe that Lamar may follow through with a more industrial, hard-edged album to counterbalance To Pimp a Butterfly— but it could also be the same type of curveball that Lamar has shown in the past with “i” and “Backseat Freestyle.” Assuming the rumors are true, look for Kendrick Lamar’s new album April 7.

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“Ain’t It Funny” by Danny Brown

 

Danny Brown has spoken at length about his struggles with the perception of his persona, a drug-addled, larger-than-life party animal indulging in frequent benders and promiscuity, and the truth of who Brown is as a person. Yes, he wants everyone to have a good time, but at the same time, Brown’s music has always had a darker quality where he clearly isn’t making light of the lifestyle but instead investigating the psychological effects and destructive qualities of such actions.

This theme was put to the forefront of Atrocity Exhibition, one of the best albums last year and easily the highlight of Brown’s promising career so far. The hilarious one-liners are still present, but it’s clear that Brown is hell-bent on showing the devastating effects of the 24/7 party lifestyle, as evidenced in this music video. Directed by Jonah Hill, Brown and Hill smartly use the 80’s sitcom as a backdrop to the unsuccessful pleas for help from Brown to the audience. Much like Brown’s music, it’s a biting critique that will certainly have people talking.

“Bros” by Panda Bear

Ten years ago last week, Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear released arguably the best album of 2007– one that still heavily influences music today. Like most albums from Animal Collective and its members, there’s a clear Brian Wilson/Beach Boys influence, but what elevates Person Pitch above all others is its consistency and very savvy use of sampling. Despite its organic, summery feel, one that in particular brings to mind The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, Panda Bear largely relied on Roland SP-303 samplers to make this album, teasing out elements and shifting them in a way that never feels constrained. The result is an album that lives up to its critical acclaim and is, in some ways, the reason why every project from Animal Collective or Panda Bear, in particular, is met with such great anticipation.

 

“Something Isn’t Right” by Herbert

Released 11 years ago, Herbert’s Scale is not only Matthew Herbert’s best album but has also aged well over time. Using over 635 objects for creation including live instruments and vocals, Scale is more deeply rooted in jazz and chamber music than elements more commonly found electronic music. The album is at its best with this track, between its sweeping string section, a hypnotic drum, and bassline and, lastly, near-theatrical vocals, it’s alluring and demands repeated listens.

“The Heart Part 4” by Kendrick Lamar

To call it a diss track would be an oversimplification, but it’s clear that despite releasing back-to-back masterpieces with good kid, M.A.A.D City and To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar is still hungry. With an ever-growing chip on one shoulder and the weight of Compton on the other, Lamar spits with a venom-filled flow that is not only at odds with the fairly lightweight production but even against the more introspective sound that was the focus of TPAB and untitled, unmastered. It’s clearly by design, and while there are some hints to the sound of the upcoming album, the focus is truly on Kendrick Lamar’s announcement that he’s back, his still in tune with the world at large, and he’s ready to once again be considered the best rapper alive.

“Ascension” (feat. Vince Staples) by Gorillaz

From what was a trickle of information is now a flood, as now five songs have been revealed in addition to a handful of short videos. Among the newly released tracks is what will be the opener from the upcoming album Humanz. Highlighted by a blistering rap from Vince Staples, “Ascension” is a terrific preview to what appears to be an even edgier sound for Gorillaz this time around. Humanz will be released on April 28. Head over to Gorillaz YouTube channel to see their other four music videos that were released today.