"Wash Us in the Blood" — Kanye West (feat. Travis Scott)
Kanye West is making music again. He reportedly is titling his next album "God's Country" and I assume its subject matter to not be much different from "JESUS IS KING." "Wash Us in the Blood" is produced by Ronny J and Kanye West, and sounds a lot like 2013's brash and polarizing "Yeezus." The song includes a somewhat unnecessary Travis Scott verse, but the nostalgia the instrumental brings me makes up for that. West's next work, whether that be with the Yeezy brand or with his musical career, will surely be a milestone in his long, storied career.
"Skinny Suge" — Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist
Freddie Gibbs is one of the best rappers on the planet right now, and has dropped two promising albums in consecutive years — 2019's "Bandana," produced by Madlib, and this year's "Alfredo," produced by The Alchemist. Gibbs, 38, is comparable to Pusha-T in subject matter, but brings his own short, choppy flow to near-flawless beats on his second album, where "Skinny Suge" is one of the tracks that closes out the project. He often raps about his former life of selling drugs to fund his dreams of rapping, and on this track he tells a story that includes his uncle dying from an overdose on a substance that Gibbs supplied the seller. Listening to Gibbs rap is interesting because his steady cadence and delivery pulls you in line after line, and I think his beat selection is among the best currently. Most of Gibbs' songs are verse-heavy and that makes for an ability to create concise, storytelling content, like "Alfredo."
"Punisher" — Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers has made nothing short of honest, gorgeous music since the first songs I heard from bands boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center. I have always admired her smooth and conversational songwriting, especially when she goes off on tangents or becomes chatty. She sings "The drug stores are open all night / The only real reason I moved to the east side / I love a good place to hide in plain sight" in a lullaby-like tone before the chorus begins. She captures emotions effortlessly and on this song especially — her album's title track. Her music is extremely difficult to dislike, as she is transparent, witty and personal.
"Multiple Flows" — Lil Wayne and Lil Uzi Vert
"Multiple Flows" is one of eight tracks that were a part of the deluxe version of "Funeral," Lil Wayne's 13th studio album. Brandon Finessin, a member of Philadelphia-based production team Working on Dying, made a beat that sounds like it was made in the future. Lil Wayne and Lil Uzi Vert traded flows on this bubbly instrumental that is reminiscent of Lil Uzi's recent sound. Both rappers are flamboyant and attention-grabbing due to loud personalities, and they share a charisma that would make for plenty more smile-inducing songs like this one. The absence of social settings and concerts make me miss songs like "Multiple Flows" even more.
"BLACK PARADE" — Beyoncé
Released on Juneteenth, "BLACK PARADE" is a dance-triggering track that celebrates Black culture. "Now here we come on our thrones sitting high / Follow my parade, oh, my parade," chants Beyoncé, later singing "Put your fist up in the air and show Black love." I imagine this song would be a rallying anthem at protests, if they were still as prominent in my area due to a recent rampant surge in COVID-19 cases. Beyoncé sounds as gifted and relentless as ever, referencing African rituals over an instrumental that reminds me of the "Black Panther" soundtrack album by Kendrick Lamar and other various artists. "Black Is King" is a visual album directed, executive produced and written by Beyoncé, and will be coming to Disney+ July 31.