Recently, I have been talking about Music a lot. It’s been a busy Summer for music of my interest, but I realized my ears are frequently occupied by headphones throughout my day.
The other day, I thought about the idea of making a short playlist reflecting the selection of music currently on my rotation. Limited to 10 songs per month, it’s an exercise to narrow my focus on what music I truly care about in the moment. (Having a Spotify premium account gives access to too much sometimes.)
Thus, The Current 10. Here’s a breakdown for July.
Mac Miller – “Programs”: The lead song in a triplet released in May, this song slipped past me initially but I’m glad I found it. Mac has one of the most diverse hip hop discographies I have ever heard, and “Programs” taps into the style achieved on my favorite project of his, Faces. Fast-paced and dense, this is Mac at his best.
Kanye West – “Yikes”: After writing that long-ass post about ye, it was safe to assume I’d drop a few songs in here. “Yikes” finds Kanye snapping in a raw, no-fucks-to-give demeanor. He taps into his bipolar “superpower”, venting honest thoughts about paranoia, addiction, and allusions to alternative thinking.
Kanye West – “All Mine”: Definitely not one of Kanye’s best songs, but one I irrationally enjoy for stylistic reasons alone. Ant Clemons kills the chorus and pairs well with Ty Dolla $ign to open the song, that part getting stuck in my head for weeks. Kanye plays second fiddle to the ridiculous beat and vocals, opting for one-liners and Yeezus-level spazzing out. Just turn off your brain and enjoy.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS – “Cudi Montage”: The joint project from Kanye West and Kid Cudi wraps with “Cudi Montage”, an interesting song built on the backbone of a Kurt Cobain riff. With both having dealt with mental issues of anxiety and depression, the song is an argument in favor of a higher belief — both appealing to a power above to help resolve the cyclical punishment humans face on a daily basis.
Pusha T – “The Games We Play”: Off of the absolutely perfect DAYTONA, this song is Pusha T turning up the “more douchebag” level up to 11. If you want to understand who Pusha T is and why his lyrics are the equivalent to Floyd Merriweather flexing, this is the song you need to listen to. Favorite verse among many exceptional ones: “This ain’t for the conscious, this is for the mud-made monsters / Who grew up on legends from outer Yonkers / Influenced by niggas straight outta Compton, the scale never lies / I’m two-point-two incentivised”.
Nas – “Cops Shot The Kid”: From another Kanye-produced project of this Summer, NASIR has its ups and downs but the highlight to me was this song. Nas has always known to how blend potent lyrics on social issues with a furious beat, and this song executes that formula with a Kanye assist in excellent fashion.
Teyana Taylor – “Issues/Hold On”: The last of Kanye’s busy Summer, Teyana Taylor has been a longtime collaborator for him and she finally gets a project from him in return. The whole project has been a pleasant surprise to me, and this is the first song that has stuck with me. An intimate song that draws connections between past paternal issues and a current edgy relationship over a lush Mike Dean, Plain Pat and Kanye West beat.
Teyana Taylor – “Rose in Harlem”: The second song from Taylor’s K.T.S.E., “Rose in Harlem” finds her proud of her city roots and confident in her progress despite obstacles. She’s clear about her adherence to keeping friends close and enemies closer, willing to cut ties with anyone presenting a roadblock or doubting her success.
Drake – “Nice for What”: I need to listen to Scorpion a little more to figure out if I even like it, but there’s no way I can deny how good this song is. Drake raps from the female perspective, tapping into the energy building under the glass ceiling throughout 2018. It definitely helps when you sample one of the best songs from the incomparable Lauryn Hill.
Mac Miller – “Small Worlds”: The last of the three songs released by Mac Miller in May (which included the aforementioned “Programs”) finds the artist reflecting. He’s gone through a bad public breakup and DUI arrest recently, and this song is a somber melody discussing the flaws behind those instances. I especially love the final verse of the song, ending a hopeful note as Mac begins to see positives coming his way. Favorite line: “Oh, I been a fool, but that’s cool, that’s what human beings do / Keep your eyes to the sky, never glued to your shoes”