Frank Ocean - Nikes
The lead single from Frank Ocean's long awaited Blonde album is a brilliant, sprawling, hook-free trawl through fame, fashion, groupies, loneliness and unrequited love. There are two vocal tracks here, both Ocean's: one slowed down and the other sped up. So the singer is basically in a dialogue with himself. The borderline NSFW video, posted to Apple Music 24 hours before the album's official release, features cameos from A$AP Rocky and Kanye West.
Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane - Black Beatles
This mesmerizingly addictive track from American rap duo Rae Sremmurd is the standout from their recent SremmLife 2 album. Prior to this, the only reference to Paul McCartney in hip-hop I can recall, apart from that track with Kanye and Rihanna, was in UGK's International Player Anthem from 2007, wherein the former Beatle was cited as a cautionary example, having recently married unwisely and lost big in a costly divorce. In the eyes of these two young African-American brothers, however, born decades after the Frog Chorus or Wonderful Christmastime might have sullied this impression, Macca is here celebrated as a fully-fledged OG. "I'm a black Beatle," Slim Jxmmi warns his haters. "Me and Paul McCartney related."
Michael Buble ft. Black Thought - Nobody But Me
Seven years into their stint as Jimmy Fallon's late-night house band, The Roots crew's iron-clad street cred has so far weathered everything from Pictionary contests against reality TV stars to Questlove losing a "drum-off" to Justin Bieber. But Tariq Trotter is really pushing it here, with this guest rapper spot on the title track from Michael Buble's new album. It's an awful doo-wop ditty about Buble's "lovely lady" and nope, there's no putting a positive spin on his involvement.