Producer AF THE NAYSAYER teamed up with Myka Nyne of Freestyle Fellowship to produce Imagerial Denouement a tribute to Japanese producer Nujabes. The track combines a jazz base, looped drum machine samples, and harmonic tones, accompanied by Myka Nyne’s rap verses. Originally an instrumental, which you can stream below, produced before Nujabes death, the track has now been transformed into a pioneering musical eulogy. AF THE NAYSAYER stated, “The title is a play on words of his song Imaginary Folklore. This song was my tribute to Nujabes, because he has such a large influence on my work.” ReSERVED Records is offering the digital version (iTunes), and a 7″ limited-edition vinyl or a poster of the cover art by Wes Sumrall for a special price on their Bandcamp page.
Track: “Trouble On My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)”
Artist: Pusha T
Release Date: July 9, 2011
Label: GOOD Music/Def Jam
Pusha T always has his drugdealer past on his mind (and in his verses), but this time, the Clipse rapper teams up with Odd Future‘s Tyler, The Creator to discuss the trouble on his mind. The first single from Pusha’s upcoming mixtape Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray, “Trouble On My Mind” features simplistic, atmospheric, and ultimately haunting production from The Neptunes and three on-point verses. Pusha spins a story about his troubled past before handing the mic to Tyler, who delivers a maniacal verse in his signature style. The two then split the third verse, with Tyler referencing his highly-successful single, “Yonkers”, and Pusha T closing by addressing the mismatch between himself and Tyler: “This is for the critics who doubted the chemistry/Two different worlds, same symmetry.” Thankfully for us, he’s right; despite the stylistic differences on paper, the collaboration simply works.
“Trouble On My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)” is from Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray, set to be released on August 23, 2011 via GOOD Music/Def Jam.
Track: “Run (feat. Kid Cudi)”
Artist: The Knux
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Kid Cudi-featuring “Run” is the second song to drop from rap-rock duo The Knux, who will be releasing their sophomore effort later this year. It’s the same fresh, innovative sound that we’ve already heard from the hip hop duo, combined with the experimental rock sound that Cudi has been focusing on lately. But while Cudi’s new individual work has fallen quite flat (see “Perfect Is The Word”), “Run” is fun — it’s light-hearted, good-natured rock-rap, perfect for the summer months. There isn’t much substance here, but if you’re going to be anywhere near the sun for the next few months, it might be a good idea to keep “Run” on your playlist.
“Run (feat. Kid Cudi)” is from Eraser, set to be released in September via Cherrytree/Interscope.
Track: “Scottie Pippen (feat. Freddie Gibbs)”
Artist: Curren$y & Alchemist
Release Date: April 20, 2011
Label: Jet Life Recordings/Warner Bros.
This cut, taken from Curren$y‘s fifth studio album Covert Coup, features Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs trading verses over a dark, moody backing track courtesy of The Alchemist. Although only two verses long, “Scottie Pippen” is a nonstop showcase of both rappers’ lyrical and technical talents. Curren$y’s distinctive New Orleans drawl opens the track, bringing in a few basketball references and his signature punch lines before allowing Freddie Gibbs to take over the mic — and take over he does. Gibbs’s verse highlights the rapper’s incredible flow and rhymes, with the Indiana-based rapper spitting perhaps the strongest verse on the entire album. Seriously, is it even allowed for a feature to go this hard on a track?
“Scottie Pippen (feat. Freddie Gibbs)” is from Covert Coup, out now via Jet Life Recordings/Warner Bros. You can download it for free here.
Release Date: January 26, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail Records/Solid State Records
Although post-hardcore band Emery released a preview clip of “Scissors” back in January when they announced the release of their fifth album We Do What We Want, the entire track is worth a listen. We Do What We Want was released on March 29th and is noted for being their heaviest album yet, but Devin Shelton’s melodic vocals keep Emery’s sound to what listeners have always appreciated. The first nine seconds of the track could fool listeners, because right away, it appears that the entire track could be covered in screams and double-bass hits, but then Shelton’s voice takes over, delivering passionate lyrics that shine the whole way through, especially during the build-up to the breakdown. “Hands held towards the sky in the cool air of October, the whispers were always there, but they never caught up to your words, so will December find me all alone,” sets up an ending to “Scissors” that closes as hard as the track begins.
“Scissors” is from We Do What We Want, out now via Tooth & Nail Records and Solid State Records.
Listen: Via Emery’s Myspace
Track: Trembling Hands
Artist: Explosions in the Sky
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Label: Temporary Residence Limited
Four years after the Texas-based post-rock band Explosions in the Sky released All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, they have finally released a new song. “Trembling Hands” is the first official single off of Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, the band’s sixth official studio album. If you’re already familiar with the band’s old music, you will know that this song is much different from their past work. First off, this song is no more than four minutes long, which is fitting for a single, but odd for an Explosions in the Sky song. Also, instead of having a long, monumental build-up, the song immediately starts out upbeat, with the drums kicking in from the beginning. Another thing to note is that this song has very faint, but distinguishable vocals. However, this song still has what Explosions in the Sky fans have been craving for for years: vibrant guitar riffs and ornate soundscapes. “Trembling Hands” is an energetic song which shows that the band has definitely changed their overall sound over the years. This song could be a good example of what the new album will sound like, but is it for the better? That’s for you to decide.
If you haven’t heard the song yet, you can download it here for free or below.
Artist: Frank Ocean
Release Date: February 18, 2011
Contrary to what you may have heard, hip-hop collective OFWGKTA are an incredibly diverse group of musicians. The debut release from Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, titled Nostalgia, Ultra., makes this point undeniable; Frank Ocean’s music centers on his smooth, groovy vocals instead of rapping like the rest of the crew. “Novacane”, a standout from the incredibly ambitious self-released record, features Frank Ocean wearing his heart on his sleeve, spinning a tale of his confusion and frustration with a woman aspiring to become a dentist; hence the title of the song and chorus lines “Novacane, numb the pain.” Pitchfork compares his loverboy, R&B persona to that of Drake – Frank Ocean is raw, honest, and can sing his heart out. Stripped down to the core, the youthful spirit and self-confident “swag” of Frank Ocean embody everything that Odd Future represents, even if the music is noticeably different.
“Novacane” is from Nostalgia, Ultra. out now. You can download it for free here.