By: Peter Kolb – Opinions Editor
Following the hit-packed month of June, July came as a bit of a disappointment music-wise. It was tough to even find ten songs I could enthusiastically sponsor that were dropped in the last 31 days. So, I just did five. Here they are. If anyone has some songs that aren’t receiving due attention yell at me at firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS text message me at 414-881-7383.
1. Kacy Hill — Arm’s Length
Kacy Hill’s “Like A Woman” joins the steadily growing list of impressive pop albums that aim to capture an authentic female perspective.
Both Lorde’s “Melodrama” and SZA’s “CTRL” (while not necessarily pop), showcase a similarly strong, hurt, unapologetic female voice to Kacy Hill’s debut album.
In other ✈️ news…OP Editor’s Best Song Releases Of June
The songs on this album are thoughtful, insightful, and undeniably honest. Kacy’s got one of those voices (similar to Lorde) that can sing anywhere on the scale with complete strength and confidence. Fans of Florence and the Machine or Lana Del Ray should definitely give Kacy Hill a shot.
2. Tyler, the Creator — See You Again ft. Kali Uchis
Tyler, the Creator’s fourth studio album, “Flower Boy,” is the completion of the transformation from the countercultural pot-stirrer Tyler seen in his Odd Future days to the massively talented, hyper-intelligent artist that has been emerging ever since.
The type of artist I think most fans of Tyler knew we were due to see on any album now. “Flower Boy” displays an incredible depth in musical knowledge, as well as an incredibly fine-tuned ear. From the much boasted about “chord progressions” to the diverse range of features — pulling from all over the spectrum including Frank Ocean, Anna of the North, Steve Lacy, Lil Wayne, and even Jaden Smith — you get the feeling Tyler, the Creator really knows his music.
“Flower Boy” shares a motif with Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” (of which Tyler admits was a large inspiration for him) in that there seems to be less of an emphasis on each individual track, but rather the complete soundscape of the album: it’s a very pretty album. “See You Again” is my favorite cut of the album. It’s pretty, sweet, and most of all: genuine. No irony or funny gags on this album, just Tyler.
3. French Montana — Bring Dem Things
I love Pharrell so much. I don’t know how much he had to do with the seventh track off of French Montana’s July album “Jungle Rules”, but I like to imagine it was quite a lot.
“Bring Dem Things” is a contemporary conjuring of Pharrell’s N.E.R.D days — comprising a genreless beat that has you dancing before Pharrell can even drop the golden line of: “I’m thinkin’ bout the LeFerrari coupe/1.8, the option is the roof.” French Montana deserves credit too; as he’s clearly tapped into what makes a hit-song in today’s landscape.
4. Aminé – Turf
All right, let me start off by saying: I’m sorry Aminé. I assumed this album would be a forgettable collection of disappointments with a few stand out singles. I was very wrong. Don’t let the puerile cover art fool you as it did me; this is a really good debut album for the “Caroline” rapper from Portland.
I’d be comfortable highlighting nearly every track on this album. Aminé delivers consistent energy in his verses that bounce over a handful of infectiously groovy beats — some of which seem to be done by Aminé’s frequent producer Pasqué. Lyrically, Aminé dives exactly as deep as you’d want him to.
He’s not tackling any attention-demanding issues, but it’s certainly not surface-level college rap; his most mellow track “Sundays” is the lamenting, self-reflective slow song that’s perfectly welcome as a nice break in the middle of an upbeat onslaught of an album.
Aminé’s music boils down to one word for me: fun; “Good For You” gives Calvin Harris’ “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” a run for the feel-good project of the summer. It’s the closest thing I’ve heard to Acid Rap-Chance since Acid Rap-Chance. Also, props to Aminé for giving Moana her first, and well-deserved rap shout out.
5. Young Thug x Chance the Rapper – Big B’s
Speaking of Acid Rap-Chance!!! Let’s go!!!
Not only does Chance bring an authentic energy to this song I haven’t seen since before “Coloring Book,” he also doesn’t mention record labels once! That’s right! Chance really rapped a complete verse without reminding us he’s just a tiny little independent artist partnered with Apple — one of the largest tech companies in the world (eye-roll).
Instead Chance channels a few different flows for some feel-good Chance the Father rap. Young Thug is a flawless butterfly as always, unable to make a single mistake.
Hometown Shout Out: Milo – “Magician (Suture)”
You certainly won’t be seeing Milo on the Billboard Hot 100 anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean he’s not putting out work that deserves to be listened to. His album “who told you to think??!!?!?!?!” is more soothing, thought provoking sonics from the Milwaukee rapper. Milo may not appeal to a large commercial audience, but I want to recognize the quality artists growing out of the 414.
Photos Courtesy of genius.com