I’m always weary of October. Just like I loathe the idea of Christmas decking my halls at this time of year I’m just as livid by the number of labels slowing down their output; letting Pitchfork butter-up their good work for the year before they unload next January. Holy hell. What a surprise I was in for this week. Big names returned, newbies delivered and so did the labels. Unlike some of the previous Bars, literally zero cubic inches of effort went into sourcing these tracks. I went into this batshit thing like a kid high on a score of special edition Pokémon cards; for the love of Christ which one do I show off first? This week I’d also like to give a quick shout out to my brothers and sisters in the struggle, jamming in their last assignments, frivolously studying for exams and getting high off No Doz. These tunes are for you.
D.R.A.M., Drake, Geika, Kehlani, and Embaci have got your week covered
01. Drake - 'Fake Love'
Aubrey Graham turned 30 this week. Thankfully age hasn’t withered those sweet, sweet fiery bars. “I got fake people showing fake love to me/ straight up to my face.” 10 seconds in and you already get the gist. Drake still hasn’t gotten over the haters and the fakers, even when they tried to steal his energy just a year ago. Like, for fuck sake people. Mr Graham just broke the record for the most streamed song on Spotify and y’all still have beef? Tell ‘em what you think of that Aubrey. “They just wanna take my place/ I can tell your love is fake/ I don’t trust a word you say.” There you have it. What could be three-and-a-half-minutes of begrudging animosity – perhaps 2016’s answer to ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ – is a calypso-heavy club hit. And should we be surprised? We’re talking about the same guy who continues to drop banger after banger every few months. Drake may have a bad bone in that well-toned body of his, but there’s nothing stopping him from getting you to boogie to his post-20, pre-mid-life-crisis angst.
02. D.R.A.M. - 'WiFi (feat. Erykah Badu)'
Let’s get one thing straight. D.R.A.M. Does. Real. Ass. Music. It’s not just a witty anacronym, this guy’s legit. ‘WiFi’ is fresh off the press from D.R.A.M.’s latest full length Big Baby D.R.A.M. In amongst the criminal number of bangers on this record, ‘WiFi’ just might be the best. Where ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cash Machine’ straight slap you in the face with their banger-ness, ‘WiFi’ is a slow-burner. It lulls on the backdrop of some soulful instrumentation, making the listener as comfortable as possible; allowing the persuasive atmosphere to draw you in. Bass slaps and D.R.A.M.’s versatile vocal expertise see to this. Oh, but did I mention Erykah-freakin’-Badu is on this thing? So, while you’re adjusting to D.R.A.M.’s gorgeous vocals, Erykah-freakin’-Badu is about to give you a week’s worth of sensuality in the span of 90 seconds. The message is simple; “No string attached, no strings attached. But we’re still connected.” Disregard the naysayers and traditionalists. Even D.R.A.M. and Erykah-freakin’-Badu know love can exist even in the most intimately destitute of places; whether it’s one kiss or one super-like away.
03. Embaci - 'Angel Calling Embaci (Angel-Ho Edit)'
Embaci is only 18 years old and is already better than you at everything. For the past year, this low-key Brooklynite has been sculpting sumptuous journeys into the sonic abyss; tailor-made for her gorgeous, hypnotic vocal delivery. ‘Angel Calling Embaci’ is now just another step towards this young artist’s undeniable conquering of the underground music scene. Clocking in at just over 12 minutes, Embaci’s latest LSD-infused expedition into the boundaries of popular music is difficult to describe. However, her music is often labelled “post club”, and that’s exactly what comes to mind here: A club full of ravers, not dancing, but moving – jerking, if you will – to the sporadic, volatile number pulsating in their ears. They don’t follow the dictation of BPM, but rather the character of the music and the nature of the several instruments that spring up in the course of just a few minutes. People are trying to become one with the sound rather than accompany it. Picture FKA Twigs and Aphex Twin had a love child. Then that child had a bastard child with Oneohtrix Point Never. That bastard child is actually the distant 5th cousin of Embaci. A truly out of this world artist.
04. Gaika - 'The Deal'
Remember this name just like you remember the first time you heard Death Grips. Gaika is a London MC that’s somehow managed to mould his own genre by the name of “ghettofuturism”. It’s a hodgepodge, mix-up of reggae, ambient, and grime. The production on ‘The Deal’ somehow doubles as incredibly soothing (the ambient) and noticeably sturdy (the grime). It’s a three-and-a-half-minute headspin; if you can tell me what’s going on here then the utmost respect to you. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; if anything, it shows Gaika’s done something right. ‘The Deal’ is as challenging as it is transfixing. Guest vocalist Alyusha weaves her lyrics throughout Gaika’s poised, cryptic interjections. Perhaps I’m just not ready for ghettofuturism just yet. But ‘The Deal’ stands on its own as a statement from a young, hungry up-and-comer. The labels are just that.
05. Kehlani - 'Table (feat. Little Simz)'
I’d be lying if I said I listened to this purely for Kehlani. As an unapologetic fan of Little Simz, I feel it necessary to sample everything she puts a finger to. I’m also likely to listen to anything K-Dot recommends. Remember when he said Little Simz just might be the “illest” in the game right now? Well too bad, because I do. If you catch wind of a track that packs a harder beat than ‘Dead Body’ then let me know straight away so I can burn that piece of sacrilege. That’s right. I’m willing to destroy art for the sake of Little Simz. Does that make me the “illest”? Huh? Does it?
Anyway, this is a solid club number by singer-songwriter Kehlani, which shows the Oakland up-and-comer’s penchant for directing powerful vocals through hip-hop delivery. Please do a better job than I did of appreciating this hugely talented up-and-comer. This track goes.