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Bars: Your weekly music round-up of the latest releases and most fire tracks

Travis Scott, M.I.A., Topaz Jones, Emilio Rojas, Desiigner, and 24hrs stole the last seven days

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Weekly updates

Are you exhausted yet? I know I am. 2016 keeps surprising me with hit after hit. I never thought I’d live to see such an eventful year, not just for hip hop, but for all genres of music. Old mate Kanye West kicked off ’16 with a series of batshit-crazy fashion shows, accompanied by the release of his latest effort, The Life of Pablo.

There was only a second for breath before Chicago’s latest prodigy, Chance the Rapper dropped his instant classic, Colouring Book. This was the moment every music fan sat back and said “That’s got to be it, there’s no way another smash can be drop this year.”

Then came Blonde. It’s hard to remember the last time an album caused such a stir and answered such gross anticipation than Frank Ocean’s latest effort. Add that to some solid EP’s from Young Thug and Vince Staples, respectively and you’ve got nine months-worth of artistic boundary-pushing and good listening. Oh, and some small-time rapper named Kendrick Lamar also dropped a stupidly good b-sides collection back in March. No biggie.

Now that we’re ticking away towards the end of 2016, it’s time to focus on the now and what’s ahead. The past week may have been shy of big-name releases, but there’s an abundance of underground and independent releases out there worthy of an Ocean wave of hype. With Bars, not only do we provide a weekly summation of new releases but we also like to give a shout out to the musical battlers trying to get a foot in the door. This is the platform for the established and up-and-comers.

01. Desiigner- 'Timmy Turner (remix)' Feat. Kanye West

Say what you will about either of these guys, but the potential for a ground-breaking collaboration is undeniable. On Wednesday a new remix of Desiigner’s hit single, ‘Timmy Turner’ surfaced featuring a brand new verse from Kanye West. The two have already joined forces before, with Kanye making an appearance in Desiigner’s music video for ‘Panda’. But this feels like the first of what may be multiple collaborations between these two MCs. This remix might only scrape over the two-minute mark, but Kanye’s imposing verse and the layered production of ‘Timmy Turner’ certainly goes a long way in making this remix worthwhile.


02. Emilio Rojas - 'I Hate Donald Trump'

YG might’ve beaten Emilio Rojas to the punch, but at least Rojas backs up his hatred for the Republican Presidential nominee with soundbite evidence. The New York MC is currently unsigned, which is a surprise given his prowess in technicality and execution. The bars on this track are fast enough to spin circles around your head, but concise enough to let the message seep in. And it’s a simple message. I hate Donald Trump, he’s such a fucking prick/ I hate Donald Trump, he can suck my dick. The chorus may be straightforward, but the verses really hit the hardest. Rojas has already collaborated with the likes of DJ Green Lantern and KES, so let’s hope there’s more to hear from him in the future (and less from Trump himself).


03. M.I.A. - 'Freedun' Feat. ZAYN

She loves causing a stir, both with her politically charged anthems and knack for pun-heavy titles. ‘Freedun’ is Maya Arulpragrasam’s latest pop nugget in the lead-up to her upcoming record, AIM. In terms of execution this is M.I.A.’s most enjoyable, dance-worthy track in years. The level of gravity commonplace in her music is supplanted by bouncy production, catchy hooks and some excellent backing vocals from ZAYN. It’s M.I.A. at her effortlessly enjoyably, empowering self. She has always used music to push a message, and while is still the case with ‘Freedun’, M.I.A. doesn’t spare on acknowledging the pleasant escapism which music grants us all.


04. Topaz Jones - 'Winona' Feat. Pell

If you haven’t yet familiarised yourself with Topaz Jones then here’s your chance. He’s an MC from Montclair, New Jersey and if you need some convincing then you should probably know that Jones is the son of an activist scholar and a funk guitarist—creativity runs in his veins. After releasing some excellent back-to-back singles in ‘Tropicana’ and ‘Powerball’, Jones returns with this eerily-lax number. ‘Winona’ also features some catchy bars from New Orleans rapper, Pell. Give it a listen and remember the name Topaz Jones in 12 months’ time. His debut album, Arcade is also out later this month, so treat yourself.


05. Travis Scott - 'RaRa' Feat. Lil Uzi Vert

This is the number Travis Scott promised us. While he might’ve just dropped his latest record Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight earlier this week, this gem came brand-spanking free. The track is as energetic as you’d expect from Scott, with some heavy trap beats pulsating around the Houston MCs auto-tuned spits. Philadelphia MC, Lil Uzi Vert throws a few brow-raising bars in there and manages to keep this number on the straight-and-narrow. It’s simple, catchy escapism. It’s just a shame it didn’t end up on Scott’s record, but who isn’t psyched when they get something for free?


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06. 24hrs - 'Monster Truck'

Hip-hop has finally found its answer to Burial. Mysterious Atlanta rapper, 24hrs just dropped a new EP on Tuesday and he still remains illusively media-shy. 12:AM EP features some tender moments mixed with a healthy serving of stomping trap beats exhibited in true Atlanta fashion. After breaking out with ‘You Know’ back in June, 24hrs has been releasing hit-after-hit through his SoundCloud. ‘Monster Truck’ is the standout from his latest EP; his candid lyricism mixed over some sparsely atmospheric production and a catchy-as-hell chorus. You never know what 24hrs is going to drop next, so keep your eyes and ears open.