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Bars: Your weekly round-up of the most fire new music, September 16

Pional, Mndsgn, Ty Dolla $ign, Post Malone, Kid Ink and D.R.A.M. have music in a good place

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After publishing the first Bars column last week something occurred to me; was there too much hip-hop? I know that sounds like an oxymoron, after all can you really have too much of it? Of course, the history of ACCLAIM has been founded on the “style and bad behaviour” of hip-hop. But given it is 2016, we so often look past just how much the genre has progressed. Bars (hint hint) and samples are the foundation which must be respected, but it’s important to realise how much hip-hop has found its way into genres ranging from EDM to pop. Hell, even ‘metal’ bands have been on it for a while (please, don’t ask). For this week’s Bars we wanted to parade hip-hop in all of its versatility and progression. Some tracks here teeter on the fine line between R&B and rap while others use sampling styles influenced from the genre and some rappers here aren’t even rapping. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the sonic and stylistic clusterfuck that is music in 2016, and this is the best music from the last week.

  • Words: Vincent Dwyer

01. D.R.A.M. – 'Cash Machine'

Remember that time you called D.R.A.M. wack? Neither. But seriously, don’t do that. While you were you were ordering Chinese from Uber Eats and sobbing to unquestionably classic episodes of Antiques Roadshow, D.R.A.M. has been dropping hit-after-hit for the past 18 months. ‘Cash Machine’ is one of his best so far. It’s like D.R.A.M. gets wackier and wackier with every song. He’s so volatile and excitable here that not even the excellent production on this can hold D.R.A.M.’s energy and the larger-than-life chorus. Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m bothering explaining this song to you; it’s the best. They should be jamming this shit in every nightclub and/or Hype DC store. 0 looped samples of pianos and money tills opening, coupled with the simply enjoyable flow makes for a great musical escape. If it were summer I would be in Fiji clad head-to-toe in chains and bouncing along with my homies to ‘Cash Machine’. Unfortunately, it’s shit wet outside and my pet goldfish needs to be fed. Still, praises to D.R.A.M. for allowing this sullen mind to wander.


02. Kid Ink - 'One Day'

When I found out Kid Ink has been in the game for almost 10 years I almost spit out my soy flat white macchiato. How have I not heard this guy before? I wondered. Upon doing my research I found out that he’s from LA, he’s “addicted to tattoos” (he has 27) and he’s unashamedly pro-PETA and anti-fur. To nobody’s surprise, he has a tattoo just to reiterate this belief. ‘One Day’ is his latest single release and it stands out as a steady, self-motivator for future prospects. “I’m gonna be famous one day, one day” the hook goes. This is a confusing maxim, given that, apparently, he’s already pretty well-known. Notwithstanding, the low-bpm, slow-burning, lax tenor of ‘One Day’ stakes a claim as a Friday night cool-down. Kid Ink has penned a melt-in-your-chair chiller which thankfully doesn’t freeze up prematurely.


03. Mndsgn - 'Use Ya Mnd [Twentyfourseven]'

Ok, this has been killing me for years. What the fuck’s the deal with electronic producers having beef with vowels? No, seriously. Every time I looked at the line-up for Stereosonic (RIP) some herb had decided to give the rules of phonetics a well-oiled middle finger. SNBRN, TWRK, KSHMR, SCNDL, SBTRKT, STRFKR, BRKLYN, MSTRKRFT. I could go for another turn of the moon. But Mndsgn gets off scot-free because, unlike the others, this guy’s music is actually pretty decent. ‘Use Ya Mnd [Twentyfourseven]’ comes hot off the proverbial music press and straight into our laps. It’s incredibly chill. There’s some excellent samples kneaded into the sonic mix here. The track comes off as both a throwback to 80s synth pop and 00’s chillwave; the kind of shit Ryan Gosling’s character from Drive would listen to if he was still living with his mum and regularly shitposting on /mu/. Thankfully Mndsgn is neither of those things, but just another producer dropping hits and hating vowels.


04. Post Malone - 'Déjà vu' [Feat. Justin Bieber]

Again, I hate to reiterate my point but I am VERY annoyed that it’s not summer in Australia. I can just picture Post Malone and the Biebs taunting me in their all-white outfits, clad in gold chains and drowning themselves in champagne while seated on a lavish yacht. ‘Déjà vu’ provides the soundtrack to this traumatising vision. The breezy, summery guitar licks and add an air of relaxation to Post Malone’s insatiable desire to find out if his boo wants him, ‘cos like, he obviously wants her as well. Bieber’s vocals are hard to criticise, as usual. It’s hard not to forget that Biebs is one of the few R&B vocalists in 2016 who doesn’t need autotune. The only let down of ‘Déjà vu’ is that the backing drum samples sound suspiciously like the same ones used in ‘Hotline Bling’. Then again, that song was fire and there’s no reason you should feel any differently about this one.




05. Pional - 'The Way That You Like' [feat. Empress Of]

The name might not ring a bell, but Pional is a talented-as-anything producer from the hallowed grounds of Española. He might not be a household name either, but this guy has worked with the likes of The Rapture, The xx, and Chairlift among others. His latest tantaliser, ‘The Way That You Like’ features the hypnotising vocals of rising New York singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez (aka Empress Of). The track drives steadily on the back of some sharp synth beats, while Rodriguez’s vocals work complement Pional’s nocturnal production. You’d be hard pressed to hear this radiating over a nightclub dancefloor; the music is much too focused and engrossed in its own emotional subject matter to provoke any sense of collective delight. ‘The Way That You Like’ is best saved for a drive through the city on a rainy night. As unappetising a situation as that sounds, Pional’s emotionally simmering production will certainly make the trip worthwhile. This is the best track of the past seven days by far.

06. Ty Dolla $ign - 'Stealing'

Sue me, but I’m getting fairly disillusioned by the key focus of Ty Dolla $ign’s music always being specifically, and explicitly, “bitches”. I can’t believe how outdated I seem writing this sentence, but it is rather anticlimactic when someone so musically versatile keeps hammering away at the same old rap clichés. ‘Stealing’ might not be a complete stylistic turnaround for Ty, but it shows this MC’s song writing prowess. “Stealing all these bitches’ hearts/ Ooooohhh I’m stealing all these bitches’ hearts”. Ok so maybe his sentimental side might not be so strategically executed, but the sheer catchiness of ‘Stealing’ makes it one of Ty’s strongest efforts since ‘Paranoid’. It’s one of Ty’s most minimal numbers to date. In fact, he doesn’t even rap. He might still be lulling over ‘bitches’, but his vocals and impressive hand at the guitar makes ‘Stealing’ his well-needed show of musical versatility.