This week's Friday's Heat features tracks from: Maroon 5 & Future, Wale, Joey Bada$$, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Yoko Gold
“Cold” by Maroon 5 featuring Future
Recently, Donald Trump became president, and a Vietnamese kid proved he spits better than most of today’s rappers, so I guess Maroon 5 linking up with Future isn’t the craziest thing to happen in the past year. This collaboration is so inherently odd though. Upon first listen, it sounds like a normal Maroon 5 track because Adam Levine’s vocals carry roughly the first 2/3 of the track. But when Future’s iconic mumble enters, my initial reaction was to reject this pairing as organic, thinking it sounded more like a Diplo mashup.
However, after fully preparing myself for the second listen, it’s actually an interesting combination of sounds. The vocal dichotomy between Levine and Future provides a surface-level clashing of energies—since their voices are naturally so different—but the production suits them equally well, acting as the mutual friend between these seemingly perfect strangers. This odd combination definitely deserves your attention.
“Shape of You (Remix)” by Wale
I guess this was the week for rappers to collaborate with pop rock. Two days ago, Wale hopped on Ed Sheeran’s hit song, “Shape of You,” to create another interesting, yet appealing combination. Sheeran’s production mixes with Wale’s flow to create a reggae-sounding track, sort of reminiscent of a tougher Wyclef record. However, Sheeran’s intact chorus redirects the sonics back towards a pop style.
Wale entertaining alternative genres evokes excitement for his upcoming album, S.H.I.N.E., scheduled to drop in four days. “Shape of You (Remix)” and his previous singles indicate a strong follow-up to one of my favorite Wale projects, The Album About Nothing. He has yet to skimp on the wordplay, including this release, featuring these clever bars aimed towards an attractive prospect, “And t-t-t on the kitten, you never been with a lion / You fine, I just want you to shine.” February 20th needs to hurry up.
“Victory” by Joey Bada$$
Ooooh wheeee! *Kirk Cousin voice.* Joey Bada$$ triumphantly returns to his classic form on the fire track, “Victory”—hopefully a single off his heavily anticipated B4.DA.$$ follow-up, A.B.B.A. “Victory” is exactly what the title suggests: it’s Joey raising his arms high, trotting in victory around the lyrical boxing ring. Ever since 1999, Joey has been dubbed as one of the game’s rising talents and artists to watch. However, the unfortunate thing with early, premature projections, is that they’re typically wrong. Not in Joey’s case, though—his forecasted talented is completely accurate.
Joey doesn’t mince words about his cockiness, but he still pays homage by making subtle and direct tributes to the city that formed his identity and soul. He starts off the first verse with “First things first, uh”—a shout-out to Brooklyn’s Hip Hop legend, Biggie. He then ends this verse by saying, “They only make legends where I’m from,” clearly paying respect to his BK hometown. “Victory” is about mutual wins between him, his crew, and his city. Hopefully A.B.B.A. will be a cause for celebration as well.
“Roses” by BJ The Chicago Kid
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard new material from BJ The Chicago Kid, and “Roses” proves why we’ve missed him dearly. Damn, this is some baby making music. BJ’s soft, beautiful voice carries this distressed love song across the complementary production.
“Roses” flips conventional love songs on their head by discussing the difficulty in letting “a good thing go” despite evidence suggesting the relationship’s run its course. Sure, it’s easy to say it’d be healthy to end something that is past its expiration date, but once you’re actually deeply, emotionally involved with someone, the power button is hard to reach. BJ is a stick stuck in the mud.
The girl in question continuously messes with BJ’s mind, but he just can’t seem to shake her. The roses are stuck in his head.
“Gone” by Yoko Gold
Toronto’s new talent, Yoko Gold, is emerging on the scene with his strong debut single, “Gone.” Noisey premiered it this past week. Drawing similarities with The Weeknd and Party Next Door, Yoko Gold uses his pleasantly textured voice to discuss an unpleasant breakup that’s emotionally drained him, forcing his deep introspection and cathartically channeling that negativity into his breakout track.
Given his sound, location, and relatively unknown status, Yoko Gold seems like an ideal candidate for Drake’s OVO label. From this anecdote, Gold’s vocal range allows him to hit an array of notes, plausibly offering more potential than the limited PND. Just to clarify, I am a PND fan; I just think he lacks dynamism, and is best suited as feature artist. Like I said earlier in my Joey Bada$$ write-up, early predictions are typically fraudulent. However, I’m going to make a way too early prediction, and say that Yoko Gold seems like he can shoulder a solo career better than PND could.
(I was going to include some sort of half-ass Yoko Ono joke, but I think I’m better than that. Fuck it—if Drake does recruit him to OVO, hopefully he’s not responsible for their demise. Guess I’m not better than that. Sorry.)