The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Four Tet, Jay Rock

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Apart from an actual new Dr. Dre album, which you can read all about here, there’s a heap of other good new hip hop this week — along with some glistening electronic sounds and one very pretty guitar-based song.

Four Tet — “BACK2THESTART”

If you or I are stuck on a plane, we watch movies, read questionable literature, or gobble benzos like candy in the vague hope of getting some sleep. If Kieran Hebden is stuck on a plane, he casually produces something like this, a sunny slice of electronic pop that’s a lovely companion piece to the “Morning” half of his recent Morning/Evening album. The bastard.

Jay Rock — “90059”

If you’re a casual fan, you’ll probably know Jay Rock from his killer verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees” — if so, then rejoice, because he’s in similarly excellent form on this solo track. It features a hook from one Lance Skiiwalker, who — as Stereogum notes — sounds a hell of a lot like Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

Glasses Malone — “Thuggin'” (feat. Kendrick Lamar and Killer Mike)

Speaking of Kendrick, he’s also in sterling form on this track. Honestly, you can skip Glasses Malone’s lead verse, which is average at best and obnoxious at worst (“As a man I don’t take dick/ I don’t do Versace/ That’s that gay shit”? Nope!), and proceed straight to Killer Mike’s verse, which is fantastic — in a few snappy lines, it addresses the prison-industrial complex and mass incarceration (“The condition that we put kids in/ Often poverty-stricken/ And even their education becomes a pipeline to prison/ Simply a tool used for mass incarceration/ Call it the new plantation/ Call it new era slavery”) and also deals a verbal slap to the system’s apologists (“O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Geraldo know what it is… Don Lemon too, Wolf Blitzer three.”). Kendrick is the icing on the cake, which means that this is right up there with “Control” as far as guest stars completely outshining the track’s author goes.

Widowspeak — “Dead Love (So Still)”

Four studio albums in, Molly Hamilton still sounds like Hope Sandoval, and it’s still entirely OK with us. This is a sort of airy, country-tinged track, made more interesting by the lashes of distorted guitar that drift in and out of the mix like clouds over the sun. It’s from their upcoming fourth album, All Yours, which is out September 4th on Captured Tracks.

With You — “Ghost” (feat. Vince Staples)

In which Vince drops bars over a slow-building EDM banger. It works a treat, surprisingly enough.

Bonus link: Stream Chance the Rapper and Lil B’s mixtape here. It’s good! And fun!