The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: M.I.A., Arca, Rick Ross


We’re still reeling from the nearly 10-minute epic that the Duke of Bowie bestowed upon us earlier this week, but we’ve still got plenty of other new tunes to share to start your weekend playlists.

There’s a scuzzy new track from da Bawse with a Nas feature, some Marc Bolan worship from Ty Segall, more dark, twisted weirdness from producer-of-the-moment Arca, and a sardonic single from Tamil Tiger apologist M.I.A. But first, a Baauer-assisted jam from a Zimbabwe-born songstress:

Tkay Maidza — “Ghost”

Tkay Maidza is a 19-year-old singer from Australia who’s been making noise since her 2014 EP Switch Tape. She’s worked with the likes of SBTRKT and Bok Bok, and is assisted here by Baauer, What So Not, and George Maple, the latter of whom shares a co-writing credit with Maidza on “Ghost.” Miadza’s voice soars on the hook before plummeting to a lower register for her rapped verses. Her rhythmic flow sounds a bit like Chief Keef’s drill marches, but if he was actually awake and liked to read books. Dope.

Rick Ross — One of Us (ft. Nas)

Rozay just recently gifted us with a Black Dollar, and though it’s been mere weeks, he’s about to drop the Black Market on us. This early single, featuring the Nasty one himself, sounds like it was recorded on a dubbed cassette, and matches Nas’ particularly gully verse. Ross’ voice sounds as buttery as ever, and though it would be silly to expect anything poignant out of his lyrics, his flow is silky and skillful. We’ve touted Ross’ skill as an executive producer before, and if “One of Us” is any indication, Black Market shouldn’t provide any argument to the contrary.

Ty Segall — Ty-Rex

Here at Flavorwire, we appreciate most any Marc Bolan worship (though we admit to preferring the real thing). And while most of the tracks on Ty Segall’s new release Ty-Rex are reissues of T. Rex covers previously released on 7″ singles, Segall’s version of “20th Century Man” is both new and wonderful. Both bass and guitar sound like they’re passing through the filthiest set of pedals we’ve heard in some time. But let’s be real, they’re garage rock covers of T. Rex songs. To quote Flavorwire EIC Judy Berman, “It’s exactly as good as that sounds to you.”

Arca — “Front Load”

Arca makes weird fucking music. As in, music that would be weird to fuck to, but also just exceptionally weird music. We’ve seen a few singles, but today marks the official release of Mutant, his second full length. The abstract instrumental compositions are sweeping, stuttering, uplifting, and unforgiving. His videos for this album cycle have all been pretty bizarre, typically consisting of a single long take with heavily distorted images and shocking reveals. This clip, for “Front Load,” is no different, with blurry close up shots of human flesh that upon close inspection turn out to be a penis (Arca’s?). Just try looking away.

M.I.A. — “Borders”

Maya is back. The provocative pop star was last in the news after revealing that a recent video was shelved due to absurd fears of cultural appropriation (she wanted to feature an African dancer), but thankfully, we have new music to talk about. “Borders,” the latest single off her upcoming LP Matahdatah, is a shoulder-bopping banger that highlights M.I.A.’s glib takes on pop culture that somehow seem to be ten times as powerful as your latest hot take.

“Borders / What’s up with that? / Politics / What’s up with that? / Police shots / What’s up with that? / Identities / What’s up with that? / Your privilege / What’s up with that? / Broke people / What’s up with that? / Boat people / What’s up with that? / The realness / What’s up with that? / The new world / What’s up with that? / I’m gonna keep up an order”

The cultural zeitgeist, what’s up with that?