This week’s Must-Hear Music podcast kicks off with a detailed dissection of Kendrick Lamar’s “i,” the first full taste of his sophomore album.
While everyone (Jason Lipshutz, Erika Ramirez and Joe Lynch) agrees it was far from what we expected, the Billboard staff has divergent opinions on what this self-love anthem (and retro-flavored track) means for King Kendrick’s upcoming album. Listen to us discuss the track below.
We also chat about a rejected demo Dev Hynes submitted to Britney Spears for her last album — although we all love it, we get into it whether this track is right for Britney at this point in her career.
Elsewhere, we discuss a new track from Azealia Banks‘ long-delayed debut album, Jessie J‘s 2 Chainz collabo, Elliphant’s track with Mø (pronounced “moo”) and a lovely, harrowing song from Perfume Genius‘ third album.
Download the podcast on iTunes or listen to it below. And beneath that, check out highlights from our conversation and sample the tracks on this week’s Must-Hear Music podcast. Kendrick Lamar: “i” Erika: I was not expecting this song, but I love the way he rode a looped Isley Brothers sample, and I love that this is a Compton rapper talking about self-love. A lot of rappers would be too nervous to do that.
Jason: The last important piece of music he released was the “Control” verse, but this is totally different. You almost expect him to start singing along to “That Lady.”
Joe: This is stuffed with classic references: He shouts-out War’s The World Is a Ghetto album in the lyrics, samples the Isley Brothers — also sampled on Paul’s Boutique — and the end of the track is very reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, with the funky bass line and the car honking noises.
Jessie J ft. 2 Chainz: “Burning Up”
Jason: It sounds like a hit to me. They don’t mesh too well together, but I love this 2 Chainz verse. He rhymes “corridor” with “Oreo” and that’s all I ask from a 2 Chainz rap.
Joe: It’s an odd mish-mash of styles. There’s syncopated jungle rhythms, but then her voice is doing what it would do on any other track.
Erika: I’m not a fan of when artists are just grabbing what’s hot, like the A$AP Rocky/Sam Smith collaboration. It feels a little forced, and I feel that here.
Untitled Dev Hynes Britney Spears demo Joe: This is purportedly the song Dev Hynes sent to Britney Spears for inclusion on her last album. His performance is incredibly anguished and beautiful — it’s fantastic. But I see why she turned it down. It’s almost too real for her.
Erika: I completely agree. It makes me nervous to think of Britney singing on this. But Beyonce on a Dev Hynes song? That makes more sense.
Jason: I don’t know why Dev Hynes isn’t a more in-demand producer. He’s on fire — everyone should be emulating his sound.
Azealia Banks: “Chasing Time” Erika: I wish she wouldn’t sabotage her talent with Twitter beefs, because this song is great. She’s at home singing and rapping over ’90s dance music.
Jason: I wasn’t taken with this song. My reaction was, “I’d rather listen to ‘212’ again.”
Joe: I like this song, but it made me feel, “She’s been postponing her album for two years for this?'”
Elliphant ft. Mø: “One More”
Jason: Elliphant is a very promising Swedish artist. Her songs are usually manic, but this one slows things down. And it’s beautiful.
Perfume Genius: “Fool”
Joe: His vocals here remind me of Prince singing “The Cross” on Sign O’ the Times: Weary, but strong and resilient in spite of everything.