Kendrick Lamar makes a triumphant return with the surprise drop of a fiery track in which he calls himself the "greatest rapper alive," while ZAYN enlists PARTYNEXTDOOR to produce a dancehall-inspired tropical jam. New voice Mags Duval channels Lana Del Rey in a love song we can all relate to, while indie favorite Perfume Genius layers passion and pain in his textured new single and British singer-songwriter Jacob Banks releases a new song that's as contemporary as it is soulful.
"The Heart Part 4," Kendrick Lamar
K-Dot drops a new track calling himself "the greatest rapper alive" and promptly blows up the internet: he was tweeted about over half a million times in just 12 hours. That just goes to show how popular the dexterous, incendiary rapper really is, a fact he seems keenly aware of. Featuring backing vocals from rising teen star Khalid, "The Heart Part 4" starts out as a slow jam, finds a jazz interlude, and then blows out into a burning sendup of contemporary politics. "The whole world goin' mad/ bodies is adding up, market's about to crash... Donald Trump is a chump, know how we feel, punk," Lamar recites, delivering every scathing line with an enunciated punch.
"Still Got Time," ZAYN & PARTYNEXTDOOR
Zayn brings his sinuous brand of R&B to the dancehall-inspired "Still Got Time," a tropical bop that makes for an easy, summery listen. With an appearance from PARTYNEXTDOOR to add texture to the low-key party tune, Zayn promises all the single ladies out there that they've "still got time" to find love — perhaps a subtle nod to his early One Direction fans as they grow up right alongside him.
"Slip Away," Perfume Genius
Perfume Genius's warped, layered production shines in "Slip Away," a mind-bending tune in turns darkly percussive and hauntingly ethereal. This is the lead single off the upcoming fourth album from the Pacific Northwest-based artist, real name Mike Hadreas, whose cathartic brand of texturized rock and introspective exploration of queerness has earned him a dedicated following.
"Cinnamon Gum," Mags Duval
19-year-old Florida-born, Nashville-based alt-pop singer Mags Duval brings the floaty lilt of Lana Del Rey — playful lyrics along with dreamy, retro image — to the pop-forward "Cinnamon Gum," a song about the one that got away. "It was just one kiss, but it stuck on my lips," she muses, reminiscing about that first all-important taste of passion. Likewise, the tune will get stuck in your head — but that's not a bad thing.
"Chainsmoking," Jacob Banks
Once again, British Nigerian artist Jacob Banks brings the heat with a new song, this one called "Chainsmoking." From its distorted, heavy bass to Banks's powerful delivery, the soulful artist takes his cues from blues, mixing in contemporary production. "Chainsmoking" is about an addiction to a love that makes it "harder to breathe," and Banks's intensity sells it completely.