Fresh Music Friday

with Jonah, Michael, and Charlie

The 6/21 Edition

Jonah’s Picks

Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression) // Zack Fox & Kenny Beats

Perfect for:

  • going dumb in any place at any time

  • mourning Betty White (eventually)

  • praising Jesus

  • hitting the strip club with glue on the bottom of your shoes

Unironically, this is a fantastic song. Old Town Road is the global phenomenon it is today for a lot of reasons, but among them is that Lil Nas X doesn’t take himself too seriously. It’s a fun over-the-top song, and it knows that. “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression) applies the same principle of ironic absurdity rap and cranks it to 11. If you don’t know who Zack Fox is, it’s in your best interests to change that pronto.

The song is a product of Zack Fox’s visit to Kenny Beats’ webseries The Cave [ ], where he invites rappers into his studio to drop (usually ridiculous) freestyles and generally fuck around. Within a minute, Kenny asks Zack what kind of beat he wants, and Zack offers these ingredients: Runescape, Jodeci, and almond milk — with a domestic violence filter on it. (“Make me a pro-lifer beat.”)

“Imma dip my balls in some thousand island dressin’ / Cause I got depression”

This next-level bar alone accomplishes more for mental illness awareness and normalization than a thousand weird Burger King ad campaigns ever could. (sidenote: Burger King wants me to buy a Depression Burger? What the fuck is going on in the universe?)

Kenny Beats is a prolific, talented producer, and he does more than his part in making a beat that’s simultaneously hilariously absurd and genuinely hard, setting the stage for Fox to deliver game-changing lyricism:

“Armpits musty / Reeboks dusty / My show got cancelled cause white folks don’t trust me / Now I’m in the strip club with glue on the bottom of my shoe”

Every line out of Fox’s mouth is a blindsiding curveball, and never prepares you for the bar that’s about to follow. It’s impeccable parody: absolutely ridiculous but still evoking the over-the-top absurdity of more serious rappers. If I told you Fox starts a line with “Imma stick my dick in a bag of Doritos,” wouldn’t you want to know how it ends?

U Say // GoldLink, Tyler, the Creator, Jay Prince

Perfect for:

  • relaxing on a cool summer night
  • a chill solo dance party

I was introduced to GoldLink years ago, and though I never actively or avidly kept up with his music nearly as much as I should’ve, it’s been exciting to watch him grow more and more into the rapper he showed glimpses of five years ago.

GoldLink’s flow is rapid-fire, dizzying, and gymnastic — at times, there’s a JID feel to his delivery, but GoldLink’s bars tend to be more coolly executed instead of the frenetic, jittery style of JID. His presence on the mic in “U Say” is calm, casual and confident as he leads the minimal, woozy instrumental.

The beat’s rhythm is atypical, lacking the standard kick-and-snare alternation that summarizes 95% of hip-hop beats. This is not uncommon for GoldLink, who often opts for faster, reggaeton-influenced rhythms instead of the traditional boom-bap of hip-hop. “U Say” is definitely closer to the former, with a lopsided shuffle that creates forward momentum only accelerated by GoldLink’s high-speed tongue-twisters.

Tyler and Jay Prince’s features fit into the mood of the song like a pair of gloves, with Tyler bringing a grittier, more assertive tone that balances GoldLink’s feet-kicked-back nonchalance and Jay Prince holding down a smooth hook. The instrumental mirrors the contrast between Tyler and Goldlink’s energy levels, straddling the opposites of fast-paced and chilled-out with the jumping, dynamic beat contrasting the swaying, watery chords.

Charlie’s Picks

She’s Kinda Hot // 5 Seconds of Summer

Perfect for:

  • feelin’ good on a Wednesday (or any other day of the week)

  • stuck in traffic on the way to/from work

  • if you need a mood booster

I know what you’re thinking: “Wtf why did Charlie pick a song from a boyband from the early 2010s?” If I’m gonna be honest, it took me a while to understand the whole boyband thing. Growing up I was told that only young girls were allowed to like boybands, no matter the actual quality of the music itself. Eventually I grew out of this narrow view of music, and started really appreciating some of the quality tunes from these groups.

So there I am, stuck in traffic on the way back from my “real” job, and all of a sudden from one of my discovery playlists, “She’s Kinda Hot” comes on. As soon as the opening lyrics hit my ear with “My girlfriend’s bitchin’ cause I always sleep in, She’s always screamin’ when she’s calling her friend. She’s kinda hot though,” I was instantly hooked. The song has a pop-y, punk-y sound that’s not short on electric guitar riffs played with the perfect amount of edgy distortion. It’s an easy song to sing, and relatable enough to be funny. I know I’m not the only one who’s dealt with a crazy significant other, and the song is filled with even more of these situations.

“My shrink is telling me I got crazy dreams / She’s also saying I got low self-esteem / She’s kinda hot though… She put me on meds / she won’t get out of my head / She’s kinda hot though”

With a goofy and relatable first few verses, the song eventually gets to its chorus, which is my personal favorite collection of lyrics I’ve heard all week.

“They say we’re losers and we’re alright with that. We are the leaders of the not coming back’s, but we’re alright though, Yeah we’re alright though.

We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene / Yeah we’re alright though”

I don’t know if you’ve looked around, but the general state of things in the world right now can seem pretty scary and overwhelming. But sometimes the best way to deal with a big scary world is to sit back, laugh at the insanity, and hopefully find a reason to smile. Whether you have a borderline abusive ex, a shrink that’s not doing the job for you, or even just a nervousness for the future: the only way to get through tough times is to remember “we’re alright though.”

And yes, I did get all of that from a two minute boyband song.

Killing Me Softly with His Song // Roberta Flack

Perfect for:

  • chillin’

  • sexytime

  • evening wind-down sesh

Let’s shift gears. For those who don’t know, I’ve spent a lot of time growing up around and learning from jazz musicians, so I’ve always had a spot in my heart for that genre of music. That’s why when I first heard this song, I instantly fell in love. If you remember the rap group Fugees, you might remember they had a song of the same name from their 1996 album The Score. The hook from their song (also titled “Killing Me Softly with His Song”) is lifted from this song.

Roberta Flack performs a hauntingly beautiful performance. The instrumentation is just as hypnotic, with a simple but powerful bassline, as well as electric organ playing the countermelody; the whole mix of the song is filled with a tasteful amount of reverb, making everything sound more like a dream than anything else.

There’s not much else to say other than this: if you enjoy soft jazz ballads, you’re gonna love this song.

Michael’s Picks

Dontmakemefallinlove // Cuco

Perfect for:

  • accepting it’s not gonna work with you and a crush

  • needing a song to wrap you up in a lo-fi hug

  • getting emo about literally anything

While many are apparently discovering this song through some shit on TikTok, don’t let that distract you from Cuco’s depth of emotion, broadcasted with his guitar loops and driving drum-beat.

Essentially, the entire track revolves around a single theme — the melody that opens and closes the track. It’s not particularly complex —it’s no exhaustive solo —but it’s incredibly catchy. It’s the type of melody that, when the song is over, you’ll be wishing you could hear one more time. But wait, that’s exactly what this track has. Just before you lose hope of getting one more glimpse of a melody that’s going to be stuck in your head all day, it comes back in full force, completing the musical circle of the song in the most satisfying way possible.

Accompanying that catchiness is Cuco’s almost-defeated vocal performance, a dreary, rainy-day, kind of energy that will resonate if you’re even remotely sad about something, especially if that feeling is from a love interest.

Vossi Bop // Stormzy

Perfect for:

  • hitting the club with a stupid dumb dance move
  • literally Vossi Boppin
  • driving fast at night

The Vossi Bop is an almost-viral dance move created by Twitter user @NLVossi, and it appears he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that.

This song has everything. Stormzy absolutely rips the track apart- and his aggressive enunciation of every single syllable gives the feeling that he really means this Vossi Bop shit. The song gets so much cooler when you see the music video, which is an absolute gem.

I could never die, I’m Chuck Norris

Fuck the government and fuck Boris

While the song isn’t necessarily going to stick around because of lyrical density, or a particularly incredible beat, it has that indescribable quality that makes it genuinely bang. It’s perfect for driving, or Vossi Bopping, or coming up with the Next Great Dance Move. Give this song a peep, and add it to your hype playlist.




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