13 Beats of the Week: 10/30/20


Miller Downer, Managing Editor

  1. “HIT EM WHERE IT HURTS,” by PawPaw Rod – Oklahoma’s own PawPaw Rod effortlessly fuses rap, house, funk and soul to create a new modern sound with driving percussion and beautiful pre-choruses. Godmode, the label that propelled artists like Yaeji and Channel Tres, has already picked up Rod as new talent, making him a name to keep in mind as he continues to expand his repertoire.
  2. “Kevin,” by Oliver Malcolm  – Oliver Malcolm describes himself succinctly as a “world builder,” using characters as love-letters to the scenes and sounds that helped him form his own style. “Kevin,” therefore, is an homage to the London underground, with all of its intense grime seeping into this song’s production.
  3. “Vossi Bop,” by Stormzy – London-based MC Stormzy is nothing short of legendary. “Vossi Bop” introduced the Croydon native to the world back in 2019, though he has been making major moves in the UK since 2014, claiming a Top 20 hit fairly early in his career with another great single “WickedSkengMan 4.”
  4. “Overthinking IT,” by WILLOW – In a surprising turn of events, Willow Smith of “Whip My Hair” fame has been slowly yet sufficiently finding her own sound, settling on a unique brand of art pop mixed with electronica. The emotionally packed and flooded “Overthinking IT” from her 2019 project WILLOW is a grand and practically orchestral capstone in the singer-songwriter’s career.
  5. “Doc,” by Chocolate Milk – New Orleans funk powerhouse Chocolate Milk was unarguably bigger during their heyday in the ‘70s, but their music remains pertinent and important in its clear inspiration for many funk and even contemporary R&B artists.
  6. “The Blade,” by SwuM & GRIMM Doza – Whereas SwuM has been long-established as a big name in lo-fi production, GRIMM Doza remains an enigmatic and otherwise unbothered rap artist. The collaboration between the two, however, emphasizes a specific necessity for up-and-coming rappers to adapt and cooperate with out-of-the-box producers for the sake of developing something new and enjoyable.
  7. “Forever (feat. Orion Sun),” by Nascent, Orion Sun & Loshendrix – Much like the last track, “Forever” purports the growing necessity for cross-genre collaboration. Orion Sun has always been a favorite in terms of sheer talent and delivery, and placing her on top of one of Nascent’s radical productions makes for a radiant and lush tearjerker.
  8. “Amber,” by Unusual Demont – One of the graces of music in the Information Age is the clear-cut lineages one can trace as new artists attempt to emulate the sounds of their favorites — enter Unusual Demont, a self-defined denizen of the Internet who looks up to the likes of Frank Ocean, Injury Reserve and various K-pop groups.
  9. “Don’t Trust Me,” by the booyah! kids – Aggressively “New Yorkian hipster” with the general busy clutter of the city oozing from every outlet, the booyah! kids came together in high school while independently immersing themselves in the flourishing music scene of NYC in the wake of groups like Talking Heads, Blondie & The Velvet Underground. “Don’t Trust Me” is the pinnacle of their efforts, revolutionizing typical bedroom pop and making it something incredibly sobering, serious and sensational.
  10. “FAF,” by Juto – Alternative R&B up-and-comer Juto is anything but typical, making use of his own talents in raspy and aggressive delivery that somehow works incredibly over neo-soul beats.
  11. “Sellout – Earl Sweatshirt Mix,” by Denmark Vessey, DrxQuinnx & Vic Spencer – Denmark Vessey is a huge name in the Detroit music scene, rubbing elbows with giants like Danny Brown and Slum Village to name a couple. His raw lyrical talent reflects his time in the game, bringing out his entire verbal arsenal on “Sellout,” a track that serves as an entry point for further deep listening.
  12. “Neon Guts (feat. Pharrell Williams),” by Lil Uzi Vert & Pharrell Williams – With a surprising Pharrell feature, Uzi’s “Neon Guts” off of his 2017 Luv Is Rage 2 is an enjoyable — if a bit simple — pop trap track from the middle of Uzi’s meteoric rise after the success of his 2015 and 2016 mixtapes.
  13. “Bad Texter,” by Ryan Woods – Ryan Woods unarguably fills the usual niche of a soft boy sitting in his bedroom making music for an unnamed love interest. This being said, one is pretty hard-pressed to find anyone that comes even close to capitalizing on their image as well as Woods has, and furthermore, his competitors have nothing as dense and well-produced.