13 Beats

13 Beats

Daniel Bernstein, Staff Writer

“Time feat. Ariana Grande,” Childish Gambino (2020)

One of the few tracks with a conventional title from the album “3.15.20,” Childish Gambino’s 2020 song “Time” features heavy synth melodies and great vocal performances. “Time,” like many other tracks on the album, show Gambino’s evolution from his earlier mixtapes, as his more recent releases embrace experimentation and newer sounds.

“New Lands – Falcon Remix,” Justice (2012)

DJ Falcon is one of the most prominent names to appear in the French house and electronic music scene around the turn of the century, eventually forming a collaborative duo with a member of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter. “New Lands – Falcon Remix” is DJ Falcon’s take on the track by Justice, another french duo. Falcon chops the vocals and adds a heavy-hitting drum pattern to elevate the song from a slow groove to a dancing track.
RIYL: Fatboy Slim, Breakbot, Together

“Picture in my mind,” PinkPantheress, Sam Gellaitry (2022)

The most recent release from PinkPantheress is a collaboration with multi-talented artist and producer, Sam Gellaitry. The mixing and mastering on “Picture in my mind” are unmatched, with apparent punch drums and very tasteful vocal mixes between both artists on the chorus. PinkPantheress has recently gained popularity through her combination of soft vocals and very upbeat and groovy sounds.
RIYL: SZA, Kali Uchis, Syd

“When I’m Small,” Phantogram (2010)

The iconic intro to this song features a thick bassline followed by complementing vocals by Sarah Barthell. The chorus calls back to the intro by featuring the same vocals, each element of the song building on the other and coming together for a beautiful, rich conclusion.
RIYL: The Black Keys, Cults, Passion Pit

“Just Another Case,” Cru (1997)

“Cru” is a very short-lasting hip-hop group, only releasing a handful of tracks and one studio album before they disbanded. Fortunately, the first track they released, “Just Another Case,” displays some of the best storytelling from their era of hip-hop, with members of the group trading lines and working together to deliver great vocal performances.
RIYL: Goodie Mob, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest

“Didn’t I,” Darondo (2005)

Darondo faced a rocky path in the music industry but eventually launched himself into stardom with the release of his track, “Didn’t I,” in 2005. This song has it all: great vocal range, complimentary strings and a rich emotional tone with a guitar that tops it all off. Darondo unfortunately passed away in 2013, but he lived to see this track be featured in the soundtrack of one of the most celebrated TV shows of the generation, “Breaking Bad.”
RIYL: Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield 

“Dear Summer,” Memphis Bleek, Jay-Z (2005)

“Dear Summer” is a track that Jay-Z made in his supposed retirement from the music industry, when he decided to pursue a career outside of hip-hop. The Brooklyn native outlines his path from entering the rap industry to his eventual departure in verses structured like a letter he is writing to the industry he aims to leave behind. Jay-Z eventually returned to hip-hop in 2006 with his hit album, “Kingdom Come.”
RIYL: Nas, 50 Cent, Cam’ron

“Dirty Work,” Steely Dan (1972)

One of the most iconic songs from influential ’70s band Steely Dan is “Dirty Work,” a track from one of their more popular albums, “Can’t Buy A Thrill.” Featuring great guitar riffs and an unforgettable intro on the piano, “Dirty Work” encapsulates both the intricate instrumentation and experimentation that defined the seventies.
RIYL: Pink Floyd, The Doobie Brothers, America

“Palmolive feat. Pusha T and Killer Mike,” Freddie Gibbs (2019)

Freddie Gibbs always delivers gritty and deep songs and “Palmolive” is certainly no exception. Coming from his second project with the legendary Madlib, this song relies on a soulful vocal sample, with cracks and noises of a vinyl record audible throughout the track. Killer Mike and Pusha T each deliver a great chorus and verse respectively, each performing at their best.
RILY: Run The Jewels, The Alchemist, Earl Sweatshirt

“Welcome To Jamrock,” Damian Marley (2005)

Damian Marley, one of Bob Marley’s many children, continues his legendary legacy by incorporating elements of reggae with a modern twist, full of rap influence and creative use of samples. Damian has continued to break the mold, collaborating with Skrillex and Nas in some of his other popular tracks. “Welcome To Jamrock” is one of the most accessible and popular takes on the classic reggae genre that makes it timeless and easy to listen to on repeat.
RIYL: Dr. John, Ziggy Marley, Protoje

“Believe,” The Bravery (2007)

“Believe” is a great example of modern alternative rock, with heavy ties to its predecessors such as the heavy use of cymbals and powerful guitar solos. The chorus and bridge are filled with so much emotion that is heightened by the band’s overall chops. This is one of the most underrated modern rock performances of the 2000s era and is a must-listen for all rock fans.
RIYL: Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Bleachers

“SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” Outkast (1998)

The 1998 track, “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” by Atlanta duo Outkast solidifies their musical prowess with an artful combination of production and thoughtful songwriting. The trumpets define the song and are followed by André 3000 delivering a spoken-word-esque verse that is unforgettable. It is no surprise that Outkast is one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed hip-hop duos of all time.
RIYL: Common, Mos Def, The Roots

“Johnny P’s Caddy,” Benny The Butcher, J. Cole (2022)

One of the most celebrated hip-hop releases this year is the collaboration between Buffalo rapper Benny The Butcher and J. Cole. Each artist delivers hard-hitting lyrics through clever references and tactical rhyme schemes. Although the beat and song have a very dark tone, the vocal performances shine through.
RIYL: Griselda, J.I.D, Dreamville


*RIYL = Recommended if you like