The Carters – Apeshit
A tune so raw from a partnership so fierce that they had to replace one of the letters with an asterix – how’s that for rock & roll. I’ve never understood the cult of personality that surrounds Bey and I still don’t – this song is completely joyless. After cutting such a lonely stance on Lemonade it’s a shame Beyonce has made a sop for the rap market – complete with ‘skrrt’ here and ‘lambo’ there, and aided by the ubiquitous Quavo and Offset. I admit filming in the Louvre was a stroke of genius, but in service of this tune? This may seem important because it’s confrontational. It isn’t: just a fucking bore.
Canadian pop trier makes it look easy on this, her best since breakout hit ‘Here’. Juddering synth spirals and spacey harmonies cannot quite conceal the failing of the chorus, but still a competent and slick evocation of teenage angst colliding with the existential dread of growing up.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Trippin’ ft. IDK
Ambient rap from Brisbane – why the hell not. Places the atmospheric characteristics of trap production to good use, where instead of merely sounding ugly, they add to the eerie tone of the vox. It may end where it begins, however the cyclical spiralling fits the hazy narcotised groove.
Lil Xan & Charlie XCX – Moonlight
Lil Xan is possibly the least convincing rapper whose ever lived. He looks and sounds like he should be working in a Blockbuster Video in 1996, not a Soundcloud rapper with face tattoos in 2018. This song is entirely bereft of groove, flair, flow, attitude, personality or talent. Even the distinctive voice of Charli XCX, who appears by court summons, is smothered in the obnoxious tinny auto-tune that trap producers prefer. Petulant nonsense.
Ariana Grande – the light is coming ft. Nicki Minaj
Ari what on earth are you cooking up on Sweetner? ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ was curve-ball enough but this bypasses the batsman entirely. A densely layered, barely discernible euro dance tune built around a CNN sample and a wannabe enigmatic refrain. Presumably it makes sense to her, but even Nicki doesn’t sound sure about this one.