Wow. That’s all I can really say about this week. It was absolutely chock full of some very dope new videos, so much so that I had to leave a number of them off this week’s list. But even with doing that I was still left with some amazing new music videos from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, The Killers, Action Bronson, The xx, Calvin Harris, Future, and much, much more. Check out everything I rounded up below, along with my reactions.
Cousin Stizz – Headlock
Cousin Stizz is one of my current favorite acts. He’s only got two mixtapes to his name but there was some serious heat on both of them. Coming by way of Boston he reminds me a lot of A$AP and their type of East Coast trill music. I fully expect to see his name popping up more and more, and that’s only supported by the fact that he’s now getting some major features. “Headlock” is a straight up hype track that’s been having my trunk rattling all week. I can’t wait to hear the new project. Dope video.
Calvin Harris – Feels
Calvin Harris hit me with a surprisingly groove heavy project that had a ton of gems for the summer. “Feels” was definitely one of the highlights from that tape, which is really no surprise seeing as anything involving Pharrell can seemingly do no wrong. It’s a feel good song and the video’s bright, pastel colors and island imagery bring it all home.
The xx – I Dare You
Well first things first, Eleven, from Stranger Things makes yet another appearance in a music video. I guess we weren’t the only ones that the show really struck a chord with. But she’s not the only ‘celeb’ to make an appearance; Paris Jackson has been stepping out publicly much more now and she plays a substantial part in this video. The video itself feels as indie as the band’s music with a retro washed out aesthetic that goes with the song’s soft, throwback sound.
DJ Khaled – It’s Secured
Sigh. When I saw the tracklisiting for DJ Khaled’s latest, this was a song that immediately caught my attention. Nas is one of my all-time favorites and Travis Scott is easily one of the hottest out. I couldn’t wait to hear what Nas would sound like on a Scott produced track. But this….this is just terrible, and pretty much exactly how I feared it would turn out. A generic street/trap beat with a god awful hook that completely overshadow Nas’ otherwise solid as usual bars. Not what I was hoping for at all.
Freddie Gibbs – Andrea
Freddie Gibbs has always been a personal favorite of mine. A real throwback to the harder rap of yesteryear with some serious lyrical ability. He’s never quite struck it large but he’s carved out a nice career and his last tape, You Only Live 2wice, was super slept on. “Andrea” talks about his recent legal troubles and the one who held him down throughout. It’s a great song that’s one of his smoother ones, and the video has some great visuals that show him drving through the hills before snapping him back to that prison cell.
Action Bronson – Let Me Breathe
If Action Bronson can’t even describe his own video then you know you’re in for a wild fucking visual. The first offering off his oft-delayed project, Blue Chips 7000 is a cool song, but the real star is the crazy, nonsensical video itself. There’s an 8 foot tall chick, an oddball cast of characters, and a ton of other zaniness; all disguised as a ‘making of’ video. It’s hella unexpected, which is to be expected with Action.
The Killers – The Man
I can’t really say The Killers have ever really struck a chord with me musically. I’ve never thought they were bad, in fact they’ve had a number of songs I quite enjoy, but they’re never on my mind when listing top bands out. I’m not entirely sure why that is but their latest, “The Man”, has me rethinking that. It’s a fantastic song, one of my favorites all month, and the video, which falls back heavily on their Vegas roots, is spot on tonally and visually. It really brought the song to life for me. Am I a Killers fan now? Time will tell.
Roy Woods – Instinct
My interest in Roy Woods has dropped off significantly since he first got introduced to the world, but he’s still been at it. “Instinct” finds him teaming up with another artist struggling to capitalize off the hype, Madeintyo, and it turns out as forgettable as that sounds. It’s not bad, but in the world of The Weeknds and others, he’ll need to do much better than this.
Dej Loaf – No Fear
I didn’t expect this one. I don’t know if it’s because she’s having a hard time building more buzz for her debut, but Dej Loaf has officially crossed over with this very poppy single that actually came out really dope. This was a pleasant surprise that I could easily see catching people’s attention and it’s perfect for the summer. She showed me she’s got a lot more potential outside of just “urban” music and the surreal aesthetics of the video match with the song perfectly.
I’ve never really been aware of Arcade Fire outside of peripherally, but “Signs of Life” grabbed my full attention. It’s such an odd song that just works and I could easily picture it being part of an old Tarantino-esque film. Which I think is what they had in mind too as the video with it’s 70’s exploitation vibes really embodies the sound of the song.
KYLE – Nothing 2 Lose
That album has to be coming out soon, this is like his third new video in the last 2 months. They all have that highly upbeat, simplistic sound to it that will most likely wear on me after a whole album’s worth; but as standalones they’re surprisingly solid offerings. The video is the usual bright colors and nerdy throwback attire. This is hip-hop’s supposed future huh.
Future – PIE
Future does not know what taking a break means. His double album offering from a couple months ago has barely had any time to breathe before he’s already returned with a new single for another upcoming project. I’m not feeling this one at all and think it’s a clear radio grab but I have no doubt that it’ll be yet another hit for him that will make the rounds in the clubs across the country. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a bit Futured out at the moment.
Kendrick Lamar – ELEMENT.
Is there any artist more in tune with their craft and message than Kendrick Lamar at the moment? No? I didn’t think so. All the visuals for Damn. so far have been spectacular and “Element.” makes him 3 for 3 on the year. It’s chock full of thoughtful imagery and tells a loose story that leaves plenty of room for personal interpretation. Just watching it makes me want to slap fire out of someone like he was about to do in the video.
What’d you think about this week’s videos? Which ones were your favorites? Did I miss any that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to stay up with all the new content.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.