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10 Songs You Need In Your Life This Week

Tracks we love right now, and why they matter. In no particular order.

February 14, 2015
1. Kendrick Lamar, "The Blacker The Berry"

I know there's more pressing stuff going on here, but can we talk about how Boi-1da really brought some Fithty Cent drums out for Kendrick's new song? Like some screwface 2004 Interscope drums. Like Property Of Jimmy Iovine-watermarked drums. All I could think about when this dropped was "Backdown" and "In My Hood," the kind of beat you bob you head to backwards, the kind that gets shots firing no matter who's in the crosshairs. In this case, it's White people. Yes, it's true, White people can be pretty evil, and it's a proud and storied rap tradition to meticulously document how and why they are, with irrefutable evidence, over a tune you can tap your foot to. Kendrick doesn't waste a word, and Assassin popping up on the hook is an added bonus as another white-knuckle lyricist who's never held his tongue before. Pitchfork gave Nas' Untitled a 3.8. We'll see if the times have changed when K.Dot drops. — Matthew Trammell

1. Kendrick Lamar, "The Blacker The Berry"
3. Braids, "Miniskirt"

Braids have cut an intriguing figure over the last five years—of all the indie bands experimenting with electronics, they've proved to be one of the most stylistically malleable—and "Miniskirt" is a suitably strange song. The lyrics to this blooming cut from the forthcoming Drop in the Iris suggest there's personal-cum-political stakes at play, as the band veer between Kate Bush's high-wire theatrical pop and the off-kilter sine waves of Björk's strongest material. — Larry Fitzmaurice

3. Braids, "Miniskirt"
4. Jazz Cartier, "New Religion"

The new release from Toronto young'n Jazz Cartier sounds something like a belated new year's resolution: As God as my witness, money is my new religion. I put that on all of my niggas, won't stop 'til we get a million, goes the hook. On "New Religion," from his forthcoming Marauding In Paradise project, Jazz moves easily between aggressive flows that match up perfectly with the Lantz-produced beat. A couple of listens will have you ready to step your own guap up. — Rawiya Kameir

4. Jazz Cartier, "New Religion"
5. El Alfa, "El Mañanero"

El Alfa is one of dembow's rising stars, the artist behind hits like "Tarzan" and "Como Yo Me Muevo," and this week he added something on the moodier end of things: a track called "El Mañanero." He's nothing if not fun to listen to, which mostly comes across via the wide range of playful voices he employs. This tune keeps that joy going, with Alfa taking the occasional eight bars to scat over breaks in the groove, or to self-harmonize over some ominous, theatrical chords. — Alexander Iadarola

5. El Alfa, "El Mañanero"
6. OT Genasis f. Meek Mill & Jeezy, "CoCo (Remix)"

When you think about it, who other than Meek Mill and Jeezy could have come close to matching OT Genasis' enthusiasm on "CoCo"? The sinister beat and impassioned hook that made Genasis' ode to coke inescapable for the past six months remain intact. Staying true to their respective styles, Meek and Jeezy give the track new, d-boy approved life, meaning that, yes, you can prepare to hear it every single day until this summer's official bangers are decided upon. — Rawiya Kameir

6. OT Genasis f. Meek Mill & Jeezy, "CoCo (Remix)"
7. Hot Chip, "Huarache Lights"

Like Pet Shop Boys before them, Hot Chip are an institution of British electronic pop at this point, and "Huarache Lights," the first single from the forthcoming Why Make Sense?, is their latest jammer. The tune carries a soft, aqueous thump—far from the twisted techno of, say, "Flutes"—and a Third Party sample to remind y'all that these oldsters will be club kids until they die. — Larry Fitzmaurice

7. Hot Chip, "Huarache Lights"
8. Joanne Robertson, “Hiwatt”

Since his still-unexplained split with Hype Williams co-conspirator Inga Copeland (and maybe even before that?) reclusive troubadour Dean Blunt has leaned on English songwriter Joanne Robertson as a collaborator for his brilliant and alienating solo endeavors. Well Robertson released an album of her own this week, and naturally Blunt chipped in creatively. He offers up some distortion-heavy production work for highlight "Hiwatt," a gauzy miracle of genre confusion that buzzes effortlessly between noise-pop, quiet folk, and shoegaze. Team work/ dream work. — Patrick D. McDermott

8. Joanne Robertson, “Hiwatt”
9. Bobby Brackins f. Zendaya & Jeremih, “My Jam”

You would think a song explicitly titled "My Jam" might be forced, but this is anything but. It's got a big old hook from Zendaya (a rising red carpet killa who just barely escaped Lifetime's mess of an Aaliyah production), the silky smooth Jeremih, hi-def and—just when you're thinking it might be too much—Bobby Brackins arrives to rough up the edges a bit with his distinctive, pinched singing. — Zara Golden

9. Bobby Brackins f. Zendaya & Jeremih, “My Jam”
10. Harrison f. Maddee, "You're Light"

"You're Light" is an impressive showing from Toronto producer Harrison and vocalist Maddee, on hit-and-miss producer Star Slinger's Jet Jam label. It's the kind of blog-house tune that would've been big in 2007 and still sounds good in 2015. — Larry Fitzmaurice

10. Harrison f. Maddee, "You're Light"
10 Songs You Need In Your Life This Week