“Sweet Life” — Frank Ocean
A few days ago, Frank Ocean posted an extremely vulnerable story on his blog about his first time falling in love with a man — an unprecedented step for a newcomer, or really any musician, in the hip hop industry. Since then, there has been a flurry of tweets, statuses, blog posts, and the like, regarding the R&B crooner’s unexpected move. However, Ocean has already moved on, releasing a new track from his upcoming, highly anticipated album Channel Orange, called “Sweet Life.” Produced by Pharell, the retro inspired track lays a jazzy keyboard over a whimsical bassline to complement Ocean’s smooth harmonies. Channel Orange drops on July 17th.
“Cherry Wine” — Nas and Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse fans will be happy to know they can hear a brand new track featuring the songstress who suddenly passed away last year. “Cherry Wine,” off rapper Nas’ upcoming album Life is Good, was recorded in 2008 when Nas and Winehouse were working on a different track, “Like Smoke.” The song stayed hidden for four years and Nas himself wasn’t keen on releasing the record. Thank goodness he decided to go ahead with it, because it really is a gem. The oldschool beat, Winehouse’s laidback vocals, and Nas’ on-par rhymes are beautiful together. The only complaint I have about the record is that Winehouse will never be able to perform it live. A bittersweet release, but a great first posthumous jam for Winehouse. Catch Cherry Wine on Nas’ Life is Good, released on July 17.
“Distance” — Christina Perri ft. Jason Mraz
If I had one wish in the world right now, it would be to transform into Christina Perri so that I too could sing a sweet duet with the secret love of my life Jason Mraz. That voice, that guitar, that fedora, that beastly long hair… but alas, I am but a mere fangirl sitting in my bedroom drooling over a computer screen. So back to the song review! No surprise, Perri’s voice is just beautiful in “Distance,” and Mraz harmonizes with her perfectly. Both artists shine in this lovely track about loving the right person at the wrong time.
“Spirit Indestructible — Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado’s latest single “Spirit Indestructible,” off her upcoming album with the same name, is an inspirational track about, you guessed it, never giving up. However, the beauty of the song comes in the lyric video and true meaning behind it. It’s about her friend Spencer West, who had his legs amputated as a child and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro using only his hands, last month. Nelly pairs the song with footage of West’s journey up one of the highest mountains in the world. The track itself starts off in a ballad style with nothing but a synthesized harp backing Nelly, and then launches into a banging club beat. I’m actually digging the track, and the video will make you melt inside. The Spirit Indestructible will be released on September 18.
“Real Estate” Childish Gambino ft. Alley Boy and Tina Fey
Leave it to Childish Gambino to drop a hard beat with snarling rhymes, and finish it off with Tina Fey nonsensically rapping. The guy never ceases to surprise me! In his newly released mixtape Royalty, Gambino calls upon comedienne extraordinaire Tina Fey to round out the track with her own rap outro. The result is completely ridiculous, which is what I have a slight suspicion Gambino was going for. Fey raps about ballin’ so hard she f**ks up the hardwood in her home, finishing her verse by yelling about how she doesn’t feel comfortable using the “N word.” Who said white girls can’t rap?