Alternating between Hip-Hop, dubstep, Bollywood and tribal riddims, Hit-Boy ("Niggas In Paris", "Come On A Cone") threw every sample in his MPC into this beat. The result is a total mind fuck where one moment you’re whisked away to India and the next you’re on all fours twerking in the trap. Where does that leave you by the end of the song? Reaching for your passport. Duh. Read what happened with we visited Hit-Boy at his San Fernando home here.
When Fool's Gold-affiliated producer Party Supplies aligns with Action Bronson, magical things happen. We heard it when they delivered Blue Chips (2012) and we’re hearing it again with the recent follow-up Blue Chips 2. “It Concerns Me” is a pull track from the effort, where Party Supplies grabs a sample from Italian composer Piero Piccioni’s “Le Streghe” and morphs it into this seductive sort of Arabic-sounding beat. All the while Bronsolino tells a story like the new school Slick Rick.
Nashville rapper Starlito is in a different place in his career right now. He just jumped off Step Brothers 2, a collaborative record with Don Trip which was arguably a more emotional excursion for the duo. Clearly in a pensive space, he gets Ryan Hemsworth to deliver this dark and dismal beat for him to ride as he laments breaking up with what sounds like the love of his life. Ryan Hemsworth is known for creating a bevy of feelings, he can add “emo” to his C.V. after this single. Sidebar, Hemsworth did a bang up remix of Quadron’s “Hey Love", which is also worth checking out.
Chromeo’s “Sexy Socialite” was Funktastically sexy when it first dropped in its original form, but once Boys Noize got his hands on the track it was game over. Beginning with smooth synths, the beat chops a dose of ad-libs from the existing female vocals chanting, “No I’m not,” reminiscent of Positive K’s “I Got A Man.” Then it erupts into a dub-steppy whirlwind that switches moods with the cadence in Dave 1’s vocals. When the remix is better than the actual track, everybody wins.
If you’ve ever been to the restaurant Benihana, then you’ll known the mission of the hibachi chefs is to produce as much of a performance as it is to actually feed you. D. Rich’s terrorizing beat should be blaring from the speakers at the establishment to rev up the chef’s engines while they attempt to fling fried shrimp in patrons' mouths from across the room. The sounds alternate between the calm and the storm, which is like just enough time to catch your breath before flipping the fuck out when the beat drops.
Liily Allen’s career was given a healthy nudge in the ass by Mark Ronson ("Oh My God"), but this time around all props go to Greg Kurstin. Previously the beat mastermind for some of Lily’s earlier work and almost her entire second LP It’s Not Me, It’s You, Kurstin returns for Allen’s comeback single “Hard Out Here.” Part parody, part party, the single grabs from 2013's anthemic stadium sound of EDM while accenting it with keys and steady funk.
Petite Noir - "Noirse (Pional Remix)"
Solange's curated Saint Heron compilation picked a winner with this tune. Once the clicks, keys, and baby thuds open Pional's interpretation of Petite Noir's "Noirse", it's clear the main intention is ambience over everything. Madrid-based producer Pional adds a beat which builds throughout, while the soothing hums of South Africa's Petite Noir usher in a whole other state of mind. As much as the smooth cut is a downtempo delight, groove and texture comes via moments of crashing synths and bass slap.
Just wait until the cloud rap scene gets a tight grip on Fisticuffs. There will be no turning back. For now though, the production duo bring a steady stream of delicious calm to Jhené Aiko as she plunges headfirst into what feels like a Neo-Soul revival. “Stay Ready” is her breezy new single with Kendrick Lamar, who maintains one (loved-up) personality over the woozy instrumental. It's a plush soundbed for them to lay on and create a total mood-making track.
In the world of melding genres, Flume is geared to become king. Who the hell else would think to have Ghostface Killah flanked by Autre Ne Veut on a cut? “Space Cadet” is an apt title, given the accented blips in the production that — coupled with the harmonies — sound like a discofied space odyssey. Then Pretty Toney arrives to help usher in some more life into the composition. Flume: Deluxe Edition will be keeping all of us warm this winter.
It could be argued that Disclosure are taking Daft Punk’s lead in taking the genius of Nile Rodgers and placing him within a modern-day electronic context – but damn it works. Future-facing and leaping into 2014, it makes the competition look like they're in the middle of a classic film soundtrack. The garbled synths and electro-organ zips all makes the ride worth while as Sam and Nile both hug Disclosure's beat so tightly that nobody’s letting go until the tape runs out.
Follow Kathy Iandoli on Twitter here @kath3000