Every week, Vulture highlights the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.
Drake, "4PM in Calabasas"
From “9AM in Dallas” to “5AM in Toronto” to “6PM in New York,” when Drake bothers to tell you the time of day he recorded the song, he means business. All three rank among his best pure rap performances, and each finds the Toronto rapper doing spring cleaning in his personal and professional life. “5AM” is the one where he says everything on the radio sounds like “Drake featuring Drake,” and “6PM” is the one where he tells Tyga, “You need to act your age and not your girl’s age.” The brand-new “4PM in Calabasas” is more of the same: The vocal is simultaneously harder and more agile than any of the 20 songs on April’s Views, and the production finds an unseen middle ground between the airy sonics of his team of Toronto hit-makers and the glossy funk of the jiggy era. It’s not squarely apparent whether this is Diddy homage or mockery: The two once had a row over the beat for Drake’s “0 to 100/The Catch-Up” that is said to have come to blows, but is Drake really dark enough to wait three whole years to use the guy’s own catchphrases in a diss track? Who cares? This slaps. —Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ)
Pusha T ft. Jay Z, "Drug Dealers Anonymous"
There are many rappers who've built entire brands off tall tales about moving weight. Pusha T and Jay Z are elite storytellers, but they don't need to sell you fiction. You know the line "I sold kilos of coke, I'm guessin' I can sell CDs"? Yeah, that wasn't just Jay Z showing off. Google him, baby, you crazy. Like the man says in a rare guest spot alongside fellow kingpin Pusha T, "Before Reasonable Doubt dropped, the jury hung," referencing the fork in the road Hov met when he turned from drugs to rap. Make no mistake, both Jay Z and Pusha's drug-slinging days were very real, which is what makes them uniting on a song to trade pristine bars that vividly recount their come-up so refreshingly authentic. You've got to have a past to rap about one. I'd rather hear Jay Z flip the "Damn, Daniel" meme into a reference to the Feds any day over some struggle rapper who's never spent a day in the streets spin lies about their fake trap life. Beyoncé's husband was a drug dealer. For 14 years he did sell crack cocaine. But if Tomi Lahren thought she could get away with using either fact as an insult, ha. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Angel Olsen, "Intern"
Two years after the release of her excellent sophomore album Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Angel Olsen is finally back with a new song and what feels like it could be a new sonic direction. On "Intern," soft synth lines replace the stomping rhythms and plucked acoustic guitars that characterized Burn Your Fire, but the thing that holds it all together is Olsen's voice, which tantalizingly alternates between being drolly disaffected and warbling with emotion. "I'm gonna fall in love with you someday," Olsen sings at the song's climax. It's clear we already have. —Samantha Rollins (@SamanthaRollins)
Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, Quavo, Yo Gotti, Travis Scott, and Desiigner, "Champions (Round and Round)"
There is so much to parse with this song (just look at the lineup!), but like any excellent posse cut, we have to focus on the winning verses. 2 Chainz doesn't just have the best verse — he holds the title for most southern line on a song featuring Kanye maybe ever: "I wear pajamas to Ruth's Chris." Only 2 Chainz can get away with dining at an upscale steakhouse looking like he just rolled out of bed. Naturally, our runner-up is Gucci Mane, who, fresh out of prison, is wasting no time reclaiming his throne. "Now that Gucci's home it's over for you Gucci clones," he eye-rolls on the first of two verses (he's earned it), pointing out what everyone else has been afraid to say since he got home. Special shout-out to Quavo (of Migos) for giving us a sort of hook that includes the line "They tried to turn me to an animal / But white people think I'm radical." Who needs summer when there's a Cruel Winter looming? –DL
Bat for Lashes, "Joe's Dream"
"There's a tear in my lover's eyes" could be the opening line of every Bat for Lashes song. She's the queen of melodramatic, aching love songs that are never as much about the act of loving as they are about the loss of love. "Joe's Dream" is typically bathed in melancholy, and it haunts like every gorgeous Bat for Lashes song should. –DL
The name Maxwell next to the year 1990 should send an immediate shiver to anyone's sweet spot. You already know what you're getting yourself into. The thing about Maxwell, though, is he makes it difficult to just press play on one of his songs and get to business. There's no fucking to a Maxwell record; he forces you to fall so deep in love there's no climbing out. Just look at this lyric video: You start with sensual lip-biting, then suddenly you end up on the moon. At one point the man has the audacity to sing in that irresistible falsetto of his, “There’s no song that defines it There’s no music behind it / There’s no lyric to read from / It’s just you and the moment.” And I swear, in that moment, we were infinitely played by the master of the tease. –DL