songs of the week

7 Best New Songs of the Week

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, “Nice for What”
After ten years of playing the judgmental, jealous ex-lover (albeit presented in a sad-eyed, dorky-dancing, sweet-crooning package), Drake has finally actually made a song “for the ladies.” Using a New Orleans–inflected beat, which features samples from Big Tymers’ “Get Your Roll On” and Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” along with vocals by bounce queen Big Freedia, “Nice for What” genuinely seems to celebrate women going out and showing out in all their glory. “Gotta hit the club like you hit them motherfuckin’ angles / with your phone out snappin’ like you Fabo / And you’re showing off, but it’s alright,” Drake sings, without sarcasm. It’s a far cry from the pity of “Take a Shot” or the condescension of “Hotline Bling,” and it’s about damn time. Sure, this reset might be a calculated move — everything with Drake is — but that doesn’t make it a less necessary one. —Corinna Burford (@coriburford)

Cardi B, “Bickenhead”
Invasion of Privacy is just so good. Cardi B comes out of the gate holding a sledgehammer in each hand with album intro “Get Up 10,” and whoever she hasn’t laid to waste by the end of that song gets their walking papers in “Bickenhead.” The beat was undeniable when it was originally used by Project Pat in “Chickenhead,” but Cardi’s dusts it off and gives it a 2018 shine. She opens the track by dedicating it to all her “nasty hoes” from “across the globe,” and while I myself don’t identity as a nasty ho, those who do certainly deserve a tribute that bumps this hard. If I, for some reason, had occasion to cross Cardi and she lined me out the way she threatens to cut down any challenger on “Bickenhead,” I’d just walk into traffic to spare myself the lashing. And even though there’s no virtuoso wordplay at work when she dismisses another woman by calling her “stupid ho, unimportant, unattractive, unemployed,” her staccato delivery is just so matter-of-fact it’s dizzying. I fear Cardi B. I love Cardi B. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Janelle Monáe ft. Grimes, “PYNK”
I know what sexual liberation feels like; now I also know it sounds like Janelle singing heavenly about the divinity of her clit, personified by one Tessa Thompson. On “PYNK,” Janelle is proud to be a woman, but she isn’t defined by womanhood nor is she trying to define it. But she’s ecstatic to be able to enjoy all the opportunities that the female body, in all its many forms, provides for pleasure. She is stimulated by the very idea that these bodies can be fluid, can blossom, can bear fruit. They can also just be, and that’s okay, too. “Pink like the paradise found,” she sings (with Grimes on background), and it’s true: So much nirvana can be reached from within our legs, but even deeper still. The song of the summer is arguably dead, but Janelle Monáe just made a strong case to resurrect it simply so she could win. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Aminé ft. Injury Reserve, “Campfire”
“Campfire” opens with a sample of Dolemite screeching, “You no-business, born-insecure, junkyard motherfucker.” But don’t let that fool you. What follows is an infectious, playful track that shows off what Aminé and Injury Reserve, a rap trio from Phoenix, do best. Like Brockhampton or early Odd Future, it’s the sound of a bunch of talented friends not afraid to be goofy or weird while still making hip-hop that’s accessible. A smooth and consistent bass line will make your head bob along as Amine raps about his “bad little mama and she always with the shits” (his red Mercedes, not a girl). The music video doubles down on the fun experimentation; halfway through, it all screeches to a halt for an extended conversation about how to pronounce the word “rural.” No one is entirely sure before the beat drops. —Olivia Becker (@oliviaLbecker)

Azealia Banks, “Anna Wintour”
For all her many controversies, one thing has always remained true of Azealia Banks: Her talent is not up for debate. She can rap circles around anyone who would doubt her and, as she now reminds on her excellent new song, “Anna Wintour,” she has vocals for days. The song adds to her already expansive repertoire of glamorous house bangers, but this one’s truly exceptional: It’s a modern ballroom classic, a voguing delicacy indebted to the hallowed history of queens who’ve hit their poses and death drops to breathe new life into us all. (It’s also named after fashion’s reigning queen synonymous with the word.) It’s damn difficult to root for Azealia, everything non-music considered, but this is a good sign. –DL

Gang Gang Dance, “Lotus”
There was a point in the not too distant New York past when Gang Gang Dance were reliably the best live band in the city. Around the mid-aughts, it wasn’t that common for bands to skip around between genres, so a live GGD show — and a good portion of their recorded output — sounded like what would happen if a crunchy drum circle spent all their time really studying Timbaland’s greatest hits. Their shows were marvels of improvisation, extended jams, and a willingness to just go for it. They were an art band without any of the stuffiness that might come with that phrase. “Lotus” is their first new song in seven years, and while it doesn’t capture the magic of their live show (how could it?), it’s great in its own right. “Lotus” is a song that revels in casting off the constraints of what a recorded piece of music is supposed to do, but it sounds familiar anyway. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

A$AP Rocky ft. Moby, “A$AP Forever”
It’s a big week for songs built around generous samples of recognizable hits. Drake and Cardi B took their turns with with Lauryn Hill — in fact, Cardi flips a couple well-known beats on her album — now A$AP Rocky has his with an unexpected source of inspiration: Moby. Though, really, after a transitional creative period largely influenced by dabbling in psychedelics, it should be no surprise that “Porcelain” provides the soundtrack for such a deep journey into existentialism. In some ways it’s like his other spacey song “L$D,” which searched for ways to express love for a woman. “A$AP Forever” finds the words, but it’s a love letter to his crew (and, indirectly, Wu-Tang), the ones he says “put New York City on the map.” Rocky is a man who feels owed credit, having perhaps prematurely cemented his own legacy before the concrete has had time to dry. It’s quite the overreach, but the song’s still very pretty. –DL

Best New Songs of the Week