Thursday, July 7, 2022
HomeCultureFresh Playlist: Jhené Aiko Goes 'Maniac,' The Weeknd Reunites With Robots

Fresh Playlist: Jhené Aiko Goes ‘Maniac,’ The Weeknd Reunites With Robots

With new music flying like warp-speed through the various channels of the Internet, it can be hard to keep up. But worry not! Each week The Fresh Toast will deliver the most-discussed and exciting songs that have recently dropped. Landed. Crashed. And also: soared. Enjoy.

Jhené Aiko—“Maniac”

This year Jhené Aiko and Big Sean dropped a collaborative EP Twenty88 seemingly out of nowhere. While Sean and Aiko had appeared on tracks together before (Aiko featured on Big Sean’s previous three efforts), nothing indicated the two producing a joint project. But with seeming confirmation the two are dating, the reasons behind fleshing out their musical chemistry came into view. No wonder Big Sean also stated there will be a full-length Twenty88 project dropping 2017.

But that doesn’t mean Aiko hasn’t been working on any solo material. Her latest offering “Maniac” displays a rawer, aggressive Aiko, sing-rapping over a bouncy trap beat. It’s reminiscent of rapping alter ego J Henny, and makes her still-controversial line “Eat the booty like groceries” approaching something tame. Just kidding. That line will forever be deliciously bonkers.

“Maniac” seems to be the first single of Aiko’s possible new solo project. More importantly, it marks a possible departure from her chill bedroom vibes that trademarked her first solo offerings.

The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk—“I Feel It Coming”

What happened? Has The Weeknd finally mellowed out? He has enough for “I Feel It Coming,” another Daft Punk-featured single from his upcoming album Starboy. Over the tropical pop beat, The Weeknd croons out for intimate, romantic love, a complete reversal from the Abel we know. It’s yet another step in The Weeknd’s transparent quest to become the millennial Michael Jackson, though this record is more transformation than tribute. It seems genuine this time.

For those House of Balloons fans, don’t worry: The powder-fueled sadomasochistic fiend The Weeknd initially portrayed still lurks as we hear in the other Starboy track debuted this week “Party Monster.” As much as things change, they stay the same.

John Legend ft. Chance the Rapper—“Penthouse Floor”

John Legend and Chance the Rapper would not be a collaboration expected a couple years back. But with Coloring Book, Chance captured a love for gospel, funk, and rap, blending it together into a genre-less dance hymn. So though Legend and Chance appeal to far different audiences, “Penthouse Floor” shows they share similar DNA structures. Kudos to Chance for the non-corny knock-knock joke.

Childish Gambino—“Redbone”

Everything that once defined Childish Gambino’s sounds has been abandoned. This latest single—just as addictive and evocative as “Me and Your Momma”—steers more in the direction of Sign O’ The Times era Prince than Funkadelic. Here’s a very telling reveal how new project Awaken, My Love! will sound compared to the rapper’s older work, courtesy of a recent Billboard profile: “Whereas previous Childish Gambino albums featured verbal acrobatics and a constant deluge of similes—‘very written,’ as he puts it — he approached Awaken as ‘an exercise in just feeling and tone.’ ” Guess what: It’s working.

Russ—“Psycho Pt. 2”

The sheer work Russ puts into one song—he sings, writes, produces, and engineers all on his own—is enough to impress. But that’s discount how damn catchy these syrupy, simple hits are. While it dips into the same formula in structure as smash record “What They Want,” it’s enough variation to dismiss any complaints.

Nicki Minaj—“Black Barbies”

The Mannequin Challenge made Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” the No. 1 record in the country. You would think the song would be untouchable, at least so soon. But Nicki kills this remix, showcasing her vocal dexterity and reminding she still has the bars to back it up.


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