Saturday, April 4, 2020
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Fresh Playlist: Kid Cudi Finally Slays His Demons, Big Sean Lives Single

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. 

Kid Cudi ft. Willow Smith—“Rose Golden”

Following Kid Cudi for the past several years has been an art of self-denial. After releasing two Man on the Moon records—genre-stirring albums that melodically twisted the DNA structures of rap forever—Cudi seemed to act more as self-saboteur. It was almost like he wanted to actively undermine whatever outsiders thought of him. Oh y’all think I’m a rapper—well I’m forming a rock group. His maligned WZRD side project doesn’t need further beating, but Cudi spent albums trying to prove he could make the indie rock sound work—Indicud, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven—and it was everyone else who wasn’t getting it yet.

This is Cudi’s operating mode: a gifted, sensitive guy wishing the world might understand him, but never believing it does. When used in genuine and vulnerable context, it reveals a highly relatable artist. When it doesn’t click, he comes across as a petulant, annoying teenager.

But Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin’ returns Cudi to that cohesive, engaging plane. Recruiting his old production partner Plain Pat and Kanye associate Mike Dean, Cudi creates an ambient, expansive world listeners can explore. While it’s slightly bloated—what Cudi project isn’t?—Passion shows Cudi embracing his gifts fans love rather than throwing middle fingers their direction. Assists from Travis Scott, Andre 3000, and Pharrell Williams round out the project when it could slip into redundancy. Cudi has found his voice—and hums—once again.

Big Sean ft. Chance the Rapper, Jeremih—“Living Single”

This was a track that leaked earlier in the year, but now receives a proper release. Sean is in full album rollout mode, officially announcing his fourth studio album I Decided for February 3, 2017. He’s released a slew of singles, and “Living Single” is the best yet. Instead of the hyped-up underdog Sean plays on “Bounce Back” and “No More Interviews,” he’s laid-back, self-deprecating here. It’s more pleasant, and relatable than Sean complaining about drama surrounding him dating A-list celebrities. Jeremih provides the buttery, buttery hook, and Chance grounds the record in his typical nostalgia, though it isn’t his best bars.

Matt Champion—“Mansions”

A standout within Kevin Abstract-led Brockhampton, Matt Champion has slowly crafted an exciting potential around himself through these SoundCloud singles. “Mansions” welcomes listeners in, anticipating just what Champion has in store for 2017. Hopefully it’s a debut album.

Chance the Rapper & Jeremih—“I Shoulda Left You”

We wrote about Chance and Jeremih’s surprise Christmas mixtape yesterday, so we won’t belabor the point. But since dropping, this hasn’t stopped spinning.

The most essential daily news, entertainment, pop culture, and culture coverage. Want more? Check out “A Study Of 2016: The Year America’s Pop Stars Went Weird,” “Southwest Pilot Congratulates Passengers For Drinking Every Last Drop Of Booze On Board,” and “13 Christmas Hip-Hop Songs You Need For The Holidays

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