Our music staff has returned with their sixth round of Music Streaming Suggestions! We have a solid lineup this week, headlined by the likes of Brent Faiyaz, John Mayer, Quelle Chris, and AJRadico. As usual, we added our new suggestions to our weekly-updated Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.
Fuck the World (2020) - Brent Faiyaz
Brent Faiyaz has been one of R&B’s brightest rising stars since 2017, but 2020 was, simply put, the year of Brent. 2020 marked his elevation from underground gem to world-renowned star, but he didn’t sell out or water himself down to reach these heights; he simply leveled up his game. Fuck the World is pure proof.
The 10-track EP is nearly a no-skip; each song is well-polished, showcasing Brent at his best (to date, at least). The sonics of Fuck the World are silk-smooth, delightfully reminiscent of “golden age” R&B from the 1990s-2000s while often enhanced by Brent’s dark, genre-blending experimentation that has put him on the map. Brent doesn’t shy away from showing off his rapping chops on tracks like “Lost Kids Get Money,” and he’s unafraid to throw curveballs on tracks like “Clouded.” Tracks such as “Been Away,” “Let Me Know,” and “Fuck the World (Summer In London)” lead the pack amongst Brent’s best songs ever.
Fuck the World is a project filled to the brim with promise. One year removed from Fuck the World, Brent has only continued to level up—creating classics with the likes of 2 Chainz, Kanye, and Tyler, the Creator. It’s now fully evident that Brent Faiyaz is dead set on becoming the face of R&B, and at the moment, there isn’t much in his way. -Evan Linden
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Clouded,” “Been Away,” and “Fuck the World (Summer In London)”
Innocent Country 2 (2020) - Quelle Chris & Chris Keys
I recently relistened to this beautiful project and I had zero hesitation to write about it. This is Chris Keys & Quelle Chris’ sophomore album, following up the first Innocent Country, and it lived up to every expectation imaginable. Chris Keys’ instrumentals are very organic—probably because almost every single instrument heard on the project is played by the main man himself. The fact that he can even play such an array of instruments is impressive itself, but the fact that he has mastered them all is absurd. Every string is so beguiling, and every drum is so powerful. Hell, even the rare synths on this thing are peaceful. Before this project, I knew very little of Keys’ work, and he absolutely dismantled my expectations.
Quelle matches the smooth production with vivid, powerful dialogue, making you feel as if he is delivering an intriguing college-level lecture—very profound, making you question the world around you. The features on this project are interconnected smoothly among each other—ranging from the legendary Merrill Garbus, to Pivot Gang phenom Joseph Chilliams, to Earl Sweatshirt. This album shows that the combination of Quelle Chris and Chris Keys is not only proficient now, but will have a lasting legacy on hip-hop for years to come. -Marty Gross
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Living Happy," "Sacred Safe," and "Mirage"
Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles (2008) - John Mayer
As I was mindlessly scrolling TikTok the other day (yes, I have one), John Mayer appeared on my "For You" page. After watching a tutorial on how to play "Vultures," I instantly opened Spotify to put on one of my all-time favorite live albums, Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles.
Mayer is a generational talent. His guitar-playing abilities are otherworldly; it makes me wish I never quit in fourth grade. I am, however, Mayer-esque on Guitar Hero. The two-hour set is a masterclass in performance, as Mayer effortlessly transitions from acoustic covers to minutes-long blues-rock solos.
Where the Light Is features 22 songs spanning two hours, but it is an absolute breeze to get through. It places you in the audience of the Nokia Theater as Mayer plays a lot of hits, including "Neon," "Gravity," "Why Georgia," "Bold as Love," and many, many more. If you have time to kill (and perhaps adequate rolling skills) this weekend, do yourself a favor and spend a couple hours with John Mayer. -Jack Martin
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Neon," "Vultures," and "Why Georgia"
Transit (2021) - AJRadico
Rap music's newest wave of young, independent artists is infatuated with “snap EP” projects. These are records that come and go on your morning commute. They flood your eardrums with vacuum-sealed, airtight ideas and sounds. The trend is working. AJRadico is its greatest extension.
Clocking in at 18 minutes, Transit should feel brief, but every track could exist on a separate project entirely — yet, it all fits together. Every 808, melody, and transition have a purpose. “No Mask” is punchy and never-ending. “Armor” feels experimental in presentation, but AJRadico approaches the glitchy beat with a casual energy. “Centre,” Transit’s most ambitious record, is distant and aggressive — and it’s mixed like you’re listening through an underwater speaker on the other side of the pool. AJRadico doesn’t need to hone in on one sonic image, it seems as though he’s got them all figured out — he’s the many-faced MC we didn’t know we needed. -Carter Ferryman
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: "Armor," "Centre," and "No Mask"