The Good, The Average & The Ugly (10/7-10/14)

Every Tuesday, I review what I thought was good, average and ugly from the week in music. This week, we'll be taking a look at releases from the Free Nationals with Daniel Caesar & Unknown Mortal Orchestra, a collaboration between Kodak, Travis & Offset, and an underwhelming single from Plies & Kevin Gates.


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THE GOOD


Beauty & Essex - Free Nationals, Daniel Caesar & Unknown Mortal Orchestra



I mean, c'mon man.


When I heard that three of my current favorite artists we're grouping up for "Beauty & Essex", I was equally shocked and excited for what was to come.


On paper, this trio is unconventional to say the least, but the implementation of each groups skillset is perfectly blended, making for one of the best songs of the month by far.


R&B wizard Daniel Caesar and Unknown Mortal Orchestra member Ruban Nielson account for the vocals on "Beauty & Essex", but Caesar truly establishes himself as the focal point of the track.


His melodic structure is highly comparable to "Get You", his incredibly popular track from Freudian. Daniel Caesar possesses the unique ability to change octave at the drop of a hat, something few singers can accomplish to the degree that he is able to with relative ease.


The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak's resident band, provide a flawless backdrop for their musical peers, acting as a wallpaper front start to finish.


Overall, this song is nothing short of fantastic, hitting in every department from instrumentation to vocals.


Put this track as a top priority in your music rotation, I promise you won't regret it, even if you haven't heard of any of these groups/artists.


If you haven't heard of them, start listening to them, each respective member in this trio is a beautiful testament to what music can be, regardless of differing genres.


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THE AVERAGE


ZEZE - Kodak Black, Travis Scott & Offset



Although this record met its official release just this past Friday, the hype for "ZEZE" was bigger than any of Kodak Black's singles to this point.


Numerous snippets and teasers later, most fans and active listeners had caught wind of this track, and upon release, I can say with great confidence that it's everything I expected from a Kodak/Travis Scott/Offset collaboration: catchy, radio-friendly and unsurprisingly shallow.


The biggest highlight of this song is the instrumental, a clean, tropical vibe that will make any listener want to crack open a bottle of tequila and migrate to the nearest beach. The beat is strongly reminiscent of 50 Cent's hit record, "P.I.M.P.", as both incorporate the primary use of steel pan drums and a simple bass-loop. The nostalgia is real with this track, as the Jamaican sound hasn't been visiting from a mainstream scope since the mid-2000's, and on "ZEZE", Kodak's production team executes this long forgotten sound very impressively.


From a lyrical standpoint, the song is exactly what you'd expect from this trio:


Bars to the extant of icy chains and polished whips is all we get from Kodak,


echoey club music on the chorus is what we get from Travis,


hypnotic and fiery flow on a bar for bar scale is what we get from Offset.


Is any of this a negative? I'll let you decide, but I think it holds up well, considering the capabilities each of the respective artists have proven in their careers to this point.


The biggest piece of advice I have for the average listener? Don't overthink this track. "ZEZE" at its core is a song that deserves to be in any smoking or party playlist, so treat it as such.


Thumbs up Kodak, just stay out of prison, keep eating good, and don't swerve away from doing your thing.


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THE UGLY


All Thee Above - Plies & Kevin Gates



As long as the sun rises in the morning, Plies will keep making terrible love songs.


I will admit that "Rock" is so bad it's good, but unfortunately, "All Thee Above" does not get this pass.


I seriously don't want to spend much time on this cringe-worthy cheese fest, so instead, I'll leave you with some lyrics and a handful of additional comments so you don't ever have to listen to it yourself.


Take this bar for example:


Ain't nothing you could do to make me beat on you When I get hard, can I eat on you? Come through late night to put D on you Box so good, she legendary


Ok, I take it back, maybe give it a gander if you want a quick laugh.


Also, Kevin Gates... what are you doing?


This record could not be far from Kevin Gates stylistic demographic, and his hook is nothing short of awful.


Here's my advice: Listen to the song once, laugh to yourself, then burn your phone.


It's that simple.



-Carter Ferryman-

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