Method Man gets high marks for his new single. Plus: Hear tracks from Bonde Do Role, Joanna Newsom, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Deemi

By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated May 10, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Rahav Segev / Retna

New Method Man track gets high marks

METHOD MAN, ”New York”
He’s been widely recognized as the most charismatic member of the Wu Tang Clan for over a decade, but on his new single Method Man sounds more like hip-hop’s Rodney Dangerfield. ”Tell yo peoples and kinfolk/I been dope/Anything less is an insult,” he insists, adding a pre-emptive slap against those whom he sees ”stealin’ my s—/And trying to act like they ain’t feelin’ my s—.” All right then, with all respect due: Mr. Mef has always been an engaging mic presence, even in his weaker lyrical moments, and his endearingly grumpy rhymes make this one of the better tracks he’s put out in recent years. (Buy it on iTunes)

BONDE DO ROLÊ, ”Office Boy”
American hipsters’ infatuation with the raucous, sample-happy Brazilian dance music known abroad as baile funk can be largely credited to the influence of one man: Philadelphia-based DJ/artist Diplo. The three young Brazilians known as Bonde Do Rolê were lucky enough to become Diplo’s protégés early on, and their full-length debut (which he exec-produced) proves once again that the guy’s got impeccable taste. Standout cut ”Office Boy” crams programmed stutters, organic polyrhythms, driving new-wave chords, bombastic classic-rock solos, and plenty of Portuguese chants into two and a half minutes — a breathless summary of everything that’s great about BDR’s hyper-hybrid genre. (Buy it on iTunes)

Who says Joanna Newsom doesn’t have a sense of humor? Sure, the indie-folk harpist maintained a rather somber tone throughout her last album, Ys (pronounced ”Eece”), but her new three-track EP arrives bearing a perfectly punny title: Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band. The record’s sole new song is a fun one, too, with a delightful chirping melody and mountain-jig instrumentation. (Buy it on iTunes)

Long after his sometime partner Will Smith’s ascension from Fresh Prince to international film icon, DJ Jazzy Jeff remains an underrated beatsmith. His production on this new cut isn’t showy — a single chopped keyboard sample, a basic boom-bap loop, a few well-placed scratches — but it sets just the right head-nodding vibe for underground MC Jean Grae’s cocky performance. (Buy it on iTunes)

DEEMI, ”Taxi Man”
In the mid-’90s, Bay Area crew Souls of Mischief flipped the classic sitcom Taxi‘s theme song into an equally classic hip-hop tune, ”Cab Fare.” Sadly, sample clearance issues prevented the song from being officially released (though it lives on to this day on the Souls’ MySpace page). Well, that same unmistakable flute riff has just popped up again as the core of this slinky slow jam from Brooklyn R&B singer Deemi; here’s hoping those copyright holders have lightened up over the years. (Hear it on Deemi’s MySpace page)