Friday Five: Lady Gaga recruits Blackpink, Freddie Gibbs' Frank Lucas toast, and more
The five best things we heard this week.
Every Friday, EW’s music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today’s edition, Lady Gaga brings Blackpink into her house of Chromatica, Freddie Gibbs drops gems with Benny the Butcher, Aminé just wants a girl like Rihanna, Kelvin Harrison Jr. isn't just an actor, and Ne-Yo and Jeremih come through with a bedroom jam.
“Sour Candy”— Lady Gaga feat. Blackpink
A collaboration between Korean and American pop artists, now an almost monthly occurrence, can often feel like a symbiotic cash grab. But Lady Gaga knows exactly what she is getting with Blackpink on Chromatica cut “Sour Candy.” This ingenious team-up includes signature K-pop elements like a shift in tone on the second verse and some light rapping, while still maintaining the house music vibe of Gaga’s new record. The song also showcases Blackpink’s impressive talent for selling lyrics no matter the meaning. If they can get famous off a song titled “Boombayah,” then they can drop in a fun and slightly confusing “so sweet, then I get a little angry” sour candy metaphor. —Marcus Jones
"Frank Lucas" — Freddie Gibbs feat. Benny The Butcher
Freddie Gibbs is a wizard, so it makes sense that he and producer the Alchemist have a supernatural chemistry. On their second project together since 2018’s Fetti, the Indiana virtuoso proves yet again that he can rap about cocaine over anything and it’ll sound as good as that first high. Gibbs isn’t selfish, letting Rick Ross and Tyler, the Creator unravel some of their best verses in recent memory, and inviting Benny The Butcher onto “Frank Lucas” for a whole mixtape’s worth of outstanding bars. Over a tense noir beat laced with menacing cackles, Gibbs raps about how he won’t play down his drug-dealing past despite his new career in hip-hop. His Griselda guest echoes those sentiments by flaunting his guns and dropping jewels like, “Sold lines to abusers, now imma abuse ya’ll with lines.” —Eli Enis
“Track 8”—Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. has had standout roles in everything from Waves to The Photograph, but nothing has shown off his impressive singing talent like this track featured in his new music movie The High Note. Co-written by “The Middle” songwriter Sarah Aarons along with production from the legendary Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, the similes in "Track 8" about obscure album cuts and dine-and-dash dates paint an effective love story. The song soars most though during its “Bennie and the Jets”-like chorus. —MJ
“U 2 Luv”— Ne-Yo & Jeremih
The continued debate over who the King of R&B is seems to have ignored the work of artists like Ne-Yo and Jeremih. Both have been consistently providing magnetic bedroom jams for over a decade. They do so once again on the breezy “U 2 Luv,” keeping things simple on the hook — a repeated call and response of “I only want you to love (You to love)/I don’t want nobody else.” — and providing a seamless back and forth over the song’s “Juicy”-esque production. —MJ
"RiRi" — Aminé
Aminé touted Beyoncé in the intro of his snappy 2018 breakout single "Caroline." On "RiRi," he turns his attention to another pop queen, lamenting that his current on-again, off-again flame pales in comparison to the ANTI singer: "You love Rihanna but you ain't a savage," he raps over twitchy percussion and a fuzzy cascading organ. The single is just another showcase for the Portland rapper's unique blend of melody and winking bars ("Shawty too fine but I bet she the bullet in roulette/I’m lookin' so clean, lookin' like Three Stacks in Gillette"). —Alex Suskind