Friday Five: Meek Mill showcases the other side of America, YG says 'FTP,' 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, Meek Mill details the other side of America, YG releases a perfectly timed protest anthem, Terrace Martin and a few friends make a sharp song about police brutality, Shamir drops a one-off dedicated to the Center for Black Equity and Black Lives Matter, and TWICE merge tropical house and dubstep.
If there is one black American artist capable of sharing intimate details on what the specter of the police state feels like, it's Meek Mill. The Philadelphia rapper has been in and out of jail for over a decade for what was proven to be a suspicious arrest in the first place. Throughout that time, he's developed into one of the genre's preeminent storytellers. Bars like "I'm totin' Smith &'s and HKs and I just was a grade-A kid," do a lot to illustrate how systemic racism has affected his life. The added touch of bookended clips from Trump's "What do you have to lose?" speech from the 2016 campaign, along with Meek's CNN appearance, cement how unavoidable his fate felt. —Marcus Jones"FTP" — YG
YG doesn't mince words. In 2016, the Compton rapper released the first true anti-Trump anthem, "FDT," which remains the most potent protest song of the last four years. Now, he's followed it up with the timely "FTP." It feels like the only new song that matters while our streets and social media feeds are flushed with abhorrent police violence. The hook is right in the title, and YG delivers it with the same cool-headed snarl that made "FDT" both powerful and accessible. YG isn't calling for non-violence, though, as he raps boldly about unleashing the pent-up rage that's built up over years of systemic murders. "F— the police, that's how I feel/Buy a Glock, break down the block/That's how I feel (That's how I feel)/Murder after murder after all these years/Buy a strap, bust back after all these tears." —Eli Enis
It's been years since Shamir ditched the snappy electropop that made him a household indie name for lo-fi garage and punk rock (he's become pretty prolific at it too, having dropped four-full lengths in three years, including his latest, the grungy Cataclysm). On this new one-off single — which is available for only 24 hours, with proceeds from sales going to Black Lives Matter Philly, the Center for Black Equity, and the Philadelphia Bail Fund — he yearns for something, or someone, he can get behind, while recognizing the hidden meanings of what's in front of him: "Reminder to myself that nothings ever what it seems/And not all healthy things are green," he sings over rubbery guitars. "And all that glitters once came from dark coal/And pressure from the dirt will bring/Something that's worth my praises." You can listen to it over on Shamir's Bandcamp. —Alex Suskind"Pig Feet" — Terrace Martin feat. Denzel Curry, Daylyt, Kamasi Washington, and G Perico
As the clip for Terrace Martin's newest single states: "The video to this song is happening right outside your window." Indeed it is. "Pig Feet" begins with two gunshots. Then: helicopters swarming, followed by the radio distortion from an emergency dispatcher and the haunting wails of a young woman pleading, "They shot him; he didn't have a gun." Over a chaotic Kamasi Washington saxophone solo, rapper Denzel Curry lays down his worldview as plainly (and as painfully) as he can: "Shut down schools to open drugs and gun stores/I see the floor, gotta flourish/When I'm readin' my horoscope, the vision is horrid," he says. In the second verse, Daylyt matches him: "Hold on to life, we don't go for the house of reps/They done trapped us in the alphabet/Our alphas can't get out the net." "Pig Feet" thrives on urgency. Yes, it's timely, but then it always has been. —A.S.
K-pop stans nobly joined the resistance this week by barraging police surveillance apps and white supremacist hashtags with a tidal wave of fancams. So what better time than now to be introduced to one of the genre's biggest acts, the nine-member girl group TWICE? The group utilizes the unique elements of K-pop and other genres for maximum effect. Come for the tropical house beat, be surprised by the multiple dubstep dance breaks, and leave ready to cut your own fancam of vocalist Nayeon going into a flawless vocal riff at the end of the bridge. —M.J.