"Started From the Bottom"
Drake, "Nothing Was the Same"
Apparently Drake has a new anthem. Before his music career took off and he became our favorite Canadian rap artist, he was living the hard life. Forget about the bankrolls he earned playing Jimmy Brooks on the soap opera “Degrassi: The Next Generation”—according to his latest single, Drake “started from the bottom” like the rest of them. “Argu[ing] every month” with his mama, hitting “traffic on the way home”—Drake’s life was truly a struggle. The song follows Drake’s usual my-crew’s-better-than-yours attitude, delivered through simple rhymes like “We just want the credit where it’s due / I’ma worry bout me, give a fuck about you.” Though the lyrics leave you unconvinced of his tough-life attitude, the easy beat and straightforward lines make it catchy enough to nod along to.
After gaining international success with his 2012 release “Gangnam Style,” Korean pop artist Psy is again looking to top charts with his new single “Gentleman.” The song follows a similar recipe of Psy singing in Korean over a monotonous but energizing electro beat, eventually culminating in a witty English hook. The catchphrase of this track is “I’m a motha-father-gentleman”—but despite being a grammatically incorrect one-liner, it remains appealing because of its broken, rhythmic delivery. Although it is refreshing to hear Psy’s new release, “Gentleman” lacks the novelty expected from the Korean artist. Its structure is a carbon copy of other top electronica hits, and its sound is not as markedly distinct as that of “Gangnam Style.” Though “Gentleman” does not possess the “wow” factor of Psy’s 2012 single, this track employs the right amount of repetitive bass and escalating synthesizer to make it a dance-friendly hit.
Tyler, the Creator feat. Pharrell
Tyler, the Creator is known for his violent and crass lyrics, but it is clear that he has taken a more emotional and experimental approach in developing the sound of his recent tracks. In his notably gravelly voice, Tyler recites the first verse of “IFHY” over a single organ chord, creating an ominous mood that progresses with the inclusion of drums and jarring, purposefully clumsy horns. The song alternates between passive and aggressively harsh delivery in true Tyler fashion; furthermore, it possesses emotional complexity with lines like “And I’m grieving and my heart starts bleeding.” With a compilation of paradoxical lyrics—“I fucking hate you / But I love you”—Tyler portrays an obsessive interest which is creatively complemented by strident instrumentals. The composition of “IFHY” is elaborate, its slightly abrasive sound an artful reflection of the distorted and complex relationship detailed through Tyler’s lyrics.