In the words of supreme orator and learned philosopher YG, “I just wanna party!” Unfortunately, these dreams of letting loose are becoming increasingly hard to realize in the face of final projects and exams. Here’s a playlist for your (homework) party… for when you’re desperately trying to finish a problem set by the 5 p.m. deadline; for when you’re trying to cram 10 weeks of Physics E&M into two days; for when you’re hitting the gym hard the morning of your exam to feel some semblance of control over your own fate.
*Make sure to open the playlist in its own separate window so it auto-plays. We realize YouTube playlists kinda suck, but there isn’t any one streaming service that consistently has all the songs we want to include.
“Know Ya” – Ty Dolla $ign (feat. Trey Songz)
Heeeeey Ty, it’s Gabe and Abdulla again. After an extended introduction from a (presumably fictional) neglected, angry lover who identifies herself as Precious, “Know Ya” thumps, thumps, thumps in characteristic Metro-Boomin-produced fashion. Much like Precious herself, we really feel that this song has been overlooked. Featuring Trey Songz, “Know Ya” certainly has the potential to become this summer’s anthem.
“Hard For” – Kevin Gates
“Hard For,” well, goes hard. Seemingly-hollow and frankly misogynistic lyrics aside, Kevin Gates — holder of a master’s degree in Psychology and a score of 31 on the ACT — certainly takes a more raw, wild approach to his music than do many of his contemporaries. Despite his perpetuation of overused rap themes like mistrust, misogyny, and hustling, Gates forcefully sheds many of the other rules that typically shackle contemporary rappers, even fixing a guitar instrumental over the thumping rhythm of “Hard For.”
“Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode
Though Kanye will always be our personal Jesus, Depeche Mode’s 1989 wild-west hit “Personal Jesus”’s unforgiving, bluesy guitar riffs and catchy drum lines will take you to church. “Personal Jesus” fittingly comes just after the clonking, guitar-driven “Hard For” and just before Rihanna’s urban cowboy “Desperado” (see below).
I don’t even really understand what a saloon is, but after listening to this song I’m pretty sure I want to go to one.
“Desperado” – Rihanna
Rihanna stumbles — perhaps inadvertently — upon a new edgy, wild-west sound with “Desperado.” It’s not hard to imagine darker rapper Travi$ Scott, man-crush of Gabe and new boyfriend of Rihanna, having a hand in the sultry, confident “Desperado.” The song’s producer, Mike Schultz, sums up the style of the song perfectly: “If you listen to the record, it’s got an alternative vibe but still has urban undertones but it’s guitar and dirty live bass.” In many ways, edgy, self-assured “Desperado” perfectly mirrors the way in which Rihanna’s latest album, ANTI, was confidently released with little of the hype or warning that typically precedes releases from big-name artists.
“Off the Chair” – Pham (feat. Mayowa)
“Off the Chair” masterfully blends the deep house/trap aesthetic with flowing, unafraid rap/vocals. There is very little information available on the internet about Pham. We know he’s a producer out of Poland. We know this is one song off of his recent EP, “Movements,” and that this song features Nigerian rapper Mayowa (who, we note, sounds eerily like a more confident, even angry Drake). And we know that Pham boldly-yet-thoughtfully combines and an orgasmic house beat with strong bars from Yung Fusion, and that we like it.
“One Touch” – Bauuer (feat. Rae Sremmurd and Alunageorge)
No hype playlist is complete without the dirty-south influence of Rae Sremmurd, the rowdy hip-hop duo composed of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy from Tupelo, Mississippi. Much like “Off the Chair,” “One Touch” represents a brave combination of hyphy hip-hop and dubstep/trap music, juxtaposing hard-hitting bass lines and verses of traditional rap with powerful synth-heavy instrumentals and distant female vocals (from Alunageorge, who performed at Frost last year).
“Trust Me Danny” – ILOVEMAKONNEN
Much like the Weeknd, Makonnen occupies a unique space in music that combines synth-heavy trap and high-octave R&B; one that makes real moves towards meaningful crossover into pop. In a call to his long-time producer, Danny Wolf, Makonnen’s wobbly high register cruises over an upbeat, undeniably anthem-esque melody and a thumping bass line, leaving “Trust Me Danny” feeling both heavy and weightless.
“Panda” – Desiigner
Hard-hitting Panda should certainly sound familiar; Our Lord and Savior himself, Kanye, samples “Panda” on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2” from his newest project, “The Life of Pablo.” Perhaps due to Desiigner’s young age — he just recently celebrated his 18th birthday — “Panda” refreshingly lacks the restraint that many rappers now exercise in this era of experimental, meticulously-curated project-rap. Though Desiigner shamelessly bites (read: rips off) Future, both in sound and in subject (he frequently name-drops Atlanta, the home of Future), we are super excited to see what Desiigner brings to us next. And apparently, so is Kanye; just days prior to “The Life of Pablo”’s release, Kanye officially signed Desiigner to his record label, Good Music.
“Ta Fête” – Stromae
Belgian-Rwandan artist Stromae is perhaps best known for hits “Alors on Danse” and “Papaoutai.” These songs work by flipping unexpected sounds on their head to create confusion, while his lyrics seek to enlighten. These features are encapsulated in “Ta Fête.” Alone, each of the distinct instrumentals sound like screeches that you made in primary school to piss off that one teacher that you knew already hated her life. Together, they create an insane masterpiece. In the famous Stromae fashion, every verse invites interpretation (“ta fête” itself means “to throw a party”, but also ”to get into a fight”). If you’re looking for a little of that “F**k up some commas” effect, “Ta Fête” is the classy way to get there.
“Calm Down” – G-Eazy
In this short, verse-heavy number off of young Gerald’s December release, When It’s Dark Out, shameless shit-talking and plans of doing drugs and having sex with certain celebrities fit perfectly with the Tyga-esque, high-tempo nightclub instrumental. Say what you want about cheesy, cocky G-Eazy, but this song is a banger.
“Sock It 2 Me” – Missy Elliot (Kaytranada Remix)
Missy wasn’t lying; this song definitely has our “hormones jumping like a disco.” In this playlist’s third rap-electronic hybrid, “Sock It 2 Me” pairs the proud rapping voice of Missy Elliot with the sweeping trap-rave aesthetic (or how we imagine a rave sounds, since we’re too afraid to attend one) of Kaytranada (who, interestingly, was another performer at last year’s Frost festival). At ~45 seconds, the uncompromising beat drop will sock it to you, too.
“Wonderful” – Travi$ Scott
Much like “Drugs You Should Try It”, upbeat “Wonderful” doesn’t feel like the work of the darker, 808s-inspired Travis that told Drop.fm in a 2013 interview that he likes to record his music in the dark. Deviating once again from the hard-hitting sound that typically characterizes southern rap, Houston-native Travi$ Scott masterfully incorporates Autotune (coupled with a mean falsetto hook from the Weeknd) to create an almost hypnotic sound in “Wonderful”. Unlike the simultaneously-released track “A-Team,” which warns listeners not to “try to play us,” “Wonderful” invites listeners to celebrate the wonderfulness of the time in which we find ourselves. Oh my, what a wonderful time indeed.
“Danger” – Vic Mensa
Admittedly, we recognize that you’re probably not going to like this song. But “Danger” is appealing for that reason alone; it feels dangerous. It’s unsurprisingly the very song that made the entire Yeezy Season crowd convened at Madison Square Gardens uncomfortable. It’s breathless. It’s aggressive. It’s irreverent. It’s South Side. This song is the neck tattoo of music; the song that screams skrrrrrrrt! It’s crazy to think about how many times I used to see this self-described hooligan around the Hyde Park neighborhood where I went to high school.
BONUS TRACK: “Kiss” – Prince
Say whaaaat? Prince’s funky falsetto, flamboyant guitar riffs, and groovy saxophone interlude are perfect for getting the people going. Released in 1984, the same year in which Prince released his feature film/soundtrack Purple Rain, “Kiss” offers a playful, jazzy departure from this more modern, heavy playlist. Unfortunately, as part of his ongoing suit against multiple major streaming services, Prince has elected to remove all of his music from YouTube. So, for those of you who have made the (exceedingly wise) choice to read this far, here’s the song: http://videos.sapo.pt/KOvn6OC2wfpWz9aTDSAM.
Contact Gabe Knight at gknight2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Contact Abdulla Janahi at ajanahi ‘at’ stanford.edu.