The nights are getting warmer and the mornings are getting brighter. Over here at The Panoptic, we have our headphones plugged in, in an attempt to bring you our favourite tunes of the week and give you a soundtrack to the summer days ahead. This week we are giving you a dance floor filler by DJ Koze, a proper skanker by Wiley, and Childish Gambino's groundbreaking track.
Follow our Singles of the Week here.
EJ Oakley, ‘This Is America’ by Childish Gambino
Nobody’s stopped talking about this track all week, and for good reason. Accompanied by a video loaded with socio-political commentary, ‘This Is America’ pulls no punches. It announces a much-welcome return to rap for Childish Gambino after 2016’s soul-infused Awaken, My Love!. The stark contrast between the track’s opening choir verses and the sudden cut to a dark, distorted trap beat is the tremendously satisfying equivalent of a well-timed EDM beat drop, also serving to highlight the bipolar nature of life for most black Americans – caught between allowing the commodification of their culture for money, and arbitrary police brutality and gun violence. “We just wanna party, party just for you,” sings Gambino joyfully at the start, backed by an entire gospel choir, before the beat kicks in, the choir disappears, and Gambino proclaims, “This is America – don’t catch you slippin’ now”. Political statements aside, the track is a hands-down banger, and appears to be a mixture of Gambino’s influences off Awaken, My Love! and an improvement of the rap style he’d cultivated previously on Bonfire and Because The Internet. Look out, world. Childish Gambino has grown up, and he’s about to take the world by storm.
Freddie Metherell, ‘Pick Up’ by DJ Koze
DJ Koze released a pretty crazy album last week, knock knock. Not only crazy in the musical styles that he put on show, but crazy because this ridiculous mish mash of genres works so fantastically well together. Sliding from trip hop to R&B, the album leaves you with an overflowing sense of colour. The best of this mad mess is ‘Pick Up’. Think of an eccentric ‘Music sounds better with you’ and you won’t be too far off. The instrumental is euphorically pounding with swooning strings and funky guitar hooks. This works intriguingly well when juxtaposed against the sorrowing vocals of the Gladys Knight sample.
Amar Mehta, ‘Certified’ by Wiley feat. Shakka
“Godfather II I’m back with a bang.” Wiley is back, with this latest album and on it is my single of the week: ‘Certified’. This part two of his album was released by the Godfather of grime just last week. ‘Certified’ featuring Shakka is a must listen track and it’s a certified banger with Wiley’s rhythmic rap complimented by Shakka’s voice. If you’re thinking of a song (and album) to skank to, this is it.
Image: Pampa Records