|Name: Marcus K. Dowling
Location: Washington, DC
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Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci”
Only a daughter of grunge, Natassia “Kreayshawn” Zolot, could brilliantly disassemble hip hop into its present evolutionary status as a shamble of pop music. Moreso than any other song of 2011, it directly advocated for the goals and aspirations of a brand new generation. If the Internet didn’t cause short attention spans to rule the music industry, it would be hailed as the best one-hit wonder of the last decade. The hook “Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada / Basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother” is easily one of the most salient societal messages in any song in quite a long time.
The Weeknd – “Rolling Stone” (David Heartbreak Moombahsoul Remix)
This is what happens when the best producer in R & B meets the man at the emotional core of the international underground. 21 year old Toronto singer/songwriter/producer Abel Tesfaye is a quintessential Aries male. Fearless, iconic and dominant, his work under the pseudonym of The Weeknd celebrates everything synonymous with just that. Parties, celebrations and the melancholic hours that proceed from them. Heartbreak excels at creating the void in which the party gets primal. His journeys into moombahton subgenres moombahcore and moombahsoul invoke the heaviest of passion, meaning that when you combine the two, it’s going to be a symphony of pained elegance and heavy vibes: the agony and ecstasy rolled into one continuous movement. “Rolling Stone,” a touchstone remix, the moment where R & B gets redefined.
Hudson Mohawke – “Freek”
Approximately one million bedroom producers made Aaliyah remixes in 2011. However, its in somehow transplanting a Scotsman’s body into the streets of Newport News, Virginia in 1994 where Hudson Mohawke becomes 2012’s producer to watch. Lo-fi bass is a funny trend. Once it reached popularity, creating tracks bathed in minor key progressions with soaring vocals just made underground music sound like so many discarded Neptunes and Timbaland tracks. It’s on tracks like “Freek,” where huskier, deeper expression and sexual overtones dominate where the true excellence in doing something so poorly revisionist becomes undeniably amazing. Obsessing over the brilliance of the brothers Hailey and friends while progressing the mad scientist motivation of Tim Mosley is a heady creative space that when ably filled by Mohawke creates R & B’s next great sound.
The Rapture – “How Deep Is Your Love”
Luke Jenner is a once in a generation superstar. The lead singer and his band mates are solely responsible for the indie dance revolution of the first decade of the 21st century, and on this hooky, disco heavy 2011 single show they still have it. Philippe Zdar does for them what Mark Ronson did for Duran Duran, as in insisting that the band return to the sound that brought them to success, links them to yet another iconic yearning winner. Though the rest of latest album In the Grace of Your Love has been critically panned for being a limp-wristed attempt at the punky indie disco cock rock that rode them to the top, this one turns back the clock and turns up the heat on the dance floor.
Jojo – “Marvin’s Room” (Can’t Do Better) (Drake Cover)
We all joke that Drake makes music that sounds like it could be performed by any average woman. However, when R & B post-teen Jojo (clearly an above average young woman) covered Drake’s dramatic ode to ill advised drunk dialing, it became the truth. Fresh off of falling out of the limelight and into a bevy of relationships turning her heart to scorn, Jojo pumped the remnants of her destroyed emotional core into this blistering anthem. “She’s not crazy like me I bet you like that?” The sound of a woman who hasn’t a fuck to give and all the intentions of celebrating with “adderall and Red Bull” and “something crazy in that water bottle.” 2011’s good girl gone worse, this one is a champion of a ballad taken to the next level.