Paring down an entire year’s worth of songs is no easy feat.
2018 saw the explosion of songs like ZEDD‘s “The Middle” and Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa‘s “One Kiss,” dominating both the dance music charts and the radio airwaves. Ear-catching tracks like these, along with fan favorites like FISHER‘s persuasive “Losing It” and Anti Up‘s entertaining “Pizza” wiggled their way into festival sets around the world and — love them or hate them — stood out as notable tracks that do their part in immortalizing this whirlwind of a year.
GRiZ has made his soulful return to electronic frontlines with a double-dose of his boogie emblem. In 2018, GRiZ has been wowing funk-friendly crowds near and far, at hallowed venues like Chicago’s Navy Pier and Red Rocks, with the help of his newly instated 15-piece live band.
The two new tracks, “It Gets Better” and “Can’t Get Enough,” mark the end of a year of release dormancy for the longstanding hallmark in the electronic circuit. The latter of offerings ushers in GRiZ’s inaugural vocal display, as the Denver-based producer delivers his own rap verse, over a bout of his characteristically glitchy guitar riffs. Choral supplement runs abound in “It Gets Better,” which features the GRiZ-adjacent proponent of all things “love and positivity,” Virginian rapper, D.R.A.M.. Both tracks fit neatly inside GRiZ’s perpetual good-time arena—while he continues to stretch into formerly untapped artistic reservoirs.
Chromeo‘s DRAM-assisted “Must’ve Been” has been given a stunning overhaul by fast rising R&B duo THEY. The original track has been in rotation since April as an up-beat single from the Funklordz latest LP Head Over Heels, featuring an infectious hook courtesy of the Virginia-born rapper and an ultra-cheeky music video to match. The song previously received remix treatments from artists including CID, Mercer, and Yolanda Be Cool.
Mind of a Genius-championed production outfit THEY. take the original’s chorus and a slinky new verse from singer Drew Love, and lay them over a lush, retro-inspired R&B production from the duo’s producer Dante Jones. The result isn’t just a remix, but a unique reimagining of the original canvas. Even Chromeo themselves admit THEY.’s take caught them by surprise, and could be even better than the original. Dave 1 elaborated to Complex,
“Obviously we’ve been fans of THEY. for a minute (Dante’s a genius producer). We were initially expecting some sort of remix or rework but they’ve turned ‘Must’ve Been’ into an entire different song! Not gonna lie, it might be better than the original.”
DRAM has effectively surprised his listeners by dropping a brand new EP out of the blue — an increasingly common practice in the music industry. That’s A Girls Name contains three tracks: “Best Hugs,” “WWYD?” and “Sundress.” With a laid-back vibe and live feel, this EP screams summer. “Best Hugs” and “WWYD” bring a chilled, California-inspired atmosphere behind DRAM’s uplifting vocals. “Sundress” has a more indie feel, with a leading bass line atop a rock canvas.
The talented vocalist has proven his vast range in both a singing and a production sense across multiple releases. For further inspection into DRAM’s chops, check out his stripped-down rendition of Andre 3000s “Prototype.”
His last EP was his Christmas project, #1HappyHoliday. Since then, he’s collaborated with Diplo, Charlie Heat, Chromeo, and Neil Young. The Virginia-born’s debut album, Big Baby DRAM, which featured his breakout hit, “Broccoli” with Lil Yachty, dropped in 2016, boasting appearances from Young Thug and Erykah Badu. His debut single, “Cha Cha,” was also a piece of audio heat.
Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo has been keeping fans on their toes with the announcement of their fifth studio album, Head Over Heels, on the horizon for this June. With lead singles like “Bedroom Calling” and “Must’ve Been,” it seems as if the guys are dipping even more into R&B by enlisting features like D.R.A.M. and The-Dream.
In order to create even more buzz, the duo has released a remix from Grammy-winning artist CID, who has worked with everyone from Cedric Gervais to Kaskade and Tiësto.
CID takes the funky original “Must’ve Been” and turns it into a high-energy deep house tune that dances with clean high hats and strategic vocal chops that will start your week in style.
Bristol-based producers Blonde have put their own groovy twist on the already-energetic original. They’ve substituted a lively piano and dance beat for the original’s guitar melody, priming the single for the dance floor. Blonde’s rendition maintains the spirited atmosphere of the original, but adds an extra kick of dance music appeal.
With only a little over a month to go until the release of Chromeo‘s fifth studio album, Head Over Heels, the electro-funk veterans headed to New York City to promote the LP on Jimmy Fallon‘s Tonight Show. The Funk Lordz have previously teased two other sexy singles off the LP — “Juice” and “Bedroom Calling.”
Performing their newest DRAM-assisted single, “Musta Been,” on May 8, Chromeo’s Dave 1 and P-Thugg delivered a flashy, colorful performance complete with all the off-beat iconography of their forthcoming LP, which included keyboard stands that sprout out slender feminine legs donning high heels.
The duo was joined on-stage by legendary guitarist Jesse Johnson, along with the Tonight Show‘s house band, The Roots. However, it was DRAM’s vocals that took center stage as the seasoned German singer/rapper graced the stage with palpable energy, bouncing between the band’s clean guitar riffs and impressive keyboard breakdowns.
Chromeo are already currently on their album-accompanying Head Over Heels worldwide tour, with stops in North America and parts of Europe. Head Over Heels is set for release on June 15, 2018.
Diplo has dropped off his first solo project since 2013’s Revolution, the new seven-track collection, California.Don’t let the title fool you — random white dude still be everywhere, though nowadays the Mad Decent head leans much more west coast than anything, and lately he’s enjoyed some time in the studio with a batch of rap’s most in-demand young up-and-comers. Recruiting work from Lil Yachty, Desiigner, DRAM, MØ, Goldlink, Trippie Redd, and controversial rhymer on the rise Lil Xan, the new EP sees Diplo reaffirm his status as one of today’s top A&Rs, all rolled up and tightly packed into a wrap fit for pop music’s most ambitious force behind the console.
The EP includes previously released material, including “Look Back, “Get It Right,” and “Worry No More.” Each track on the EP features Diplo’s chameleonic style wrapped around different lyrical deliveries, with each rapper and vocalist obviously inspired by their Californian surroundings in different creative ways. One listen through California highlights just how far the Major Lazer frontman has come since his 2004 debut, Florida — and it’s a lot further than just coast to coast. Florida was the beginning of Diplo’s grind, and California plays a lot more like the type of music one could sit back and watch a young man’s game unfold to. And 15 years after his studio debut landed, its safe to say Diplo has undoubtedly earned that right.
Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith has had arguably one of the largest breakout years of any artist in 2017. Known by his stage name DRAM, the American R&B and hip hop virtuoso has humble beginnings in Hampton, Virginia and has since garnered more than 400 million streams for his track “Broccoli,” which features another breakout rapper by the name of Lil Yachty.
DRAM originally appeared on Gorillaz fifth studio album, Humanz, on songs “We Got The Power” and “Andromeda.” Now, the 29-year-old rapper puts his own carbonated twist on the original track.
Crack open DRAM’s special and out fizzes bubbly synths and DRAM’s characteristically infectious pop vocals, invigorating the listeners palette and leaving a saccharine aftertaste.
“Even when my tank’s on E I’ll still go to the party” sings DRAM, the track ultimately fading into party crowd chatter and a tsunami of mercurial synthesizers.