Grantland logo

Songs of the Week: Young Scooter, Young Thug, BANKS, Eels, and Queen Nicki

Hear seven days of jams.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Young Thug ft. Nicki Minaj, “Danny Glover” (Remix)

[protected-iframe id=”6141361fee010e765bb0498933647dcd-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no”]

Nicki Minaj has been on a bit of a tear recently, taking one of her periodic breaks from network TV and fashion-mag covers and however else she’s choosing to make a whole bunch of money that week to remind us that, yep, she’s still one of the best rappers working. First she resurrected PTAF’s YouTube hit “Boss Ass Bitch,” then she stole YG’s star-studded “My Nigga” remix; now, to complete the triptych, comes a very necessary take on ascendant Atlantan weirdo Young Thug’s “Danny Glover.” Between name-checking Hillary Clinton memoirs and instilling pico de gallo with a heretofore unknown menace, she also makes sure she knows we know that she knows she could lure all of our wives into infidelity if she so chose. And there’s more! “Week in a half, Imma be in that ass,” she promises. “Like I’m working on the album and a mixtape at the same damn time.” Good. Good. Very good.

Cloud Nothings, “I’m Not Part of Me”

[protected-iframe id=”a1de7e3a1a65ae1eea7c6ab773612137-60203239-16586585″ info=”″ width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no”]

In the two years since we last heard young Ohioan Dylan Baldi get all perfectly spitting mad, on Cloud Nothing’s 2012 banger Attack on Memory, it seems some personal maturation has taken place. Announcing his new album Here and Nowhere Else (out in April), Baldi explains: “I was feeling pretty good about everything so I just made stuff that made me happy. I had nothing to be angry about really so the approach was more positive and less ‘fuck everything.'” Don’t worry, though: From this first taste of his new tunes, it appears Happy Dylan still likes his guitars clanging, loud, and extra sloppy.

Eels, “Agatha Chang”

[protected-iframe id=”446aa3ec3c97756c63667cf105e02f3e-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]

Immediate counterpoint to newfound serenity: Eels’ E., forever, gorgeously heartbroken.

Young Scooter ft. Juelz Santana and Lostarr, “Amigos”

[protected-iframe id=”1fa3305208cdf6296cae1328ea0de680-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no”]

You think your pals are so great because they brought you split pea soup and the Everybody Loves Raymond box set that one time your tummy wasn’t feeling so hot? Consider this: Young Scooter’s got the kind of amigos that’ll hook up “5,000 pounds,” and “pronto,” plus a bunch of “eagles” so that he can “somersault the whole block with” his “people.” When’s the last time your BFF did that?

Cam’ron and A-Trak, “Humphrey”

[protected-iframe id=”eea99e2eed61b5d0ab08cb3d13778ba3-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]

Are you becoming concerned — what with new Killa tunes (this one off his upcoming collabo EP with A-Trak, Federal Reserve) and that 10,000th spin on Purple Haze — that Cameron Giles is taking up too much of your hippocampus? Look: As long as he sounds this good, there’s no point in denying him. Cam still? Yes. Cam, still.

Justin Bieber ft. Chance the Rapper, “Confident”

Feel free to click right through to the mid-video interlude, in which Bieber, that fuzz ever so elegantly decorating his upper lip, tries hollering at a comely young lady who’s purchasing Takis. It’s … it’s mesmerizing. Then check out Pappademas, offering the first and last word you need on Bieber mid-meltdown: “The Rolling Stones made Exile on Main St. in a basement studio — Keith Richards compared it to the Führerbunker — in a villa in the south of France, where they’d gone to hide from British tax collectors. Sly Stone made There’s a Riot Goin’ On while driving around L.A. in a Winnebago, gacked out of his mind. Both of those records ended up tapping into the fears and sorrows of their moment in an eerie and profound way. There’s something creatively energizing about a state of siege, and I kind of love the idea of you someday issuing a bulletin from the Bieberbunker that turns out to be the swagged-out-in-Room-1009 AutoTune-era Exile a generation of Beliebers didn’t know they needed.”

N.A.S.A. ft. Karen O, “I Shot The Sheriff”

[protected-iframe id=”c81e5714e737da082602a8a9352bce47-60203239-16586585″ info=”″ width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no”]

You know how certain songs and artists are supposed to be canonized enough to be free of latter-day meddling? I feel like, for a bevy of reasons that all basically boil down to “she’s cooler than us all,” Karen O is not beholden to these rules. In other words: when Ms. O says “let’s do ‘I Shot The Sheriff,'” yes, it’s a good idea.

BANKS, “Brain”

[protected-iframe id=”833a64c9cd36efcd0155c725be6cffb7-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]

L.A. R&B up-and-comer (first name Jillian, although you don’t need to bother with that) is, at least at this point, not too famous to have removed her phone number from her Facebook page. As she explains, “Hello world! I like making connections outside of a computer screen … If you ever want to talk call me – (323) 362-2658).” A couple more gems like “Brain,” though, and she’s probably gonna have to change the digits. Go ahead and call now!

UUL ft. Elliott Smith, “The Record”

[protected-iframe id=”9cb7143df9ecb523d31dbd22a6ac0536-60203239-16586585″ info=”” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]

In the late ’90s, at a studio in L.A., Soul Coughing’s Mike Doughty — who also recorded as UUL — got Elliott Smith to spit some shit. Now he’s unearthed those recordings, and plopped ’em, unceremoniously, on Soundcloud. As Doughty explains, “In 1998, Elliott recorded some a cappella vocals for me, specifically to sample and slice-and-dice over beats. They sat on a cassette for 16 years. I just dug it out and completed our collaboration. To be totally clear — this kind of track is exactly what he and I intended to make.”

Major Lazer ft. Pharrell, “Aerosol Can”

The Pharrell renaissance now reaches one of its inevitable digressions: the salvation of Mr. Williams’s MCing. Diplo makes a beat by dropping a tin cup down the stairs, and Skateboard P — cool, calm, collected — raps his ass off: “Make the young girls wild, and they go topless / Make the dope boys smile, they don’t need binoculars / Make a n—– wanna pull out choppers / Braa braa braa, they got ya.”