Quarantined Playlist: Kid Cudi, Westside Gunn, Bon Iver and more


(Trevor Wilson/Amherst Wire)

With everyone stuck inside and socially distancing from each other, there’s never been a better time to stay up to date on some of the latest releases in the world of music. We’ll be updating this playlist each week. Here are this week’s music suggestions from the Amherst Wire staff.

Astghik Dion

“Leader of the Delinquents” – Kid Cudi

Mr.Rager has always been a voice for the outcasts, the kids that listened to his music when they didn’t feel heard by anyone or anything else, he has always been the “Leader of the Delinquents.” Kid Cudi returns for his first single since the release of “Kids See Ghosts” in 2018 with a song completely led by rapping, no hums or forlorn melodies that we are all so familiar with. 

The song opens with the line, “hello friends, Cudder again / Gotta smack ’em with some sh*t before the world ends,” something that’s humorous if you don’t think about the reality of our current lives too much. 

Other picks: “Friends” – dvsn ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR, “JUMP” – DaBaby ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Jonathan Kermah

“George Bondo” – Westside Gunn ft. Conway the Machine and BENNY the BUTCHER

Griselda Records grabbed rap by the throat in 2019 when they flooded hip-hop with music reeking of New York in the 90s. Don’t get it confused though, the crew of boom-bap berzerkers reps Buffalo, NY proudly, not New York City. That didn’t stop Wu-Tang Clan legend, Raekwon, from giving them the cosign on multiple occasions, including his words of wisdom on the intro track of Griselda’s 2019 group record “WWCD.”

Now a third of the way into 2020, Griselda’s head of the snake, Westside Gunn is back with another solo record in “Pray For Paris.” While every track exuberates the perfect balance of grittiness and polish, “George Bondo” is the track that had my stank face on from the jump. In this Griselda relay race, Westside Gunn comes off the blocks ready to wreak havoc on Daringer and Beat Butcha’s spellbinding piano loop. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Westside Gunn verse without his signature gunshot adlibs to wrap his verse.

Westside Gunn’s brother Conway the Machine and cousin BENNY the BUTCHER put on an equally as menacing performance filled with rap acrobatics and details of life in the Buffalo streets so vivid that the memories feel almost as tangible as the diamonds they flex. What makes Griselda Records so dangerous is the group’s balance. Every rapper pulls their weight and likely could stomp out your favorite rapper with a quick 16 bars.   

Other picks: “Faith” – Lucki, “Kotton Kandy” – Smino ft. Sevyn Streeter

Trevor Wilson

“PDLIF” – Bon Iver

Justin Vernon is truly a man-made for the moment. In times of grief, confusion and utter chaos, his craft always finds it to the ears that need it most. With his first release since his 2019 masterpiece “i, i,” boundary-pushing, genre-bending indie group Bon Iver returns with “PDLIF” or “Please Don’t Live in Fear.”

The track opens with a somber brass melody with slow, rock-a-bye paced drums. Vernon does as he always does with his music, placing his voice unabashedly at the center. The soft, delicate deftness of the instrumental begs the listener to pay attention to what Vernon says as the track fleshes out into a beautiful anthem about perseverance, strength and solidarity. 

What’s more, Vernon has always been a man for the people. As he notes in the description, 100 percent of the streaming revenue for the song will go to directrelief.org to protect workers and patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. So, if you want to keep fighting the good fight against this pandemic, stay indoors and stream “PDLIF.”

Other picks: “$500 Ounces” – Westside Gunn ft. Freddie Gibbs and Roc Marciano, “Cosmonauts” – Fiona Apple

Shane Guilfoyle

“Japanese Garments” – BigBabyGucci

BigBabyGucci’s drip comes with a passport. If you’ve found yourself active in some of SoundCloud’s more underground communities, you’re likely already familiar with the ubiquitous figure. As the founder of 1500Forever, a collective amongst creatives such as artists, producers, photographers and designers, BBG has honed craft and vision across several album releases, while steadily developing an online following along the way. 

“Japanese Garments” first introduces the ear to waves of flute and acoustic guitar. From here, the beat deploys a familiar trap formula, with injections of 808s and stuttering high hats. These facets eventually sync to create the songs driving melody and provide a backdrop for BBG’s verse. 

Other picks: “Never Legit” – Lilgotit, “No Vacancy” – Westside Gunn

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