Now Hear This is a daily dive into the standout songs of the day. Today, Arca can make even sirens seem elegant, Chance The Rapper drops off just a minute and a quarter of high-test flow, and A$AP Rocky's blockbuster album drops a week early.
A$AP Rocky, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP
A$AP Rocky has dropped his album a week early, giving Americans a soundtrack to their post-Memorial Day caffeine binge and everyone else trying to remember if they've re-upped their Spotify membership. It's a lot to absorb on first listen. Already known for combining high-fashion, narcotic Southern style and post-geography New New York swag, A.L.L.A. throws even more ingredients into A$AP Rocky's stew.
This is the first album since the death of behind-the-scenes mogul A$AP Yams and it's become easier to spot his posthumous fingerprints on the project, but he's joined by co-executive producers Juicy J, Danger Mouse and himself. So there's trap, soul, Rod Stewart, gauzy psychedelia and some surprisingly lush production here, along with about 50,000 guest rappers. It's not what you'd expect from A$AP Rocky, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. - Richard Trapunski
A$AP Rocky's AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP is out now on iTunes.
Arca, "Washed Clean"
Alejandro Ghersi, a.k.a. Arca, casually planted "Washed Clean" on Twitter Sunday. In cinematic style, a small glowing, breathing synth pad crashes out onto some street-level sound world. What's typically droning and abrasive is trained into a taut ballet — the sirens are our performers, moving elegantly, artfully, unchained from rhthym. - Chris Hampton
Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment, "Hiatus"
Set over a sample of Hiatus Kaiyote's soul jam "Fingerprints," Chance The Rapper drops off just 78 seconds of his characteristic goofball, whip smart, entirely effortless flow. Enough to remind you who's the best rapper out of Chicago right now. And just enough to keep fans baited for Surf, which without any announced release date, Chance hinted would drop any time now. Like, three weeks ago. Me thinks "Hiatus" is something of a tease. - Chris Hampton