It’s fine: Nicki Minaj, “Ganja Burn” (video) - This music video’s first offense is the unattractive font used for the opening story exposition, which explains: once upon time “there lived a queen” and yadda-yadda-yadda she put her enemies to death. Nicki Minaj emerges from the sand, writhes about, gazes at a skull, and sings into the sepia-toned camera. There’s some fire-dance worship, and the gold Cleopatra braids at the end are gorgeous. The video’s sole purpose is to sell the point that Nicki is the queen of any domain. —Clover Hope
Uhhh: Ja Rule and Ashanti, “Encore” - This twosome that was most famous in the 2000s deigned to turn Cheryl Lynn’s classic “Encore,” already a great barbecue jam, into a song that’s basically a soundtrack for a beach day everyone’s too busy to attend. This just makes me want to listen to the Cheryl Lynn station on Pandora. —CH
Y: Justus Proffit & Jay Som, “Nothing’s Changed” - Jay Som, musical project of Melina Duterte, has always tickled me with her classical jazz background and ambitious orchestration, which complicates potentially formulaic indie pop songwriting to make something unusual. Take that, and combine it with the sweet Big Star power-pop melody of Justus Proffit and a soul-crushing trumpet solo and you have “Nothing’s Changed.” It’s familiar, not derivative-sounding, and oh so soft. —Maria Sherman
Y: iLe, “Odio” – The latest from iLe is a single that’s pleasing to the ear and has lyrics that stir the heart. If you’re familiar with Calle 13's music but unaware that Ileana Joglar, brother to René Pérez Joglar (Residente), was a part of the group for over a decade, this video is a refreshing (albeit heart-wrenching) surprise and reminder that although she’s riding solo now, you can still expect the same level of profundity from her work. Released in conjunction with the song, the video looks back at the Cerro Maravilla murders and government cover-up of two pro-independence activists in 1978. The chorus, translated, is: “Let hate die of hunger because no one feeds it. Together, let’s break barriers, walls and wires.” Dale pues, iLe. I’m ready for this album. —Ecleen Caraballo
YYYYYYYYYYYes: Doja Cat, “Mooo!” - Say what you will of “Mooo!”—a bop that went viral so rapidly last weekend that it threatened to outshine Nicki Minaj’s new release. Call it goofy (it is). Call it the downfall of music (it’s not). But don’t be so quick to write it off! Once you get past the repetition of “Bitch, I’m a cow/Bitch, I’m a cow/I’m not a cat/I don’t say meow,” you’ll find glimmers of brilliance. Goofy brilliance, but brilliance nonetheless. Thanks to various references to beef and dairy and plenty of elongated o’s, “Mooo!” is riddled with cleverness. It’s even a little educational. Take, for example, this bit: “You a calf bitch/You my daughter/I ain’t bothered/Get slaughtered/Got the methane, I’m a farter/With my father/McDonald.” See? Educational!
Plus, Doja Cat managed to create an entire song about cows, set to a lo-fi hip-hop beat and a hypnotizing low-budget video to match, and she did it all in 12 and a half hours. She gets props from me, okay? Just grab some Lactaid and press play. —Ashley Reese
Y: Iceage, “Under the Sun” - Iceage is plagued by crass comparisons. The critically acclaimed Danish punk band have been called everything from a bootleg Joy Division to a Nick Cave cover band (which, okay, I get, but find somewhat unfair when considering their overall discography). So it’s with a heavy heart that after watching their new video, “Under the Sun,” I have a comparison of my own: this screams Smiths concert circa 1983.
Smiths lead singer, Morrissey, was known for swinging bouquets of flowers around during his live shows, and it looks like Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt invoked that same spirit. I’m sure he’d (sexily) turn his nose up at that such a reductive assertion, but I’m sticking to it. Still, the flowers Morrissey was waving around back in the day pale in comparison to the stunning flower arrangements in this video. This is the mastery of Makoto Azuma, the famed Japanese florist whose work you might recognize from Rihanna’s September 2018 British Vogue cover. “Under the Sun” sounds like an indulgent, languid funeral dirge; throw in Azuma’s florals, and the funeral is complete. —AR
Y: Mitski, “A Pearl” - FUCK. ME. UP. If you’re looking for a more robust review of Mitski’s new album, however, we got you. —AR
Y: Aminé feat. Rico Nasty, “SUGARPARENTS” – Nothing says gender equality like a rap song about how both Aminé and Rico Nasty prefer to be selfish with their money. Get it, the both of ya! This is a nice feature nestled in the middle of a pretty great, very fun surprise mixtape, which Aminé dropped earlier this week. —Frida Garza