With issues of race and stereotyping weighing heavy on my mind (see here for my thinkpiece on Kanye and THAT Brits performance), here are five tracks I can't stop whacking the 'loop' button on.
1) Kanye West - All Day
It's always a bit of a cop out to call something 'big-sounding', but after the middle-of-the-road sentimentality of 'Four Five Seconds' and 'Only One', 'All Day' has a certain arena-sized Watch The Throne whiff about it. As Kanye's flow grows steadily more urgent, we're reminded of the glory days where he was fierce, angry and yes, oh so egotistical.
2) Kendrick Lamar - The Blacker The Berry
It's clear from just one listen that Kendrick's 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is an incredible listen, constantly on the edge of being uncomfortable but always pulling it back with a variety of samples taken from the illustrious history of black music. However, it's lead single 'The Blacker The Berry' that is truly jaw-dropping, hitting it's subject matter at full speed.
3) Drake - You & The 6
Oh Drizzy, how I adore you. A man who can bring tears to my eyes with a simple melancholy chord, it was pretty difficult picking a favourite from his recent mixtape 'If You Read This, It's Probably Too Late'. However, as someone currently experiencing the sobering 'you're truly an adult now' process of watching their parents sell up their family house, 'You & The 6' has been especially touching, drawing back that curtain of fame and revealing the relationship between one very famous son and his doting mother.
4) Big Sean - Blessings (featuring Drake and Kanye West)
Ever since his feature on Drake's 'Nothing Was The Same', I've been a big fan of Big Sean's super lazy, drawling style of rap... there's something oddly hypnotic about it. I'm yet to be entirely convinced by his preference for a very 'bitches and hoes' subject matter, but 'Blessings' is definitely a catchy one, made all the better by that Drake hook.
5) ILoveMakkonen - Tuesday (featuring Drake)
Our Drake has been getting around on the old features recently hasn't he? There's no getting away from the success of 'Tuesday' recently, but it's still as fresh-sounding as when I first heard it. Favouring a lethargic, trippy approach, it's beautifully reminiscent of that 3am club feeling when everything's got a little too much but you're still pretending to have an amazing time.