7. Crying - Patriot
New York chiptune trio Crying has the uncanny knack for injecting incendiary potential energy that lurks beneath their twee, poptimistic 16-bit instrumentals, set to burst at just the right moments. "Patriot" is the band's most explosive track to date, draping twinkly GameBoy synths in a heavy coat of roaring guitar chords and Elaiza Santos' overly-distorted vocals. Each element of the recording vies for your attention and blends into the homogenous wall of sound. "Patriot" seizes its listener's conscious, sending it on a thrill ride's worth of corkscrews and sharp turns, making the song's three minute duration feel much more brief. Make no mistake: Crying's chiptune arrangements aren't a gimmick. Rather, they're crucial to the band's kaleidoscopic, unpredictable sound.
6. Denzel Curry - ULTIMATE
Like OG Maco, Rae Sremmurd's Slim Jimmy, Young Thug and most other major innovators in the "new wave" of hip-hop, Denzel Curry's vocal presence on any given track is unmistakable, and never has he sounded more authoritative than on "ULTIMATE". Employing a more menacing take on his delivery from 2013's "Threatz", Curry delivers his bars in the form of a guttural roar, only pausing to put careful emphasis on the connective phrases he wedges between verses. Ronny J's grimy, hypnagogic production composed of distorted percussion and a creepy steel drum melody pairs extremely well with Curry's verses, making for a track that is relentless in its aggression. "ULTIMATE" resembles a a darker, more sinister version of Rae Sremmurd, or perhaps a poppier Death Grips, and hopefully the song gives us an early look at what the landscape of underground hip-hop will look like over the next few years.
5. Elvis Depressedly - No More Sad Songs
Stripping away the warbly phase and tape crunch that characterized much of his earlier output, North Carolinian lo-fi pop purveyor Elvis Depressedly (a.k.a Mat Cothran) lays the inner clockwork of his signature sound bare. "N.M.S.S." is composed of little more than guitar apeggios, cello and snapping in place of drums. Minimal and melancholy, it revels in its own stark simplicity and culminates in a beautiful keyboard solo.