The S/T Newsletter, Issue #3: What We’re Listening To As Of June 4, 2021 (Teaser)

Each week, Sound Over Time releases a newsletter on Substack covering a variety of different music under different formats. You can read and sign up for the newsletter with your email here.

For our “What We’re Listening To” series, we’re spotlighting the music that we’ve been loving in the past weeks as a way to help readers find their new favourite song, complete with a playlist at the end.

By Michael Di Gennaro

Lil Yachty, “G.I. Joe (feat. Louie Ray)” (2021)

For all the talking we did about the New Michigan hip-hop scene in the first issue of the S/T Newsletter, we didn’t even mention the biggest industry name working in the genre; Atlanta’s Lil Yachty. While we chose to omit his name due to his status as a geographical outsider, Yachty has both seen a career renaissance through his heavy involvement with Michigan rap, giving the state’s brightest stars a national platform through collaboration. Michigan Boy Boat, Yachty’s newest project, is the culmination of his relationship with Detroit and Flint- a full length mixtape in the style of New Michigan, with the lion’s share of producers and guest appearances all hailing from the Great Lakes State. It’s ironic then, that “G.I Joe” is the tape’s best song, since it’s the only one that features a Southern beat via the perennially underrated Buddah Bless. The beat has a blissful bounciness to it, with heavenly string loops, lightweight drums, and four-count 808s scattered throughout. It’s a throwback to the more playful, tongue-in-cheek tone of Yachty’s early work, but his rapping is far more direct and steady than anything on the original Lil Boat, and a showcase of how much he’s improved in the traditional sense. Michigan still holds a presence through Louie Ray’s standout feature; though he doesn’t have the star power of someone like Babyface Ray or his partner-in-crime YN Jay, his laid-back delivery is perfect for the spacey sound of current Southern rap, and he effortlessly floats throughout his verse while boasting that he’s so high he’d leave Nicki Minaj on read. Elite lie.

Mac Ayres, “Slow Down” (2017)

Mac Ayres’ music emerged at a time in which the type of spacey, indie-tinged R&B he makes was at an unprecendented level of demand. While both “Slow Down” and fellow Drive Slow cut “Easy” were bona-fide hits, the New York singer & multi-instrumentalist fell out of the public eye along with the scene he was grouped into. It’s quite the shame, because it’s apparent that Ayres has much more of an appreciation for classic R&B and soul than many of his peers at the time, passing on the whisper-y vocals and uber-ethereal production for jazzy tones and lovely falsetto. “Slow Down” is the best song from his most popular album (go listen to “Easy” if you haven’t already, though), a gorgeous slow-burner that is equal parts late-night mood setter and wedding dance backdrop.

Read the rest of the S/T Newsletter on Substack here.

Follow Sound Over Time on Instagram @soundover.time and on Twitter @soundover_time.

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