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City Girls, in Miami, seem like basic teengirl rap yammerers (early twenties, actually) similar to many others going back to Roxanne Shanté except with especially snappy rhythm. Bali Baby, in Atlanta, claims gang and trap heritage but despite her being black she reminds me more of opportunistic, less-to-the-manner-born white girls like Bhad Bhabie and Lil Debbie and especially Kitty Pryde. Her sound can veer towards a dreamy Kittyish I'm-talking-to-my-diary feel, whatever the boasts and threats coming out of her mouth. A commenter Crownfay at genius.com says, "Sugartrap is a unofficial genre as I call it because it's a way of rapping on a sweet candy like beat but the lyrics on some trap gang type thing." (I think the term "sugartrap" is more associated with Rico Nasty, but I base that on a 5-minute Google search.) I do find Bali's money and fighting lyrics something of a drag; prefer her messed-up-in-love stuff, the two not being mutually exclusive, of course. Bali Baby's also got a way with pop hooks. My favorite old Bali Baby is "Do Da Dash," my favorite pop Bali Baby is "Backseat," my favorite dreamy Bali Baby is "Part The Sea." A YouTube commenter wants her to do a track with Bhad Bhabie; actually Bhad Bhabie released a track with City Girls, "Yung and Bhad," which is kinda meh unfortunately. Must've been cut at least three months ago, because JT of City Girls reported to prison on July 2 to start a 2-year stint for check fraud. My favorite City Girls track is "Period (We Live)." ("Talk game got his dick hard/Now I'm the authorized user on his credit card." Um.)

My top singles, YouTube playlist:


Vast inventiveness from all over — just now dipping into South African gqom, a dubby kind of house of the sort that I sometimes deride as "spare and stringent for the dance connoisseur" but that's hitting me at the moment with exuberant syncopated beats* and sound washes that feel alternately (or simultaneously) "haunting" or "contemplative" or "comforting" or "menacing" depending on my mood. On my list: DJ Tira, Zulu Mkhathini, DJ Maphorisa, DJ Shimza, Moonchild Sanelly, Dladla Mshunqkisi, Distruction Boyz, Prince Bulo, Dominowe, Tk Da Magnet, Amanda. Of course there are thousands I haven't heard. "Exuberant" is what I get from the videos. "Strenuous," too. I've read descriptions that call it "angry" and "euphoric."

From Chicago, Queen Key, who's done one of the "Slide" remixes (number 58 below), is also on here in her own right with "Hoes Out Toes Out." In her vids she looks benignly happy no matter the nasty things she's saying about you. She does seem genuinely benign — brag and insult being her path to good humor. She's making common cause with gay rapper Kidd Kenn, which puts her in my good graces. (Like, if she knew me she'd care about my graces?)

As for whatever nasty things Bhad Bhabie, Sheck Wes, Rich The Kid, Mazzeratti, and Lil Mister are saying, and whomever they're saying stuff about, I'm kind of letting the words go in one ear and out the other for the time being, keeping the emotions at an arm's length. Stressing about the election, which is an emotional ringer. Kavanaugh was confirmed just as I began writing. But I'm not doing anybody any good if I'm in a bad humor myself. Hence emphasizing "inventiveness," even if my prose appears detached as I look up at my gqom paragraph. I fear the only reason the hip-hop toughies on my list wouldn't think highly of Trump is that he's an obvious racist. Otherwise, they'd be suckered into thinking someone like that is strong. Some of them might, anyway.** (Not to single out the performers I just mentioned, whom I know little about.)

I have almost no idea how the non-American music here plays socially. Would love to learn more, though nervous what I might find out. In the videos, gqom seems fundamentally a party music. I don't know what aspirations it represents: for good times, for dance prowess, fitness, local Durban pride? Escape? I got curious about gqom when a NY Times piece noted that a South African politician on an anti-corruption kick was playing the Distruction Boyz' "Omunye" on his car stereo. "An instant hit about a party." As he was heading home he and his companions were planning their own party. "By the time they got back, the music had Mr. Magaqa jumping in his seat." But he never made it — was shot dead by hit men, possibly at the behest of a political rival.

Anyhow, I trust that you're all alive. For Frankophiles, Franko is here with "Dance Ta Chose." Even better is his nonsingle "La remontada (Freestyle)."

My top singles, three-quarters through 2018.

1. Cassie "Don't Play It Safe"
2. Bhad Bhabie ft. MadeinTYO, Rich The Kid, Asian Doll "Hi Bich (Remix)"
3. Ninety One "Ah!Yah!Ma!"
4. Kidd Kenn "Slide Remix"
5. Fairies "HEY HEY ~Light Me Up~"
6. Lil Pump "i Shyne"
7. KeshYou & Baller "Swala La La"
8. 6ix9ine "Billy"
9. Zulu Mkhathini ft. DJ Tira "Uniform"



10. Bhad Bhabie "Thot Opps (Clout Drop) / Bout That"
11. Bhad Bhabie ft. Lil Yachty "Gucci Flip Flops"
12. Bhad Bhabie "Both Of Em"
13. Cardi B "Be Careful"
14. Niniola "Saro"
15. Boy Tag ft. Tala A. Marie "Talla"
16. Tay-K "After You"
17. Sheck Wes "Do That"



18. The EastLight. "Don't Stop"
19. Crowd Kontroller ft. Niniola "Bambam"
20. Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J. Balvin "I Like It"
21. Tenor "Alain Parfait (Á L'Imparfait)"
22. Yella Beezy ft. Lil Baby "Up One"
23. MHD "Moula Gang" (AFRO TRAP Part.10)
24. Mylène Farmer "Rolling Stone"



25. Bali Baby "Backseat"
26. Bangg 3 ft. Goldie "Slide Remix"
27. Sen Ptit Galle All Stars "Sargal Akon 'Na Na Na Na'"
28. Rich The Kid "Bring It Back"
29. FBG Duck "Slide"
30. Chi Pu "Talk To Me"
31. Hong Jinyoung "Good Bye"
32. Ashley Monroe "Hands On You"
33. Aclem Wawa "Mbééé"



34. Booker x Mozee Montana "Каждый День (Every Day)"
35. Bích Phương "Bùa Yêu"
36. 21 Savage, Offset, Metro Boomin "Ric Flair Drip"
37. Rich The Kid "Dead Friends"
38. Blocboy JB & Drake "Look Alive"
39. Wally B. Seck "Faramareen"
40. BiS "DiPROMiSE"
41. Miky Yo ft. Kidest Temasgen "Dureye New Fitu"
42. Jupiter & Okwess "Nzele Momi"
43. Queen Key ft. King Louie "Hoes Out Toes Out"



44. City Girls "Period (We Live)"
45. Aminé ft. Injury Reserve "Campfire"
46. Franko "Dance Ta Chose"
47. A.K "Slide Remix"
48. Burna Boy ft. Lily Allen "Heaven's Gate"
49. Tararanga "Natbaro"
50. Stefflon Don, Skepta "Ding-A-Ling"
51. Kris Wu "Tian Di"



52. LOOΠΔ/Olivia Hye ft. Jin Soul "Egoist"
53. Netsanet Melkamu ft. Jino "Security"
54. Wonderful Machine "Time's Gone"
55. NCT U "Baby Don't Stop"
56. Stray Kids "Grrr"
57. Pungdeng-E "Caramel Macchioto"
58. Queen Key "Slide Remix"
59. Boonk Gang "Ventin"
60. DJ Maphorisa, DJ Shimza ft. Moonchild Sanelly "Makhe"



61. Mazzeratti "Slide Remix"
62. DJ Spinall & Wizkid "Nowo"
63. Serebro "111307"
64. Lil Mister "Slide (1st Remix)"
65. Pretty Savage "Slide (Remix)"
66. Sexyy Red "Slide Remix"
67. Dominowe ft. Tk Da Magnet & Amanda "Uk'Gruva"



67. A$AP Rocky ft. Moby "A$AP Forever"
68. Abelo DX "Gonder"
69. Tyga ft. Offset "Taste"
70. Fooch "Slide Remix"
71. J.I.D "EdEddnEddy"
72. DJ Tira & Prince Bulo "No Rush"
73. Dladla Mshunqkisi ft. Distruction Boyz & DJ Tira "
Pakisha"
74. Willie Nelson "Something You Get Through"



75. Playboi Carti "R.I.P."
76. Sanni "Pornoo"
77. Jovi "Pimentcam"

City Girls "Period (We Live)"


Bali Baby "Backseat"


*I mean, on the handful I've heard. A couple of articles say the genre uses "broken" beats. What I've heard doesn't seem so broken to me.

**[EDIT: By "some of them might, anyway" I mean "In my imaginary scenario, with Trump's racism not being so obvious, some of them — not necessarily all of them — might be suckered into thinking he's strong" (as opposed to "some might be imagining he's strong even as it is, with his racism obvious," which isn't what I meant but I wrote it poorly enough that someone could read it that way).]

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