In ten years (maybe even five, if the half-decade wake of 808s and Heartbreak is any indicator), it will be interesting to look back on the legacy of Yeezus and the work of an unexpected but related producer, DJ Mustard. While Kanye West’s move towards minimalism may have been a bit more aesthetic smoke and mirrors than an actual unifying principle (after all, that old, irrepressible maximalist impulse rears its head on “Blood on the Leaves” and on certain big screen flourishes), it did yield songs like “Black Skinhead” and, in particular, “New Slaves”—percussive, stripped down, reliant on 808’s or similarly gut-rumbling bass tones, and energetically dark.
On the pop side of the equation, DJ Mustard stripped rap and R&B of any extemporaneous material. Simple melodies comprised of few sounds engineered properly to often unavoidably catchy perfection. Kanye and Mustard are like the musical equivalent’s of Two Face’s charred coin—little wonder, then, that they’ve collaborated successfully on two occasions in 2014.
Singer/producer Raylond Hamm feels like he’s working in the growing post-Yeezus mold. New single rain is short, pared down, and light on traditional structure or direction. It’s a love song that feels like a nightmare. Listen below.