Naira Marley’s ‘Marry Juana’ is one of the most ebullient odes to reefer ever written, period. Marley adorns the low-slung BPM percussion of dancehall with bleeping laser synths, topped off with a lolloping, lightly auto-tuned vocal. It’s representative of both the joyous potential that weed has as a muse and a new strain of U.K. hip-hop.
While this new sound owes much to dancehall, it also draws heavily on afrobeat — most notably on ‘Tell a Paigon Try’ by IQ. The lilting tune is overlaid with U.K. road-man hard talk. Belly Squad’s three members bring alternating flows to ‘Banana’ and extend a goofy premise into a veritable cornucopia of ear-worm hooks and melodic phrases, while Stefflon Don’s ‘Hurtin’ Me’ sees the MC wring every drop of emotion out of the track’s title into a beat that sounds like a million bucks. Closing things off this week is J Hus’ enormous ‘Did You See’, which has been a permanent fixture on London’s stereos since it dropped — and with good reason.
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