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Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP” (Atlantic)

I tried to do a ranked list of the vivid sexual metaphors in this new single, but when Cardi busted out “macaroni in a pot” near the end, I instantly forgot all the other ones and had to scrap it.

“WAP” lays out an astonishing array of boasts and desires from two female rappers proud to follow in the sex-positive footsteps of Lil Kim, Khia, Foxy Brown and Trina. There’s a line about a big Mack truck and a tight little garage; there’s a line about a garter snake (no, thank you) and a king cobra (yes, please). There’s even a part where Megan interprets the food chain in a way that has forever changed my thinking about bottom-feeders.

Musically, “WAP” doesn’t need much to get over — it’s basically a bass line, a beat and a sampled snippet from an old Baltimore club track, Frank Ski’s “Whores in This House.” But the women’s vocal exuberance is the show — the way they tear into each perfectly rendered lyric and chew up the words like meat. Their flows are dramatically different, too; Megan’s a sensual growl and Cardi’s a staccato bark. But the personality bursting from each voice makes clear why the women have quickly become two of pop music’s biggest stars.

Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times


Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Co-Starring” (Big Machine)

Over an elemental, slide-guitar groove, the wizened Texan dispenses wisdom while sounding as if he’s simultaneously tapping into some ancient hoodoo and being fully grounded in the present.

Music and the people who make it remain a preoccupation here, including “Rock Gods,” a sweet tribute to country-blues great Mississippi John Hurt. Hubbard also makes a killer contribution to the canon of country drinking songs with “Drink Till I See Double” (“and take one of you home”).

“Co-Starring’s” title refers to its many guests, from Ringo Starr to Ashley McBryde, who help Hubbard realize a vision that remains as singular and sharp as ever.

Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer

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