Gorillaz returned late last week with not one new track, but four new tracks from the forthcoming Humanz. D.R.A.M., Jenny Beth, Noel Gallagher and Pop’caan are all featured on the newly released cuts, but the standout track features the consistently great Vince Staples. Ever since “Hive” arrived on Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris in 2013, Staples has been an artist worth keeping an eye on. His EPs Hell Can Wait and Prima Donna were two of the best rap releases of their given year, while Summertime ’06 was one of the great rap albums of 2015. On “Ascension,” Staples is still as vital as ever, and Damon Albarn’s production has the effect of an adrenaline shot straight to the heart. But instead of just saying “something,” Staples is at his fiery best. While taking a trip on the rainbow road, Staples gives a shout out to Barbara Streisand’s Wet album and fellow Humanz collaborator Grace Jones, all while saving his most incisive bars for his last verse. “This the land of the free /
Where you can get a Glock and a gram for the cheap,” he raps, processing America’s warped priorities. The sky might be falling, but Vince Staples is trying his damnedest to lift it up.
Humanz is out April 28.