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Heat Check: Spasmodic Raps And Fleeting Feels

Bakar's "Hell N Back" is one of this week's additions to <em>Heat Check</em>.
Aidan Cullen
Courtesy of the artist
Bakar's "Hell N Back" is one of this week's additions to Heat Check.

In the words of our millennial patron saint, Frank Ocean, "Summer's not as long as it used to be."

This week'sHeat Check additions are dedicated to that warm, willowy sweet spot of summer denial. The last step on the gas before the end of a joyride. The last gin-soaked olive or the second-to-last bite of a crispy chicken wing off the grill. It's that over-saturated style trend finally being fazed out (talkin' about you, neon green). It's the last chapter to meet your summer reading goal and it's a drawn-out and joke-filled goodbye between friends at the end of the night.

Whether it's a scorching Afrobeat interpolation, a cruising percussion section or some spasmodic rap with just a pinch of nihilism, these tracks help the feeling fleet a little slower. Here's to floating in those blissful milli-seconds just before the end.

As always, enjoy the Heat Check playlist in its entirety on Spotify and Apple Music.

Young Thug, "Hot (feat. Gunna)"

If this So Much Fun standout isn't the tune of your next daydreamed victory lap, I will Cashapp you a penny back for every minute you spent listening.

Pop Smoke, "Welcome to the Party (Remix) (feat. Nicki Minaj)"

This woozy regional Brooklyn classic just got its second wind.

Bakar, "Hell N Back"

Despite its title, the lead single off this Londoner's upcoming EP, Will You Be My Yellow, is lush and comforting.

Jorja Smith, "Be Honest (feat. Burna Boy)"

100% here for heartless, sultry, rapping Jorja.

Dianna Lopez, "B Here Now"

The acoustic guitar disarms, but it's Dianna's wispy, layered vocals that really invite you to surrender.

Footsxcoles, "Navigate"

If the days of summer require anything, it's action. You've got to be willing to be flexible, to improvise. "Navigate" ironically masters going with the flow.


The band's latest single off its upcoming album, Ginger, is the sonic equivalent of trying to fit everything your last few golden hours — by the time you think you've got a hold on things, your attention is snatched to focus on something new.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.