Roo News Song Roundup: “Family Ties,” “Tick Tock” and “It Ain’t My Fault”

The single “Family Ties” featuring Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, is expected to precede a new release from Lamar. (Top Dawg Entertainment)

Brandon Clark

This week’s Roo News Song Roundup has a stacked line-up, featuring big name artists, a return for a rap superstar and a few rising stars. Our picks of the week are: “Tick Tock” by Young Thug, “Family Ties” by Baby Keem ft. Kendrick Lamar, “It Ain’t My Fault” by Babyface Ray ft. Big Sean, “Just For Me” by Pink Pantheress and “Unlock It” by Abra ft. Playboi Carti.

“Tick Tock,” is Young Thug’s first single from his upcoming album “PUNK.” Thug first performed the song during his July set at Rolling Loud before its release on August 20th. 

The song starts with a cheery and happy melody, filled with brass-synth stabs and big trap drums, making for a bright tone throughout the track. From the first verse, Thug flows effortlessly over the beat. The chorus is as catchy as they come, but still showcases Thug’s character through some wild and memorable punchlines. Overall, “Tick Tock” gives its listeners a fun preview for Thug’s upcoming album set to release in October.

“Family Ties” by Baby Keem ft. Kendrick Lamar could not have been any more of a perfect way for Kendrick Lamar to return to the rap game. Keem and Lamar, who are cousins, collaborated to create a new music label called “PgLang”. The label previewed the song in March as a promotion, but it was not fully released until August. 

Lamar has not released an album since 2017’s “DAMN,” and has made very few musical appearances since. On this linkup with Keem, he reminded us why he is still arguably the best in the game and the greatest of our generation. 

The first half of the song contains wide trumpet melodies and simple but hard-hitting drums filled with a heavy 808 pattern and classic trap snares and claps. This creates the perfect space for Baby Keem to go in on his verse. This is one of his best performances and verses to date in his young career. The slower and more emphatic cadence used by Keem makes for a wonderful flow.

Following Keem’s verses, Kendrick comes in and immediately begins to pick the beat apart with the heavy lyrics and pristine flow that we are all accustomed to. In the second half of his verse, Kendrick switches up the flow and cadence, making for a fast and evil delivery. 

There’s no set date for a new Kendrick album, but he released a statement from a post on his Instagram stating that his next one will be his last. This has left fans wondering if it will be his last album for good, or his last under the label Top Dawg Entertainment. This could leave him open to release more music in the future under PgLang. Baby Keem is set to release his new album “The Melodic Blue” later this year.

PinkPantheress released “Just For Me” on August 13th of this year, which features beautiful guitar melodies that repeat themselves over the course of the song. The artist uses her signature calm, lo-fi mixed vocals, which pair well with the distorted kick and rim patterns that fill up the drum space on the track. 

Pantheress has blown up this year due to the popularity of her hit songs “Break It Off” and “Pain” on TikTok and other social media outlets. She only has a handful of tracks to her name, but they have been enough to propel the young musician into internet fame. 

“Unlock It” by ABRA ft. Playboi Carti gives the flashes and feels of early-2000s synth pop. The main hook evokes Britney Spears, and ABRA perfectly flows over the Boys Noize beat in her first collaboration with the German producer. 

“‘Unlock It’ means so much to me for more reasons than I can count,” the Atlanta-based artist said. “It is truly a blessing to be able to unlock the next level of my career with a friend”. 

The friend and collaborator she refers to, Playboi Carti, was originally unhappy with the song’s release, and pushed back the release date. ABRA has not released an album since her 2015 project, “Rose,” but “Unlock It” leaves us hoping for more.

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