Points off for not having a video in which Jeremih wears a black spandex bodysuit…
Hazel Robinson: Fuck yeah, “Rhythm Is a Dancer” sample. I can get behind this; it appears to have a sense of both fun and the urgency of languidly winding around completely shitfaced, song slowed down enough to suit the summer heat. It’s like the “Chris Brown samples Robyn S” incident but without the inherent grossness of finding yourself enjoying a Chris Brown track. It’s completely seasonal, of course — this is for precisely the point of way-too-warm that we’re in right now and probably the precise combination of hedonism, laziness and appreciation for the familiar that I’m in right now. But I’m pretty confident that’s no kind of unique state in the sweaty height of yet another recession summer.
Brad Shoup: He talks Chicago, but YG’s got the bars. Still, he picks up on the title, rapping about secret DMs and snitching and pseudonyms — total above and beyond move, and Jeremih’s “oh”s play up the event. Mustard’s got a great bass melody, but it’s running a little counter to the Snap! lift. Nothing as bad as Jeremih fucking up the rhythm with his fourth-quarter ad-libs, though.
Iain Mew: The short time since the last calmer version of “Rhythm is a Dancer” doesn’t help, but leaning so heavily on it makes “Don’t Tell ‘Em” plodding and predictable. It doesn’t even play into the story in an interesting or witty way. Jeremih improves it in flashes, but mostly sounds hemmed in, and could do with the freedom that YG gets.
Megan Harrington: I’m never more delighted than when YG looks at his ringing phone and wonders aloud “Oh? Whose number is this?” He pauses to look up and then shoves the phone in your face, shouting “It’s your bitch!” It stings, but you must admit YG got you pretty good.
Jonathan Bradley: “Nine-three-four-eight-six-one-six,” begins YG, concern-trolling like a motherfucker. “I just got a missed call from your bitch?” Damn. Maybe she too is a sucker for a Snap! interpolation.
Alfred Soto: He’s got a couple of moist sex jams to his credit, but this is about as sexy as Chinese food left in the rain. The use of repeated catchphrases and interpolating “Rhythm Is a Dancer” sounds jerryrigged to get him back on the charts.
Anthony Easton: This is heavily produced, glittering, and artifical trash, with the echo chamber playing a kind of endlessly mirrored pop luxe paranoia. The opening 10 seconds might be the best sound I’ve heard in pop music this year.
Thomas Inskeep: There’s minimalism, and then there’s a track that’s just empty. DJ Mustard is like the black hole of R&B and hip-hop production in ’14. Also, YG is an idiot, and Jeremih can do better (than both YG and this song).
Josh Love: Feels like paint-by-numbers Mustard, though I do appreciate how he’s managed to make such a huge chunk of the charts cohere under his chilly hedonistic vision.
Crystal Leww: “Body like the summer” is a perfect simile, so perfect that I wonder why no one’s ever tried it before. You know exactly what Jeremih means when he says that: body like that mesh croptop and sparkly blue shorts combo, body like sipping on half lemonade, half iced tea, all whiskey, body like sweating and his hands on your waist and his breath against your neck. Jeremih is that boy who likes 90s house tracks in a dorky way but holy shit doesn’t seem dorky at all. Not by the way that he’s dancing or touching or smirking or…