Ever wonder what a Robert Plant reworking of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" might sound like? New Roc Nation signee Hugo has the answer. This mystic acoustic number feels a bit like a novelty, but the heavy, banjo-laden production hits hard. Photos: Hip-Hop Royalty: How Jay-Z and Beyonce Run This Town | More »
Chromeo feat. Ezra Koenig
"I Could Be Wrong"
On this magnificently cheesy synth-pop jam, indie rock's reigning Columbia grad (Vampire Weekend's Koenig) duets with electro-funk's reigning Columbia Ph.D. candidate (Chromeo's Dave 1), singing in falsetto about a mind-game-playing hottie. The real scene-stealer, though, is the scorching sax solo at the end. Video: Chromeo at Lollapalooza 2010 | More »
"Only Girl (In the World)"
"Love me like I'm a hot guy," begins Rihanna. Sadly, the rest of the lyrics are less gender-bendingly strange, and the trance beat won't keep you in the club unless someone else is paying for the drinks. Video: Rihanna Sings "Livin' On a Prayer" With Bon Jovi | More »
"Set the Right"
A just-surfaced outtake from 2003's American Life, "Set the Right" drops a simple, catchy tune over a blend of folky guitar and austere electronics. Less successful are Madonna's odd delivery (proper British vowels, casual Midwestern r's) and disingenuous claim that she won't take political sides. Photos: Celebrating Madonna: The Queen of Pop's 50 Most Iconic Moments | More »
"If It Wasn't for Bad"
Russell is an Oklahoma-bred singer who wowed John 40 years ago and later fell off the map. The lead track from their duets album is a wise-cracking lament, with John echoing Russell's distinct nasal twang. The song transitions to an Electric Light Orchestra-style fantasia, before the keyboards take it all back to the chorus. The end result is both masterful and gratifyingly odd. Photos: Random Notes: Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Bono, Gnarls Barkley | More »
Kanye West feat. Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz
A five-and-a-half-minute reimagining of Kanye's fantastic "Power," this remix adds heavier synths, the beat from Snap!'s "The Power" and Jay-Z, who rises to the occasion with clever, strident verses: "We're on that Norman Mailer shit/ In search of the truth even if it goes through Taylor Swift." | More »
Mark Ronson feat. Spank Rock and Kyle Falconer
"The Bike Song"
Ronson delivers a breezy summer single just under the wire, pairing loose-limbed funk with a creamy tune about cruising through the city on two wheels — and refusing to grow up. Video: Mark Ronson Previews His Fall LP 'Record Collection' | More »
"Devil in a New Dress"
First he apologized to Taylor Swift. Now the contrite-Kanye trend continues on this bit of gorgeously swirling soul. Kanye confesses to being an asshole, then calls himself "the LeBron of rhyme." A year ago that would've been a boast, now it's an ironic wake-up call. Photos: Kanye West's Meltdowns | More »