"Black Beatles," performed by Rae Sremmurd / by Patrick Shea

Performer: "Black Beatles" is currently #1 on the Hot 100. This is their first #1.

Writers: Khalif Brown, Aaquil Brown, Radric Davis, Michael Williams; produced by Mike Will Made It

Title: A two word phrase that pulls you into the song. The title does not appear in the chorus, but it is the main idea of the song.

BPM: 73

Length: 4:51

Structure: Intro / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus -- as with most/all Hip-Hop, there is much variation in the rhythm and phrasing of each verse, so each verse is really its own distinct musical section

Points of Interest:

1) The most interesting thing for me about this song is it ability to blend Hip-Hop and Pop structures into something familiar, but still different and new. The verses are straight-up Hip-Hop, including the variations in rhythm and phrasing mentioned above. Most parts of the verses are rapped, and some are sung; the transitions between rapping and singing are fluid and natural. The chorus of this song is 100% Pop: hooky melodies, repetitive rhythms and phrasings, and it's easy to remember. As in Pop music (and unlike in Hip-Hop), the chorus carries the song almost entirely, and the verses feel secondary. Hip-Hop songs often/usually have a refrain, or a very short chorus-y section, but not usually something this close to a Pop chorus.

2) The song opens with a super-80's synth lead that feels like the opening credits of a movie from that same era. We also hear a tuned 808 kick, which is very 80's; and loads of other 80's synth pads and leads throughout the song. Interestingly, the song still sounds contemporary, and I think most of the credit for the contemporary feeling goes to the hi-hat, both in terms of its tone and in especially in terms of its rhythmic pattern. That one element of the song does a lot of work, and it isn't even mixed all that up-front.

3) I really like the title, and it leaves me with a lot of questions that aren't fully clear to me yet from the lyrics. For example, how are they like The Beatles, exactly? Are they more like The Beatles than other big contemporary acts are? Are they more like the Beatles than The Rolling Stones? And my favorite question by far: what exactly does it mean to be a black Beatle? How does that experience look different than being a white Beatle, and what can we say about our society through the contrast?