Active Listening

Am I the shit?
Active Listening

Active Listening: Songs for flexing

Tracks for when you’re feeling yourself.

There are few things more satisfying than the moments when you become aware of your own greatness. Everyone is great in one way or another, but the constant spectacle of social media can obscure the fact, leaving you with a list of damning questions. Am I as smart, pretty, or talented as literally anyone else online? But then there are those inexplicable moments, when you’re looking in the mirror, or walking down the street, and you realize, “Hey, I'm fucking awesome.” The right song can help to elicit this feeling rather viscerally. Who among us has not cheered ourselves up with one of Drake's more opulent verses? This week, a set of songs that'll get you loving yourself, because you deserve it.

Galcher Lustwerk, “Yeeno”

The cover of Galcher Lustwerk's LP Dark Bliss

The cover of Galcher Lustwerk's LP Dark Bliss

The Brooklyn-based musician Galcher Lustwerk traffics in the type of deep brooding house music that is, above all, supremely danceable. Every now and again, the mysterious producer will offer his own raps on a track, creating a collage of hip-hop tropes like private jets, expansive bank accounts and vanquishing enemies, that pushes his songs into full on flex territory. On “Yeeno,” a single from his debut LP Dark Bliss, Lustwerk’s rapping takes center stage as he brags about everything and nothing in particular. It’s a great dance track but an even better track to get you hyped for getting shit done.

Wiki, “Mayor”

Flexing isn’t all about opulence. Sometimes it is the sheer vigor of your hustle that makes you take a step back to appreciate yourself. The 23-year-old rapper Wiki is a case study in vigorous hustles. The New York MC has been rapping for a full decade, first as part of the rap group Ratking and more recently as a solo artist, and in each endeavor a reverence for craft shines through. On his latest album, No Mountains in Manhattan, he shares tracks with New York stalwarts Ghostface Killah and Your Old Droog, and sounds right at home. On “Mayor,” a single from the record, Wiki spits full throated honest brags that highlight the triumph in the seemingly mundane.

Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”

Cardi B, the Dominican-Trinidadian rapper from the Bronx who dethroned Taylor Swift on the Billboard Hot 100 this week with her track “Bodak Yellow,” is the epitome of flexing. The former Love & Hip-Hop star's Instagram, for example, is full of repudiations of haters and clear-eyed declarations of her own beauty. On “Bodak Yellow,” a blistering tune that serves as something of a mission statement, she gives us all a chance to feel as good about ourselves as Cardi B feels about Cardi B.

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