The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. And this week, in honor of June’s intersection of Black Music and Pride Months, we shine the spotlight on Black, LGBTQ+ musicians making art that feels vital to this moment. Some tracks have just been released; some are old favorites we’re revisiting. But all of it matters.
A haunting mantra that nevertheless looks to self-improvement amid utter chaos, “A Comma” manifests its anxiety in spooky piano, incessant ticking, and minor-key melodies. But what makes the moment ultimately shine with hope is the radiant, acrobatic voice of Josiah Wise, a.k.a. Serpentwithfeet. When you hear Wise deliver a line like “life’s gotta get easier” in that magnetic tone, you have no choice but to believe it.
Vibe check: The world is nuts right now. Queer hip-hop artist Jaewynn leans into that zeitgeist-y buzz in her aptly titled new single, flexing her rapping chops over an increasingly frenetic beat. Jaewynn says she struggled with the idea of releasing “Nutz” during Pride and the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, when everything — police brutality, systemic racism, anti-LGBTQ discrimination — still feels “so insufferable and terrible.” However, I think the confidence and ambition in her rhymes (“To be or to be / ‘Cause not to be isn’t even a relevant question”) are exactly what the LGBTQ+ community needs.
Dai Burger ft. Kidd Kenn: “Naomi Walk”
Queens rapper Dai Burger just gave us a Pride anthem fit for a queen — supermodel queen Naomi Campbell, to be exact. The title serves an homage to the fashion icon’s catwalk strut, inspiring the same kind of unapologetic confidence its namesake evokes. “We’ve got the moves / They just all talk,” Dai boasts over a pop-trap beat that can’t quit. Fellow rapper Kidd Kenn joins in with some speedy bars about knowing your worth and taking nothing less. Together, the two show us that the world is truly our runway, and Naomi would be proud. —Carson Mlnarik