From left to right: Kendrick Lamar, Noah Cyrus, and BEX.FLICKR/JonElbaz (, FLICKR/slgckgc (, THEPUNKSITE/Olivia Brissett (

The Heart Part 5: Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick’s first solo release since 2017’s DAMN., The Heart Part 5 is the lead single from the hip-hop master’s upcoming album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers. Standing at over five minutes, the song winds from introspection to anger to reflection, with instrumentals that mirror these emotions perfectly.

“Kendrick flips the meaning of Gaye’s original chorus to make it signify his desire to be loved and respected by the hood, and by his fans”

While this is a review of the single itself, the accompanying music video is particularly relevant in this instance: the core theme of the song is “life is perspective” – a phrase which Kendrick also has tattooed on his right arm – and this idea, the playing of perspectives, comes to life in the video, with Kendrick morphing into various black figures in popular culture; from first to last, he transforms via deepfake technology into OJ Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollet, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, and finally, Nipse Hussle. The hands on the album art for this single are, in fact, the hands of these six men.

An interpolation from Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” forms an instrumental backbone for the majority of the track, and, in the bridge, a sample of Gaye singing “I want you”, taken from the same song, is used: Kendrick lets it play, over and over; the rhythm sounds like a slowed-down heartbeat. This motif is continued when the drums, also repeating that same rhythm, suddenly stop at the 3.25 minute mark, perhaps symbolising the stopped heartbeats of the two deceased celebrities (Kobe Bryant and Nipse Hussle) whom, in the video, Kendrick transformed into moments before.

In this single, therefore, we find that Kendrick has flipped the meaning of Gaye’s original chorus – a love song, dedicated to his partner, Janis Hunter – making it instead signify his desire to be loved and respected by the hood, and by his fans.

by Jacob Tucker

Tiptoe: BEX

Guildford-based artist BEX – 19, flame-haired, and caked in enough eyeliner to scare Gerard Way – has exploded onto the scene with her debut “Tiptoe”, a three-minute annihilation of sexual harassment culture, with a music video (co-directed by videographer Olivia Brisett and herself) gives an image of Taylor Momsen re-incarnate.

“The pandemic has seen a resurgence of female and non-binary artists. We don’t just belong in rock: we’re the ones propelling it forward”

It’s the sound of the track that sets it apart: her searing vocals and White Zombie-esque basslines surge forth like a tsunami of feminist rage. The track is gorgeously riotous. Gone are the demure harmonies of the TikTok “pop punk” era: here’s a voice that thrusts the rage back against the machine.

The release coincides with a stealthily growing fanbase, brought on by a mountainous social media presence. BEX’s Instagram is a flood of triumphant bass covers, from Royal Blood to System of a Down – all the gritty favourites. It’s Nova Twins for the kids in their bedrooms, and The Pretty Reckless for the new emo crowd. The pandemic has seen a resurgence of female and non-binary artists. We don’t just belong in rock: we’re the ones propelling it forward. It’s clearly a ferocious debut. Dare we hope it’s a sign of what’s to come for rock?

by Genevieve Badia-Aylin.

I Burned LA Down: Noah Cyrus

Noah Cyrus has been quietly paying her dues in the music business for years now: after releasing a handful of singles from 2016 onwards, her 2020 EP The End of Everything saw her fully step out of the rather impenetrable shadow cast on Cyrus’s career by her older sister Miley.

“The track is an indie-folk masterclass”

Tackling mental health struggles on top of an appealing mix of alt-pop and rootsy country music, it was an excellent showcase of her talents, and 2021’s folk-influenced EP with PJ Harding, People Don’t Change, only saw her develop her richly evocative songwriting further. And now, in 2022, six years after her first single, Noah Cyrus is back with “I Burned LA Down”, the lead single from her upcoming debut album, The Hardest Part.


Mountain View

Exit, pursued by a bear: BROCKHAMPTON’s belated break-up

The track is an indie-folk masterclass: another writing collaboration with PJ Harding, it represents both the depth of Cyrus’s range as a vocalist and her remarkable ability to conjure up visceral images in her lyrics, and indicates that her debut album will live up to the hype she has been slowly attracting over the years – hype that garnered her a Grammy nomination this year. The album’s second single, “Mr. Percocet”, releases on 13 May, so go and give it a listen.

by Sianna King