Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan seem to effortlessly check all the movie star boxes: Megawatt charm? Check (those smiles!). Actor clout? No problem (having Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler launch their respective careers can’t hurt). Lucrative blockbuster movie franchises? Yep, that too (Robbie in Suicide Squad and Jordan in Creed, with a memorable detour into Wakanda). So, as it turns out, they have a lot to talk about—and not just about fame and their good fortune. Here, as part of our annual Best Performances portfolio, Robbie, who starred in the recent palace-intrigue period drama Mary Queen of Scots, and Jordan, who returned in Creed 2 and dominated the screen in Black Panther this year, sit down with W‘s Editor at Large Lynn Hirschberg to share not only how it is they make morally questionable villains like Harley Quinn and Killmonger into magnetic antiheroes, but also their totally embarrassing early email addresses, their most memorable red carpet fashion faux pas, and their frankly amazing first kiss stories.
So Michael, what’s the first album you ever bought?
Michael B. Jordan: First album? Ah, man, that’s a good one.
Margot Robbie: Oh, that is a good one.
Jordan: I want to say, on cassette tape… um, Usher’s My Way.
Robbie: That’s a good answer.
Jordan: You’re taking me back. I want to say I rode my bike to the music store that was, like, down the street.
What was the first album you ever bought, Margot?
Robbie: I think the first album I bought was, um, AFI’s Sing the Sorrow. I was in a bit of a heavy metal phase. But I think the first single I bought was Blink 182, “All the Small Things.”
Jordan: Okay. So the heavy metal. Are you still in that phase or did you pass that?
Have you ever gone through a heavy metal phase, Michael?
Jordan: I have not.
Jordan: But electric guitar solos are my thing. Like, I love, the Ernie Isleys of the world, the “Who’s That Lady” solo is pretty incredible. [Michael Jackson’s] “Dirty Diana” is pretty good.
Do you play air guitar?
Jordan: Air guitar? All day. [Laughs.]
Robbie: I can air guitar. That’s about the extent of my musical prowess, really.
Michael, did you box before Creed?
Jordan: I never officially boxed but karate, martial arts, and stuff like that. And then I kinda segued into boxing.
And you, Margot, have you ever boxed?
Robbie: I’ve done a bit of boxing, yeah—mainly to prepare for fight training, like stunt work. And I really, really like it. I have stupidly long arms, like, they’re too long for my body. So actually it’s kind of good when you’re boxing.
Jordan: The reach is incredible.
Robbie: An extra long reach. And it looks good on camera. Having long limbs on camera makes your punches—
Jordan: Your punch is a little wider, yeah, yeah, yeah. She knows what she’s talking about.
What I love about both of your performances in different movies is that although you kind of play superheroes in both Suicide Squad and in Black Panther, you’re also kind of antiheroes at the same time. There’s a kind of dichotomy to the characters.
Robbie: A lovable rogue.
Jordan: That’s right. I like that. I mean, those are the most interesting characters to me sometimes, like when I’m watching films that, on screen, are the ones that you can empathize with. Like, they want you to root against ’em. They want you to not like them. But somehow you can still understand where they’re coming from and that’s important.
Do you have a favorite villain? Other than Killmonger.
Jordan: Yeah, because he’s tough. I mean, honestly, it’s between [Michael] Fassbender’s Magneto and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Honestly. Those two are pretty up there for me. [To Robbie] What about you?
Robbie: I’m totally stealing someone else’s answer. I’ve heard someone else say this, but I do truly think this is a genius villain: HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Jordan: Ohhh. Man.
Robbie: It’s just such a cool villain. That was genius.
But it is also kind of weirdly sympathetic.
Robbie: Totally. The best villains are sympathetic.
With both these characters, you act with very little clothing on. Is it difficult to act when you are basically naked?
Robbie: Uh …
Jordan: I’m always naked, actually.
Robbie: Honestly, for me, as Harley at least, the more skin showing the longer it takes in hair and makeup ’cause she’s got, you know, white skin and a million tattoos. So if anything outside, god, the scenes where I don’t even have the jacket on, that’s an extra 20 minutes in the makeup trailer.
Jordan: Yeah, same here. Killmonger, all the scars and stuff like that, the makeup, it took a long time to put the prosthetics on.
Robbie: Yeah, you want to be more covered up.
So, Michael, what was the very first thing you ever auditioned for?
Robbie: Hmm. I’m trying to think of the first thing I auditioned for.
Let’s say the one you got.
Jordan: The Sopranos. I don’t know what season it was, but Tony [Soprano] was having a flashback. And I played a bully in his childhood who bullied him on the boardwalk on his way home one day.
Jordan: Yeah, I was Bully #2, I think.
Was it a speaking role?
Jordan: It was, but we were just yelling shit at him. I don’t know. I was improv-ing, actually. I was living in the moment—
Robbie: (Laughs.) I was so present—
Jordan: I was…
Robbie: —that I now can’t remember.
Jordan: … locked into Bully #2.
A mob of people swarm Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican rapper, yelling his name. “Oh my god, he’s so sexy,” one teenage girl squeals. Another, in complete shock, shouts: “I touched him.” But Bunny isn’t fazed. Dressed in a maroon Alexander Wang anorak jacket with matching shorts, long tan socks, brown Gucci hiker boots, and mirrored sunglasses, with his fingernails painted yellow, he flashes a smile and takes selfies with them.
In certain New York City neighborhoods, Bunny might not be as recognizable. Not here, though. Throughout the shoot for this cover, the predominantly Latino residents of the area surrounding Brooklyn’s Knickerbocker Avenue followed his and Colombian artist J Balvin’s every move. Some even managed to find the nondescript bar where we filmed, waiting outside for hours and screaming every time the door swung open. They wanted to catch a glimpse of Bunny, the 24-year-old Latin trap king, and Balvin, reggaeton’s answer to Drake.
Reggaeton’s long been a fixture in the Spanish-speaking world, but in 2004 it exploded in the U.S. with Daddy Yankee’s hit “Gasolina,” off his album Barrio Fino. The genre’s had its ebbs and flows since then, but it has recently found a massive new market, thanks in part to the global success of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” remix featuring Justin Bieber and Daddy Yankee—the most streamed song ever—and, of course, Balvin’s steady hit-making and Bunny’s arrival.
Last year, Balvin (real name José Álvaro Osorio Balvin) released his megasmash “Mi Gente” with French DJ and producer Willy William, followed by a remix featuring Beyoncé. Both songs were everywhere; the original currently has over 2 billion views on YouTube, while the remix has over 79 million. But those two songs weren’t just major successes on the charts. More than that, they helped other Latin rap artists, like Bunny, cross into the mainstream.
Born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, Bunny started his career by uploading songs to SoundCloud while still a student at the University of Puerto Rico. But in two short years, he’s become a phenomenon. “Soy Peor,” the track that established the Latin trap sound, caught the ear of the U.S. audience; it’s been streamed 13 million times on SoundCloud. Balvin’s “Si Tú Novio Te Deja Sola”—a song Bunny first composed with the artist in mind—has been nominated for a Latin Grammy. He’s collaborated with big-name American artists like Nicki Minaj (“Krippy Kush”), Cardi B (“I Like It”), Chris Brown (“Dime”), and Drake on an unreleased song.
Together, Balvin and Bunny are leading the charge in bringing reggaeton to the American market once again. The best part about that is they’re doing it on their own terms—a new sound, painted fingernails, eccentric outfits. We haven’t seen anything like them before, but if you ask them, that’s the point.
Bad Bunny and J Balvin, two of reggaeton’s most recognizable faces, are Complex’s latest cover stars. They sit down with Rapetón editor-in-chief Angel “El Guru” Vera to discuss how they first met, the rise of Latin trap, and what they think it takes to be an icon. Bunny also explains why he hasn’t released an album and reveals that he has an upcoming joint album with Balvin.
I’ve been praying for the moment this tape would drop officially since this 2016 interview with Jeremih. Thank you R&B gods for making this happen! These two are well-known for making certified radio hits and R&B cuts that ride, but they’re at their best, in my opinion, when they lean into the sensual. “FYT,” their flip of Biggie’s “Fucking You Tonight,” is the perfect, smoldering example of this. Their. Runs. Phewwwwwww! (Also, no offense, but if anyone has a French Montana-less version of this, please hit me up.) —NAZUK KOCHHAR
I think straight men should be banned from having sex until they can collectively get their shit together, but Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign’s “The Light” makes me briefly reconsider my position. It’s really Ty belting out “Let’s have sex” in the song’s hook that just sounds so right. Jeremih pulls his weight, too, matching Ty’s seductive power with his own brand of unapologetic horniness. Mih and Ty both sound super comfortable over a sample from Keni Burke’s “Risin’ To The Top.” That song has helped power good sex songs — like The Mary Jane Girls’s “All Night Long” — for the last 30+ years and MihTy’s is a welcome addition to the canon. —MYLES TANZER
“New Level” seems like the most surefire “hit” on the album. The song was originally released as a single with a guest verse from Lil Wayne but, on MIH-TY, it’s just Jeremih and Ty, going back and forth for a perfectly concise two minutes and thirty seconds. Building off a Dru Hill vocal sample, “New Level” fulfills the original promise of the collaborative album: two masters of melodic thottery bringing out the best in each other. Jeremih’s bridge on the song recalls some of his best Late Night-era runs, as he sings in a sultry whine about wishing he was a mind reader. Together, they sing about vaguely advancing a woman’s life should she choose to fuck with them. It’s a classic Jeremih/Ty premise and one that, when they harmonize, sounds pretty convincing. —BEN DANDRIDGE-LEMCO
Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.
Cardi B, ‘Money’
What’s the opposite of a palate cleanser? Currently, Cardi B is featured on the No. 1 song in the country, Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” It is not her best, nor most apt work. So here comes the palate roughener? “Money” is effectively a stripped-bare version of BlocBoy JB and Drake’s already-bare “Look Alive,” and a de facto lo-fi rejoinder to Cardi B’s steady pop incursions over the past year. The trash talk here is pure, if a little staid: “I like boarding jets, I like morning sex/But nothing in this world that I like more than checks.” Instead, “Money” — the first solo single Cardi B has released since giving birth in July — is notable for its acknowledgment of new-mom problems: “I got a baby, I need some money, I need cheese for my egg.” JON CARAMANICA
THR’s awards columnist updates his projections.
These projections reflect Scott Feinberg’s personal impressions (from screenings), publicly available information (release dates, genres, talent rosters and teasers/trailers often offer valuable clues), historical considerations (how other films with similar pedigrees have resonated), precursor awards (some awards groups have historically correlated with the Academy more than others) and consultations with industry insiders (including fellow members of the press, awards strategists, filmmakers and awards voters).
GLOSSARY The following abbreviations denote the film festival(s) at which a film has screened and/or will be screening: SUND=Sundance, SXSW=South by Southwest, TRIB=Tribeca, CANN=Cannes, VENI=Venice, TELL=Telluride, TIFF=Toronto, NYFF=New York, LOND=London and AFIF=AFI Fest.
Roma (Netflix) VENI, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
A Star Is Born (Warner Bros.) VENI, TIFF
The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) VENI, TELL, NYFF
Black Panther (Disney)
Green Book (Universal) TIFF
First Man (Universal) VENI, TELL, TIFF
BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features) CANN
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) TELL, TIFF
Eighth Grade (A24) SUND, SXSW
A Quiet Place (Paramount) SXSW
STILL TO COME
Damien Chazelle (First Man) — podcast
Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) — podcast
Paul Greengrass (22 July)
Debra Granik (Leave No Trace)
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians)
Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Ari Aster (Hereditary)
Peter Hedges (Ben is Back)
Steve McQueen (Widows)
Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You)
Julian Schnabel (At Eternity’s Gate)
STILL TO COME (alphabetical)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) — podcast
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy)
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) — podcast
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) — podcast
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) — podcast
John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers)
Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun)
Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You)
Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie)
John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)
STILL TO COME (alphabetical)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Kathryn Hahn (Private Life)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Viola Davis (Widows)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer) — podcast
Joanna Kulig (Cold War)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Keira Knightley (Colette) — podcast
Rosamund Pike (A Private War) — podcast
Carey Mulligan (Wildlife)
Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Kindergarten Teacher)
Emma Thompson (The Children Act)
Hilary Swank (What They Had)
STILL TO COME (alphabetical)
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Forster (What They Had)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) — podcast
Matthew McConaughey (White Boy Rick) — podcast
Paul Giamatti (Private Life)
Daniel Kaluuya (Widows)
Russell Crowe (Boy Erased)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman) — podcast
Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman)
Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) NEW
Jake Gyllenhaal (Wildlife) — podcast
Dominic West (Colette)
Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience)
STILL TO COME (alphabetical)
Steve Carell (Vice)
Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) — podcast
Mike Myers (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Sam Rockwell (Vice) — podcast
Justin Theroux (On the Basis of Sex)
Best Supporting Actress
STILL TO COME (alphabetical)
Best Adapted Screenplay
A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, Eric Roth)
BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott)
Black Panther (Joe Robert Cole, Ryan Coogler)
First Man (Josh Singer)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Crazy Rich Asians (Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)
Widows (Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen)
22 July (Paul Greengrass)
The Wife (Jane Anderson)
The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain)
Wildlife (Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan)
The Front Runner (Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman)
Beautiful Boy (Luke Davies, Felix Van Groeningen)
The Hate U Give (Audrey Wells)
Disobedience (Sebastian Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz)
Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton)
A Private War (Arash Amel)
STILL TO COME
Best Original Screenplay
Ben is Back (Peter Hedges)
A Quiet Place (Scott Beck, John Krasinski, Bryan Woods)
Cold War (Piotr Borkowski, Janusz Glowacki, Pawel Pawlikowski)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Hereditary (Ari Aster)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
Mid90s (Jonah Hill) NEW
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
What They Had (Elizabeth Chomko)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura, Jason Schwartzman)
Capernaum (Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Keserwany, Nadine Labaki, Khaled Mouzanar)
Colette (Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Wash Westmoreland)
Destroyer (Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi)
White Boy Rick (Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Andy Weiss)
Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
Stan & Ollie (Jeff Pope)
At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel)
STILL TO COME
Best Animated Feature
THE REST OF THE FIELD (alphabetical)
Early Man (Lionsgate/Aardman)
The Grinch (Universal/Illumination)
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Sony Animation)
Lu Over the Wall (GKIDS)
Next Gen (Netflix)
Night is Short, Walk On Girl (GKIDS)
Sherlock Gnomes (Paramount)
Smallfoot (Warner Bros.)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (Warner Bros.)
Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo (National Geographic) TELL, TIFF
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features) SUND, SXSW
RBG (Magnolia) SUND
Three Identical Strangers (Neon) SUND
Quincy (Netflix) TIFF
Science Fair (National Geographic) SUND, SXSW
Crime + Punishment (Hulu) SUND
Minding the Gap (Hulu/Magnolia) SUND
The Price of Everything (HBO) SUND
Filmworker (Kino Lorber) CANN [’17], NYFF [’17]
The Sentence (HBO) SUND
Studio 54 (Zeitgeist) SUND, TRIB
McQueen (Bleecker Street) TRIB
Dark Money (PBS) SUND
On Her Shoulders (Oscilloscope) SUND, SXSW
THE REST OF THE FIELD (alphabetical)
93Queen (Abramorama) NEW
306 Hollywood (El Tigre) SUND NEW
Always at the Carlyle (Good Deed)
BISBEE ’17 (4th Row Films) NEW
The Bleeding Edge (Netflix)
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Magnolia) TIFF [’17], NYFF [’17]
Chef Flynn (Kino Lorber) SUND
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (Magnolia) TIFF
Eating Animals (Sundance Selects) TELL [’17]
Fahrenheit 11/9 (Briarcliff) TIFF
Far from the Tree (Sundance Selects)
Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (Argot)
Generation Wealth (Amazon) SUND, BERL, SXSW
The Gospel According to André (Magnolia) TIFF [’17], TRIB
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Kino Lorber) TIFF [’17]
Hal (Oscilloscope) SUND, TELL
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild) SUND
The Heart of Nuba (Abramorama)
Hitler’s Hollywood (Kino Lorber) TELL [’17] NEW
In Search of Greatness (AOS)
Inventing Tomorrow (Fishbowl Films)
Itzhak (Greenwich Entertainment)
Jane Fonda in Five Acts (HBO) SUND
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope)
The Judge (self distributed) TIFF
The King (Oscilloscope) CANN [’17], SUND
King in the Wilderness (HBO) SUND
Kusama: Infinity (Magnolia) SUND NEW
Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy (Magnolia)
Liyana (Abramorama) NEW
Love, Cecil (Zeitgeist) TELL [’17]
Love, Gilda (Magnolia) TRIB
Maria by Callas (Sony Classics) TIFF
Monrovia, Indiana (Zipporah) VENI, TIFF, NYFF
The Oslo Diaries (HBO) SUND
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (Focus Features) CANN
The Price of Free (YouTube) SUN
Reversing Roe (Netflix) TELL, TIFF
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (HBO) SUND
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (MUBI) TRIB
Say Her Name: The Life And Death Of Sandra Bland (HBO)
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich Entertainment) TIFF [’17]
Shirkers (Netflix) SUND
They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Netflix) VENI, TELL
United Skates (HBO) TRIB NEW
Watergate — or, How We Learned to Stop An Out-of-Control President (History) TELL
What Haunts Us NEW
Whitney (Roadside Attractions) CANN [’17]
STILL SEEKING U.S. DISTRIBUTOR (alphabetical)
American Dharma VENI, TIFF, NYFF
Angels Are Made of Light TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Aquarela VENI, LOND
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache CANN, TELL, NYFF, LOND
The Biggest Little Farm TELL, TIFF
The Dawn Wall SXSW NEW
The Dead and the Others [Brazil] CANN
The Elephant Queen TIFF
Fail State NEW
Ghost Fleet TELL
Graves Without a Name TELL, TIFF
The Great Buster: A Celebration VENI, TELL
Meeting Gorbachev TELL, TIFF
People’s Republic of Desire SXSW NEW
The Silence of Others BERL
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael TELL
Women Making Films: A New Road Movie Through Cinema VENI, TIFF
Best Foreign Language Film
Roma [Mexico] (Netflix) VENI, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Cold War [Poland] (Amazon) CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Girl [Belgium] CANN, TELL, TIFF
Burning [South Korea] (Well Go USA) CANN, NYFF
Shoplifters [Japan] (Magnolia) CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Capernaum [Lebanon] (Sony Classics) CANN, TIFF
The Guilty [Denmark] (Magnolia) SUND
Birds of Passage [Colombia] (The Orchard) CANN, TELL, TIFF, LOND
Never Look Away [Germany] (Sony Classics) VENI, TIFF
OTHER OFFICIAL SUBMISSIONS (alphabetical)
10 Days Before the Wedding [Yemen] NEW
And Suddenly the Dawn [Chile]
Ayka [Kazakhstan] CANN NEW
The Angel [Argentina] CANN, TIFF
Beauty and the Dogs [Tunisia] CANN [’17], LOND [’17], AFIF [’17]
Border [Sweden] CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Buffalo Boys [Singapore]
The Cakemaker [Israel] LOND [’17]
Cocote [Dominican Republic] TIFF [’17]
Crystal Swan [Belarus]
Dogman [Italy] CANN, TELL, TIFF, LOND
Donbass [Ukraine] CANN, TIFF
Eldorado [Switzerland] TELL
Euthanizer [Finland] TIFF [’17]
The Eighth Commissioner [Croatia]
The Family [Venezuela]
Family First [Canada] NEW
Ghost Hunting [Palestine] BERL [’17]
Graves Without a Name [Cambodia] VENI, TELL
The Great Buddha + [Taiwan] TIFF [’17]
The Great Mystical Circus [Brazil] CANN
The Heiresses [Paraguay] BERL
Hidden Man [China] TIFF NEW
I Am Not a Witch [United Kingdom]
I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History As Barbarians [Romania]
The Interpreter [Slovakia]
Jirga [Australia] TIFF NEW
The Journey [Iraq] TIFF [’17], LOND [’17]
Malila: The Farewell Flower [Thailand]
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts [Indonesia] CANN [’17], TIFF [’17], AFIF [’17]
The Marriage [Kosovo]
Medea [Costa Rica]
Memoir of War [France]
Never Leave Me [Bosnia & Herzegovina]
Night Accident [Kyrgyzstan]
No Bed of Roses [Bangladesh]
No Date, No Signature [Iran] VENI [’17]
Operation Red Sea [Hong Kong]
The Resistance Banker [Netherlands]
The Road to Sunrise [Malawi] NEW
Rona Azim’s Mother [Afghanistan] NEW
Ruben Blades is Not My Name [Panama] SXSW
Sew the Winter to My Skin [South Africa] TIFF
Secret Ingredient [Macedonia]
Sergio and Sergei [Cuba] TIFF [’17]
Signal Rock [Philippines]
Sobibor [Russia] CANN
A Son of Man [Ecuador]
Spitak [Armenia] NEW
Sunset [Hungary] (Sony Classics) VENI, TIFF, LOND
Supa Modo [Kenya] BERL
The Tailor [Vietnam]
Take It or Leave It [Estonia]
To Be Continued [Latvia]
A Twelve-Year Night [Uruguay] VENI
Until the End of Time [Algeria]
Village Rockstars [India] TIFF [’17]
The Waldheim Waltz [Austria] BERL, NYFF
The Wedding Ring [Niger] TIFF [’16]
What Will People Say [Norway] TIFF [’17], AFIF [’17]
The Wild Pear Tree [Turkey] CANN, TIFF
Winter Flies [Czech Republic] TIFF
Woman at War [Iceland] CANN, TIFF, LOND
Wonderful Losers: A Different World [Lithuania]
Yellow Is Forbidden [New Zealand] TRIB NEW
Yomeddine [Egypt] CANN
There’s a special ambiance that permeates the air whenever Lil Wayne drops a Carter project. It’s a remarkable occasion seeing that none of the projects hold a classic album distinction in the traditional sense.
But that’s because Lil Wayne doesn’t adhere to any traditional rap guidelines. His place in Hip Hop’s pantheon can be difficult to outline in words but it’s without question he was a trendsetter for paving the genre’s entry in viable mainstream acceptance. With his penchant for taking studio mastered melodies and completely adopting them with his own zany flow, his relentless flooding of the mixtape circuit found him planted in the eardrums of millions at a different entry point. And the industry official Carter albums would live on to be a place where his multitude of fans could convene on the same accord.
And despite being seven years, 30 days and an infinite amount of trend changes since the release of the last Carter drop date, the kicker this time around is the music is simply just good.
Like all of its previous installments, Tha Carter V is a mile-long, bloated package of unpredictable zest that’s light on introspection (not to discredit Momma Carter’s impromptu interludes over the course of its 87 minutes). Yet its allurement lies in the fact that “Mixtape Weezy” and “Carter Wayne” are able to co-exist with ease.
There’s the Swizz Beatz-boosted “Uproar,” which employs the same Moog Machine sample popularized by G-Dep and Diddy at the top of the decade that gives the album a DatPiff feel intertwined with soul-drenched records like “Demon,” a quasi-Gospel cut that actually gives Wayne maturity stripes.
Even with his elder statesman status, it isn’t hard to hear Wayne’s influence has transcended a couple of generations. Travis Scott cooly incorporates Astroworld inside Weezyana on the “Let It Fly” rager, Kendrick Lamar showcases he’s a rap martian descendant on the long-awaited pairing “Mona Lisa” (ditto for XXXTENTACION, who sheds light on what could have been with his haunting performance on “Don’t Cry”) and even daughter Reginae Carter impresses with her chorus on the reflective “Famous.”