LISTEN LIVE: Radio Boston
LISTEN LIVE: Radio Boston

Advertisement

 

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa & Young Thug, 'Potion'

Young Thug and Dua Lipa in the video for Calvin Harris' "Potion." (YouTube)
Young Thug and Dua Lipa in the video for Calvin Harris' "Potion." (YouTube)

For the upcoming Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2, "Potion" reunites producer Calvin Harris with both Dua Lipa, who sang 2018's seductive "One Kiss," and Young Thug, who took the first verse on Harris' "Heatstroke." Melodramatic '80s guitar cheese begins the track with a bit of a head fake — completely disconnected from what follows — but quickly settles into lightly popped electro-funk that shimmers at the surface, taking notes from Daft Punk who took notes from Nile Rodgers. "Potion" plays a strange card trick, though, as it's structured around a scintillating pre-chorus and chorus — Dua Lipa lets us know that this song is about sex by using the word "sex" eight times. That's the distraction.

Young Thug only has one verse and an all-too-brief bridge. He settles into the groove when needed — "that's what this track for," he seems to grin — but pops out of strange corners when he wants us to pay attention. "Ball like Lebron James in the finals," he perks up as electric guitar and bongos rev up, punctuating "Free Big Meech" with a vocal karate kick. Big Meech, a member of the Black Mafia Family, is currently serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering; meanwhile, last month, the Fulton County District Attorney in Atlanta alleged racketeering charges against Young Thug and Gunna. And while the two cases are very different, the timing of the shoutout is striking. It's a moment in Thugger's first track released since the charges that, if you're paying attention, takes you out of an otherwise chill summer bop to consider how the criminal justice system targets Black rappers just for telling stories.

Copyright NPR 2022.

Advertisement

 

Advertisement

 
Play
Listen Live
/00:00
Close