As we move into the fourth quarter, record labels start ramping up for their blockbuster holiday releases. (And as we learned two Decembers ago, the biggest albums might not be announced at all.) But in the relative calm before the storm, we got a series of compelling singles that might have otherwise flown below the radar. These are the XXL staff's picks for the best songs released this week, ending Oct. 9.


OverDoz., “Why We Never Leave The Ghetto”

As declarative song titles go, OverDoz.'s "Why We Never Leave the Ghetto" is hard to beat. Their new project, 2008, ostensibly hearkens back to a time when rap was starting to descend fully into soundscapes of minor keys, negative space, Autotune and distortion. But the Terrace Martin- and Fred Wreck-produced single recalls something much warmer. Perfect for the end of summer, if your end of summer includes illegally-obtained substances.


Young Chop Feat. Vic Mensa and King 100 James, “Around My Way”

Young Chop ruffled some feathers this morning with a series of Instagram posts. The producer, who shot to fame in 2012 when Chief Keef's Chop-produced singles became inescapable, claims that Windy City native Kanye West saps young creatives of their talents before discarding them. No matter your perspective on that, his latest song, the Vic Mensa- and King 100 James-featuring "Around My Way" argues for the beatsmith as one of the city's meanest. Still.


Glass Animals Feat. Joey Badass, “Lose Control”

It's funny--for all the constant worry about the "state of New York hip-hop," much of the formalism that purists crave actually finds a more lucrative following in Europe. And while Joey Bada$$ has carved himself quite the niche on this side of the pond, it's his collaboration with the British indie rock band Glass Animals that made waves this week.


GoldLink, "Spectrum"

Joining Joey Bada$$ among XXL Freshmen included in this week's list, GoldLink continues his experimental bent on the new cut "Spectrum." The Louie Lastic-produced song samples Missy Elliott's seminal "She's a Bitch" and will be included on the Virginia native's forthcoming And After That, We Didn’t Talk. 


Zuse Feat. Young Thug, “Plug Is Latino”

For as eccentric and inventive as Young Thug is, our prolonged exposure to him might lull us into a false sense of security. That's why it's beneficial to, from time to time, pair Thug with another obviously left-field artist like Zuse. Their newest collaboration, "Plug Is Latino," should serve as a shock to our collective nervous systems--a welcome one, unless you're a Spanish teacher.


Freddie Gibbs & Ski Beatz, "The World Is My Ashtray"

With last year's full-length Madlib collaboration Pinata, Freddie Gibbs continued his streak as gangsta rap's foremost realist, and one of its best technicians as well. This week, he teamed up with the revered veteran Ski Beatz to drop one of the year's finest cuts, "The World Is My Ashtray." Ski's psychedelic flips for Curren$y have morphed into something truly foreign, and Gibbs continues saving up for something truly foreign.

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