Music Article

Kanye Picks The Hits!

Kanye West's sizzling summer songs -- The singer-producer rates the hotness of tunes by JoJo, Kaskade, Akon, and more

Kanye West's sizzling summer songs

Last year around this time, ''Crazy In Love,'' ''Rock Your Body,'' and ''Where Is the Love?'' dominated the airwaves, dance floors, and everywhere else music is consumed. They were, without question, the summer 2003 songs. And mark our words, this year there will be others! To wit, EW decided to get the jump on the buzz and track down potential party starters that may hit ear-numbing ubiquity. We also tracked down superproducer du jour Kanye West -- who's recently launched artists like Twista and, well, himself into pop orbit -- to judge our top five picks. Let the summer games begin...

WARM ''STEPPIN OUT'' BY KASKADE

WHY IT MIGHT BLOW UP Handsome house producer Kaskade was the hit of the tastemaking 2004 Winter Music Conference in Miami with this pulsing, guitar-driven, two-step-inducing dance-floor ditty. KANYE SAYS ''It feels like the kind of music you listen to while you're sitting in the store with your girl and she's trying on clothes. I picture myself sitting up there holding a bag. But I wouldn't go and ask one of the people working 'Who is this?'''

HOT ''BANANZA (BELLY DANCER)'' BY AKON

WHY IT MIGHT BLOW UP Sure, this single by Senegalese (by way of Dirty Jersey) R&B upstart Akon is reminiscent of every rump shaker from Mystikal's ''Shake Ya A -- '' to R. Kelly's ''Fiesta'' -- but since when have butts in motion been known to discriminate? KANYE SAYS ''It has a good chance of blowing up. He's saying things that are not cliche -- to me, at least. R&B songs with metaphors and similes are the s -- -.''

HOTTER ''LEAVE (GET OUT)'' BY JOJO

WHY IT MIGHT BLOW UP Rather than lay it on thick for her first single, 13-year-old JoJo spins her tale of prepubescent heartbreak over a spare-yet-pretty acoustic melody and a basic backbeat. But don't worry, this Lindsay Lohan-level lament comes equipped with a big, junior-prom-worthy sing-along chorus. KANYE SAYS ''I like the drums on this...oh yeah, this'll work. I like this one a lot. The beat is natural. Her voice is good. I like the melody. It is just pleasant to listen to.''

HOTTER STILL ''MOVE YA BODY'' BY NINA SKY FEATURING JABBA

WHY IT MIGHT BLOW UP These gorgeous Bronx twin sisters' sexy pop-reggae hybrid started climbing the charts way before anyone knew who they were. Once they get a video in heavy rotation, they're likely to be unstoppable. KANYE SAYS ''Oh yeah, this is a smash. This is probably the biggest record you played me so far. I understand the melody and message; it's very clear. Melody and message are the keys to a pop song.''

HOTTEST ''YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE'' BY MARIA MENA

WHY IT MIGHT BLOW UP The 18-year-old half Norwegian's rapping-singing style is just quirky enough to set this single apart from all the other post -- Michelle Branch pop-rock ballads. KANYE SAYS ''I like the way she raps. This is my favorite out of all of them. And she's got that Lucy Liu [look]? Oh my God. Whoever is putting this out, all they're saying right now is 'Ch-ching!'... But I would have put the house behind Fefe Dobson, too, and I was wrong about that.''

Originally posted May 28, 2004 Published in issue #767 May 28, 2004 Order article reprints
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