The search for the ever-elusive "bop" is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn't discriminate by genre and can include anything — it's a snapshot of what's on our minds and what sounds good. We'll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.
A$AP Rocky: "Babushka Boi"
Last September, A$AP Rocky popped a wheelie on a Razor scooter, crashed it, and had a gash on his face so bad, he had to get plastic surgery to cover it. He began to start tying headscarves around his face, eventually settling into a babushka phase. Everyone brought out their best grandma jokes, but Rocky was unfazed. Now these scarfs have become his latest obsession.
Enter "Babushka Boi," the rapper’s first release since being detained and convicted of assault in Sweden and subsequently returning home. "Babushka Boi" offers new context to fans who haven't followed why exactly he wears the scarves ("New bandana on my face / Ain't no stains up on my drapes"). Make no mistake: The song is not some deep dive into the decision — that isn't Rocky's steez. Instead, the track bounces and sways with the frenetic, off-center energy that’s turned off fans of Rocky's older, more atmospheric music. But as Jay-Z once said, if you want his old stuff then buy his old albums. "Babushka Boi" is cool fun that ties headscarves into Scarface with plenty of fashion references per verse. To think it all started from a scooter wipeout. —Trey Alston
Ava Max: "Torn"
If you've ever felt torn between staying in a toxic relationship or promptly exiting the narrative, Ava Max knows the struggle. Her new track "Torn" perfectly encapsulates that indecisiveness: Should you leave your unhealthy relationship, or should you stay because — let's be honest — you still care? "You dry my tears and make it pour / You show me love and give me war," she sings on the chorus with palpable frustration. And of course, without the catchy, high-tempo, pop beat behind it, we'd probably all advise her to find the nearest exit. But perhaps that's the point. We tend to look at toxic situations through a rose-colored lens, and Max's song speaks to the undeniable frustration of knowing someone's all wrong for you, but not wanting to admit it. —Jordyn Tilchen
Flor: "Dancing Around"
My Bop Shop picks have definitely not been deeply personal or anything because I'm definitely not going through a breakup. But you know, if I was, and I needed an upbeat but casual ditty about finally feeling free from expectations, from grief and sadness and restraint, with a campy and joyous feel, then I would absolutely recommend "Dancing Around" by Flor. Just saying. —Terron Moore
Teejayx6 is Detroit's premier scam rapper and he's not even 18 yet. Artists like Vince Staples and Lil Yachty have given him co-signs, and if you listen to his absurd brand of rap, it's not hard to see why. He breaks down scamming to a science, often fondly remembering how he evaded capture by the skin of his teeth. But what really makes his rhymes stand out is just that they're so heavy and hilarious.
Nowhere is that truer than on his latest release, the cartoonish "Blackmail." Slightly offbeat but energetic throughout, Teejayx6 smashes himself over the head with a piano, scams his grandmother on Facebook, and hides a body on the top of Mount Everest. The way that he practically screams each line feels like he's in on it, winking at YouTube comments writing off his recent songs as jokes. But with its emotional, instrument-led beat and booming bass, "Blackmail" transcends the rough-feeling aesthetic of his work so far, opting for something a little more polished and commercial. He's not exactly cut out for radio just yet. But with him subtly evolving with changes in the formula like this, it's not too hard to imagine him breaking down his questionable methods on a station near you in the future. —Trey Alston
As we bid adieu to sweltering summer days and usher in cool autumn, my playlists, like my wardrobe, become increasingly less uptempo and bright and more lo-fi/R&B chill, like a cozy knit. "Bliss" by New Zealand native Alayna has an airy quality that embodies what it feels like to unfold on your plush sofa at the end of a hard day, or in the arms of someone you love. Tinged with euphoric riffs that are soft and sweet, it truly lives up to its name. Whether you're basking in the sheer pleasure of the feel of merino wool against your bare skin or the intoxicating smell of a lover's cologne (it is cuffing season, after all), the hook "Bliss, this is happiness" is the perfect refrain to capture the mood you're in. And you'll no doubt want to keep it on repeat. Thank me later. —Virginia Lowman
Miley Cyrus ft. Swae Lee: "Party Up the Street"
Miley's latest EP, She Is Coming, totally blew me away. I'm shocked at how much I listen to it. I was a casual fan before, but it was this set of songs that really got me to sit up and pay attention more than simply sampling bits and pieces of her catalog as the mood struck. Now, I don't pick and choose which songs to enjoy off of She Is Coming, but I let the entire thing play every time I'm in the mood for her unique brand of pop. This particular track is by far one of the most chilled-out songs I can still bop to, and there's something about the way Miley and Swae croon together that keeps this song nestled in my head even when I've listened to a million other earworms in the same day. But I always find myself coming back to this one. For me, it's absolutely perfect. —Brittany Vincent
Surfaces: "Sunday Best"
Feeling good is only as hard as assuring yourself you are in Surfaces's "Sunday Best." With a little bit of reggae, a little bit of pop, and a whole bunch of good vibes, there's an undeniable danceability and a palpable positivity to the Texas-based duo. "Everything can be a better day despite the challenge / All you gotta do is leave it better than you found it," the two sing before launching into an infectious "Feeling blessed, never stressed / Got that sunshine on my Sunday best." How do you put the feeling of being perfectly OK with everything around you into a song? What does an orange sunset perfectly hitting a window on a summer day with a little breeze sound like? This. —Carson Mlnarik
Big Sean ft. A$AP Ferg: "Bezerk"
Who would have thought that A$AP Ferg and Big Sean would make for such a scorching duo on "Bezerk?" The pair debuted the song at the 2019 VMAs and incensed the crowd with a mob of dancers and vibrant dance moves of their own, but it isn't until you listen to alone that you realized how charged it is. You realize that Ferg and Sean complement each other perfectly.
Of the two, Ferg is looser and more adventurous. Sean, on the other hand, is a little quieter and restrained, even at his loudest when trying to match Ferg. You can really hear the difference on "Bezerk," where they both yell at the top of their lungs as they trade words and verses seamlessly — from loud to restrained, from restrained to loud. Esteemed producer Hit-Boy contributes to the helpless atmosphere of the tune, leaving you to feel trapped while Ferg and Sean rap about having sex with cougars and shopping at Whole Foods. With this much energy being put into these simple lines, they become the stuff of Guinness World Records lore. —Trey Alston