Young Thug feat. Quavo – “F Cancer” Feb07

Young Thug feat. Quavo – “F Cancer”...

“F Cancer” is the opener on Young Thug’s mixtape, I’m Up, which I may have called a “feeble exercise.” It’s fucking amazing how a video can change a shitty critic’s opinion. Or slightly modify it. Because “F Cancer” is exactly the type of 2016 rap track that deserves to be played on the radio, loudly in your ride, or pumped though ratchet strip club speakers. Mike Will Made-It’s production feels like a call back to Three 6 Mafia’s production work, full of bounce and energy. Adding Quavo from Migos is a great counterbalance to maniacal, absurdist lyrics from Thugger. Yes, the subject matter is still drugs, increasing female moisture levels, and their incredible business acumen. But like Young Thug says, “You know the routine…” And let’s not fool ourselves. Yes, “F Cancer” is dedicated to the fight Boosie Badazz endures as he rehabilitates from the surgery on his cancer-riddled kidney. And the video serves as a celebration for Boosie’s recovery. But between you and me, the trap is just another diss towards Crips. (Cancer is also known as the C-Word. The Big “C”. OK whatever.)...

Beyoncé – “Formation” Feb07

Beyoncé – “Formation”

It’s been about 12 hours since Beyoncé tore the muthafucker down and evicted all the wannabe queens striving for her throne. “Formation” is not an especially great track. It stammers and stalls, builds then destroys, echoing Beyoncé’s ethos of self-empowerment. For Beyoncé’s fans, this track is everything and more, but for Queen B the impeccable timing of the “Formation” single and video underscores her business savvy. After all, “Formation” is also a method to sign people up for Tidal. Ha! Got eem! Produced by Mike Will Made-It and co-written by Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd, “Formation” feels more like a collection of Instagram-ready quotes framed amongst gif-ready set pieces. In the video directed by Melina Matsoukas, even Blue Ivy makes a bold appearance as a stand-in for a Destiny’s Child redux. Amid tragically flooded scenes of New Orleans and Los Angeles soundstages, Beyoncé is still effervescent and impossibly more gorgeous at 34. Quick thoughts. Off top…where did all that tiddymeat come from? Blue Ivy been grown. Inquiring minds want to know, but I ain’t mad. I appreciate you, Beyoncé. I doubt any chemicals have touched Blue Ivy’s head. It’s gonna be a damn shame when B gets a bigger pop from the Super Bowl crowd than Coldplay or Bruno Mars during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. Funny how Rihanna’s ANTI album release is an accident, but Beyoncé’s video and single release are calculated and done correctly. Shoutout to the Illuminati conspiracy fuckbois who still think Black folks are part of the Illuminati. Stop that! My homie, Ken, mistook the lyric “Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation” as “get information,” which, at first, sounded funny, but considering the double meaning of getting in line for battle (formation) and gaining knowledge (information), I think it all works. Beyoncé never forgets Houston. That’s why her city loves her unconditionally. “Foundation” can be downloaded for free. And you can get a 90-day free trial of Tidal. What a...

Future – EVOL Feb06

Future – EVOL

In 2016 a recording artist cannot rest. Your new material can quickly becomes yesterday’s forgotten material. The pace makes swaths of music feel disposable. Last night I wrote about Young Thug’s I’m Up mixtape and Wiz Khalifa’s Khalifa LP leading this weekend’s releases. So Future sitting with position raised the stakes by releasing EVOL for purchase one day later. And marketing plan was already in play as DJ Khaled promised to play EVOL during his new Beats 1 Radio show premiere. Future and his cohort producers Metro Boomin, DJ Esco, Southside (I’m assuming… liner notes would help). Look you know and I know that Future has refined his flow in this mellifluous cadence. Outside of The Weeknd on “Low Life,” there are no features to muck up the zone your mind enters. Because unlike the uneven releases by the aforementioned artists, Future creates a cohesive, tightly sequenced album. Once Abel’s tenor cuts through “Low Life,” you’re now 9 tracks in wondering why your shoulders are sore. But the highlight is the album’s finale. “Fly Shit Only” opens with a guitar solo before the drums crash down on the melody. This is Future’s stab at stadium status plying deeper in the perverted and paranoid mind of Nayvadius. EVOL is available on iTunes and Apple Music. I guess I could link something here, but all the YouTube links are bullshit sped up/slowed down fuckboi quality. I know. Here is the most ridiculous hook on EVOL courtesy of Future on “Xanny Family.” An instant hip hop quotable (and trending topic) for all the wrong reasons. 3 exotic broads and I got 'em soakin' panties<br> Told 'em they were certified, welcome to the xanny family<br> Wow, wow<br> Wow, wow<br> 3 exotic broads and I got 'em soakin' panties<br>...

Young Thug – I’m Up (Mixtape) Feb05

Young Thug – I’m Up (Mixtape)...

In an October profile in The Guardian, Young Thug is described as “the gender-fluid, surrealist rapper who’s being anointed as hip-hop’s next titan.” I’m sure the Future Hive would dispute this notion, and his album is on the horizon. It would take much more than another surprise mixtape to unseat the current king of surprise mixtapes, Drake. Wiz Khalifa just released his album Khalifa today. Kanye’s album is just a week away. Like a lot of these mixtapes, they are a feeble exercise. For REAL fans, these are 9 tracks to keep them salivating until Young Thug’s proper debut album, Hy!£UN35, arrives. For casual fans, one or two of the tracks may sneak into radio/club/strip club rotation. And for me, until I see some illicit Snapchats with a track from I’m Up thumping in the background, I do not imagine many spins past this weekend. I guess I could fuck with the “Hercules” track (nh), but that’s mostly on the strength of Metro Boomin’s production enveloping Thugger’s sinuous flow. Even though it’s a mixtape, you can find Slime Season 3 I’m Up on iTunes for a low, low price. Or enjoy it for now on Soundcloud via Diplo. (2DopeBoyz/The...

RIP Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire Feb05

RIP Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire

There are a lot of kind words being said about bandleader and R&B innovator, Maurice White, yesterday and today. His band, Earth, Wind & Fire, is one of the few musical acts before my time that I enjoyed from the very beginning. My father regularly played their songs on the record player. But it wasn’t until I was older and appreciated the depth of their catalog, realized there were two lead vocalists (Maurice White and Philip Bailey), and realized their impact on the rap music I have always enjoyed. All night I have been playing EWF, first the hits, then watch the crazy videos and romping live performances, and now the deep album cuts. Knowing that Maurice was never afraid to incorporate musical influences from so many other genres adds to my reverence of the man. Rest in power, Maurice White. Dear reader, please enjoy the work of Earth, Wind & Fire and their leader, Maurice...

Wretch 32 & Avelino – “Hulk Hogan” Feb04

Wretch 32 & Avelino – “Hulk Hogan”...

Every real American knows who Hulk Hogan was as a wrestler and entertainer. Some may know Hulk Hogan as a reality star. Others may know Hulk Hogan from a sex tape with his friend’s wife. And many remember that during the sex tape Hulk Hogan loves saying “nigger” in the company of other white folks. (Although Hogan has been known to be called a “nigga” by The Blacks.) Thanks to Beats 1 Radio, I get to listen to way more British rap music than I care to ever listen to on a daily basis. I’m not a big fan of the patois, the grime, the lack of common subject matter between their British life and my American upbringing. Roots Manuva, Dizzee Rascal, that white guy Pitchfork used to love, and I really didn’t care for their interpretation of hip hop. ADVERTISEMENT: Click Here to learn more about Bitcoin (eBook) I’ve gone a long way before introducing Wretch 32 & Avelino and their mixtape, Young Fire, Old Flame, released in December. Wretch 32 is a veteran in the UK rap game, although I can tell by his recent videos, he’s gone the uplifting sing-songy route. It’s pretty far from wavy. As for Avelino, I got nothing. Except for this track “Hulk Hogan” which I knew a goddamn hit the moment the hook came in. Ripped jeans and the way the leg drop like<br> My nigga Hulk Hogan<br> My nigga Hulk Hogan<br> My nigga Hulk Hogan― Wretch 32 (Ft. Avelino) – Hulk Hogan Wizzy Wow’s production rivals anything that the top American trap producers are making right now. The keys create a languid atmosphere while Wretch 32 and Avelino drop the stripper anthem we didn’t expect from the UK. But “Hulk Hogan” is the stripper anthem America needs...

Charli XCX – “Break The Rules” (video) Jun16

Charli XCX – “Break The Rules” (video)...

Only because I am so infatuated by Charli, here’s a video I was supposed to post a while back. Now I’m just creating enough text to fill the preview. That should be enough. Enjoy the video by Charli XCX from her album, Sucker....

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face” (prod. by Max Martin) May27

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face” (prod. by Max Martin)...

After so many months away (and I really wasn’t away or not desirous of posting… you know…life and shit), I found a song to inspire me to write very quickly and succinctly. After all for the first 43 seconds, this was the warbling, woozy Weeknd shit I was used to and ready to accept as another waypoint to his next album. Then the beat drops and the bassline erupts into this pop-R&B ready made hit for the summmer. Almost too good for the summer despite all the right ingredients: On the rise R&B singer fresh off a crossover hit…check It’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it…check The hook is catchy enough for even the most base people in the world…check Overt drug references right up the title of the record…check Pop star appeal with reasonable looks and passable dance moves……..hold up now! Because Abel Tesfaye is still Canadian cipher still sporting that Egyptian palm tree on his head. And I’ve never seen him dance. Hell I’ve never seen The Weeknd do anything but stare directly at the camera while his head is turned at some profile angle and chin raised high. But if Katy Perry can make dance songs while she merely poses rhythmically, I’m sure bigwigs will find a way to get him to do the same ol 2-step or something. (ViewHipHop / Spin / Stereogum) edit 6/16/2015: The RIAA tried to drop the banhammer on me, so here’s the YouChoob version. Also song title is...

Jacob Whitesides – “You’re Perfect” Aug22

Jacob Whitesides – “You’re Perfect”...

I don’t know who this dude is, but Twitter told me today with this #perfectonyoutube hashtag. Social media POWER! Then I go down the rabbit hole and learn that he sings acoustic covers with his guitar. And he looks like a Southern-fried 2nd gen Bieber without the attitude. I can see the A&Rs salivating. When you click on his videos, naturally YouTube will offer more acoustic covers to watch and the occasional fan video. Whoa boy! I’m sure this is perfectly chaste, but I have never been a little girl. And my sister never look this sprung over anyone. Jacob Whitesides was already a star before he released a real single. I mean his fans are wild. But what’s the upside? It’s clear that this is the new pop music model of discovery, grooming, and release. Rather than going to open mic nights and passing out demo tapes, kids are sitting in their bedrooms covering songs while scouts comb through YouTube click-to-click. I mean, I’ve known this for a minute, but now it’s looking like the tried-and-true way to make it in the music biz. It helps that Whitesides lives close enough to move to Nashville, a legit home to grow musical talent of his ilk. I don’t how calculated this dude’s cover choices were. They look like safe-pop songs. Since he writes, my guess is he’ll toe the same line Taylor Swift created: singer-songwriter pop with slight country overtones. He admittedly can’t dance which should steer him away from anything rhythmic. BTW I’m not a fan of ascendant pop love songs. It’s cloying and does not grab me. I’m sure 8- to 18-year-old girls eat this shit up. This is middle school homecoming quality music, but I can’t deny his marketing muscle. In...

Pyramid Vritra feat. Huey Briss – “224” Aug22

Pyramid Vritra feat. Huey Briss – “224”...

Hal Williams is Pyramid Vritra. His government name does not sound like a rapper or rap producer, but Pyramid Vritra sounds like they should be opening for Shabazz Palaces. Honestly, it’s very late. You should enjoy the music. Know that this man was in Jet Age of Tomorrow with Matt Martians, so he’s Odd Future affiliated. This track follows in that aesthetic. (Stones...

Juicy J feat. Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby, and Young Thug – “Low” (video) Aug22

Juicy J feat. Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby, and Young Thug – “Low” (video)...

The problem Juicy J has now is transitioning in an A-List rapper, which sounds strange considering his 20+ years in the rap game, his Academy Award, and successful solo debut. But where is the energy? Where is the #IgnorantBrilliance? Where’s Lex Lugar? Because when Juicy J is diluted with a slew of other voices, he feels like a host at a comedy show. Every one is getting shine. Juicy J sets them up. Next one comes on stage to get shine. I mean I know the rules. “If you like my old shit, buy my old albums.” Just want some of that old Juice in the new concoction. “Low” is available now on iTunes....

The Weeknd – “Often” (video) Aug21

The Weeknd – “Often” (video)...

The Weeknd released his single, “Often,” a couple of weeks ago along with the announcement of an album and tour named King of the Fall. But the real question was whether “Often” was a call back to his popular House of Balloons mixtape days or his still-good-yet-maligned Kiss Land album days. As someone who has liked all of Abel Tesfaye’s projects, I didn’t give a fuck. Give me more. “Often” is more of that good Weeknd fucking music. The Weeknd is one of the progenitors of the 2010s-style of indie R&B (or if you must use that bullshit PBR&B signifier, which was proven to be a damn joke) also inhabited by Drake, Miguel, The-Dream, Frank Ocean, and now FKA Twigs and PARTYNEXTDOOR. But The Weeknd is for me the revelation. The romantic misogyny. Even his album covers had topless white chicks like nothing. I have to believe Abel inspired blue-eyed devils Justin and Robin to step their topless game up to the videos. I guess the problem was while those guys are media handsome ((pause)), Abel doesn’t even look like Jason Derulo(((pause))), Chris Brown((((pause)))), or his co-conspirator Drake(((((pause))))). He’s an Ethopian palm tree who looks like the KMD logo. And maybe that’s why people weren’t feeling Kiss Land. Whatever, girls love dudes who can sing and adore dudes who talk nasty. The Weeknd does both on “Often” and does it well. (((((((pause)))))) “Often” is available now as a single. The Weeknd’s album King of the Fall will be out soon…maybe in the fall. /rimshot...

Run The Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) – “Blockbuster Night Part 1” Aug21

Run The Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) – “Blockbuster Night Part 1”...

Last year’s breakout album was Run The Jewels from El-P and Killer Mike. As a lifelong fan of El-P, even when he dissed my team on “8 Steps to Perfection,” I have always felt that his production has been ahead of its time. Now his style is right on time, so with his new single, he scales it back to great effect. El-P and Killer Mike sound very aggravated over the dystopian chugging, martial beat. Even the opening wail has a sci-fi effect, maybe a little close to Doctor Who. But that’s all forgotten once the verses start. No hocus pocus, you simple suckers deserve to notice Top o’ the morning, my fist-to-your-face is fucking Folgers Run The Jewels 2 will be out on October 28th…damn that’s a long time to wait. (Mass...

ILoveMakonnen feat. Pyramid Quince, Rich Po Slim, and Archibald Slim – “Vodka On The Weekend” Aug21

ILoveMakonnen feat. Pyramid Quince, Rich Po Slim, and Archibald Slim – “Vodka On The Weekend”...

Last year Drake jumped on “Versace” and made stars out of Atlanta rappers, Migos. Last Tuesday Drake jumped on “Club Going Up On A Tuesday” and another Atlanta-based artist, iLoveMakonnen, became a star. The difference is Makonnen has a whole label full of talent behind him ready to shine alongside. Like his breakout single, “Vodka On The Weekend” has the same hazy, almost Art of Noise-sounding production (this time courtesy of Father), but Makonnen’s hooks bracketing 3 capable cohorts blessing the mic with bars. Listening sober, I just want to nod my head. I’m sure listening to this track un-sober must be amazing. Do yourself a favor and listen to the whole crew here. (Soundcloud link) (Mass...

T.I. feat. Skylar Grey – “New National Anthem” Aug21

T.I. feat. Skylar Grey – “New National Anthem”...

The first sentence T.I. says on his new single, “New National Anthem,” is a casual admission that “radio probably ain’t gonna play this [record].” However, everything about this record is designed for the radio. First, I suspect this was a Skyler Grey hook that’s been sitting around waiting for someone (Eminem) to record some raps in between. Not a martial tone, the production feels like a marching band. Now I can’t wait for T.I. and The Roots perform this song on The Tonight Show. I have always preferred rap as protest at its angriest. While T.I. has the authority and ability to speak on heavy topics, the track just isn’t angry enough. I want to dance to this. But I’m so angry....