G-Eazy feat. Remo – “I Mean It” May30

G-Eazy feat. Remo – “I Mean It”...

I didn’t know anything about G-Eazy and his single, “I Mean It,” until it popped up repeatedly in my suggested videos on YouTube. The 2010s formula for white rappers is you trade on their whiteness whether it be preppy, punky, Jew-y, girly, or angsty. Honestly I had seen G-Eazy’s name and face on Spotify and thought it was some iteration of G. Love & Special Sauce. All the stereotypes aside, I feel that G-Eazy harnessed his true lyricism and technique to create a familiar yet unique sound for “I Mean It.” The production hits hard. His confidence/arrogance is catchy. I can fuck with this. It’s not thoughtful music, it’s midnight-marauding-after-a-great time music. We can use that. And this video is funny as fuck. That other newsgirl can get it as...

Ab-Soul feat. Action Bronson and Asaad – “Stigmata” May30

Ab-Soul feat. Action Bronson and Asaad – “Stigmata”...

Ab-Soul is unsung hero of Top Dawg Entertainment. If Kendrick Lamar is point guard and ScHoolboy Q is the power forward, then Ab-Soul is wing player that does a little of everything. Jazzy production, rapping, a little singing, a hip hop artist who creates music from a slew of angles. “Stigmata” is a record that doesn’t need Action or Asaad. Ab-Soul’s lyrics and voice are clearly the star; it’s a shame that the features were even included because they are definitely up to task. Maybe other higher ups realized this because the promotional video takes a very literal pass at Ab’s lyrics and omits the features. These Days… coming June 24th....

Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Danny Brown – “Six Degrees” May27

Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Danny Brown – “Six Degrees”...

Ghostface and Danny Brown do their thing lyrically. The sonic bed laid down by Canadian trio, BADBADNOTGOOD, is not bad, but the guitar immediately evoked “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg “The Edge” by David McCallum. I mean, it’s not the same cadence or melody, but it felt familiar. Anyways this record is off an upcoming EP with Starks and BBNG. The single is available on iTunes now....

Cam’ron & A-Trak – “Dipshits” May14

Cam’ron & A-Trak – “Dipshits”...

While posthumous Mike, Ariana, and Iggy seem to be frontrunners for 2014’s Song of the Summer, none of them with invigorate a 90s/00s hip hop head more than this supernova track, “Dipshits,” from Cam’ron and A-Trak produced by Just Blaze. The ascendant organ loop over the buzzing drums takes me back to “Come Home With Me” Killa Cam. But this record is more robust, more energizing, and more triumphant. Cam’ron is… well, I’ll let Cam tell you what he is, Mami backed up and said she see the difference. ‘You’re mature, handsome, mixed with a lot of ig’nance.’ And that is Cam’ron’s universal appeal. (((pause))) He flips a phrase with the best of them. He can paint stories about the drug trade, living in the city, or slaying chickens with ease. His flow, at his best, is effortless to the point that even his double time raps never feel forced. And Cam paired with a Just Blaze beat is just magic. I can’t even fuck with Champagne Dame’s boss ad lib at the end or Juelz Santana on the hook. When will the Federal Reserve EP be released? Soon. Fucking press play already. Then press replay after 3 minutes 44 seconds. Repeat. Fuck, this is good!...

Usher – “Good Kisser” May05

Usher – “Good Kisser”

For the first single from his yet-to-be-named 8th album, Usher enlists a slew of producers to create “Good Kisser.” As listed on 2dopeboyz, these dudes are Pop, Flip, JProof, Terry ‘Tru’ Sneed, Natural and Oak. I don’t know who these dudes are except for Natural who I know worked on Looking For Myself. The big difference is Usher has distanced himself from the electronic fuckery which have dominated his last two albums. This is not “OMG” or “Scream,” but “Good Kisser” is equally as danceable. Clearly with the dominant drum break flowing through out the track, there is an organic, visceral feel to the record. Usher growls, raps, coos, and wails in such a familiar, easy manner. Some folks might call this record a comeback, or at least a throwback to the approachable boy-next-door Usher. I guess that’ll happen when you divorce a succubus and have to rebound via a network singing contest show. I’m going way off track. This single is hot. It’s available on iTunes, but I’m sure you’ll listen to the track on repeat on Vevo....

The-Dream – “Black” Apr30

The-Dream – “Black”...

There are no real coincidences in the world. So when The-Dream (Radio Killa!) drops his anthem “Black” on the same day that the NBA commissioner Adam Silver banished known racist slumlord Donald Sterling from the LA Clippers and the NBA, you have to admire the attempt at planned serendipity. But this well-constructed song would be powerful on any other day. For all the strides America has made to overcome racism and prejudice, being Black still harbors way too many emotions, good and bad, burdening its people everyday. Sometimes, you just have to be reminded of all the good Black leaders have done in the past to lay the framework and ease our struggle. Intolerance is still out there. The old racists are not dying fast enough before infecting the young. I can laugh about race, then again I can pass. Yet I have felt the sting more than once. Being Black has emboldened me at times and entrapped in other moments. I have long embraced my unique position, maybe not my lineages. I know how to navigate this world as a man not born with ivory skin and blue eyes. I don’t need it. I don’t want...

Stitches – “Brick In Yo Face” Apr30

Stitches – “Brick In Yo Face”...

How did I find this shit? OnSmash certainly has a large repository of videos, but maybe I should be checking WorldStar because that’s where Stitches has amassed 6.6 million views for his debut video, “Brick In Yo Face.” This is my favorite song right now. http://t.co/VJIjLEsngI — Harley Morenstein (@HarleyPlays) April 28, 2014 I can’t front, this track is hype as fuck. Stitches has a mixtape ready to go, No Snitching Is My Statement. In an interview with Complex, he states Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa are his influences and that comes through in his cadence and flow throughout his mixtape. His voice crackles and snarls track after track even when the production can’t elevate to his energy. But it’s on his video where Stitches rampages around like brahma bull in a shanty house. The screen is too small for his personality. I mean, it’s a straightforward song lyrically. He loves selling blow. My complaint is about the music blogs who think, “hmmm Stitches is white, but he ain’t like the platinum selling white rapper who swept the Grammys. However, I will make the comparison anyways.” WTF chump journalism. And yall get paid for this shit, Nelson Liu and Confusion. Come on. Let artists be just artists instead of saying this is like that. Bump this shit, it’s blissful ignorance. Stitches is unsigned …for now. And dude has an AK-47 tattooed on his face…ffffffff...

Big K.R.I.T. – “Mt. Olympus” Apr29

Big K.R.I.T. – “Mt. Olympus”...

The Mystery Overbearing Hater is a hip hop trope. It motivates rappers to become defensive, channel that energy into battle raps, and reinvigorate debates on who’s the best today. KRIT has been an ongoing battle with this mystery hate. He’s universally respected, but maybe the stigma of Mississippi, which did not affect David Banner, keeps KRIT from realizing his potential fame. I’m not as enamored with this track as many commenters and bloggers. Rapping fast with fury doesn’t make it good (see: Kendrick Lamar), but I still think this is better than a great majority of the shit out there. Low bar, I guess....

DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and French Montana – “They Don’t Love You No More” [tags] Apr29

DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, and French Montana – “They Don’t Love You No More” [tags]...

I keep listening DJ Khaled’s newest posse cut looking for redeeming qualities. Meek Mill comes out of the gate with ferocity. Rick Ross delivers a nice bridge verse well within his range. French Montana is once again relegated to hook-singing and hype-manning. DJ Khaled talks at the end of the record to qualify for royalty checks. And Jay Z somehow finds himself in the studio ready for battle. I mean that was Jiggaman’s goal when he compared some “soft” unnamed rapper to a lacrosse team. Or maybe he had so much to say, you can excuse Jay for flying way off beat on the opening bars of his verse. It doesn’t matter. Mike Zombie delivers a lazy production job taking the “Started From The Bottom” beat, substituting church bells for keyboard lullaby, and adding strategic gunshots. Keep riding that horse into the ground. Overall, this DJ Khaled track is sloppy as fuck. You can’t dance to it. It doesn’t feel like elevating jeep music. It’s just another rap dirge put upon listeners to reinforce our hate against haters....

Coldplay – “A Sky Full Of Stars” Apr29

Coldplay – “A Sky Full Of Stars”

Coldplay is arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The most popular? The safest? The most consistent in the last decade. In anticipation of their May release of Ghost Stories, they even get a NBC special during Sweeps. That should make the “conscious uncoupling” feel a bit better when NBC hands over the check. Did I mention Avicii! and Paul Epworth (who? …shit yeah. that’s who.) produced this pre-fab Vegas club-type track? It’s so uplifting. I can here this playing now for the World Cup or The NBA Finals. It doesn’t even really fit, but it’s Coldplay. People will love it! Even the Taylor Swift-like voice crack flourish Chris Martin pulls off. (OnSmash) NBC Special...

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea – “Problem” Apr29

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea – “Problem”...

Damn Idolator and Pitchfork already beat me to punch. That ubiquitous saxophone bleat is making a comeback here and here and now here with Ariana Grande’s monster hit. Shit the track just dropped on Sunday night during the Radio Disney Music Awards. I’m pretty sure that screaming girls at a teen-oriented award show presents a highly bias opinion, but even in a vacuum this track is a bio-engineered hit. Trap-lite. Rapper of the moment: Iggy Azalea (who I assumed replaced Big Sean who is relegated to hook whispering duty…the check still clears). But Ariana glides through “Problem” like young Mariah. You know she can sing stronger and higher, but this is dance-pop. Coast through and save the pipes for a real torch song....

Caitlyn Scarlett – “Bad Love” Apr29

Caitlyn Scarlett – “Bad Love”...

So you press play and think this record sounds like Fiona Apple redux. Plaintive voice over an upright bass and strings, then the slaps and drums come in…you know it’s building to something. Then 57 seconds…WOMMMMP WOMMMMMMMMP. Did I mention Caitlyn Scarlett is British? Production from Ayo Beatz. Look for more in 2014 and beyond. (OnSmash) LISTEN to her EP, Jurassic Jukebox & Other...