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.)...

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...

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...

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....

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....

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda” (video) Aug20

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda” (video)

Last time I wrote about the “Anaconda” record, the novelty of using “Baby Got Back” aggravated me especially after witnessing the power of “Pills N Potions” right before listening. The buzz, both positive (which has been rare) and negative (because that’s the default position), is exactly what Nicki was trying to generate. “Anaconda” will not just straddle but knock down the normal genre walls of reporting and seep into mainstream media. Talking heads will debate her overt sexualizing of her body and whether the display is artistic or vulgar. I am not sure how you can sample a song as popular today as “Baby Got Back” and not show your ass on the video. The video was banned from MTV because it was too gratuitous (not really) while Howard Stern’s bare ass was A-OK. Even 22 years later, grown ass white women are throwing ass at Mix-A-Lot, who looks suspiciously like the late, great Patrice O’Neal, at an orchestral performance of “Baby Got Back.” Anyways, the song is still disjointed and almost arhythmic. Nicki is trying to make a dance song from the part of the original track build-up beat that didn’t inspire dancing. It’s like the whole idea went awry when everybody realized sampling the meaty part of “Baby Got Back” would feel like a straight copy, but sampling from the song’s gristle yields a song that feels like constant anticipation and no payoff. Kinda like a lap dance from Nicki Minaj, right Aubrey? EDIT: This is the article I wish I could write about the “Anaconda” and Nicki Minaj’s successful manipulation of social media and perception. Thank you, Lindsay Zoladz. (Seattle Met/CBS News) Sir Mix-A-Lot – “Baby Got Back” For frame of reference of...

Action Bronson – “Easy Rider” Aug20

Action Bronson – “Easy Rider”...

Inspired by the movie of the same name, Action Bronson’s video for “Easy Rider” is a libidinous and hedonistic trip into the mind of today’s best rapper. Party Supplies has created a wiry, ominous production underpinned with guitars and wicked bassline. With Bronson’s adept storytelling, “Easy Rider” is a beautifully constructed composition that rappers and musicians should aspire to on their work. If all that sounds like hyperbole, just watch the video. Everything Action Bronson does is over the top, yet his music is rooted in organic sounds. This could’ve been the soundtrack to some French indie flick in the 70s. Instead this could be the future of rap music. Actually this says what I want to say much more succinctly. @ActionBronson just dropped the 2014 "November Rain" on cats. — Christopher L. Inoa (@TatteredFedora) August 20, 2014 “Easy Rider” is out now. The album, which I hope is called Mr. Wonderful, will be out later....

THURZ feat. Kelsey Bulkin – “Perfect Words” Aug19

THURZ feat. Kelsey Bulkin – “Perfect Words”...

THURZ has made one of those breezy LA rap songs that have typically served as a counterpoint to the LA gangsta rap sound. I guess the upset should be that newcomer (to me), Kelsey Bulkin, is singing the hook instead of Jhene Aiko, who might finally be big enough to let work like this slide. The track is nice enough. THURZ’s nasal delivery and slice-of-life lyrics are nice enough. This is a coffeehouse rap-sung collaboration. It’s perfect for your playlist if you have a bunch of saditty or uptight adults in the room, but you still gotta hear some rap. After listening to recent offerings from burgeoning stars like Vince Staples, Que, Travi$ Scott, and Joey Bada$$, THURZ has more work to do to break through with laidback style. The “Perfect Words” single is available on iTunes. Blood on the Canvas is coming soon....