Vince Staples – “Blue Suede” Aug19

Vince Staples – “Blue Suede”...

Who is Vince Staples? I should’ve wrote about him 6 months ago after his excellent single, “Nate,” dropped but somehow, someway forces conspired against me. Here’s the video. This is coming off his work with Mac Miller, another well-received mixtape, and two excellent collaborations with Earl Sweatshirt on the Doris album. Then came Common’s release of Nobody’s Smiling, and Vince is featured on the lead single, “Kingdom.” Yet with all this foreshadowing and preparation, Vince Staples has dropped an aggravated, visceral opus of musique concrete. The lazy comparisons to Kendrick Lamar should be flowing in, but while K-Dot felt like raw product molded into a gem, Vince already feels like a complete package ready to be unleashed. Natural flow. Complex internal rhymes structure. A clear voice that cuts through the ominous beat. He is definitely an emcee in the “move the crowd” mode. Time for Vince Staples to step into his spotlight....

Travi$ Scott feat. Big Sean and The 1975 – “Don’t Play” Aug19

Travi$ Scott feat. Big Sean and The 1975 – “Don’t Play”...

Travi$ Scott (last time I use the dollar sign) is one of the few new rappers who understand that the visuals are just as important as the audio. When he dropped “Quintana” on the world, it felt like less of a song and more of a full frontal sensory assault. The record felt like it had acts instead of verses. “Upper Echelon” was similar; you knew was Travis Scott was not on some regular rap ass shit. For his new single reworking The 1975’s “M.O.N.E.Y.” to death and featuring Big Sean on the second verse, Travis is overworking the harpsichord over some 808s and trap cymbals (that’s my term. i don’t know what drums are what). This single is off his new mixtape, Days Before Rodeo, and Travis Scott’s official album, Rodeo, will be out soon. (OnSmash) P.S. Who is that...

G-Unit (Buck, Kidd Kidd, 50 Cent) – “Ah Shit” Aug18

G-Unit (Buck, Kidd Kidd, 50 Cent) – “Ah Shit”...

RIP Eric Garner RIP Michael Brown RIP Ezell Ford It’s open season on Black men and the cops are hunting....

Que feat. 2 Chainz – “Rich Problems” (prod. by DJ Mustard) Aug18

Que feat. 2 Chainz – “Rich Problems” (prod. by DJ Mustard)...

With a lot of rappers like Que, standing out from the crowd of similar voiced rappers with similar subject matter may be feel like an impossible victory. You can hook up with the producers of the moment. You can pay exorbitant cash for an A-List feature delivering a B-List verse. You can write that impossible hook that will infiltrate the minds of listeners. The field will always be crowded, and talent is not a limiting factor. But my belief is that “Rich Problems” can stand alongside today’s trap records and strip club anthems. Que’s raspy voice can create space for him as a unique voice in this rap game. He’s two-for-two after the release of his last single, the slow burner “Standout” featuring the hottest rap vocalist now, Ty Dolla $ign. Que’s new mixtape, “Can You Digg It” will be out August 19. That’s tomorrow! (This Is...

Your Old Droog – “Sleepers…” Aug18

Your Old Droog – “Sleepers…”...

First things first, if you ain’t familiar with Your Old Droog, do yourself forever and start on his Soundcloud. I’ll wait. . … ….. ……. . … ….. …….still waiting . … ….. …….he’s pretty fucking good, right . … ….. ……. Now he’s got himself a track from another rapper who probably understands a lot of the pitfalls Your Old Droog will encounter in his nascent rap career. Personally I am not a fan of Mac Mi… errrrr Larry Fisherman’s organ-driven menacing minimalist beat. Here’s a chance for a collaboration that could actually net some dividends because of the accompanying star power, but this track ain’t for anybody but the most independent of rap heads. YOD’s still attacks the beat but not with the gusto of “No Message” or “Free Turkey.”...

Nicki Minaj – “Pills N Potions” / “Anaconda” Aug17

Nicki Minaj – “Pills N Potions” / “Anaconda”...

This summer Nicki Minaj has release two diametrically opposed tracks leading up to the release of her album, The Pink Print. “Pills N Potions” is a pensive letter to someone who causes great pain but more love for her. While “Anaconda” is her ratchet, pop-rap anthem devoted to her ass. The thought that both these records will share space under the same album is amazing. On the same album will be Nicki at her most visceral, martial, and combative. You could say the first 3 singles were so Nicki could reclaim her status as lyricist back on par with her verse on “Monster” while the last 2 singles are keep her broader audience. What bothers me is extreme novelty of “Anaconda” following the probing earnest of “Pills N Potions” and how people reconcile the two tracks. Nicki has built her image on her beauty, her body, her rapping ability, and her pop sensibility. It’s one thing to make it pass the hip hop community after “Super Bass” but to do it again after “Starships” is a triumph. Those songs may work for a pop audience but are rap poison, but here Nicki is. It really shows how starving Hip Hop is for a female MC to transcend. “Pills N Potions”...

Wiz Khalifa feat. Nicki Minaj – “True Colors” Aug17

Wiz Khalifa feat. Nicki Minaj – “True Colors”...

The real appeal of Wiz Khalifa has always been his sensitivity. ((((pause)))) While Drake catches heat for being a sensitive Negro, Wiz has never been shy to talk about his drive, loyalty, and ethic. So when you have a song like “True Colors” which initially sounds like a cheap rehash of the Cyndi Lauper OG track. But isn’t that the eternal battle of reconciling Wiz Khalifa’s music with the man? His music can feel cheap and pop and his delivery hazy and half-hearted, but as a listened again and again to “True Colors,” it’s his narrative of resilience that won me over. I mean I wanted to say something about his ridiculous appearance or something about his inexplicably famous wife, Amber Rose, or how Nicki murdered her verse. But I’m sure Wiz knows who he is and this track is here to shame me. Who am I to measure him as a man? He’s selling records and booking shows. His message is empowering. It always has been. Wiz Khalifa is still the unlikeliest of rap stars. While bigger couples in rap culture are dodging rumors and scandal, here are Wiz and Amber and baby boy still making it. Blacc Hollywood will be released on August 19th. (2dopeboyz)...

J Cole – “Be Free” Aug15

J Cole – “Be Free”

I’ll let J Cole speak. Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free – Cole RIP Michael Brown #handsup...

The Voyagers – “Human Nature” Aug15

The Voyagers – “Human Nature”...

When I think of large rap groups dropping a posse cut, you think Wu-Tang Clan, Pharcyde, Fab 5,… I could go on and on. But it’s 2014 and the easy comparison is to Odd Future or Pro Era. Nevermind I’m lost. Just fucking listen to these dudes. Feel the energy. And if you like it, get the album, The Rise of the Black Kings....

French Montana – “Don’t Panic” (video) Aug14

French Montana – “Don’t Panic” (video)...

When I create these writeups, I try not to get too deep. I’m not a journalist or an industry dude. I’m just writing to write. When I source an article, I usually have a lot of choices because everyone is just copying off each other like a Marketing class full of Pakistanis. So when I notice that white women’s gossip rag, Us Magazine, is writing about the latest French Montana video, I know my Moroccan brother has slipped his dick into the big time. The whole article is written with trepidation and false juxtapositions. Doesn’t the author remember that Khloe Kardashian was dating a crackhead ballplayer before French Montana. “Bound 2” … part two? Why because it’s a Kardashian appearing in a rap video? Come on Rachel McRady. You’re better than…. hahaha no, she ain’t. She’s a Millennial gossip rag writer who went to James Madison. Isn’t that an East Coast safety school? Anyways. It’s just another rap video rehashing a movie for their video motif. At least the track is hype. (MTV / Us...

Jeezy feat. The Game and Rick Ross – “Beautiful” Aug14

Jeezy feat. The Game and Rick Ross – “Beautiful”...

Photo by Prince Williams – ATLpics.net From the moment the track starts, the falsetto melody haunted me, not because of its tones, but because I could not place the sample. It was a foreign group, I believed, but maybe Galt MacDermott instead. I couldn’t stop thinking about the voice. Rather than searching through my sample archive, I hope to find another artist who sampled the same track. I started with Dilla, but that was not right. Maybe MF Doom…I combed through all his Special Herbs. What a gold mine but no dice. It felt like something Curren$y would use, but I couldn’t find it there. I should’ve looked harder. Eventually I cheated and let the Internet eventually tell me. C-Section posts were growing on Soundcloud. I knew younger ears would tie it together. And there it is: Cortex – “Chanson D’un Jour D’hiver” I can finally focus on the meat of the song. Jeezy, (The) Game, and Rick Ross are actually almost engaged in a 3-man weave. So many times an artist will have a song with two features, and the customers receive a track comprised of verse-hook-verse-hook-verse. Since all 3 men have a smooth, conversational flow, riding over the French jazz sample is a natural fit. Actually anyone with a nice flow can spit over a Cortex-driven and sound good. Because the more I listen to “Beautiful,” the more zoned I get into Black Metaphor’s drums riding underneath the soprano(?) vocals. Anyways #SeenItAll coming soon. “Beautiful” is out now. (2dopeboyz) To learn about Cortex’s influence on current rap...

Joey Bada$$ – “Big Dusty” Aug12

Joey Bada$$ – “Big Dusty”...

“Bitches lie. Niggas lie. Numbers, too.” The genius of Joey Bada$$ is how he infuses his conversational flow with so much symbolism and wordplay. Because his lyrics demand deciphering, the musical backdrop must be equally soothing and complex. But for his major label debut, Joey’s voice is more ragged and vigorous belying the laidback nature of his 1999 album. This is a man who has had to bury his best friend while carrying the dual burden of leading his Pro Era crew and fashioning his own solo career. “Big Dusty” is not what you’d expect for an opening single. Densely rhymed and coldly constructed, the track is a throwback to the mid-90s East Coast days when NYC rap was counterprogramming to the West Coast glossy G-Funk era. Joey is not going to win over his generation of 2nd half Millennials with old jazz loops and gruff braggadocio rhymes, but he will collect more loyal followers who will definitely wait attentively for the next salvo from the B4DA$$ album. Purchase “Big Dusty,” produced by Kirk Knight, on iTunes: (link)...