1939-2016

I know nothing is permanent and all things must pass and everything like that but this has to stop!  Give us a break 2016 damn!  RIP Blowfly.

The Weird World of Blowfly

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EVERY TRIP I’M LIKE, “THIS ONE IS THE LAST”

How appropriate that Ka and Boosie would put out new videos after back-to-back RIP posts – dudes can make a major-key piano loops sound more mournful than funeral dirges.

Ka – 30 Keys

Boosie Badazz – Smile to Keep from Crying

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1947-2016

I wasn’t expecting to do two back-to-back RIP posts, hopefully this trend does not continue further. Anyway RIP to David Bowie, the Other DB.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Dirty Run

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1925 – 2016

Damn RIP Boulez.

Pierre Boulez – Anthèmes 2

Too bad rappers don’t live as long as classical composers, what would Jacka have created at age 73?

THIS HAPPEN EVERY DAY IN MY HOOD, THEY JUST DON’T TALK ABOUT IT

If I didn’t know better, I’d think rappers I listen to actually read this blog!  Last May you could catch me lamenting the new directions of the Boosie sound since he re-emerged from prison no longer “Lil'”, but somewhat unconvincingly “Badazz”.  Fresh off of reading Diary of a Madman I was drawing mad parallels between his and Scarface’s careers when they were first given big label time and money to produce a project, resulting in very polished but emotionally lackluster final products.

Today Boosie gave me an easy way to kick off my New Years Resolution to keep active on this writing shit with the aptly titled In My Feelings.  It’s like he put together a perfect 10-song response to every element in that previous post.  Every ounce of emotion and urgency that I missed on Touch Down 2 Cause Hell has been delivered tenfold on this newest offering.  This is the kind of Boosie that you can sit down and listen to with your eyebrows up and your mouth agape trying to keep the tears from falling.  For maximum cherry-on-topness in relating to my critique, he even rocks an ill Scarface cadence on the “Warning Signs” chorus.  Spooky!

Boosie Badazz – Warning Signs

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2015 RAP

‘Tis the season for spending time with family and loved ones, sipping egg nog, and coming up with ranked lists of your favorite rap songs from the past year.  I used to be a staunch anti-lister: how could we attach such a rigid hierarchy to such personal, subjective material?  I also hated all the petty, pointless arguments that always ensued – such a waste of time that we could be spending on listening to more music.  I still think most of those arguments are dumb, but I’ve recently realized that, like many things I initially disliked, I was just thinking about them in the wrong way.

More and more I’ve come to see the value in these lists; not as what they seem – rigid value judgements about inherently unquantifiable subject matter – but as a starting point for conversation and possible introduction (or re-introduction) to material that might have slipped through the cracks for some listeners.  So this year I’m throwing in my votes for best rap songs of 2015.  I have purposely not looked at any other end-of-year lists so as not to be swayed by the judgements of others.  No doubt I will discover countless songs I should have included once I do see everyone else’s, but maybe someone else will discover something in these 35 selections from this great year in rap.  After the first 5 or 6 songs, I didn’t put much effort into the order so don’t get too caught up in that part of it.  Let me know if you agree, and DEFINITELY let me know if you disagree or have alternate selections, I hope to learn more than teach from this first attempt.

To keep this from being a list of Young Thug and Future songs I stuck to the standard format of doing one track per artist, except in a couple cases where groups have gone solo and where artists have been featured on another song elsewhere on the list.  I definitely see Rich Gang, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan as three separate entities, and Nef the Pharaoh gets featured twice since I didn’t put any of his own solo material on there.

Here we go!

  1. Rich Gang – Up, Up, and Away
  2. Future – No Compadre
  3. Young Thug – No Way
  4. Rich Homie Quan – Flex
  5. Tree – Well
  6. Dr. Yen Lo – Day 3
  7. Juego the Ninety – D’Juego
  8. Vince Staples – Norf Norf
  9. Earl Sweatshirt – Solace
  10. Kendrick Lamar – These Walls
  11. Foxx – Don’t I (feat. Wacko)
  12. Boosie Badazz – Mama
  13. Bandit Gang Marco – NO CASH (feat. Bandit Gang)
  14. Yung Gordon – Finna Hit My Walk (fast version)
  15. Black Zheep DZ – Ice-Hot
  16. Starlito – My Love (feat. Don Trip)
  17. Corn – Old School Hyphy (feat. Nef the Pharaoh)
  18. The Jacka – Ancient Astronauts (feat. Goldie)
  19. Bloody Jay – Want it Like This
  20. YG – Twist My Fingaz
  21. Butch Dawson – Brain
  22. Chance the Rapper – Israel (feat. Noname Gypsy)
  23. Young Jeezy – Birds Could Talk
  24. Jay 305 – Goin’ Up (feat. Dom Kennedy)
  25. DJ Chose – Everywhere I Go (feat. MC Breezy)
  26. Pablo Skywalkin’ – Feeling Myself
  27. Earl Swavey – What Would You Do? (feat. DJ Worm 2G)
  28. 22nd Letter – Blunt on Me
  29. Don Trip – Eviction Notice
  30. Kevin Gates – Khaza
  31. Denzel Curry – Lord Vader Kush II
  32. Zuse – Till I Die
  33. Shabazz Palaces – The Mystery of Lonnie the Døn
  34. Danny Brown – Worth It
  35. Rocko – I’m High

Honorable mention to “Coldest Summer’s Mine” by Justiiice which has inexplicably disappeared from the internet.  It probably would have bumped Rocko off the list had I found a link.

Special thanks to Rap Music Hysteria, The Martorialist, and Tumblin’ Erb for their constant inspiration.  This would have been a much shittier list without y’all.

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GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW CHRISTMAS IS GONNA LOOK

James Brown – Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year

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THE SWEETEST PARK

Last time I watched a rap video that started with a Catholic confessional scene we got some major revelations on mixtape titles and incarceration back stories.

This time it’s just a tight, kinda somber ode to what Wikipedia delicately refers to as a “popular gathering spot for African-American youth” in decades past.

Fat Tony – MacGregor Park

Highlights include cameos by Bun B & Maxo Kream, a pretty hilarious white “cop” hopping out of an Infiniti and getting kneed in the nuts, and a suave but bummy Tony picking up ladies off park benches and out of white Jeeps with eyelashes.

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DO MY DAMN STUFF

Shouts out to Jay 305 for the best nebulouspecific rap line since Type of Way.

Jay 305 – Goin’ Up

Even though “do my damn stuff” isn’t much of a clarification of the “do my damn thang” that precedes it, I still feel like I know exactly what he’s talking about in this earthquake of a track on his new full-length.  I feel like it’s even more specific than if he’d been specific about what he’s been doing; it suggests this mysterious blend of pride and secrecy that surround his actions.  Just iike I can feel every type of way that Quan and his onlookers feel about his car, watch, sexual prowess, etc..  Some rappers are just working on some borderline telepathic levels with their lyricism and are able to say a lot without saying a lot.

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BARE MINIMUM PART TEN – HEADS NODDIN’, YO WE GOT ‘EM

Reachin’ the double digits in this series with another banger from the Bay.

Cousin Fik – Perkin’ (feat. ST Spittin’, Kool John, & Flip)

I don’t think anybody in the world is having more fun than dudes in Bay Area rap videos.

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