Monthly Archives: July 2016

NEVER LET THEM GET THE BEST OF ME

Flocka transformed into something I couldn’t possibly enjoy so quickly and completely that I never expected to hear anything from him I could remotely relate to ever again.  Even if you told me it was possible, I certainly wouldn’t expect it to be on some weird lo-fi Kanye remix doing some #realhiphop type shit but here you go:

Waka Flocka – Real Friends (Flockmix)

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I AIN’T NEVER BACKED DOWN OR RAN FROM NO NIGGA

For reasons I could never articulate, the two songs from 2015 that earwormed me the hardest were Snootie Wild & K Camp’s “Made Me” (I know it’s from 2014 but it didn’t really sink its teeth into my auditory cortex until the following year), and MC Beezy & DJ Chose’s “Everywhere I Go“.

DJ Chose – Everywhere I Go (feat. MC Beezy)

Both of these songs still run through my head at least once a day even though I haven’t intentionally listened to either one in months.  While helping a friend compile a best rap songs with flute compilation I had a reason to revisit TI’s “Motivation”.  I was surprised to find that the ear-wormiest part of the Chose/Beezy track can be found buried deep in verse 1 of this TI B-side.

TI – Motivation

(It’s at 0:44 in case you’re having trouble, but listen to the whole song it’s got killer flutes!)

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REMEMBER: WHEN A GHETTO CHILD MAKE IT, PEOPLE HATE IT

Trying to make good on my promise to appreciate artists while they’re still alive after Jacka’s untimely passing – here’s a track that could have easily been a jumbled mixture of hot names, but actually coalesces into a complex but cohesive whole as a song.

Mistah F.A.B. – Up Until Then (feat. Boosie Badazz & Iamsu!)

At first listen, this track feels a little pasted together.  Iamsu!’s hook is a bit too postured to blend easily with the street-level somberness of Boosie’s verse, and the divergent styles of these three rappers are not at all an obvious collection for a single track.  But subsequent visitations cause these disparate elements to cohere more and more.

The dark yet bouncy instrumental helps to blend Iamsu!’s boasts with the song’s more melancholy moments.  Both of F.A.B.’s verses pay a thorough homage to the Bay’s preferred term of endearment for males – it goes on to an almost-but-not-quite-annoying degree, and is saved by the compelling blend of nostalgia and clever freshness he leisurely dances around throughout.  I’ve yet to hear Iamsu! put out anything as compelling as his Stoopid / Kilt days, but this beat and hook (I assume he is also the producer of the track?) have plenty of energy to keep the track vigorous and interesting.  Boosie graces the beat with a less emphatic delivery than most of his recent material, but still infuses every word with a level of conviction and heart many rappers never achieve.

This one’s definitely a grower, but well worth the time spent on a few listens, and should serve as motivation to continue the deeper catalog exploration of F.A.B. and his associates.

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FOLLOW ME HOME, COME VIEW THE ABYSS

This one’s for that very small intersection of rap nerds and music composition/theory nerds out there – I know I’m not the only one!  Remember that weird ternary-form RiFF RAFF song from 2014?  Here’s an even stranger Nipsey Hussle & Buddy song that’s straight simple binary form.  “A” section, “B” section, end.  Sounds like they just took an unfinished Nipsey track and stuck a totally hopeless Buddy song on at the end.

Nipsey Hussle – Status Symbol 2 (feat. Buddy)

This one actually sounds better than its predecessor through the verse, but the abrupt ending kinda kills the vibe.  And what’s the deal with Buddy?  I thought “Awesome Awesome” was a fun song, was that just Pharrell’s doing or is there something cool about Buddy himself?  I’ve yet to see any evidence of this but I keep looking…

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BLACK TIGER WHITE JAG

In case anybody was worried that Young Thug might be taking Lyor Cohen’s condescending advice to heart…

Lyor Cohen & Young Thug convo

(The original version of that convo above continues with Lyor getting pretty heated and calling Thug “son” which was pretty cringe-inducing but I guess CNBC wasn’t trying to include that part.  Anyway I’m glad to see that despite this conversation, and I’m sure many others, Thug is still comfortable being his wild self even on official singles.  I love his more traditional songs too but please don’t tell  Young Thug to not freestyle.)

Young Thug – Turn Up

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RAP GAME HUGO BALL

It’s great when completely disparate artists make the same discovery completely independent of each other.  While the Dadaists felt the need to pontificate and publish manifestos about their groundbreaking movement, street kids making the same aesthetic realizations are just posting them on Worldstar.  Check out this new track whose chorus is just as pure sound poetry as Zang Tumb Tumb.

Yakki – Gang Gang (feat. Lotto Savage & Yung Booke)

Gucci got close to this with some of his more hypnotically simple choruses, but was still relying on the sounds he was making to have some semantic meaning.  “Versace” is also in this realm.

Gucci Mane – I’m Up (feat. 2 Chainz)

Young Thug of course comes to mind as well, but even he keeps his guttural chirps and growls in the background punctuating the more traditional vocal sounds that you find in the dictionary.  This is maybe the closest effort from Thug, with a chorus 50% comprised of the word “yeah”.

Young Thug – Dome (feat. Duke)

Who’ll be the one to take it to the next level, with entire verses of utter beautiful nonsense with maybe a few familiar definition-having sounds for decoration in the background?  Maybe rap isn’t that concerned with taking concepts to their logical extreme, but I’d welcome it if someone tried as long as it was a sincere effort like the ones above, and not some silly shit.

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