Tag Archives: Rich Gang

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


My free moments this weekend were spent winning a very small amount of money on a $1 scratcher, eating some really overpriced chicken and waffles, and aurally digesting the insane fire hose blast of unreleased Rich Gang music that erupted from the depths of the rap Internet earlier this week.  First listens are unreliable, especially in my case, but I’m going to do my best to justly pass out a few important superlatives from the 100+ tracks in this collection to help y’all navigate the chaos.  I’m omitting from consideration the 30 or so tracks that were leaked or released before this last deluge so it’s only the newest new shit in here.

Best Duo Song: Love Her

Thug and Quan trade 4s like Ervin and Dolphy and triumphantly profess their love for each other in this joyful duo track.

Best Rich Homie Quan Solo: The Story Behind It

Quan rappin’ even better than he did on “Rappin’” with some serious bounce in the production.

Best Young Thug Solo: Guarantee (I Want It)

I’ve already changed my mind four times in this selection and I still might change my mind some more because there are so many great Thug solo tracks in this collection, but for now I’m putting my stamp on this one, it’s got some of the intensity of “Givenchy” but with unfortunately only about half as much rapping, but wins with the declaration “If you got AIDS, I want it!”

Best Feature: Runnin’ Out of Money

Thug really brought the best verse I’ve heard out of T.I. in a long time in this ode to determination .

Most Unique: Here

Late Gil Scott-Heron samples and expansive synthy dark emptiness coupled with Young Thug’s slippery style-switching make this sonically the most unusual track in the collection.

Best “Ruff” Track: Boy

The intensity on this track is really great, but this selection truly shines in its ability to unquestionably prove that it’s much more pleasant to listen to an unaccompanied beat than a Wiz Khalifa verse.

Funnest: Bitches

It’s hard not to at least chuckle when Thug starts his “bom bom bom bom bom nom nom nom” chant with the synth in the intro to this blatantly yet so playfully offensive track.

Most Excellent Birdman Rap: No No No

I can’t remember which one right now, but in a recent Stay Hatin’ episode there was a brief debate on whether or not Birdman is a good rapper.  It’s much less debatable that Birdman at least used to be a good rapper, but for the question at hand I offer this and the next selection as evidence.

Most Embarrassing Birdman Rap: Count Up


Most Heartfelt: Yesterday

Although Quan is a little under-represented in my selections (because his solo songs in this collection just aren’t as strong as Thug’s on the whole), he’s always had a little more warmth than Thug so it’s no surprise he comes out on top in this all-too-often neglected category of rap songs.

Sexiest: Lil’ Nigga (They Know It)

This was a strong contender for best duo but I really wanted to include “Love Her“, so it got relegated to this arguably more prestigious category.

Stay tuned for inevitable corrections and additions.

Tagged , , ,


I guess Wayne and Thug didn’t think I illustrated my point clearly enough the first time around.

Rich Gang – Take Kare (feat. Young Thug & Lil’ Wayne)

Tagged , ,


I remember the first time I listened closely to “Thriller” and noticed all the incredible nonverbal utterances Michael Jackson makes between the regular lyrical passages, and how much those utterances affect the mood and potency of the whole experience.  The variety and quality of these strange vocalizations is really interesting if you really tune in on them, although I don’t think you’re really supposed to.  They operate on a more subconscious level and have just as much affect if you’re paying close attention to them or not consciously noticing them at all.  But they really are quite amazing when you focus your attention on them.

Michael Jackson – Thriller

Pop music is full of examples of little nonverbal interjections punctuating traditional lyrics: the “whoas” and “ohs” of countless blues songs, the powerful screeches of James Brown, the early Beatles “Wooooo”.  If we observe our own perception of these songs, we find that often these nonverbal noises devoid of all textual meaning are often the most emotionally powerful moments of those songs.  Just watch one of those early Beatles concerts and look for when all the girls go the most crazy.  Hearing Michael Jackson say “You try to scream/but terror takes the sound before you make it” doesn’t have near as much power as a single high-pitched guttural “GUH” that follows a few lines later.

There is certainly evidence that experiencing language activates more than just the language centers in our brains, that certain sense-oriented brain regions activate when reading or hearing the words of sensually charged ideas in the same way they would activate when in the presence of those actual objects the words refer to.  This explains much of the power of poetry, literature, and song lyrics, but not these other vocal sounds that are not as strictly tied in with language.  It turns out there is also evidence that this kind of mental activity takes place in response to all sorts of nonverbal stimuli as well, that performing a certain action and watching someone else perform that same action are nearly identical brain processes.  It seems that in the case of music, this second phenomenon might actually be just as effective (if not more) than the first.  Hearing the sharp, restrained stabs of sound from Michael Jackson’s throat makes us feel almost as restrained, trapped, and powerless as if we were in a situation ourselves where those kinds of sounds were being forced from our own throats.  The power transcends language and any kind of textual meaning, yet the impact incredibly effective.  Not to say that the textual component should be done away with, I think if Thriller was stripped of its traditional lyrics, it would not be nearly as successful as it is now.  But I think it is also true that muting all the “DAs” and “UHs” would possibly just as negatively impact the immersiveness and power of the song.  I think the same is also true of the other examples I listed above, imagine “Please, Please, Please” without the heart wrenching screams and shouts that almost outnumber the lyrics of the song, or “She Loves You” without the “Woooo”.

In rap these kind of effects fall under the slightly broader category of “ad-libs” that also include verbal statements but are often newer, more developed versions of these same kinds of effects we’ve heard for decades.  Waka Flocka can be credited with the prominence of the ad-lib in rap now, but I think the most effective examples come from another Atlanta rapper.

Rich Gang – Tell ‘Em

I had the same reaction to this song that I did that first time I tuned into the secret power of “Thriller“.  Young Thug’s “GAHH” makes me feel more things than most entire rap verses, even his own.  I don’t think people talk about these kinds of effects as much as they do lyrics because they’re harder to pin down and rely so heavily on how and when they are delivered that it’s difficult to discuss them without totally losing the power.  A lyric can be easily transcribed into text and retain much of its power, but you can see from my attempts at transliteration here that the same process is extremely ineffective for these kinds of expressions.  They should be as valued and respected as lyrics are though, because in many cases they have the ability to surpass verbal expressions in weight and emotion, and the skill it takes to dream up and perform these sounds is extremely rare.

Tagged , , , , , ,


I remember the first time I heard “Type of Way” I was like “man Future sounds kinda weird on this song… oh.”  I don’t mean that disparagingly, I like “Type of Way” a lot, and I think Quan has developed in his own direction more and more ever since, but every now and then you can still hear that influence.  This also ties into the post I did inspired by Future’s “Honest where I realized one of his most effective formulas.  Quan is definitely taking a page from that book on this new track.  Once again, not meant in a disparaging way at all, I like this song even more than “Type of Way” (and a lot of other songs for that matter).

Rich Gang – I Know It

Do yourself a favor and get Tha Tour, Pt. 1.

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: