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New Rap Music

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I am doing this again now. Sometimes. Shouts out to Jimmy Pitchfork and Jaron Lanier.

Joey Badass f/ Ab-Soul – “Enter The Void”

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from Waves single (Cinematic, 2012)

I’ve already said my piece about Joey Badass and it’s not the word to play but here his new jack old head style is stripped of its borrowed aesthetic and left butt naked next to the most underrated retired keystyler in the TDE camp. Joey was even kind or foolish enough to let Soul rap first here. And rap he does. It’s always great to hear him spitting about chakras and shamen, especially if you are like me and keep an Abstract Rude poster hidden behind your Gucci Mane poster like that Bo Derek shit concealed by a Rand McNally world map in a 1970s jail cell. (∞ NHJIC) But more than that he just sounds great while saying these words over this sort of low bitrate blaxpo tension that’s somewhere between Product Of The ’80s era Sid Roams and Pilot Talk era Ski Beatz.

I bought this off itunes because I always make a point to support independent music before I bootleg it. Strangely though the file took a good hour to download and for that alone I guess I have to begrudgingly salute Joey Badass’ loyalty to even the dial up modem technology of the days he fetishizes. (Prod. by Lee Bannon)
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New Rap Music

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Metro Zu – “Sell Ma Hoe

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from MINK RUG (Mixtape, 2012)

Metro Zu is a Miami crew that is loosely affiliated with SpaceGhostPurrp, or at least have a song with him. They are hyper-productive, their videos look like this and their songs sound different from other rap songs and they sample the Animal Collectors all of which inevitably adds up to them being the rappers that all of the weird just discovered rap through Clams Casino avant bloggers get really excited about in the near future. Which is perfectly fine. The Zu certainly wouldn’t be their worst choice. Mink Rug has some very high points, the highest of which is “Sell Ma Hoe.” It owes a lot to Lil B, which is to be expected at this point with young fringy experimental underground rappers, but the thing that separates it from most other young fringy experimental underground rap is how hook driven it is. Yes it’s wonderful being yourself and hilarious and weird and spontaneous and lo-fi but none of that has any value if you aren’t actually writing songs that are likable. B’s success was as much about his hook writing ability as it was his personality. “Sell Ma Hoe” is simple enough but it sticks to the inside of your brain, with its “second things first” nonsense and the sheer amount of conviction that’s put into the performance. You can imagine the kid pulling his arms into his chest as he croons, like some sort of demented preacher/pimp hybrid. (Prod. by Mr. B the Poshtronaut)

Torch f/ Meek Mill, Wale, Gunplay, Stalley & Young Breed – “Slow Down

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from UFO 2 (Coming Soon)

There should be a law in hip hop in which any and every rapper, regardless of house or creed, is required to jump on some old Ultimate Breaks And Beats shit once a year. It should be like tithing or a operational exam. Here all of MMG – minus the Bawse who could only phone in some ad-libs from WingStop – hits EPMD’s “Rampage” (or by extension Lowell Fulson’s “Tramp“) running. I can’t tell who of Triple C’s is rapping where in this lineup, because all of these guys went from sounding like Jeezy to sounding like Chubb Rock for this very special occasion, but they all come off. Meek is in his close-to-Peedi mode, which is always welcome while Wale probably has the weakest verse here, which is ironic considering he’s the only one of these guys corny enough to kick the words “one time for hip hop” in 2012. Show us, don’t tell us, Wale.
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New Rap Music

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Schoolboy Q – “NiggaHs.Already.Know.Davers.Flow

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from Habits & Contradictions (Top Dawg, 2012)
The 2012 “Cre-A-Tine.”[1] But for all the endless knowing that’s going on here the real highlights come when he breaks the pattern to declare I said I’m Quincy, bitch! It’s hard to sound menacing when your name is Quincy but Q sells it. (Prod. by Nez & Rio)

Young Moe f/ Fat Trel – “Tired Of Being Broke

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from Humble Hustle (Mixtape, 2012)
Heist records are basically the best kind of rap records and heist records are even better when they’re tag team heist records. So DC’s Young Moe and Fat Trel hit all the marks with “Tired Of Being Broke,” alternating duties on the first two verses and then going back and forth inna Nas and AZ style on the third. Also you have to kinda love Trel admonishing Jo, don’t smoke no cigarettes that movie shit’s so obvious. Dude is concerned with bucking cliches during a crime spree. And that instinct is also why he’s a better rapper than anyone else in his age bracket. (Prod. by Mr. Tretirus) (more…)

New Rap Music

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

If you haven’t yet noticed, most of my day-to-day hulkshare coverage has been taking place over at Tumblin’ Erb. Still sometimes things get backlogged and that’s when the old New Rap Music column rears its head. Which is what is happening now, right before your eyes.

E-40 f/ Beeda Weeda & Work of the DB’z – “In The Morning

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from Revenue Retreivin’ (Sick Wid It, 3/29)

Trying to pick a single track to feature out of the 40 that 40 is about to drop next Tuesday is like trying to choose your favorite member of the Dungeon Family (it’s not necessarily Andre goddammit). Minus a few very minor missteps the second round of Revenues is two and a half solid hours of impeccable spittums and blink and you miss it imagery Ooooh sinister mob shit / choppers all in the closet / hydrogen lamps in the attic / warm broccoli spinach and cabbage / vacuum sealer on the counter / right next to the money counter / that’s right next to the scale / for weighing nuts and fruits not yayo / that’s my excuse if they take me to jail. I went with “In The Morning” for that open, in part, (Beeda and Work hold their own here too) but also that. Goddamn. Beat. There’s one song on Overtime Shift (which, on first listen, is feeling like the superior sibling) that opens with an approximation of the THX deep note test sound. Not the most original conceit – Dre did it (and was later sued) – but it seems like an apt metaphor for 40′s production selections right now. Every song has me feeling like the goddamn Maxell man. Wig blown completely back. This ties into what I was saying about Pharoahe Monch a few weeks ago – with age the most technically effortless rappers have the curse of becoming predictable in their unpredictability. The best way to combat this staleness is by continuing to expand the production palette. As out as 40′s beats get he’s still miles ahead, but new sonics bring out the best in him.

Freestyle Fellowship – “Welcome

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I had perhaps unfairly written off the impending Freestyle Fellowship reunion project too early. The LA quartet is comprised of some of the greatest breathing raw talents that rap has ever produced but they also have a chronic streak of underachievement. Much of their recent solo output has been a far cry from their heyday and this is their third reunion in about twelve years, where the two previous ones haven’t quite delivered and they aren’t getting any younger. The few crew tracks that have leaked thus far have been passable but frustratingly conservative and far from awe inspiring. But over the past few days Jupiter has been leaking very lo-fi rips of their recent recordings (96kbps is the new Maxell hiss – though weirdly the files I downloaded were actually ripped at like 400+ kbps?) via his Soundcloud page and it turns out these guys are still outstanding rappers when they want to be and, more importantly, masters of setting an atmosphere. “Welcome,” with its upright bass and endearingly rambling styles upon styles raps, recalls the mystical shamanic vibe of their very underrated late ’90s Shockadoom sessions. The crew fell apart before that album was ever completed. Hopefully they can keep it together this time around.
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New Rap Music

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

wiz

Wiz Khalifa – “Big Screen

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from Rolling Papers (Atlantic, March 29th)
“Black & Yellow” blew up by placing regular rapping on top of a pop beat, but for “Big Screen” Wiz inverts that formula and drops some soft hands and heavily autotuned sing song shit over a hard ass rap beat. And I don’t mean to deride it when I call it soft hands. Soft hands is a comfortable look for Wiz. He delivers three different hooks in rotation, all of them stadium big. He’s obviously borrowing Max B’s wavy flow but his limper falsetto pushes into more functional pop territory. In a weird way the structure also reminds me of Wayne’s “Did It Before,” the way the choruses just bounces around on a brass anchor. It feels similarly incomplete as well. When I first heard this I hoped it was a rough cut, that they would rerecord the track with fuller vocals but it has grown on me in its under-finished state. Wiz’s greatest weakness as a rapper is probably that his natural voice is less than commanding. Rather than hiding this flaw behind the autotune they use the effect to exaggerate it. He sounds so fragile and endearing here, which also plays into the little n*gga does big things motif. Until recently it’s been hard to get a clear sense of identity from his recorded output but this really does feel like how a Wiz Khalfia should sound. I don’t know why they’re pushing the vastly less engaging “Roll Up” to radio. (By the way Wiz should really think about giving Domo Genesis his album title back. Or at least throwing him a feature or something.)

Gucci Mane f/ Birdman – “Mouth Fulla Gold

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The first Gucci song to drop after the alleged institutionalization and the infamous ice cream tattoo where he actually sounds close to inspired as he did in his prime. The raps are sloppy but that old Gucci ambition, that hunger is present. As we heard on the greatest Lil Wayne album, Birdman is best used as a hard counterpoint and it’s a shame Gucci didn’t tag him in ala Ross on “All About My Money” or Montana on “Party In The Trap.” But his standalone solo verse doesn’t get in the way. Prod. by Drumma Boy.
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