New Rap Music
It’s been a long time… I’ve been pretty lax about posting new rap music on the Tumblr lately, so I figured I’d make up for the lapse by bringing the old New Rap Music column back. For those just joining us, this is the post where I share recently released rap songs. And before you jump all on my dick about what you’ve had for days understand that recently can be any time in the past six months or so. I’m not on fucking Nah Right time here, I just want to write about rap songs that are good.
Freeway f/ Peedi Crakk – “Snappa Pow“
from Diamond In The Ruff (Rhymesayers, Coming Soon)
One of the problems I had with The Stimulus Package was that it was too limited a palette. Jake One is a very adaptable producer but it seemed like there his hands were tied by the famous rapper, that he was deferring to the “talent” and giving him Freeway-esque beats. You know, Chipmunk soul. I think now that they’ve established a rapport we’re going to hear them taking more risks together. The Jake produced “Snappa Pow” definitely feels more “Roc The Mic” than “It’s Not Right” and that’s exactly the energy level that the State Prop clique needs to be at if anyones going to continue to care about them. (See also: Young Chris’ name drop heavy but kinda banging “Philly Shit.”) The beat isn’t mindblowing, it’s pretty much a rehash of any number of radio rap records from five years ago (or a New York radio hit of today! Hyo) but a perfect vehicle for him and Peedi to trade bars over. Every time they rap together I’m reminded of that Young America interview where Peedi talks about Freeway’s childhood ninja costume.
Kendrick Lamar – “Look Out For Detox“
Of the many LA rappers dwelling in the neo-Pharcyde, 2 Dope Boyzian slums, Kendrick Lamar stands as one of just a few who is on the brink of actually bringing something unique to the table. He’s an adaptable rapper, able to appeal to a more modern/populist sensibility with tracks ala “Michael Jordan while still doing backpack leaning music like “I Do This” and doing it well, no LL. Aside from the inherent corniness of framing your song around a love letter to Dr. Dre, “Look Out For Detox” is another step in the right direction. He is styling particularly tough on this and pretty hilariously at some points: “My BFF is a BM-dub.”One annoying thing he does – and I think he thinks it’s cute – is that he kind of lets his style fall apart near the end of the track. His voice starts cracking and he just loses the beat, blaming it on the kush. I guess that’s a stylistic choice in of itself but it does kind of strip the track of its purpose which is to show us how good Kendrick can rap. Or maybe I’m reading into it and the breakdown is genuine, in which case he should learn to rap better before trying something like this. But I digress from my haterish turn, Lamar is taking more risks as a rapper than most of his peers and that should be commended.
Pyramid Vritra – “Fin”
From Pyramid (NRK, Coming Soon)
Before the Odd Future buzz machine exploded, it was interesting to witness how rapidly their aesthetic and attitude seemed to have spread within their growing crew and extended circle. (If you poke around now member Mike G’s old blog, for example, you’ll find him jocking Tyler, not as crew but as a fan.) Apart from the dozen or so members that make up the crew’s core there’s a small smattering of devotees all over LA, the country and internet who have been making OFish music since well before they were on our or the Pitchfork radar. It’s that old Velvet Underground theory – not a lot of people heard their music but most that did went on to make music of their own. Anyway, Pyramid Vritra is a member of the Nobody Really Knows collective, who are loosely connected to the OF empire by way of producer Matt Martian of The Super 3. They’re cut from the same cloth as the Wolf Gang but are a little more shoegazey and a little less likely to spit in your face. Like his split offering with Walter Flowers from earlier this year, “Fin” is simply epic – a meandering and surrealistic seven minute long story rap with several beat change ups. Here is another nice cut from Vritra and his NRK partner Tyler Major, lamenting their post-High School woes over the Nas “Purple” instrumental.
Soulja Boy – “Skateboarding“
from Soulja Society (Mixtape, 2010)
And speaking of influence, just listen until about the two minute mark of this and then tell me if you can guess who Soulja’s new favorite rappers are. Oh and dude’s suddenly into skating now because he’s a real cool guy. He’s Zeliging again.
Swizz Beatz f/ DMX & Busta Rhymes – “Y’All Don’t Really Know“
from Monster Mondays (Basquiat Music, 2010)
Swizzy resurrects Dark Man X for the latest installment in his laughably biterish Monster Mondays series, available on his laughably named BASQUIAT MUSIC website. (Art!) But X sounds pretty good for a burnout and it’s cool to see Swizz revisiting his roots, all Ruff Ryders fight music and none of those clinking coke bottles that he is always shoving into our ears. I wonder if the recent critical interest in the Tunnel era will eventually spill over into the creative world. Dudes are going to fuck around and bring back shouting at nobody over Casio synth riffs.
Philthy Rich f/ Dubb 20 & Rydah J Klyde – “Spit Real“
I really need to start paying more attention the Livewire/DJ Fresh axis of Bay rap. I mean there is so much happening in this beat – hiccups and clanks and robots powering down – I can’t even really digest the rapping but LMAO at “I get gouda / a real life shooter / be off in them streets while you on the computer / Dubb don’t do the blogging / I’m so used to robbin.”(via Thizzler)
Gunplay f/ Waka Flocka – “Rollin“
from I Don’t Know Whatever The Hell Gunplay Puts Out (Maybach Music, 2010)
Slim Dunkin f/ Roscoe Dash – “Swisher“
from Menace II Society (Mixtape, 2010)
Will 2010 go down in history as the year of weed carrier revolution? First ex-Gucci carrier Flocka teams up with Ricky Rozay’s bag man for a record that makes me want to punch my own mother and then Flocka’s own carrier, Slim Dunkin, drops a very solid tape in his own right. “Swisher” is a logical successor to “No Hands.” That awesome midpoint between Roscoe/Travie P swagger rap and Lex Lugerish fight music. I’ll probably get a lot of shit for saying so but I think Roscoe Dash can be a really good rapper in small doses, with a penchant for weird imagery and run on flows built around Eminem style internal forced rhymes that don’t actually rhyme. His whiney voice is a lot to take in for three minutes but in a one off guest capacity he kills.
Wooh Da Kid – “Danger“
from Black Out (Mixtape, 2010)
This. Fucking Beat. Whenever I post a song like this people in the comments get all worked up and compare this stuff to dubstep but, like Young L’s recent out, there’s something really dry and mechanical about the production. Southside On The Track’s uh track is not all sidechained and warbly and that’s why it’s better for rapping to than whatever sub bass farts are hot in the UK streets. Anyway Black Out is fucking great. Brick Squad is fucking great. Just kill yourself already if you can’t bang this shit.
LDJ f/ Jim Jones & Reddbone – “Da Baseline“
from I Don’t Fucking Know (Internet, 2010)
Now here’s an openly dubstep inspired record – they even listen to dubstep in the video – that doesn’t exactly sound like dubstep either. LDJ’s gigantic beat is like a modern day Original Concept. But the rapping is unforgivable. And Redman’s standing right there! Let him rap! There’s something particularly tragic about the video too, with Jimmy seeming even more blunted than usual and Reddbone’s makeup pasted on to give her a permanent look of despair.