New Rap Music
Schoolboy Q – “NiggaHs.Already.Know.Davers.Flow“
from Habits & Contradictions (Top Dawg, 2012)
The 2012 “Cre-A-Tine.” 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“
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)
Yo Gotti – “Killa“
from Live From The Kitchen (RCA, 2012)
Though Gotti’s perpetually delayed Live From The Kitchen dropped with a pretty resounding thud it actually is a pretty solid effort. A lot of that has to do with Gotti’s raspy trap rasping of course, but I think more so it’s related to how much wiggle room his producers manage to find within the Lex Luger trap rap template. On “Killa” Shawty Redd (who, you know, is about a thousand times more talented than Lex Luger and has been working in roughly the same sonic space since Lex was in middle school) finds the middle ground between Luger land and Clam Casino jams while still eclipsing the redundancy that both of those dudes are prone to. I love how the hiccuped ether vocals gradually reveal a full hook as the track progresses. Gotti’s really showing his range here too, lapping around different pacing and flows and painting a fucking picture in the process – cut off the mic / cut off the lights / drop the drapes / make sure they white / stop the beat / take a break / bring in the snares [tat tat tat tat tat] / then drop the bass. It’s admittedly pretty lazy to compare dude to Jeezy at this point but they do share a tremendous talent for saying a whole lot with very few words.
Chief Keef – “Bang“
from Bang (Mixtape, 2011)
All it takes is one Worldstar video to push a conversation once limited to Chicago bus lines into the deep end of the rap blogosphere. “Bang” deserves attention though, even if Keef himself leaves much to be desired. He’s reasonably charismatic and has a strong adlib presence but dude is a pretty sloppy rapper and to no specific end. (It was only logical, then, that Lil B would jump on the remix.) I suspect that at least some of his success has to do with local politics of realness that will never make sense to us old people not from chicago. That, and the beat. This is another one for the Advancement of Lex Luger movement, except producer DJ Kenn expands the formula by contracting it. Because it’s basically just an endless loop of what would be a Luger intro, all build up and no drop. Listeners can draw off the energy within that fake build. In then sense it works a little like a “No Mo Play In Ga” for the modern goon.
Gucci Mane f/ 2 Chainz – “Get It Back“
I don’t know what’s gotten into Gucci as of late but I hope it never gets out of him. I mean he is back to spitting in his “Photoshoot” double time on here. And he’s doing it on top of what sounds like a Pimp C remix of the Tetris theme. Tity Boi is still Tity Boi. Gucci’s Trapback drops Super Bowl Sunday. This won’t be on it, I don’t think. (Produced by Mike Will)
Future – “Deeper Than The Ocean“
from Astronaut Status (Mixtape, 2012)
Sad Future is sad. (Prod. by Will-A-Fool)
St. Joe Louis f/ Tom Chase, Al Kayduh & Elete Wright – “Kinda Strange“
This is some decidedly post-ASAP Rocky underground rap shit but particularly well executed. Regional bias in full effect, I’m feeling pretty good about the little axis of talent forming around the North Jersey Brick Bandits/Jersey Klan axis as of late but not good enough to actually figure which rapper is rapping which verse on this song but the last dude especially kills it with the follow strict standards / solid gold Brick Bandits / Garden State n***a / home wherever my kicks is planted dismount. (Prod. by DJ Tim Dolla)
Lil B – “Banga Luv”
from Gold House (Mixtape, 2012)
I wrote about this a little already on Tumblr last night but it’s outstanding enough to warrant another mention. B quite calmly splatters some quintessentially Based game – N**gas think I’m a bitch but the earth beside me – over a mellow antibanger in the DJ Fresh column. It’s a very necessary counterpoint to all of the joyless anger and general sloppiness that bogs down the rest of the tape.
Starlito – “Believe It Or Not“
from For My Foes (Mixtape, 2012)
Starlito goes in over Frank Ocean’s “We All Try,” which would be suspect as fuck if he was any other rapper. But Lito is on the very short list of rappers dynamic enough to actually make something happen on top of a popular ass beat in these days of everyone lazily jacking beats for blog looks. The thing about Lito is he fucking gets it – the difference between biting and influence, the difference between creativity and just creating. He even spells it out on the track’s closing bars. You should listen to what he has to say if you are a rapper and you should watch the the For My Foes musical if you are a person who breathes or uses hand soap.
 I also hear traces of that Breeze flow in French Montana’s “Off The Boat” verse. This can only mean that now is the time for Cool Cutta to finally make his comeback.
 Yes that’s a thing that I just made up but will continue to use.
 Which, as I just now learned, is titled “Korobeiniki.”
 The others: Fat Trel, Meek Mill and absolutely no one else.