Abe Beame’s quest to transform The Passion into The Source circa 94 continues…….
This will possibly be a recurring feature, but if nothing else, here is a selection of tracks curated and commented on by myself from January in this year of our Lord, 2012.
Nicki Minaj- Stupid Hoe: Great stuff, mainly because Minaj pulls out a lot of the tricks she used to such great effect on her Big Sean guest spot from last year. This is ostensibly a diss track, but more of an excuse for her to get increasingly insane. More giddy, sugar-drunk, schoolyard at recess fuckery than “Ether.” But does anyone but Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj and Maino care about this beef? Along with the “Dance (Remix),” these are probably my two favorite Minaj efforts ever and bode well for her Pink Friday follow up, assuming she can manage to curb her god awful stabs at R&B.
Gangrene- Dump Truck ft. Prodigy: Remember 2003?
Rick Ross- Keys to the Crib ft. Styles P:
Go see Kevin Durant play basketball right now, find tape of a Packers game from the middle of this season, read Lush Life by Richard Price, dust off that Eddie Murphy Raw DVD, splurge on dinner at Marea, fuck Amber Rose before My Beatiful Dark Twisted Fantasy dropped and listen to Rich Forever as you perform all of these activities.
Blue Sky Black Death & Nacho Picasso- Luca Brasi: And may your mixtape track be a masculine one.
Schoolboy Q- Hands on the Wheel ft. A$AP Rocky:
Habits & Contradictions is worthy of some of the superlatives it’s inspiring. There are a few songs great enough that picking one for this tape was a difficult decision. Habits shows the influence of it’s equally long and sonically focused counterpoint, Live.LoveA$AP, and the duo have great chemistry (Seeing a Wiz/Curren$y styled collab mixtape in their near future) so why not this. Long time Wale, pre-Faustian Bargain producer Best Kept Secret delivers this soulful “Pursuit of Happiness” knock off. You see a lot of Cudi in the style and sensibility of this new class of rappers. They all have little touches of his sing song in their repertoires. Interesting how much impact an artist with 1 & ½ good albums and rapidly on his way to cautionary tale status, can have on a generation.
Chip Tha Ripper- Ride 4 You ft. Kid Cudi:
And speaking of the Wizard front man, this is vintage Cudi hook work and an actual reason to listen to a Chip Tha Ripper song.
Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz- Get It Back:
Tetris samples. Tetris samples. Also, Gucci sounds sober and he’s one of the few artists that could benefit from sobriety.
French Montana & Waka Flocka Flame- Weed and Drinks ft. Chinx Drugz:
Yes, this came out in the middle of December but I’m still fascinated by the success of this unlikely union. That success comes from Frenchie’s ability to adapt to Waka’s kinetic hostility over choppy, aggressive Southern production. At the moment, French Montana is New York’s most visible, if not outright best rapper, and his slow ascension through 2011 represents the triumph of Jim Jones’ Byrd Gang Swaggering Asshole style. French raps out the side of a mouth full of marbles, taking 50 Cent’s decade-old trick of injecting a little twang into his heavy New York accent and his persona on the mic is a slick talking wise ass who can back up his braggadocio. It’s true to a classic New York flow tweaked just enough to provide a blueprint/hope for the future. An underrated feature of Lockout was the other New York/Down South collaboration between Green Lantern and Drama. Predictably, my taste leans towards those moments when Lantern’s hand is palpable, such as when the duo are joined by Prodigy to rap over “Hell on Earth”, and “Weed and Drinks”– this very early 21st century feeling soul loop. These two moments expose how uncomfortable Waka sounds out of his element, both in verse and hook, but after an album of chant rap an animated Frenchie showcasing his versatility is a personal highlight of a great all around effort.
Rick Ross- Rich Forever ft. John Legend:
Just cause. You know?