April 14, 2009

Due to the sheer glut of good rap inner-tubing through the Internet, I’m starting a new column to round-up the best singles of recent vintage. There is a 75 percent chance, I’ll never do this again. Credit due to Joey, Noz, and Brandon, for pioneering this not-so-novel concept. 

Kurupt ft. DJ Quik-“Hey Playa”

Considering a Kurupt and Quik collaboration seems conceived at a ’94 rap fantasy camp, consider me skeptical that Blaqkout will ever emerge from the hirsute labyrinth that is Quik’s perm. Then again, after staying scarce for most of the decade, Quik has ditched his Compton cocoon of late, hosting a monthly series of Quik’s Grooves at Key Club. I’ve tried to make it out on several occasions, but seem to find out about them at the last second, and despite what my blog prolificacy might hint, I have a life off the Internet. True story.

Between “Hey Playa” and first leak, “Fuck Y’all,” the vets still burn the good Cali kush. Had a less talented beatmaker attempted this, it’d come off as Punjabi MC-lite, but Quik finds the oasis, offering up a funky slice of Mid-Eastern harem rap that both rappers crush.

Busta Rhymes ft. Raekwon-“Deathwish”

Maybe the Passover prayers worked, and I inhabit an alternate 1995, where Busta and Rae (and Quik and Kurupt) are in their prime, and the nation is in the midst of a Pax Americana pregnant with limitless peace and prosperity. I doubt it. But hearing Busta on the Asher Roth album felt like watching the Cavaliers decapitate the Celtics this week (sorry Dart).  “Death Wish,” isn’t on any of the leaked Back on My B.S. tracklistings, but it doesn’t matter. What does is that Busta and Rae have recovered the hunger that abandoned them sometime around the time the Republicans captured Congress. Though judging from his waistline, that hunger never left the Chef.

Tame One ft. Aesop Rock & Breeze Brewin-“Molly”

Speaking of mythological crews, half of The Weathermen join forces to incinerate this simple but rugged template of javelin guitars, conspiratorial drums, and a plaintive brass coda. Songs like this make you realize that no matter how many times naysayers hail its death, great independent rap will always exist, even if the audience dwindles. Not as  good as actual Molly, but close enough.

Flu (Flying Lotus + Blu)-“GNGBNG”

Flying Lotus’s beats gleam with phosphorescent revelation only available from superior drugs. Here, the two ’83 babies team up for some afro-futuristic, apocalypse-lite rap: ogre stomp drums, Blade Runner raps, El-P re-imagined by heliocentric Californians– stoned brains simmering in the sun. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Flu have a Madvillain or Deltron in them.

The Game ft. Germ Ghee–“Red Rockin” 

Forget the Interscope controversy. Even if he was rumored to have gotten dropped, it doesn’t mean Bishop forgot how to rap. Besides, both times I interviewed the dude, he adamently denied any gang affiliations. I mean, his first single was “Grow Up.”

So there’s something patently absurd about the accusations filed by Jayceon “Change of Heart,” Taylor, a guy who has put in as much work as Bugs Meany and the Tigers. Dissing a rapper in auto-tune? Calling someone else Dr. Dre’s bitch, when you write a minimum of three love letters to him on each album? Enlisting a no-name named Germ Ghee? Were B.G. Knocc Out and Gangsta Dre ‘sta unavailable?

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