The New Rap Language Vol. 3

Something old, something new, something Blu. Jay-Z ft. Drake-“Off That” (Left-Click) Chalk it up to the strung out numbness of the Internet IV drip that’s made the run-up to...
By    August 26, 2009

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Something old, something new, something Blu.

Jay-Z ft. Drake-“Off That” (Left-Click)

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Chalk it up to the strung out numbness of the Internet IV drip that’s made the run-up to mid-September feel so anti-climactic. Where breathless anticipation should precede new and long-overdue records from Raekwon, Jay, M.O.P. and Boosie, it all feels mundane. Even a self-consciously “Event” album like Blueprint 3 can barely cause a ripple in the endless deluge of song-a-day for a month freestyles and 44 daily blog updates turning your RSS arteriosclerotic. After all, it is hard to stay focused when there are Drake and Trey Songz “Making of the Video” clips to watch. Rap is dreamy.

So Blueprint 3 is starting to mathematically eliminate itself from the playoffs. When the best song is “D.O.A.” and Luke Skywalker from Emperor of the Starship Enterprise has more facetime on your album than State Prop and Primo, the situation is grimmer than the playoff prospects of the Cincinnati Reds. I’m surprised Jay didn’t want Bronson Arroyo to croon hooks–his style has to be at least as innovative as Drake.” “Off That” is perfectly fine but totally sad–Jay raps like Willie Mays on the Mets and would probably try to lecture the “Say Hey” kid for wearing tight pants. Someone needs to tell him to stop saying “Ahhh,” at the end of the every bar. He should be saying “oy.”

Lil Boosie ft. Twista-“Fire”

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Apparently, Boosie’s betting that Super Bad needs to cater to women to move units. He must be assuming most didn’t hear “Harry Asshole.” According to the ancient dictates laid down by LL Cool J, this does not portend well for his album. But two great records have already leaked in “Better Believe It,” and “Back in the Day,” (which recently received a excellent video treatment from the Motion Family–complete with baby Boosie).

When Ghostface is doing The Wizard of Poetry (which we’re just not going to talk about, okay? Okay.), I find it hard to difficult to hold the Secretary of Education to a double-standard. Don’t blame Drake, blame 2Pac, he of the famous quote: “you gotta’ rap for the bitches.” I’m not telling you to buy the Slaughterhouse album, but you absolve yourself of the ability to blame rappers for questionable business decisions when you don’t support them. I assume everyone agrees, or no one would’ve ever spoken to Jadakiss after the Paris Hilton album.

More importantly, Torrence Hatch has already dropped two very-strong mixtapes this year, plus he absolutely smokes “Fire.” I am an easy mark for rap songs about weed and ones with random hotel name-drops. See “The Hilton,” The MGM,” and “Back to the Hotel.” I imagine the top floor of the Doubletree Inn, Chicago is seeing beaucoup business this summer. Boosie benevolence.

Spree Wilson: Word

From Spree Wilson’s August 24th Twitter:

“Guess I’m gonna cook some grilled chicken breast, rice and veggies and watch The Royal Tenebaums [sic] until i pass out!!” Things missing from Spree Wilson’s Twitter: where to find the best Greek yogurt in Park Slope,  yoga mats: to pad or not to pad, and the perils of taking ho’s out to the Cheesecake Factory and letting them order strawberry lemonade and popcorn shrimp.

Consider the Brooklyn-based, Atl-raised, Spree, a sonic kinsmen to the Knux, defiantly outside and as indebted to the Strokes as to Stankonia. Great rap EP’s were never common, and have become a lost art in the mixtape era, but Wilson’s recently released Evil Angel EP is the closest one yet. “Word” is the stand-out cut and the ideal one to introduce the helium-voiced 27-year old to the world, but nearly every track is inspired. At times some of the guitar songs can veer towards sub-Gnarls Barkley, but Wilson has crafted easily one of the most promising rap debuts of the year. Hopefully, his future is more Rushmore and less Darjeeling. 

Red Cafe-“I Tote Guns”

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If we’re judging rappers on  their ability to dominate a song they’re sampled on, then Biggie is the greatest of all-time. Despite what The Fader may try to tell you, Red Cafe will never own New York. Not with a name that sounds like a third-tier Dutch brothel. However, he demonstrates an innate ability to get away with doing the bare minimum. He could be the new Styles P-apologies to both the old Styles P and Stiles from Teen Wolf. This should tide you over until Foundation or OB4CL2 leaks.

Mally-“Reflection”

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I first wrote about Mally nearly 20 months ago, and in that interim he’s finished college and taken the first baby steps towards a career in rap circa 2009: blog buzz. Granted, this is the part of the same farm system that gave us Charles Hamilton and Asher Roth, and hype is more often just that, but the Minnesotan’s third effort, The Passion, builds on his debut’s promise to warrant any advance billing. “Reflection” is as overt as its title would intimate, but what it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in raw rhyme ability and inherent affability.  The Passion  might not break new ground, but it provides a resonant glimpse into an artist worth watching.

Hollywood Floss-“All of My Love”

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It will be an eternal mystery to me how Hollywood Floss could give himself such an awful name, and then turn right around and call his latest mixtape: Art or Fiscal Intelligence, a fairly great title that sounds like a Barnes & Noble bargain bin book my father would give me. Recently, nominated by the Houston Press for Best New Act and Best Underground Artist, I imagine Hollywood hasn’t spent much time in the Cahuenga Corridor. Otherwise, he’d realize that Hollywood Floss is something that girls wear poolside at the Roosevelt.

I imagine some rapper somewhere has sampled “All My Love,” but maybe not. Someone has to pay for Robert Plant’s nuclear-powered crimping iron. Floss does the original justice, which is high compliment enough.

MAGr ft. Blu-“Laminated Looseleafs”

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Blu continues to refuse to waste bars, lacing “Laminated Looseleafs,” out in the middle of “Jerse” for Camden’s MAGr. Yet the Beat Garden brethren refuse to let you cut off the song off following Johnson Barnes’ verse. Distant Starr’s beat is cold-blooded and Automator-like, and Al-Mighty’s rhymes make you forget why everyone got sick of the backpack era. I personally think the answer was white guys in crocheted caps.

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