A round-up of the responses from the Passion of the Weiss Masonic Message Board where we plot to make Steve Guttenberg and Steve Arrington a star: “This is some Bazooka Joe shit.” “Fire. These two just have chemistry in the studio.”” “Is it now safe for us to say that after Guru and the Holy Trinity of MC’s that Preem has worked with (Nas, Jay, Big) that Royce is now the best rapper to ever do it to Preemo beats?”
“Second Place” dropped earlier this month, but if you’re like me, you didn’t even bother downloading it after hearing “Lighters Up,” and vowing never to listen to another Royce Da 5’9 song. That’s a slight exaggeration, but since Bar Exam 3, I’ve been slowly tuning out Ryan Montgomery. Slaughterhouse’s NBA dunk contest rap never did it for me beyond their first song and without exceptional production (no Smeezington) and a coherent vision (i.e. internecine war with every former friend), his consistency has suffered.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to see Royce topping the Billboard charts. I’m one of the few who considers Death is Certain a classic (shout out to Martin Douglas) and no one deserves the delayed success more than Nickel Nine. But nothing he’s released in years has yielded the scrunch-faces and head-bobs of “Boom” or “Scary Movies” or the original “Bad Meets Evil.” I’m not going to pretend that “Second Place” is of that caliber. This hints of Primo and Royce by numbers, but their accounting his always been precise, and statistics only go so far.
Nickel Nine and Preem have always been about intangibles: the way his alchoholic rasp fits over Preem’s boom-bap odysseys. The scratched hooks, the tacit 90s nostalgia. “Second Place” is a reminder that fantasy draft lineups and odd combinations doesn’t always yield the best music. Bad Meets Evil paid for the Patron, but his long-delayed never-realized LP with Primo makes sense. And leave Joe Budden at home.