So it’s about that time again when folks start making all kinds of lists and slideshows arguing who made the best music we’ve heard this year. Skressful exercise if you ask me. Thankfully, I presume I’ll be sharing that responsibility with the POTW gang, so instead of getting all skressed about what I’m forgetting or what absurd project/artist I might be including, I can focus on skressing over my inability to convince others of the merits of my 2012 favorites. Should be fun. Skressful fun.

One artist bound to cause me to fire off an angry e-mail or two is GrandeMarshall. I wrote about this Philadelphian’s nearly perfect debut project 800 earlier this year, and it’s managed to spend more time in the rotation leading into late fall. The atmospheric vibe on deck is perfect for chilly nights, and this latest release, Thuggin Shidd Part 2, only continues what’s been a great introductory year for the recent Fool’s Gold Records signee.

Apparently, GrandeMarshall’s good taste isn’t just limited to the construction of his own music. He’s also showing decent taste in other folks’ shit as well. Grande chose Erykah Badu’s Other Side of the Game instrumental for his latest lyrical expedition, which includes (but is not limited to) acknowledgments of his own youth and mortality, ruminations on loyalty, the pressure to sin (win), a Jeezy shoutout (real niggas STILL know), braggadocio (of course), fanuting (always) and paranoia (because that’s what niggas do). Our protagonist concludes that he recognizes his mistakes but doesn’t regret a thing, but I suppose that’s easy to say when you’re 18 and naturally gifted at this rap shit. Let’s see how you feel at 26, whoadie. Just ask Jigga.

Grande’s soliloquy-of-sorts almost reads as a callow and delayed response (or is it a prequel?) to Ms. Badu’s nearly 2 decade-old reflections on dating a man involved in “the game” – a less jaded and mellower version of Rae & Ghost’s “Rainy Dayz.” But mellower, thanks to the production from Philadelphia’s very own and Ms. Badu’s old Soulquarian buddies, The Roots.

At the moment, I’m not entirely sure where GrandeMarshall is going to end up on year-end lists, if at all, given most people haven’t given him a listen yet. But I won’t fret too much. At this rate, we’ll all be talking about the man in no time. There’s gotta be room for a rapper with good taste and instincts. This that skress relief music.

Previously: Rap Game Scouting Report, 2012: Gramde Marshall’s 800


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