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Best Rap, 2014

December 16th, 2014

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I’m going fishing with these little bitty shrimp dips. Read more…

Mr. Fresh Goes To Washington

September 24th, 2014

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Trouble Funk f/ New York Incorporated Live @ The Maison, New Orleans 8/16/14

Or Washington comes to Mr. Fresh, to be more accurate. A few weeks ago I had a chance to see DC go-go pioneers Trouble Funk perform alongside Mannie Fresh in his hometown, the last great American city of New Orleans. The show, presented by Red Bull Music Academy, was pegged to the tenth anniversary of The Mind Of Mannie Fresh, which seems like a rather inauspicious cause for celebration. While it is his only major label solo album, and a very good one at that, The Mind Of remains a relatively slept on work from a producer with a gang of widely revered classics under his belt. But it proved relevant not so much in influence or visibility but for what it does musically. There have always been throwback threads running through Mannie’s work – he modeled the Hot Boyz after the Furious Five, for instance – but The Mind Of might be his most explicit attempt to rationalize those influences with early ’00s rap music. Read more…

Gladiator On Deck

July 31st, 2014


Video via someone else’s instagram, ioeno.

Last night the great Baton Rouge, LA rapper Kevin Gates performed to a sold out crowd at the New Parish in Oakland, CA. I’m going to try and write down the things I saw as quickly as possible because I can’t sleep. And because Gates’ moved through his set at a similar pace. It was like a stealth mission. He barreled onto the stage directly from the depths of the audience with a small posse in tow [1] and proceeded to run down eighteen of his songs – or at least recognizable enough fragments thereof – in under an hour. Read more…

Stunt This Summer

July 8th, 2014

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J Money f/ Yung LA – “Summer”
The Internet, 2014
A few months ago the two most important overlooked innovators in modern Atlanta rap history reunited for a song about how great summer is and of course it fell far under the radar because that’s where these guys stay. “Summer” is everything you could possibly want from two guys everyone forgot – it’s old-swaggy but not especially outdated or redundant, it’s autotuned but only a little bit and it delivers more joy in under three minutes than K Camp does in all of his songs combined.

Bas f/ J. Cole – “My N***a Just Made Bail”
from Last Winter (Dreamville/Interscope, 2014)
An unexpectedly nice little cut from J. Cole’s nigh-ungooglable weed carrier who some how got to put out an album on a major label at a time when even Lil Wayne can’t get a release date. Bas doesn’t get in the way here and Cole himself shows up with a typically Colesian verse (Frederick Douglass was the Frederick Douglass of rhetoric, buddy) but much like the only other J. Cole song I’ve ever enjoyed the track owes its success to simple but smart sample selection. (In both cases I was like Hey Well At This Guy Is A Pretty Great Producer At Least before realizing that no Cole did not actually produce either song.) The loop here sounds familiar but not immediately recognizable – it could very well just be Generic Brazilian Guitar #43 – still it makes a nice enough addition to the Copacabana backpack rap canon alongside J-Live’s “Don’t Play,” Consequence’s “Don’t Forget ‘Em” and uhhh I guess this pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas single. (Produced by GP808 and Hottrak)

Read more…

Freshman Orientation, 2014

May 8th, 2014

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The latest XXL Freshman List was announced earlier this week and by now I don’t have to tell you that this is most important thing that can happen in hip hop. It’s more important than Jay-Z selling you something and more important than Nas fondly reminiscing on the days when he could still sell you something. It might even more important than Kanye West going on a field trip or two rappers you’ve only ever heard of via Twitter bickering on Twitter. And most certainly this announcement is more important than all of the rap music ever released including both “Top Billin’” and “True Fuschnick.” Read more…

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