Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quarterly Rap Up: Q1 2010

The Knux - Floozy

In Chinese astrology, 2010 is the year of the tiger. Tiger Woods perhaps? We've seen our fair share of floozies this year, from Rachel Uchitel to Bombshell McGee. Meanwhile the hip hop world has been smitten by the dime dropping antics of Kat Stacks. Like cockroaches and Keith Richards, floozies will never die. Don't act like The Knux never warned you.

Styles P - Shadows

On this Statik Selektah-produced gem (which features the same Alan Parsons Project sample that Amp Live flipped on "Bird's Eye View"), the Ghost plays street philosopher slash clairvoyant.

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - Fuckin With a Gangster (feat. Sean Price)

Sean Price bodies just about any track he touches and you can bet your bottom dollar he raised the young'n Ruste to carry that torch. If the 'death by rusty screwdriver stabbing' rate has increased in recent weeks, it's probably thanks to the raw energy on The eXXecution.

David Banner - Slow Down

In his quest to find a post-LB partner, 9th Wonder has "settled" on David Banner. Good choice? Only time will tell. My gut reaction is "yes". During the first half of the previous decade, Banner told us to "Crank It Up" "Like a Pimp". Katrina seemed to have swung his artistic direction. Mr. Crump's rebirth as a Nappy Roots-like southern soul man couldn't come at a better time and 9th is the man to bring that out of him. Death of a Pop Star indeed.

Memphis Bleek - Still Ill

Some might negate the premise of this track: "Still ill? When were you ill to begin with." Not me. I've always rooted for Bleek and will continue to do so (yeah, I'm biased). Let's be honest: Bleek will never be able to step out of the Big Homie's shadow. So what though? As long as he continues delivering fire I'm all good. A frenetic, cocky flow over a boom bap beat mixed with some Super Mario Kart-esque (reminds me of Rainbow Road, maybe I'm crazy) electro melody? I'm down.

Redman - Buck Buck

They say there's two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. An occasional Redman banger oughta round that list out to three. Name an emcee from the '90s more consistent than Reggie Noble, I dare you.

Freddie Gibbs - Crushin' Feelin's

The Gary, Indiana native continues to impress... Over Statik Selektah's "To the Top" beat -- one of my favorites from '08 -- Gibbs weaves his way through the track with dexterity, managing to bait Joe Budden and Rick Ross. Let's see how (or if) they retaliate.

Jay Rock - Look at Cali

I'm surprised nobody sampled this lovely Frankie Beverly & Maze track before... Gang affiliations be damned, Jay Rock should be getting all the (undeserved) shine that Nipsey's been grabbing from Snoop.

DJ Khaled - Victory (feat. Nas & John Legend)

Try to wrap your head around this: "Victory" features just one Nas verse -- lasting approximately two full minutes -- in which he rhymes "Satan" with "Aretha Franklin" and "motivation", not to mention the tongue twister "how enormous is Nas’ pockets is a pop quiz to gossipers". The golden child's still got it.

Kokane - Twilight Zone

West coast disillusionment has been a running theme for a decade; Kokane, a gangsta rap pioneer and unsung hero of the subgenre, has just about had enough of it. "And you can Tweet deez nuts"!

Snoop Dogg - Gangsta Luv (Mayer Hawthorne G-Mix)

I'm not (too) ashamed to admit that "Gangsta Luv" was one of my guilty pleasures from '09. I don't have to feel guilty at all about this remix right here. As part of the More Malice addendum to Snoop's '09 LP, Mayer Hawthorne's G-Mix replaces The-Dream's synths with some organic, '70s doo-wop soul. Mayer's crooning is about as smooth as it gets, but it's the bassline that's the real kicker. We're only in April, but I can already picture myself listening to this track deep into the summer.

Sadat X - Turn It Up

What happens when my favorite Brand Nubian and Chocolate Boy Wonder team up to craft some legendary-caliber hip hop? I dunno, but you better call the amber lamps.

Consequence - G.O.O.D. Music (feat. Common & Talib Kweli)

This track takes me back to 2004/2005 when Kanye was synonymous with backpacker/Native Tongues-style hip hop. What happened to the soul, Yeezy? Props to Clinton Sparks on some dazzling production.

Freddie Gibbs - The Ghetto

This Milk Bone instrumental might be most recognizable as the beat for Jay-Z & Big L's "7 Minute Freestyle". As sacrilegious as it may sound though, Freddie's go round with "Keep It Real" holds up to Hova's portion. As big of a Pac stan as I may be, I can't think of too many other emcees that can compare on subject matter, flow and vocal presence. Hands down, Freddie Gibbs is a consummate emcee. He certainly meets the valedictorian selection criteria for the class of '10.

Redman - Oh My

Oh my indeed! When was the last time you heard an AWB sample on a new track? Or how about a Family Guy reference? Reggie never disappoints.

Ten More:

DJ Quik - Nobody (feat. Suga Free)
Snoop Dogg - That Tree (The Soundmen Remix) (feat. KiD CuDi)
Astro - OXtroit (feat. Guilty Simpson)
Pill - Thoughts
Chip Tha Ripper - Here I Am
Young Buck - Finish What You Start
PackFM - Happy Days
Three 6 Mafia - Unite (feat. Yung D, 8Ball & MJG)
Folk & Stress - New York Ginseng (feat. GZA)
Nappy Roots - Ride