In this week's chart: Drake wears his heart on his sleeve (surprise!), T.I. pounds his chest, Lupe rediscovers an old flow, and The Roots make a case for Most Consistent Group in Rap.
10. Raekwon - "Just 4 laughs Pt. 2"
Most won't remember that Rae dropped a slam dunk in what now seems like years ago March 2011. Well, "Just 4 Laughs 2" should remind ya. Stevie Wonder sample. A hilarious intro about burned chicken.
9. A$ap Rocky - "Out of this World"
A$ap Rocky was doing fine as an underground marvel, but when a major label came calling he jumped on the opportunity to expand his fan base. Rocky is the newest name on Polo Grounds Music/RCA’s roster. His debut LP, LiveLoveA$AP is on the way. For now, here's "Out of this World" to hold you over.
8. T.I. - "Hear Ye, Hear Ye"
Fresh out of jail, T.I. hooks up with Pharrell for a triumphant anthem to mark his return. Unlike the middling "I'm Flexin'" this is good ol' Tip doing what he excels at: thumping his nose at haters with southern authenticity ("Ten toes down, all out no sandals"). The beat is better too--haunting loops, booming bass, and robust drums.
7. Action Bronson (ft. Nina Sky) - "Cocoa Butter"Statik Selektah may be the hardest working producer in the rap game. In addition to three collaborative albums (with Freeway, Freddie Gibbs, and Bumpy Knuckles), Statik has also dropped a full-length project, Population Control. Another project you should be paying attention to is his joint album with Action Bronson, Well Done. "Cocoa Butter" here should get you thoroughly warmed up for Well Done, out November 22.
6. Drake (ft. Lil Wayne) - "The Real Her"In which Heartbreak Drake sings his heart out and Weezy cribs a line from "Miss Me." Tunechi keeps it short and sweet on this one, and that's a good thing.
5. Nas featuring Rick Ross - "It's a Tower Heist"
Did you tune off as soon as you saw that Nas ("the purist") is on a song with Ross ("the hustler")? Your loss. Nas and Rozay prove to be a compatible pair on this one. Definitely an improvement on their first collaboration, "Usual Suspects," which appeared on Deeper Than Rap. When Nas asks, "You want respect, money and power, right?" you can't help but wonder if he's toying with Prodigy. Remember P's line on Jay Electronica's "Call of Duty"? "Respect, power and money in that exact order." Yeah, Esco's slick like that.
4. Cocaine 80s - "Six Ft Over"
Cocaine 80s released The Pursuit EP earlier in the year and everyone thought it was a one-off project. Here, they return with yet another dose of hip-hop-r&b fusion dubbed The Ghost Lady. The project is headed by No I.D. and Common along with a team of songwriters that includes James Fauntleroy, Steve Wyreman, Rob Kinelski, and Kevin Randolph. The slow-rolling "Six Ft. Over" is a standout track from Ghost Lady.
3. K-os (ft. Drake) - "Faith 2.0"
Drake and fellow T-Dot native k-os Drake first connected on "Faith," a gem off the latter's Anchorman mixtape. "Faith 2" finds them exchanging rock solid rhymes, trying to outperform each other. K-os is one of the best rappers to ever come out of Canada. So it's fitting that he's going toe to toe with the Canada's biggest rap export. The friendly competition yields a memorable track.
2. Lupe Fiasco - "Lightwork"
Lupe Fiasco is gearing up for a new mixatpe, Friend of the People, due around Thanksgiving. "Lightwork" is a solid introduction to that project. It finds Lu reconstructing Ellie Goulding and Bassnectar famous jawn. The music hearkens to Lasers; the rhymes recall Food & Liquor. Hear him roar: "Yeah, touched more souls than a dancefloor, while they touch less floors than the hands or ceiling fan or/Wait, let me tell you slower: If my fans looked to the ceiling, then you'll never touch the flower."
1. The Roots (ft. Big K.R.I.T.) - "Make My"
The Roots connect with KRIT on the lead cut from UNDUN. "Make My" shows that a late night gig on Fallon hasn't slowed the group down a bit. K.R.I.T. opens this one with a compelling verse: "In the world of night terrors it's hard to dream. Cash rules everything, just call it cream, cause when it rises to the top, you get the finer things." Colder than 3 AM with no blanket in sight.