I went digging for the best songs released in the last week or so, and here's what I found. Dig in.
10. Kanye West - "Theraflu"Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries, Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa. No one's safe from Kanye's cold truths on "Theraflu." In the same song that sees bragging about the place where dudes "might kill somebody and YouTube it" we see Kanye backing down from trouble. "The whole industry wanna f-ck your old chick," he quips, before avoiding a potential feud with his old chick by professing his respect for her new man.
9. Beanie Sigel - "Shot Caller Freestyle"The Broad Street Bully with some bully-rap profundity: "Ni--as can't stop my train, I'm Chubb rocking/What's beef? Who Ready to Die? I'm big popping/I'm hundred proof, you ni--as cheap vodka/I'm the Lord of the Underground, the new Chief Rocker" Nasty.
His secret weapon isn't originality. It's not chest thumping or, lawd help us, thuggnificence. As with many comedy talents, it's timing (literal and relative) -- "Everybody know she got tig ol' bitties/But nobody cares, like it's J. Cole-Diggy." Turning the Trayvon Martin tragedy into a hashtag, however, is Gambino holding up a mirror to the Twitterverse.
Perfectly parades each rapper's current preoccupation. For Pusha T, it's opulence ("My Audemar like Mardi Gras"), Big Sean derrière ("build a house 'pon dat ass"), Kanye glory ("Step in Def Jam office like I'm the sh-t, tell them give me 50 million or I'm gon' quit"), 2 Chainz lazy metaphors ("Money tall like Jordan"). It's the lead single from Yeezy's upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation.
6. T.I. - "Love This Life"If you're too smart for Tip's street rhymes, he's got you covered on this other spectrum of his oft-underrated versatility. This spectrum holds no empty posturing, just genuine promises of a good life. "Take away your stress, mean that sincerely," he swears to his love interest and for once, you actually believe him.
Those following the Trayvon story will find a skittle bag's worth of plenty of food for thought here and maybe, in the process, a new reason to pay attention to this underexposed talent. Produced By @DjRellyRell.
4. Jay Rock - "Checkmate"A quintessential exponent in spirit and sui generis, Jay Rock is waving that Black Hippy flag with supreme confidence. "Checkmate" is a better song than most rappers will make this year.
3. Jay Electronica - "Dear Moleskine"Hip-hop's Teaser-in-Chief is at it again with "Dear Moleskine," which first turned up on YouTube in 2009. This is the full version and it's well worth the wait. But is it a glimpse into the feverishly anticipated Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)? Well, you'll have to wait a little longer to find out.
2. Jay Ant - "Encouragement"Anything but ironic and definitely not about the cool, Jay Ant maintains a wry smile at all times, interacting casually with the drums and spattering the smooth jazz sample with endless cracks of genre cliches.
And here, boy and gals, is the L.A. anthem of the year (thus far). K.Dot and D.R. trading rhymes about the holy trinity of L.A. living -- women, weed, and weather -- over a sample of Twin Sister's "Meet the Frownies." So smooth you instantly forgive Dre for cribbing Kendrick's flow.