Lil Wayne - Something You Forgot (off The Drought Is Over 2: The Carter III Sessions, 2007, internets)
pain, since I’ve lost you I’m lost too
Big Eyes - Being Unkind (off Almost Famous, 2013, Grave Mistake)
Nobody’s really yelling from the roofs about how good Big Eyes’ sophomore LP is so allow me: Almost Famous is something you need playing while driving your car or making dinner (the ways I’ve been listening to it) so you can shock yourself by realising how many of the songs have burrowed their way into your brain and won’t budge. The best songs are the post-breakup accounts like ‘Being Unkind’, songs that swarm with pop nuance to sweeten singer Kate Eldridge’s bitter mantras. “Now it’s all said and done,” she growls near the song’s end, “I don’t want to hear about you.” Then again, punchier this time: “Don’t wanna hear about you!” Then a guitar solo arrives, the sound of someone shaking off their shackles and moving on to something better.
OutKast ‘Benz or Beamer’ (1995)
Suddenly decided to start posting in my Hype Williams appreciation blog again. Watching the man’s recent videos can be mighty depressing, especially when you go back and watch something as taut and well-executed as the ‘Benz or Beamer’ video. There’s the Bankhead Bounce immortalised on screen as well as these nifty-ass EAST POINT workshirts. Would pay top dolla for one of these, just so you know.
From the May 21 edition of the Combat Jack Show, here is a snippet of Bun B explaining how he can move solo dolo. If nobody makes a chorus or a full-fledged song out of Bun promising to beat you up in aisle three of your local supermarket, 2013 has failed us all.
BEYONCÉ - GROWN WOMAN
Rebecca A. Gowns: My favorite parts of this song: the Fela Kuti flavor (including some pretty brilliant polyrhythms and a brass section in the outro), the MANY layers of call and response, the pure joy, the harmony on “got a cute face and booty so fat!”…so many things. Most of all, I love the small “But of course!” line thrown in there, delivered by a bitchy passive-aggressive white girl. “I’m a grown woman! I can do whatever I want!” Beyonce belts, and in the background, there’s that tiny valley girl voice: “But of course!” That’s gotta be intentional; this song is just as much a response to her (white feminist) critics as “Bow Down” was. What makes it extra delicious is that this is the only spiteful part of the song — “But of course!” — and it’s coming from some weird non-Beyonce character (a single character, with not a single echo, chorus effect, or call and response acknowledging her). Beyonce made the hater a part of her song. This is a trophy song, a song to celebrate her and all her achievements, and it’s topped with the head of her enemy. I’m so happy.
HOLY SHIT. <3
—Bring In The Katz
P Money - Bring in the Katz (off #MAD, 2013, the internets)
If you’ve never heard of P Money, he is one of grime’s most reliable, an MC who bypasses overly technical rhyme schemes for full-fledged, almost old school blunt force. He can spit as fast as anybody else, trigger a rave with the best of them, but is best at sounding authoritative - a voice of burly control that you would never try crossing.
The man’s recent #MAD tape functions as a sequel of types to last August’s Dubsteppin EP: hard bars over club production, with little frills or concepts beyond turning dancefloors into DMZs. When it came to beats, Dubsteppin had the unparalleled assistance of London radio and club kings Rinse. Left to his own devices, P Money falls into a few inevitable traps (nobody needs to hear another ‘Higher’ or ‘Harlem Shake’ freestyle at this point) but also has sounds like he’s having more fun than usual. He cheekily teases rapping over ‘Gangnam Style’ before shoving it to the side for a snarling freestyle. He coins a truly guffaw-worthy punchline about “a Durex umbrella”. He does a mean “2 CHAIIIIIIINNZZZZZ”. In the midst of this clearing-the-air jokeyness, he hijacks a B-More club oldie and crafts an absolute stunner out of it.
KW Griff’s ‘Bring in the Katz’ has been floating about as a Baltimore staple for a few years before a 12” reissue on Night Slugs surfaced last year. The simplicity of the track - a ‘Think’ break here, some louder-than-bombs claps, hyperactive toasting by a dude called Pork Chop - leave it sounding as though it could have been released ten days or ten years ago. It’s a monster, unbeholden by trends or movements. P Money interestingly takes on Griff’s original mix rather than the minimalist sprawl of the more recent L-Vis 1990 remix, and it’s a decision that pays off in heaps. He’s egged on by the Pork Chop sample (“YES!” “OH!”) like he’s in the middle of the rave, turning an already energetic track into something befitting a riot, gassed off the vibes: “I’m every girl’s DREAM! Roll with ME!” His verse finishes and Pork Chop, a master of ceremonies turned hypeman, calms us down. Then Griff brings in the katz* and it’s havoc once again. The track’s all over in under three minutes, but not before P Money marks his ground: “YOUR TUNE’S DEAD, BRUV!” Even when he’s having fun, it’s through brute force.
* a reference to a sample of Kevin Aviance’s ‘Din Da Da’ scatting buried somewhere within the track. That’s an amazing song, too, by the by.
Tyler, the Creator feat. Na’kel, Jasper, Lucas, L-Boy, Taco, Left Brain & Lee Spielman - Trashwang (off Wolf, 2013, Odd Future Records)
I haven’t listened to Wolf for a couple of weeks because it is, to be honest, exhausting to listen to. Tyler’s flitting between vulgarity and storytelling and experiments and honesty so often, more so than on his previous LPs, that it begins to tire by the halfway mark. Tyler’s certainly a genius kid, but there’s perhaps too much Tyler on this album, more than ever.
So obviously my favourite track is the time-honoured stoopid piss-about posse cut in the spirit of ‘Tina’ and ‘We Got Bitches’. Number one, it has a Jasper verse, a rapper whose utter lack of skill is one of the most endearing OFWGKTA in-jokes. Number two, they shout out Lil B’s Task Force which come on. Third of all - and most importantly - Left Brain’s hook is a tribute to Waka’s ‘Turnt Up Niggaz’. This song would have to have tried its hardest to stink for me not to unconditionally love it.
Young Gully - Mislead You (off HM5, 2012, self-released)
The Bay Area’s Young Gully is responsible for one of my favourite hip-hop songs of recent years, ‘The Go-In’, a playfully masterful example of rappin’ ass rappin’. He compares himself to a cockatoo, a Doberman and a schedule; calls his opponents vegetables and eats them; claims he’s in your girl “like a condo”, which is both a goofy metaphor and a potential Grandpa Simpson reference. “I am not trying,” he laughs as the track fades out, ruefully shaking his head as though to say: this is effortless, this is nothing to me.
By comparison, the recently released HM5 mixtape (props to Thizzler) is all effort. There’s playfulness there but it’s in brief spurts, replaced by an intensity to keep rhyming, keep proving, keep going. Gully is on his tunnel vision shit here. Once you delete the momentum-sapping for-the-ladies jams - yeah, do that immediately - HM5 reveals itself as a solid tape full of good beats and impassioned rapping. Its best track is ‘Mislead You’, containing not only one of Gully’s more intense performances, but a wordiness and a worldliness that keeps you listening: “sometimes I’m blind to the facts like they come in braille,” he spits, in total understanding of his follies, sifting through the wreckage through tumbles of words.