I can ignore a lot of things as a rap journalist committed to covering things that I think actually move the culture forward. I don’t have to write about or listen to Desiigner or Migos or anyone, for that matter, as I’m lucky enough to be an independent creator with a whole other profession that pays the bills. Every now and then, though, an event comes along that anyone who writes about rap would be a fool not to at least check out, even if it’s just for a hype check.
My “New Music Friday” playlist on Spotify was graced with a picture of weird-beard Eminem, meaning he finally followed up his BET freestyle with a record from Revival. And for the “YAAAS” factor, he’s tapped none other than St. Beyonce herself. That being said and having played the song four times in full and more in snippets…
To me, “Let Me Ride” is a perfect time capsule record – it speaks from a very specific time and place, incorporating nearly all of the sounds that were popular in gangsta rap at the time, most of which can simply be credited to Dr. Dre himself as a founding father of it.
SmokeyV, Classicko, Niftee and Kilam make up the Los Angeles rap collective known as Villain Park. On “We Out Here”, the group spit some verses over a track reminiscent of the west coast bangers of old. In a good way, this takes it back to Raiders Starter jackets for me.
MF DOOM should basically go on a tour of just doing collaborative projects with deserving young MCs. I could see him working with Your Old Droog or Wiki, among others. Here, DOOM conspires with organically buzzworthy Westside Gunn, who’s been killing it recently to a point there’s just been too much music for me to sit down and really touch on. Mistake rectified. I don’t know how much more content this will lead to, but I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
“These Heaux” is terrible. On a paint-by-numbers trap beat, Bregoli yelps at the mic in a voice heavily slathered in auto-tune, managing to pack more rap cliches into every bar than I ever thought imaginable. The beat is unimaginative. There is literally nothing here that sticks to the ribs, nor does it even have any true ear-worm appeal that I could identify, for what that’s worth. This is the untested bravado of a poorly behaved 15-year-old with a pitiably limited view of rap music. The funny thing about the attitude Bregoli approaches “These Heaux” with is that it doesn’t differ in terms of maturity level from the same attitude Cardi B gives us on the wildly popular “Bodak Yellow” (despite Cardi being 10 years older and having a more interesting story you’d think would make her work more compelling). Moreover, there’s not much difference in production value or creativity level between the two artists or songs. Coincidentally, both are signed to Atlantic Records. Both garnered a level of fame from viral content and reality TV. The elephant in the room for some people, however, is that Bregoli is white.
Named after the original thick-skinned henchman duo, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire and Meyhem Lauren link up for “Bebop & Rocksteady” off of X’s Brainiac EP, out now. This video is nothing short of hilarious and Meyhem’s Uberpool line at the end is a classic.
I don’t have words for the stinker N.O.R.E. just dropped with Pharrell, but his Drink Champs podcast is great and old “Jose Luis Gotcha / golden guns, Frank Sinatra” NoreAGA was easily one of my favorite rappers ever. His solo debut N.O.R.E. was an album that got enough spin in my Discman (!) to warrant a complete repurchase several years after its release, with classic records like “Banned From TV” requiring at least one repeat per play. I rediscovered “The Change” last week and decided to share it here.