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Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy. Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks.

Today, Tinashe offers Young Thug some party favors; Jay Rock and the Black Hippy crew visit Vice City; and DOOMSTARKS is maybe back.

Our distinguished panel this afternoon consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Joshua Phelps, Jose Lopez-Sanchez of Dead Curious, and Aaron Miller of Austin Mic Exchange.

Tinashe ft. Young Thug: “Party Favors”

Last December, Tinashe sneaked into the top ten of Rec-Room’s albums of the year list based on the strength of her debut, Aquarius. Now, she’s preparing its follow-up, Joyride. The first taste of the sophomore effort is “Party Favors”, a Boi-1da produced cut featuring Young Thug. ‘”Party Favors’ is one of my favorites,” she told Rolling Stone recently. “It’s a very in-your-face first impression.

Aaron: Ok, ok, alright. I can fuck with this a little.

I still gots no love for Young Thug but this has potential… and by potential, I mean put entirely different artist combos on this beat and we might have something here.

Let’s say we dust off the Ciara/Ludacris team up and get a creepy little club banger for fall 2015?

Put Rihanna and Yeezy or Hov on this with an interlude from an old white guy at the end? Shit, you might get the pop trap sleeper hit of the year.

I like Tinashe and her vaguely Aliyaah-tinged flow and flair for minor key riffage but that’s about it.

Production is everything on potentially throwaway tracks like this, and Boi-1da is no slouch, but this team-up just doesn’t do the beat justice.

This leaves you wanting more like bad cocaine or that dog tranquilizer you thought was Molly.

PHELPS: This beat reminds me of some bizzare Cars rework from Billy Madison’s valentine’s day scene.

Young Thug is prone to his own Billy Madison jibberish outbursts on tracks, but he’s fairly coherent here without turning down. Tinashe, on the other hand, sounds like the reason Ciara isn’t making hits anymore – nothing separates her from paint by numbers R&B. You can be breathy and sultry sometimes if you put out some badass diva shit also. I’m not sure she has it in her yet.

PHIL: Does the beat sample the interlude music of, like, “The Legend of Zelda”? This song makes me want to barter with a blacksmith.

MARCUS: This beat is definitely more electronic Pierre Bachelet trap remix, aka the guy who soundtracked every great 70s softcore porn Showtime After Hours moment of my teenage years and Lily Allen’s “Littlest Things.”

Tinashe played supremely heartbroken pop ingenue on the first album, so here I guess we’re getting the “cocaine-addled rebound sex with Young Thug” single that I think every female pop star is going to have.

Again, Young Thug is more “urban vocal instrument” than rap star here, which is what happens when kids with computers become more important than humans making music.

Also, just want to add that I’m really not into Tinashe doing the whole “FKA Twigs” thing. Twigs is far more of a star to industry people than actual music listeners, so it just feels forced and silly.

But, yeah. This just feels forced as fuck. Not a fan.

Jose: I really like this song. I agree with Aaron that the track is what stands out here, even if it does have some hints of Hyrule. But Tinashe and Young Thug do good work on this! It slithers and writhes for the whole run time. I like.

Jay Rock ft. Black Hippy: “Vice City”

There was a time not long ago when people thought that a Black Hippy record was a sure thing, but with Kendrick Lanmar’s ascension to rap’s upper echelon, you have to wonder if it would even be possible in the present day. Chances are that ship has sailed. Instead, we’ll have to settle for tracks like “Vice City”, which itself feels like a minor miracle for existing. For the first time since 2012’s “Swimming Pools” remix, all four members – Kendrick, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul – show up for the song, which appears on Jay Rock’s recently released album 90059. It was produced by Cardo and his frequent cohort Yung Exclusive.

AARON: All I hear is Kendrick.  This flow is pretty catchy. The little drop off line for each bar is slick.

I’m not gonna snob out like I can’t handle another ass ‘n’ titties song but they could have aimed a touch higher for this kind of ” reunion” track . I’m not even mad it’s just rest of the crew seems so small now that Lamar is the most important rapper on earth. Even Q’s usually larger than life turn up is just window dressing to Kendrick’s flair for, well, just about everything.

I mean, at the beginning of the visual Kdot walks into a motherfucking room better than anybody in the game right now. You can’t even see his face, yet somehow the bar is being raised whether you like it or not. He says ” turn me up” and it’s the most fire shit in the game right now.

Normal? Sure. Rappers have been telling the engineer to turn the mic up since 1979 and Kendrick somehow just took it next level.

On its face this song is real dumb but, lo and behold, Kendrick being lowbrow sounds like the deepest shit Andre 3000 ever said. “I don’t lease I just all-out fleece I put a blue Caprice on Gary Coleman. ” WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN AND WHY IS IT SO ILL Y’ALL?!

If you told me that came off Jaden Smith’s Twitter or was generated by the latest Google A.I.., I would not bat an eye. No. It was Kendrick. It’s got to mean something.

The other guys did a’ight too.

PHELPS: Q came through dressed like Omar from” The Wire” retirement in Puerto Rico. Tell me again what’s happening here? Now rich and famous rappers get girls? Yawn. I do hope we get another Q record soon, though.

PHIL: Kendrick’s stumbling-home-drunk-at-four-in-the-morning flow is perfect, but this song’s momentum gets zapped once Jay Rock – and, subsequently, everyone else – rips it. I appreciate what they’re going for, but it ends up feeling like when someone “freestyles” over another rapper’s hit and adopts the same cadence. Why are hippies always about sharing? Still, these Kendrick and Q verses are strong enough to put this in the rotation.

MARCUS: I love this if only because Kendrick’s developed into one of the most self-aware and powerful creative forces of this generation, and what’s more important is that he’s aware that he’s this perfectly imperfect and thus wholly flawed leader. This is a song where the leader of the next generation is just clowning around with his boys, and thus, it’s glorious.

I get the sense that for Kendrick, rapping totally is public speaking for him, and he finds himself in these beats and just lets whatever stream of words about whatever particular human issue is concerning him flow through.

As well, I think Jay Rock and the rest of the crew are still around Kendrick because they exist now to rub off on Kendrick’s id and ego. I think that as Kendrick’s growing, it’s important to see how the Black Hippy dudes complement him as a leader. Jay’s his strip club friend, aka that one amazingly calm dude who always has the wildest stories about the wildest girls, and when Kendrick hears his flow, it inspires what he’s going to say. Ab-Soul just falls in, he’s kind of this quasi-revolutionary who reads too much, has good hair and thus keeps smart pretty girls with low morals kicking it with the homies.

And Q? Well he’s still the shadow leader of the whole team, the godfather who is better at rapping than all of them. Though it feels like he actually gave up really caring about “rap” a long time ago, he’s still around the game to have fly cars, crazy clothes, ill chicks and be the hood richest dude in the game who every so often raps real good just to remind us that he can.

This isn’t a song, it’s just another piece of content about the Black Hippy lifestyle. It’s not great, it’s just real real good. Just like the crew is right now.

JOSE: Kendrick is the black hole at the center of the rap universe right now. Every single track he’s on ultimately becomes a discussion of his verse, and just how obvious it is that he’s playing in a totally different dimension to most rappers, never mind a different planet.

This song is really well produced, and the rest of the guys do well. They’re simply not memorable in the long run, because yet again, Kendrick is the alpha and omega.

 

DOOMSTARKS: “Lively Hood”

Rumors of a full-length collaborative MF Doom and Ghostface Killah album have been circulating for years, and while it’s debatable if we’re any closer to it actually happening, we do have a new track from the pair of legendary and cryptic emcees today. It’s called “Lively Hood”, which is an incredible song title, and it comes via the Adult Swim single series. Production, as usual, comes from DOOM himself. In July, Jason Demarco, who oversees the series, explained how the comedy network came to acquire the song: “That was honestly dumb luck! We reached out to DOOM to see if he was interested in giving us a track, and were told that the DOOMSTARKS project was close to completion and there was a song we could have… we jumped on it! I mean, it’s Ghost and DOOM rapping together. It’s pretty much my rap nerd dreams coming true.”

Aaron: There is nothing wrong with this joint. My arms reflexively curled into a menacing b-boy stance for, like, two whole minutes and all I did was nod my head in approval like yeeeaaaahh.

Doom is a top five rhymer all day but goddamn can he make a beat. Deceptively simple with all kinds of weird sound effects and explosion popping off in the background.

Good stuff.

That being said, this album is about ten years late and this song is about 2 verses short. Fuck is that about?

Phelps: This is a potent antidote that all the Empire State of Mind/Welcome to New York listening nerds should butt chug in a pissy Megabus bathroom crossing the Hudson to reverse them from doe-eyed herbs into these little slimy gremlin motherfuckers I saw on The Strain the other night. That is to say, this is the goonie-goo-goo goodness NY anthem we need, although those lame songs are what we deserve. Mybe that’s why it’s two minutes, we ain’t ready.

Phil: Isn’t “two verses short” DOOM’s entire m.o.? The majority of songs on Madvillainy clock in at under 2:00. Always leave ’em wanting more.

This is the best I’ve heard Ghost in a minute. I love the man, but I don’t want to hear him slow rhyming over turgid, slightly jazzy instrumentals. He’s not a lame-beat-immune rapper anymore.

“Lively Hood” is a best case scenario come to fruition. Bitches of all flavors! Fake tits and bacon bits!

MARCUS: These Adult Swin Singles are great because whoever’s programming these tracks is a) actually a music fan and b) knows who and what works well together.

I’d wager that Doom was told he was making a single for Ghost, and Ghost was told he was rapping on a new Doom track. This just feels all of the way good, and like Josh said, I’ve still seen far more of this in NYC than anything else right now.

Dang.

Gimme a video shot in Times Square with Ghost dressed as a busking and picture-taking Elmo on a break eating one of those dirty water hot dogs. Epic.

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Follow Rec-Room on Twitter, where we’re limited to 140 characters:  @marcuskdowling, @philrunco, @gitmomanners, @jrlopez, @dc_phelps, @Aaron_ish, and @CAMcGrady.
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