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

Today, Wiki and Nasty Nigel are living with their parents, everyone adores Santigold and ILoveMakonnen, and Pimp C lives.

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


Wiki ft. Nasty Nigel: “Livin’ with My Moms”

It’s about six months past their official day, but it’s the thought that counts: Here’s one for the moms! The song is called “Livin’ With My Moms” and it comes courtesy of Nasty Nigel (of the World’s Fair collective) and Wiki (of Ratking). The track officially belongs to the latter rapper and will appear on his forthcoming album Lil Me. A few days ago, Wiki also shared the Black Milked-produced “Hate is Earned”, but  production for “Livin’ With My Moms” was handled by Detroit’s Black Noi$e.

PHIL: Is this beat build around the score of 1970s Sydney Lumet flick? That’s not a knock. It’s New York as fuck. It makes me want to call up Al Pacino and clean up city hall once and for all.

MARCUS: 2000 Eminem subject matter with 2007 Charles Hamilton flows in 2015? That feels like a solid progression. World’s Fair rep Queens, too, so given where hipster New York gentrifiers are headed these days, that makes sense, too. Now do we want ne’er do wells with fucked up afros, acne and missing teeth to represent this cultural shift? I don’t know, but I do know I like this song in that way that I loved 90s classic rap tape B-sides. There’s just enough Illmatic Memory Lane swagger in this to give it a passing grade, but the thing with this sort of rap is that it’s the stuff that will always work at blunted out underground live shows and college parties with your white friends who have Bob Marley blacklight posters and exclusive vinyl copies of Meow The Jewels and Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb. I mean, this isn’t middle of the mall shit, which I think that this collective of rappers could actually make and make a breakout killing doing. I’d put them in a studio with Mr. Carmack and Louis Futon for like, six months and see what sort of 21st century New York hood raps they could make. This is a good start of something more, but that’s just the thing. It could be something more significant. That needs to happen.

AARON: Damn. Geico caveman and Reggie Watts stunt double got bars.  Are ugly rappers back in style now or what? These guys rule.

I like these guys more than I like this song, even though the Wiki verse is fire.

The beat is on some whatever-the-kids-say-right-now shit.

I’m not gonna lie: I pre-judged this track based on rap names and title, fully prepared to go hard in the Hate, but I’m at a loss right now.

I gotta do some YouTube homework. I hate when shit sneaks up on me. If these guys are dope, I’m probably missing like ten other rappers with dumb names just killing it right now.

I’m thinking the opposite of Marcus here: I hope they stay away from trap dudes and link up with Statik Selektah or some other slightly old East Coast producer to watch over them and hone this y2k swag they have going on here.

MARCUS: All the Williamsburg tastemakers priced out of Brooklyn are all in Queens now. I’d prefer them to hang out with old dudes and make that Run The Jewels money too, but the irony of ugly New York rappers getting major label pop shine just feels too hipster strong to be denied.

As a collective, World’s Fair are really good.

Like, “stow them away on a major label to make rappity raps with EDM producer dudes who are going to be needing checks to cash when that bubble bursts” good.

Like, better than A$AP Mob, Flatbush Zombies and Bada$$ good.

I’m excited to see what pans out from this.


Santigold ft.ILoveMakonnen: “Who Be Lovin’ Me”

ILoveMakonnen isn’t really a rapper and neither is Santigold, but fuck it, let’s give a listen to “Who Be Lovin’ Me”, the latest from Santi White. The track was produced by Canadian duo Zeds Dead, who explained the origins of the song as such: “We met Makonnen on the Mad Decent Boat Party last year and knew he could kill this beat. He hit us up and said he and Santigold both were jumping on it. We’re big fans of hers, so when he brought that back to us it was a no-brainer. The record just came together really naturally and the final cut is something we’re all really happy with.” But while ILoveMakonnen may have been the point man for the collaboration, it will appear on Santigold’s forthcoming album 99¢. She’s already repaid the favor, though, appearing on the Atlanta warblers recently released second EP, ILoveMakonnen 2.

MARCUS: Santigold’s awesome because she’s just as great as a hipster marketing demographic leader as she is as a pop artist.

I think that’s what’s going to end up happening to Makonnen, too, so this is perfect.

Makonnen’s literally the musical equivalent of fresh air. You don’t ever consciously think of him, but when you feel his presence, you’re like, “Ahhh, so good.”

Pair that with Santi and a video which looks like it was filmed at the NYC Mad Decent Block Party date this summer and, yeah, this is exactly what it is. That means that this is the soundtrack of the Forever 21 ad you see before the previews at the movies, or the music you hear at Forever 21 while you’re trying on that festival-ready $4.99 tank top that is appropriately priced to equal the weekly wage of the person who made it.

Also key to note here is that Toronto’s Zeds Dead had a crazy year in 2015 where they dived into making all sorts of pop stuff. 2016 should be a giant, Flosstradamus or Jack U-like year for them because of it. This one is likely only the beginning.

AARON: I’m not mad.  As much as I don’t fuck with a lot of new school anti-rap. I usually hate M———- but Whatshisface is alright here. I’m pretty sure that’s only because he’s framed by Santigold and her cooler-than-cool nonchalant sex vibe, but that’s fine. I love her. She is almost as cool as M.I.A. but, like, if you replaced all the revolution and uncomfortable politics with making out and spinning in circles with a drink in your hand.

It’s a real bitch to see Sweatshirt cameo all up in the video lookin like George Jefferson but not rapping . This song would literally be one of the best of 2015 with Earl on it. I’m pretty sure he can rap about girls much better than funny-name-man.

The hook is strangely enjoyable and throwback.

All I know about Zeds Dead is I saw them at the Jamblaya thing a few years ago and it Flipped. Me. Out. Not because I like bro-ass dance music, but because of the intense, young, drug-fueled, primarily caucasian turn-up that happened.  There were glove dancers and half-naked teens vomiting and fighting and shit.  It was wild.

This sounds nothing like I remember. They make a cool beat.  Approve.

PHIL: ILoveMakonnen is a “classic or trash?” meme come to life. Does anyone really know? Don’t tell me that when he steps in the booth and starts warbling over and over again about girls loving him that everyone in the studio isn’t secretly thinking, “Wait, is this dude fucking with us?”

I will say this, though: You have to respect the steadfastness of his weird. He is not reigning it in. “Who Be Lovin’ Me” is some bizarre shit. And Santigold is playing with fire, because her whole schtick is so workshopped and safe. In fact, when she first steps on the song at 1:40 (!), it’s almost jarring how boring she sounds. She begins to right the ship when she slips into the double-timey flow, but ultimately this is ILoveMakonnen’s song, and his performance isn’t strong enough to really make  “Who Be Lovin’ Me” stick.

JOSE: I really like the beat here, and it’s cool to see that Makonnen has a bit more diversity and range than just “Tuesday” – though this is the sleepiest boasting I’ve ever heard. The video is bright and sunny and mad hipsterish, but we all know this is going to be the soundtrack to many late night, drug-fueled makeout sessions. Leave it to those millennials to repurpose everything! 

Oh and I love Santigold’s voice here. I’d be friends with her.


Pimp C ft. Bun B, 8Ball & MJG: “Bitch Get Down”

On Friday, Mass Appeal will release Long Live The Pimp, a posthumous album credited to Pimp C. The record was overseen by the deceased Houston legend’s widow, Chinara Butler, who had this to say about the project: “This album is the culmination of years of work from not just me, but also the amazing artists and producers who contributed to make it happen. It combines several of the ideas and projects my husband began before his untimely passing.” Long Live The Pimp features new contributions from A$AP Rocky, Nas, Lil Wayne, Slim Thug, Juicy J, David Banner and T.I.. On “Bitch Get Down”, Pimp C is joined by his former UGK partner Bun B, as well as Memphis O.G.’s 8Ball & MJG. The album’s third single was produced by fellow old timer Mr. Lee.

AARON: Mayne.  I wanted this song to be greater than the sum of its parts.

Unfortunately, it is just exactly as good as its parts, which is still very OK. These guys are all pros, and Pimp C is the most famous ghost this side of Hologram Tupac… but you’d expect them to come harder than this.

I think when you are digging through the D-sides of your dead homies, you really owe it to the fans to bring the A-list shit and,well,8Ball and MJG sound a little lazy on this track.

By the time Bun comes in with that mean ass flow-it’s over.

Pimp C is Pimp C. We don’t judge him by the standard rap metric because he is really 90% realest-dude-ever and 10% rapper. I mean, tigers are really good at climbing trees. Do you ever talk about that? No. You don’t. Nobody gives a shit. You just like tigers because they are tigers and generally hard as fuck.

Bun B is pretty much beyond reproach. He just kills the microphone every single time,however I’m not too big on posthumous records because the artist is simply not there to catch the reaction from the fans. Hip Hop pretty much lives and dies by that real time reaction and the whispering campaign that follows every record.

I guess what I’m saying is I blame 8Ball and MJG and verses from the grave bum me out. Sorry players. Charge it to the game or something.

MARCUS: Production-wise, this shit bangs. The 808s in the bottom end sound like street-sweepers, and when there’s talk about players, squares, hoes, and tricks in the verses, this shit just becomes cinematic.

Speaking of cinematic thoughts I had while hearing this, I realized that I’ve seenThe Mack”, like, 27 times now.

Does that mean that the original ever gets old to me? No.

Does that mean that if I saw somebody try to remake “The Mack” with the same actors saying the same lines, like, 20 years later that I might just feel like it’s a little tired? Sure.

I’d just as soon put Freddie Gibbs and Too Short on this track and have a call-and-response between the Pimp C, Gangsta Gibbs, and Short Dog on the same topics. All I’m thinking about when I hear this is what that’d sound like. Wow. Damn.


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