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

Today, DJ Khaled and Drake consider charging for their services; Usher and Young Thug have no limit; and Vince Staples and Clams Casino could go all night.

Our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus Dowling, Phil R, and Aaron Miller of Austin Mic Exchange.

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DJ Khaled ft. Drake: “For Free”

Over the weekend, Drake made a pivot back to Tough-Talking Drake with two loosies, “4 PM in Calabasas” and the Gucci Mane featuring “Back on the Road”. A day earlier, though, Poppy Drake made an appearance on the new DJ Khaled single “For Free”. (Yes, it’s a reference to Kendrick Lamar song.) Of course, both Drakes stand in contrast to the Up His Own Ass Drake of Views. Khaled forthcoming album is called Major Key, and the Snapchat personality says Jay Z, Future, and Kanye are all set to appear on it. Production on “For Free” comes courtesy of Jordan Ullman and Nineteen85.

MARCUS: I’m well aware that DJ Khaled is trolling us, but I don’t know if I’m OK with Drake’s trolling us, too.

My desire to hear Drake do sing raps about his penis is much less than my desire to hear DJ Khaled do ad-libs, which only makes me feel like Khaled is a B+ grade Puff and Drake’s a C- grade Biggie.

Drake’s best skill is rapping about dinner arguments and thoughts he has in the shower. Him rapping about sex just comes off as grody as hell and I think it’s actually less appealing than he’d probably want to realize.

All this being said, replace Drake with Big Sean and this song is actually fun and entertaining. As it’s currently presented, it’s just a throwaway single.

PHIL: “I go on and on / Can’t understand how I last so long.”

Damn, Drake coming out the gate with a flamethrower. The six upside down now.

I can’t be mad at this. It’s a nice slice of breezy pop rap. It’s a long way from the chart ambitions of “I’m on One” and its lesser sequel “No New Friends”, but maybe that says more about what gets played on the radio these days. If anything, it feels most closely descendant of the “Miami Vice” chill of “Just Hold On We’re Going Down”.

Drake says absolutely nothing, but he says nothing annoying, so I call that a win.

AARON: Ugh. Oh Drake, you are not fucking for free. We are paying for it with the slow death of the genre.  This is Charlie Brown and the football all over again.

I don’t know what offends me more: Mad Rapper Drake or Benevolent Slut-Shaming Drake. No sooner have I dealt with the overwhelming dissonance of The Softest Rapper on Earth firing shots at anyone, I turn around and he’s back to his oldest trick: Carefully molding and shaping the lives of young women with his penis and his wallet.

If you wanna pay for it, then pay for it. Shut the fuck up like a real celebrity and stop snitching on groupies, dawg. It doesn’t make you look like a G, it makes you look a whiny creep.

And yes, Khaled, “they” absolutely do not want you to make another anthem. So, stop. Just because you accidentally came up with some basic-bitch brand appeal at the ass-end of your career does not make you a visionary. Big and Pac could rise from the grave and jump on this new record, and your career is still over in 3,2….

Out.

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Usher ft. Young Thug: “No Limit”

Stream on Tidal

It has been four years since the last Usher album, Looking 4 Myself, which is a long time between Usher records, but not unheard of in his 20+ year career (!). What’s weird is that it’s been two years since he dropped a trio of summer singles: “Good Kisser”, “She Came to Give It To You”, and “I Don’t Mind”, which went platinum! Where is the Usher record!?! Apparently it’ll be called Flawed, and it has a new single: “No Limit”. It contains multiple references to the No Limit records days of yore and it features Young Thug. Produced comes courtesy of Brandon “B.A.M.” Hodge and Christopher Perry.

PHIL: I don’t know if I can handle Usher saying he’s gonna “knock that pussy out like Sugar Ray.”

Look, I know Usher is only 37. And who am I get in the way of his giving a lady companion the “ghetto D”? But this whole thing feels a little forced.

Part of the problem is that I just really liked the globetrotting pop Usher of Looking 4 Myself, and this is far from it. It’s basically a Chris Brown song. That’s not a big thing, I guess. It’s a good Chris Brown song. It’s just a little boilerplate.

Do you think Young Thug charges more Ewok ad-libs in addition to a guest verse?

Also, are we sure he’s saying, “I could put karats all over you,” and not carrots? I just assume Thugger is into some weird stuff.

MARCUS: WHAT IN THE HELL IS HAPPENING HERE?

Usher’s like, this close to hitting that R. Kelly and Chris Brown “creepy old man in the clurb” status.

Phil, I totally see him putting carrots somewhere really unnecessary before giving his girl that “ghetto D” and killing her vagina “like C Murder” with love that has “no limit like Master P.”

This is the Mary J. Blige Burger King commercial of R&B songs in that something so crass and fulfilling the worst of black stereotypes feels like it came completely out of left field.

Young Thug is actually not cool enough to require Usher to dumb himself down to this level.

Christ.

AARON: Master P-nis up in here.

This is unsettling. I thought the whole reason we loved Ursher all this time is because he was a nice wholesome guy that held the cross generational key to R&B success. He had it alll: Motown good looks.;Michael Jackson feet; Luther-style good  intentions with setbacks and struggles; plus, a little gold chain swag for the players.

What is this all about? You are only 37, don’t give up yet my dude. You don’t have to be another old dude mining the game for relevance. You can still make a premium record anytime you want. You do not have to hang out with Young Thug if you don’t want to.

I know the industry has you held hostage with the okey-doke ,so just blink and do that spin where you kick your shoes off if you understand and we will send help.

You don’t have to do this alone.

There is no limit to how much I don’t like this song. It tanked.

Why not something more romantic?  “I’ma put the pussy in jail for life like C-murder” has a nice ring to it.

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Clams Casino ft. Vince Staples: “All Nite”

It’s been over five years since New Jersey physical therapy student turned hip-hop producer Clams Casino released his first instrumental mixtape. He’s gone on to release a few more, and, of course, his beats have ended up on releases by ScHoolboy Q, FKA Twigs, A4AP Ferg, Blood LRange, Mac Miller, A$AP Ferg, and Vince Staples. Now, after a half decade of work, he’s calling in some favors for his proper debut, 32 Levels. The 12-track album (restraint!) arrives in mid-July. The first single, “Witness, featured Lil B. The latest, “All Nite”, features Vince Staples. Clams Casino produced “Norf Norf” and “Surf” from Staples’ debut, Summertime ’06.

PHIL: Woo. I needed this.

“Better bite the bullet before the bullet fight your brain.”

Infinity skull emojis.

Is it possible to be lean and dense at the same time? There’s no fat on Vince Staples – Clams Casino collab, but they always take a few listens to sink in.

Clams Casino made a name on monolithic bangers and spacey soundscapes, but this shit moves. And when that low end bass rumbles in? Disgusting.

If only other guys could do so much with less than three minutes.

MARCUS: Clams Casino loves rap so much that he made a DJ Mustard track for Vince Staples to rap on like Too Short.

The funny thing is that Clams Casino did his part on purpose while I’m 110% certain that Vince Staples just stepped up to the mic and said some rap shit.

The beauty of this is in just how professional the whole thing is. Vince needs to do a whole album with ScHoolboy Q with Clams behind the boards in the same way that I want to lock Action Bronson and his posse in Mario Batali’s Eataly for a year with Alchemist. Both projects would be unquestionably great.

AARON: Yes, lord.

Only Clams Casino can make 2016 sound like 1986 and 2026 at the same damn time.

It is wild to hear him make a beat north of 80bpm. Shit is grimy and full of his signature wide-open spaces and weird-shit production.

Staples has a kind of seriousness that cuts through a lot of typical mean mug, money, and gun rap. He has a thematic instinct on the mic that kills a lot of his contemporaries. He’s not stunting on anyone. He’s not battling anyone. He’s not bragging. He’s trying make rent, level up, and keep that corner booth in the restaurant so nobody can sneak up on him.

I want this album right now.

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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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