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

Today, clipping. wriggle like an eel; Tyga takes a flight on Air Jamaica; and Jeezy makes a trip to Magic City Mondays with Future and 2 Chainz.

Our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Clyde McGrady, Hip Hop Hooray’s Leah Manners, Jose Lopez-Sanchez, and Aaron Miller of Austin Mic Exchange.

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clipping.: “Wriggle”

Almost two weeks ago, rapper Daveed Diggs won a Tony for his roles as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. What most voters probably didn’t know is that Diggs is also part of L.A. experimental noise/hip-hop trio clippin. with producers William Huston and Jonathan Snipes. Not long after the win, Sub Pop released the latest EP from clipping., Wriggle. Today, we listen to its title track.

LEAH: He’s got some speed chops, and I started off liking this track, but the more it goes on, the more the chorus applies: “Showoff.” At some point, probably around 2:37, the track becomes an exercise in frenetic flow and honestly I end up finding it pretty annoying.

CLYDE: Leah, I completely disagree! This doesn’t go off the rails until at least the 2:41 mark.

I noticed one of the tags for this song was “harsh noise rap”. Is this more for the Death Grips/Yeezus crowd? Either way, this song just isn’t my cup of lean.

PHIL: I’m all in on the production: flipping the Whitehouse sample, the breakneck shifts; the footwork rhythms; the contrast of grimy and polished sonics. All of it.

Diggs, on the other hand, does nothing for me. It’s an oddly lifeless performance, isn’t it?  I mean, he’s obviously rapping quite quickly and proficiently, and that’s something, but where’s the anger or sleaze or sinisterness this production calls for? I don’t need to be shouted out like Grips, but I need some attitude. Hell, I just need some texture.

As it is now, this sounds like someone playing punk dress-up. Putting a bondage drawing on your cover doesn’t distract from that.

MARCUS: Yikes.

This is derivative of everything that everyone who likes derivative things loves.

This is also what happens when everyone realizes that rapping, as in the art of saying words in rhyming couplets, is relatively simple.

Rapping with swagger and for popular or general consumption, which this is not an example of, is rather difficult.

Again, yikes.

AARON: WHO AMONG YE WOULD RATHER HEAR HOMEBOY SANDMAN ON THIS TRACK?

I’m with Phil. The production is nice, ambitious even, but this basically sounds exactly like what it is: fake weird.

It sounds   like a PG-13 dude who has a Grammy, a Tony, and the President’s phone number in his pocket tryna do fringe-rap.

He can definitely rap. That much is clear.  The zine style album art and Sub Pop cred would normally reel me in, I’m just not sure who this song is for given the space that Diggs currently occupies. This song is obviously not for musical theater fans. I don’t think that people listening to Death Grips or Danny Brown will even raise an eyebrow.

The juke/footwork/edm crowd will not give a shit about this track.

I don’t make the rules but I’m pretty sure Broadway is the exact opposite of hip-hop. I’ve tried to get my head around the whole “Hamilton” phenom but I just can’t.

I mean, it’s built on a foundation of two things I love: hip-hop and arcane politics.

Nope. It makes my ears hurt. Straight corn.

Can’t do it.

This is not terrible or anything but it is indeed derivative. It goes downhill with the first hook for me. Eye roll in full effect. The only way I will give dude a second chance is if he goes on a grimy club tour with Shabazz Palaces and Busdriver and sleeps in the van or something.

What a time to be contrived.

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Tyga: “1 of 1”

When last we checked in with Tyga, he was dropping some next-level skeeze with an ode to barely legal girlfriends called “Stimulated”. This week, he returns to our attention with “1 of 1”, a song that sounds awfully similar to a few dancehall-tinged tracks from rap game Miss Cleo, Drake. (The charts don’t lie!)  But at least Tyga’s father is Jamaican? Word has it that he’s already filmed a video in Kingston for “1 of 1”.

LEAH: Just as boring as “Controlla”, with half the talent.

AARON: Gawd. Wack City.

I hate the fact that once a year I gotta acknowledge this guy as a real person.

Again, I don’t make the damn rules, but I’m pretty sure you have to make a choice. You can date children or get respect as a human being, and Tyga has made his racecar-shaped bed.

Seriously, eff this clown. Pure anti-culture.

CLYDE:        Since when did Tyga start biting Drake?

Especially considering he once called the 6 God corny.

Xylophones!

OVO is gonna be pissed about this.

Fuck Tyga.

For real, fuck Tyga.

Every now and then he says some clever shit, tho.

Not on this song, but still.

Did they change this beat enough to not get sued?

Eventually he’s gonna go away right?

Rack City wasn’t that bad.

LEAH:          Pretty mediocre track, I think.

Every time I listen, I feel like this is the pre-song to the actual song that a real artist would release.

Do you ever think he should just retire already? To a country without age requirements?

Of course, if you like Drake, I guess this is a RIYL, but sooo boring.

PHIL: Tyga, my dude, you can’t make a references to summer school and Lunchables when you’re lowkey sleeping with a high schooler.

This song is hilarious. I can’t wait to see a video of this grown-up Rizzo kicking his sexy jam on the streets of Jamaica.

The dream of Willie Beamer is alive in Tyga.

MARCUS: I want KRS-One to punch Tyga in the face.

There was once a time that when something that rap people thought was wack was happening that The Teacher would punch someone in the face and re-set the boundaries of good taste. Yeah, maybe that time he assaulted PM Dawn’s Prince Be (RIP) was a step too far, but we all get the picture here, right?

This song makes me very actively in favor reinstating that level of aggression in rap again.

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Jeezy ft. 2 Chainz & Future: “Magic City Monday”

Jeezy, Future, and 2 Chainz have joined together in worship of Atlanta’s strip club Mecca, Magic City. Production comes courtesy of D.Rich. And based on his use of the #snowseason hashtag, Jeezy may have something bigger on the way.

JOSE: I spent the summer of 2011 working as a law clerk at Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, and it was truly an eye opening experience. I witnessed the conditions and social circumstances that serve as the backdrop to so many elements of Southern rap: the abject poverty that drives people to becoming dope fiends and dealers, the homes broken by a legal system that creates quasi-inescapable cycles of poverty, the resilience and creativity that shines through in the face of it all.

Downtown Atlanta is not the most welcoming of places at the best of times, particularly on MLK Boulevard – the main artery that bisects the city’s most southern cluster of offices and state and federal offices. Whether by design or by accident, Magic City is only a few blocks from Fulton County courthouse, and it’s not hard to imagine many of Atlanta’s leading lights taking great delight in partaking in excesses just a stone’s throw away from the system that repeatedly tries to knock them down. Magic City has mythical status at this point, and you haven’t made it until you’ve made it rain.

This song is the kind of banger that Jeezy built his early success on: trunk rattling bass, aggressive snares, icy and threatening chord progressions driving the raps forward with a purpose. Jeezy does what he does best, growling his way through every bar, and both Chainz and Future are at the top of their game right now. What a time to be alive, indeed.

CLYDE: Jose, thank you for this very sobering analysis of the poor socioeconomic conditions which, sadly, provide the foundation for so much of the music we love. One hopes that we can reform our judicial system to provide fairness for all people which could in turn unleash undiscovered potential and allow the least among us to escape the inertia of crippling poverty and limited opportunity…

BUT DAMN NIGGA THIS BEAT GETS ME SO HYPE OMG THIS SONG BANGZ

LEAH: I liked it. I miss the Ruff Ryders.

PHIL: You know “Magic City Monday” is in trouble if Future shows up in the third act and runs away with the whole thing. Future is many things, but a song-stealer he is not.

This is the hardest Future has rapped since “Covered N Money”. Or maybe that’s just how it feels after the yawn parade that precedes him.

“Magic City Monday” isn’t bad. It’s just boring. 2 Chainz has been on a winning streak lately, but there’s not much to get excited about in his bars. Jeezy, on the other hand, has not been on winning streak, and between this and Gangsta Party and Church in these Streets, listening to him is just becoming a slog.

I’m not ruling out the idea of fire Jeezy singles to come. It’s just clear that such an occurrence is dependent on producers and features carrying the day. I was hoping that might happen on “Magic City Monday”.

A great Future cameo aside, it doesn’t.

MARCUS: Funny thing about this song is that I think it’s weighed down by two old men who are rapping about being at Magic City’s infamous Monday night party, but who don’t actively attend said event, like Future. I get the sense that Future’s all like, “Well shit, I’m going to be at Magic City when this is dropped, so I’d better spit some fire so that I get extra love in the club that night.”

Jeezy and 2 Chainz are gifted rappers, but they’re also old ass men. I get the sense these days that 2 Chainz is more busy sitting in corporate offices than he is throwing dollars at naked and undulating rear ends. As well, I think that Jeezy is so thorough in the streets of Atlanta that he’s either back haunting the grimy clubs *just* outside of the city limits or he’s found the *next* dope spot.

This just smacks of trend-hopping and wave-riding and falls short because of it. Five years ago, Chainz would’ve smashed this, Future would’ve still been great, and Jeezy would’ve covered it in powder. Now, it’s just wholly underwhelming. Oh well.

AARON: “Wrap it up like a mummy.”

Jeezy and Future? Cmon.

Is this what it’s come to in 2016? I gotta hear the same line in a song by two dudes, and it’s not even the hook?

Normally I love Jeezy just because. It’s like looking at the last rhino or an extinct volcano. It’s about respect and awe of the natural order of things. But this is a snoozer.

It’s also a damn shame that 2 Chainz has to get so hype as the sun sets on his career. He’s pretty much nailed every feature we’ve covered in the last 2 Yearz.

Y’all know I don’t fucks with Future and his sad, lazy, mumbling.

I could do without this one.

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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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