Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy. Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks.
Today, Pusha T shows Logic how to flick the wrist; Thelonious Martin and Joey Purp offer up a powerful statement; and Childish Major turns 25.
Logic ft. Pusha T: “Wrist”
Last fall, Gaithersburg rapper made his biggest splash nationally with The Incredible True Story, his second album and one that sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week. A few days ago he put out his first full release since then, Bobby Tarantino, a “retail mixtape.” It contains the song “Wrist”, which contains a verse from Pusha T. Produced comes courtesy of Logic and 6ix.
AARON: I know I’ve been fake hating on Logic for a while now, but truth be told, he is a rapping-ass rapper and I enjoy his work. I still don’t trust him all the way. It’s hard to pin down. I can’t tell if he has a signature style or if his style is just being able to outrap the next guy. The production on most of his work is killer and you can hear every goddamn word he says.
That being said, this is far from his best. It’s still dope raps, don’t get me wrong, but compared to literally every Logic song I’ve ever heard, I feel like he could fit more words in there if he wanted to.
Also, it sounds like another song. There is already a wrist flicking song, right?
What can we snort about Pusha T that hasn’t already been snorted?
The line where he’s reminiscing about the Trap and growls “…we got rich in there.” It sounds like he is licking his lips, emphasis on “rich.”
He doesn’t need to be there. He doesn’t need the money. He just really enjoys The Work.
PHIL: Solid effort, kid, but… no. The answer is no. No one wants to hear your drug lord narrative. Let’s leave the formulaic drogas-to-riches storytelling to “Narcos”. Or is there a message in here? Don’t become drug kingpins, children!
Also, the hook outwears its welcome after about three seconds.
God bless Pusha. He brings way more heat than this construct deserves. How did this conversation go?
Logic: “Hey, Push, I got a song where I rap from a perspective of an old drug dealer whose past catches up with him. I was thinking you might to speak from-“
Pusha: “I’m just gonna say a bunch of dope shit about drugs and how cool I am.”
Logic: “OK, OK, that’s totally cool. Do you. I’ll add something about the ‘young man’ or something. Thanks for the verse!!!”
LEAH: Yeah, this is mediocre at best. Let’s swap in Future for the hook and a verse (and change the hook) and throw 2 Chainz and Pharrell in, and we can have a sequel to “Move That Dope” instead of this “20 years later” version.
MARCUS: There’s a thing about white major label rappers being empowered by white (or non-lower-to-lower middle class people of any race) label execs to do polite drug rap songs that involve breaking off likely still-actual cocaine dealer Pusha T a check.
I mean, Push is DOPE AS HELL (and again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still employing people serving base), but he’s getting to Ron Burgundy “he only reads what’s on the teleprompter” levels of giving no fucks or shits as long as the check doesn’t bounce.
On one level, that makes this song tolerable because “Clockwise/Counterclockwise, realest n*gga in the top five” is CRAZY. But on yet another level, how many checks is TOO MANY CHECKS, KING PUSH? I don’t know. I see the hustle here, but that doesn’t mean I’m entirely here for it.
Thelonious Martin ft. Joey Purp: “Bomaye”
It took a little longer than some may have expected, but Chance the Rapper’s Savemoney Crew is starting to gain some real traction. Joey Purp’s iiiDrops mixtape received glowing reviews. Towkio’s “Playin Fair” is getting play. Vic Mensa is… well, let’s not talk about Vic Mensa. Instead, let’s turn our attention to Thelonious Martin. The producer has a new song out via the Adult Swim Summer Singles series. It’s called “Bomaye” and it features Joey Purp.
AARON: GOD BLESS THE WOKE LITTLE CHILDREN.
This is amazing, and the future is brighter than it looks.
Other than Vic Mensa, I am just recently familiarizing myself with this crew. This kid means business. This song sounds like an emergency. The world weary strain in these voices is channeling the best kind of urgency that hip-hop has to offer. (Oh shit, what rhymes with “emergency” and ” urgency?” That was almost bars.)
Thelonius Martin is on some real live shit with this sound. Both of these beats punch you in the face.
The last part of Young Purp’s second verse is the clearest, most concise explanation of the struggle I’ve heard in 16 bars in a long while.
I’m excited about all these dudes.
PHIL: Fuck. Powerful stuff all around here. I’m all for succinct statements, but I wouldn’t have minded five minutes of this, even if it was just to let each of the instrumentals ride out. A tour de force.
MARCUS: Some stream of consciousness thoughts as I run this one for a third time:
Adult Swim for best “label” in the rap game.
Lil Chi-Town bamas making so much noise right now. Not mad.
It’s a war of attrition on those streets, hanhhh (Kanye voice). Everybody’s so gifted and so prepared. The strongest are thriving. It’s like, whoever is the one “invisible hand” guiding these young’uns turned left while everyone else turned right and landed them safely here.
Roses growing from concrete. All of that stuff.
Glad Chi has a voice right now.
LEAH: Nobody hotter than this. That turnover is killer. On repeat all week.
Childish Major ft. Isaiah Rashad & SZA “Happy Birthday”
Childish Major has produced tracks for a number of notable acts: Juicy J, Jeezy, Vince Staples, A$AP Ferg, everyone on “U.N.E.N.O.” Now he’s giving the rapping thing a shot for himself with “Happy Birthday”, his first official single. It features TDE’s Isaiah Rashad and SZA. “This is just the beginning,” he promised on Soundcloud. “Pay attention to the level up!”
AARON: Yessssssss, a beat north of 80bpm.
This beat makes me want to do that weird 90’s backpacker two-step everybody used to do or maybe the OG Running Man.
Rashad is generally slept on. SZA has the voice of an angel. And look the producer can rap too. What’s not to like?
I have no idea what this song is about but I dig the salty, sour grapes thing going on here. I feel like this is a song anybody can fuck off to.
Like, fuck your birthday, we all got problems, vibe with us.
MARCUS: Well, goddamn.
Isaiah Rashad is the silent killer of TDE and has been for like, three years now. He gets better and he’s just collecting checks as the sixth man on the ’86 Lakers that Kendrick and friends are right now. I like him on thematically focused tracks like these because he’s such a good fucking writer when motivated to be. If left to his devices on some rappity rap shit, you get the modern lyrical equivalent of LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad.” Focused, you get this. Awesome.
Related/unrelated here’s some wild shit to consider about Top Dawg Entertainment.
Kendrick’s from Compton
Q’s a military brat from Germany who settled in South Central LA.
SZA’s from the Lou and NJ and named herself after RZA and GZA.
Jay Rock’s from Watts.
Ab-Soul is from the LA suburbs.
Isaiah’s from Chattanooga, TN.
Having traveled to or knowing people from all of those places, plus adding in their unique experiences, that’s a weird fucking crew on so many levels.
Back to the song, though.
SZA wrote Rihanna’s “Consideration” and sang on Wale’s “The Need To Know” so she’s reaching Carole King-meets-#blackgirlmagic levels already, and she just elevates everything here. Some people have the “it” factor that, like, doesn’t really translate live, and that’s SZA. You want her to live in your phone and on your computer – just kinda hanging out between the Facebook and Twitter tabs in your browser or saved on your Spotify or Apple Music. So great.
I wish I was so dope as a producer that I could just leave Clyde Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break running for three minutes and earn a check. That takes *no skill* or *all of the skill* in being cognizant that lazy ears aren’t going to know that and just say, “Ooh, that’s a drum playing soul music. Real music back like a mug, yo. This tight.” Either way, I’m here for it.
LEAH: The vibe is just perfect on this – a steady groove with lyrics that ride the sentimental/self-aware vibe leaning just a touch towards real emotion. Great track.
PHIL: This sure is a low-key way for Childish Major to announce his presence as an Artist. I mean that in the best possible way. How often have we heard producers step into rapping with what sounds like a caricature of the rappers they produce (who are often caricatures themselves)? “Happy Birthday” is straightforward, vibey stuff. It doesn’t overuse its guests, either. I don’t think it hails Childish Major as some major talent, but it proves he has taste. Sometimes, that’s half the battle.