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

Today, Eminem is on the campaign trail; Pusha T doubles up on singles; and RiFF RAFF and Skepta get spooky.

Our distinguished panel consists of Getting Over’s Marcus Dowling, Clyde McGrady, Austin Mic Exchange’s Aaron Miller, Hip Hop Hooray’s Leah Manners, and Phil R.

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Eminem: “Campaign Speech”

With “Campaign Song”, Eminem joins the like of, well, pretty every musician and offers a song about 2016 election. Or, at least some of it’s about that. It’s an almost-eight-minute song. It’s long. It also doesn’t feature drums or a chorus.

CLYDE: I don’t know if you could set expectations any lower for me liking this song, Phil.

I’ll be honest, I only made it halfway through this.

This is the most self-indulgent masturbatory trash Em has ever created… and that’s saying lot for a man who made an album with nothing but fart noises and Michael Jackson jokes.

It’s like, “Hey guys my words are so clover I’m not even gonna rap over a beat lest you get distracted from how amazing a wordsmith I am” hehe.

This is like if your freshman dorm hosted a slam poetry night after everyone just took their mid-terms for “Intro to Politics”

MARCUS: You know…

This is where we are. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running for President. This means that literally the two people who represent the worst types of people that we’re told should never seek elected office are actively campaigning to ultimately run America off a cliff and into the ground like Wile E. Coyote. So, I’m not even mad at Eminem for doing a shit-terrible eight-minute political diatribe. It’s no worse than YG saying “Fuck Donald Trump,” which is on the other end of the “shit-terrible 2016 rap protest song” spectrum. At least there’s not a “Campaign Speech” nationwide tour that’s co-signing this garbage. I mean, if it happened tomorrow or something, color me unsurprised, but yeah.

This is what happens when terrible people do terrible things and people feel hopeless. They do things that showcase how shocked and astounded they are, which sound like saying “woe is me” into a microphone in too-many bars.

In a month, Em’s going to look into a mirror, see the morning news, and ask himself why he didn’t say, take eight minutes to instead call college-age Haille Jade to see how she’s doing at Michigan State this semester?

Here’a a simple rule: hopeless and helpless rappers oftentimes make shit-terrible music.

AARON: Man. Y’all harsh.

I’m not gonna say this is the best track ever or even a track at all, however I am saying that I would like to see what happened if the the Dj dropped this at 1:58am while dudes in masks chain up the door from the outside.

Like just stop partying for one minute and eat these words.

The rapping is predictably awesome to the point of being boring so I feel you, but even for a dude who is king of punchlines-there is some ill shit being said in this song. The beat only drops for a few seconds here and there.

When it does, you get a snapshot of how dope this song would be if it had some drums and five less minutes.

So yeah. Live as fuck or boring as fuck, you decide. I like to check and see if Em can still rap every 4-6months.

Shocker. He still good.

Shady pretty much sets a universal standard for the clap back with his battle raps. I’m just not sure who he’s beefing with here except for like everybody ever that did anything anywhere.

LEAH: This comes across more as a freestyle puzzle assemble than a real song. In that way, it’s an interesting experiment. It’s not something you’re supposed to bump in your car, but I can see thousands of teenagers memorizing it in the prideful way they have previous Em songs. It’s a challenge, and in that way it succeeds – it’s really challenging to listen to, to devote your attention to it fully. Well, he got us for 8 minutes (on average – only 4 for Clyde but 16 for Aaron). I’ll be interested in seeing how experimental the album ends up being.

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Pusha T: “H.G.T.V.” & “Circles”

Speaking of songs without choruses, last week Pusha T released a two-minute ditty that’s being referred to as a “freestyle” some places (like iTunes). It’s called “H.G.T.V.”, and it was produced by Mike Will Made-It. Of interest: Pusha T, who has been campaigning with Tim Kaine, refers to himself as Blobama… twice! But that’s not all we have from Pusha today. At the same time he dropped “H.G.T.V.”, he also released the more proper single “Circles”, which features Ty Dolla $ign and Desiigner. Production comes from the team of Vinylz, Allen Ritter, Frank Dukes, and Boi-1da. Let’s talk about both songs.

MARCUS: YES.

OSAMA BLOW-BAMA is “rap’s John Grisham” and talking about Ubers and dad hats. Somehow, Pusha T always figures out how to make himself both an outsider and relevant at the exact same time. It’s gotta be those years of actually selling drugs to people that aren’t from your neighborhood influencing his writing. HGTV is brilliant. It’s not “Numbers on the Boards,” but I like this stripped aesthetic that GOOD has all of their artists doing these days. I think Kanye and his team know they can’t do the neo-jazz thing, so they’re going for a lot of brutalist art raps instead, and I’m here for it.

“Circles” is frustrating in the way that so many lifeless ALL HOOK clurb raps are in 2016. On the other end of the spectrum from “brutalist art raps” is this thing that “Rack City” created and “Panda” improved. Pusha T could literally rap the recipe for making heroin-infused crack cocaine here, but the droning monotony of Ty Dolla and Desiigner would overwhelm it into oblivion. The producers of these songs and the hook men sing-songing these days are better at what they do than the rappers could ever be saying literally anything on these tracks. Brains are literally not meant to handle this kind of music, which is both frustrating and unfortunate.

PHIL: John Grishman did not deserve the shout out.

AARON: HGTV is the best beat Mike Will Ever Made It and the hardest track of the year. Dibs on best of get off me.

The visual is mean, too.

When Push co-signs Desiigner it makes me so frustrated-like when your boss TELLS you something is a good idea vs. it actually being a good idea. Now I’m all grumbling under my breath at the cubicle like just wait til happy hour motherfucker I’m gonna talk so much shit.

Also, did Desiigner say ” get married with my drawers on.?” …because that is weird if he said what I think he said on ” Circles”

Ty Dolla $ign is still completely invisible to me.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_zme8Pj7KA

RiFF RAFF ft. Skepta: “Back from the Dead”

RiFF RAFF and Skepta are on the same track. 2016 is a weird place to be. This track is called “Back from the Dead”, and it’s set to appear of RiFF RAFF’s forthcoming Halloween-themed mixtape Balloween. Please see previous comment re: 2016. “Back from the Dead” was produced by Will-A-Fool.

MARCUS: I like how Skepta probably walked into every single label office in America in 2015, saw just how dilapidated and non-sustainable the structure of the American majors are right now, and like, picked up a paper bag of tax-free money from Riff Raff instead. Like, this is more calculated than you probably think it is, as Riff Dot Piff is the guy who the VC dude in Silicon Valley is totally cool with blowing a stack on just to get access to the studio for #raresnaps *just* to appear to be cool to his friends. That’s where we are in music in 2016, and if we’re here, then we ABSOLUTELY have to be cool with this, and also judge it’s creative worth or lack thereof, too.

To be perfectly honest with you, I like Riff on trap-soul stuff more than I like Drake on the same material. Riff’s spiritually much closer to Paul Wall saying “I got the innnernet gawin nutz” than Aubrey is, and that’s just facts. Also, “Versace gingivitis/diamonds on my pacifier” is a level of swag that rappity raps need right now. Like, if I had the money, I’d blow all of the stacks on creating a triangle between Vice, Riff and Pusha T and release the greatest viral mixtape with all of the proper big money placements. How nobody’s done this yet is basically appalling.

Skepta’s bars here are trash, though. However, trap is a relatively new lane for grime rappers, so I’ll give him a pass for now. That grime flow works on tracks that sound like they’re made in a tin can and have no room to breathe, so that the flows match the production. Skepta’s not going to do a double-time thing here, so, we get what we get.

AARON:  Yikes.

Not my fave. Neither of these two on point.

I mean Riff Raff is supposed to have dumpster bars but Skepta?!

Marcus, you right. This might be the first thing even close to wack I’ve heard from The current King Of Transatlantic Relevance.  This shit needs fast rapping and I don’t understand how they missed it.

Almost all Grime dudes sound weird when they rap slow. Leave that shit to GiGGS and gimme that 140 bpm pls/thx

This song will no doubt get mad play at all the coolest Halloween parties that you miss this year.

LEAH: If I’m being honest, I’ve missed Riff Raff. He brings a kind of naive joy to rap that is just hard to replicate. You can tell he’s doing something he really loves. That being said, I think Aaron’s right about this beat needing a bit of a faster delivery. Instead of living in the trap, Skepta kind of dirges along with it, lurching through his mediocre verse.

 

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