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Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy. Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks. Today, Young Thug and Lil Wayne become one; #MeekMillRapLike he got a track with Boosie; and Royce da 5’9″ hooks up with Primo. As always, our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Damion M, Joshua Phelps, and Weird City Fest‘s Aaron Miller and Leah Manners (of Hip Hop Hooray too).

Young Thug & Lil Wayne: “Take Kare”

After about a half decade of half-assing it, Birdman has really been trying to make Rich Gang a thing recently. So, what is Rich Gang?  It’s a “super group” of Young Money acts fronted by the YMCMB overlord. How does that differ from a typical Young Money compilation? Brrrrrrr. Stop asking questions. But while Rich Gang put out a flop of a compilation last year, it’s recent mixtape Tha Tour Part 1 has been a different story. People love it. And it was mostly the work of Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, and producer London On Da Track – the trio behind legitimately weird radio hit “Lifestyle”. Of course, now Lil Wayne wants in on the  action, so we have “Take Kare”, a Rich Gang single that replaces Quan with Young Thug’s spirit animal, Weezy.

Aaron: This is hot garbage. I thought it would work the other way. I thought a track with Weezy might serve as some sort of Rap Game speech therapy for Young Thug and we would finally be able to understand him. No such luck. It just made Wayne rap like some kind of sub-goon Morlock with three grills on.

Was Young Thug just abandoned in the streets and raised by wild dogs? I really can’t get my head around his inability to speak fucking English. For some reason ,he makes me think of “Nell”

I keep waiting for a real live Weezy comeback. He’s good when he wants to be.  Any of y’all remember Tunechi’s verse on that Abstract and the Dragon mixtape, “Renaissance Rap (Remix)?! It’s amazing. Hands down, one of the illest verses he’s spit in a long while. This track, by contrast, is off-brand gibberish, and the production is bland.

Phelps: Nah. One Young Thug on a track is enough if not too much. What the fuck is Lil Wayne doing after his pretty strong summer? Everyone making that Snoop quote from the other week into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I do not want Snoop validated by anything these days. I’m not feeling this at all.

Leah: FUN GAME: Try to figure out who does which verse on this track.

SECOND FUN GAME: Figure out ten actual intelligible words in Thug’s verse(s).

Damion: Totally feel you, Leah. I have no idea who is on what verse or when.  This joint is horrible, but I bet both of these dudes thought the song was fire when they were done with it.

Phil: “Take Kare” is like one of those horror movie where the protagonist is drunk / drugged and then has sex with someone, but because they are so intoxicated and/or having sex with a demon, the other person’s face keeps shifting and it’s weird and they wake up like, “Who the hell did I bone last night?”

Also, I kind of like it.

Marcus: I’m not mad at Birdman. Foremost, he’s dating Keyshia Cole, and secondly he’s trying to get his DJ Khaled on here in his own way. Khaled’s pretty much established his formula for hood-to-mainstream posse cuts, yet this feels far more hood-to-club, skipping any desire whatsoever to make noise on Clear Channel-driven radio. I like that, and I’m certain Young Thug will like getting cash in hand and bottles of whatever to warble into microphones and puff loud, sniff Xanax, or whatever the kids are doing these days.

Weezy trying to match Young Thug’s energy is hilarious, as I get the sense that he’s been listening to this man for a minute, so it’s like, “Finally! I get to make my answer!” Of course, it’s full of awkward romance, empty threats, weirdo platitudes, and an energy that could only be matched by mixing promethazine and Cialis. Yeah, this one is just entertaining enough to be passable. However, anyone making serious conversation about the rap skills of Young Thug is trolling you, me, and everyone entirely too hard.  If we were to ever completely decipher it, nothing he’s saying is really that serious, anyway.

Meek Mill ft. Boosie: “Fuck You Mean”

You think your Lil Boosie will never grow up, and then one day he goes off to college jail, and when he comes back, he tells you, “Don’t call me Lil Boosie anymore! No one in college jail calls me Lil!” And you say, “But you’ve always been Lil Boosie. Where is this change coming from?” And he just storms off. Anyway, Lil Boosie is just Boosie now. Meek Mill is still Meek Mill, but who knows what will happen when he finishes serving a sentence for probation violation. Sometime before he went in, he and Boosie recorded “Fuck You Mean”, a track produced by J. Olver. It may appear on his Philadelphia Flyer mixtape. Or maybe it’ll be on Dreams Worth More Than Money, Meek Mill’s forthcoming sophomore effort, which is on ice until he’s out of the clink. (Don’t tell his Twitter background.)

Phelps: “Fuck you, fuck ya mama, and fuck ya team.” This is a pretty near approximation of a rant leveled at one of our nation’s top economists in my early a.m. DC basketball game this past Wednesday. I FEEL YOU MEEK. I FEEL YOU BOOSIE. I too often don’t know what the fuck people mean, and I react thusly like a maniac.

As opposed to the syrup-tinged, tedious flows from Wayne and Young Thug that lull you into a dead eyed stasis, Meek and Boosie’s smack the codeine bottle right out your hands and shove it up your ass to help you meet your maker faster than college kids butt chugging.

TL;DR: I like this song.

Damion: *Flames* This joint is a banger.  Obviously, Meek was gonna crush his verse, but I didn’t even think about what Boosie would do to a track like this.  He ate this up.  To a degree, these two are like Northern/Southern versions of each other: Little guys that bring heat to the mic in a style that represents where they’re from to the fullest. That being said, this beat couldn’t hit harder, and for that alone I would be backing this 100%

Let’s make sure Phelps never hears this song again.

Leah: No doubt, this track bangs. But, as is my complaint with most mainstream rap bangers, it doesn’t muster the effort to steer away from the extremely well-trodden path of braggadocio about money, women, and cars (and women as objects bullshit).  So, yeah, I’ll listen to it in the gym on my last set or mile, and I’m not looking for anything introspective or inventive from Meek or Boosie, but there’s not much here that’s pushing the genre forward.

Marcus: Okay. This is the best Meek Mill song ever. Basically, this means that on every Meek Mill song moving forward, he needs to be pushed by the likes of Boosie – aka one of the few rappers who can do “bitter yelling over 808s” as well as Meek does it. The hardest thing about being Meek Mill is that like other rappers from the area South of New York but north of the Carolinas is that many of these emcees never had any intention of trying to be more of a hoodlum than Kool G. Rap, they instead just wanna be some strange combination of Waka/Juicy J/Scarface. Thus, as key as the bars are, it’s the hooks that are the most important part, and yeah…this one makes “Levels” look like grade school.

Insofar as spitting, yeah. Boosie obliterates this. I think that the Southern guys know about the Philly/Baltimore/DC/VA need to emulate them, so it’s almost as if Boosie’s just trying to guard the ratchet rap throne. I want a remix with either Wale going ignorant about haters (because…Wale, lol) or hell, Pusha T just bodying this production. There’s something in the water in producing an emcee like this in this manner, too. Hopefully if/when Meek gets his life together, he can be allowed to really veer his career down this path. Many hits await him.

Damion: Somebody alert Pusha T immediately!

Phil: This is prime #MeekMillRapLike. Dude is rap game Eddie Lacy: Not a whole lot of juking or lateral movement, but he hits the hole at 100 miles per hour and gets what’s blocked for him. “Fuck You Mean” is a solid eight yard gain.

It’s a minor marvel that Meek Mill has made just-rap-hard-as-fuck into a marketable thing at a time when two of the most popular rappers on the planet – Drake and Young Thug – are sing-songers. It’s especially remarkable when you take into account that the content of his bars are wholly unremarkable. I don’t consider that a knock: Meek Mill’s lane is balance beam narrow, but he’s smart enough to stay well within it.

Personally, I would have liked to hear more about these $1000 jeans. I can say with some certainty that I will never wear $1000 jeans. How soft is the denim? Are they bedazzled? Do they come with an Abercrombie model? Are they worth it? Can you even go back to, like, $200 jeans? I remember when I made the jump to $200 jeans and I was like, “Fuck you, Gap. Never again.” I’m just saying that there are levels to this denim shit, and I would like to hear more about it.

Also, shout out to that steady kick drum in the build up in the chorus. It’s so basic and you never get it enough of it anymore.

Aaron: As much as I hate the predictability of every Trap Banger that comes out,I really appreciate that there is real energy on this track. I think we’ve been dog piled with so much dribble-mouthed half rap like Young Thug et al. that any discernible excitement on a track like this really stands out. It’s like somebody spiked the Lean with Bath Salts and threw a couple Pit Bulls in the booth. I like that 4 on the floor gorilla stomp beat on the last half of the hook…it makes me wanna punch the steering wheel.

I don’t care for either of these two in the grand arc of today’s emcee talent and will most likely never listen this song again, but they are trying really hard and I can get with that.

PRhyme: “Courtesy”

“I want people to appreciate the fact that we didn’t compromise in lieu of the environment,” Royce da 5’9″ told XXL recently. “In order to try to change the way that people digest music, we had to take a leap of faith. The bar has to be high for this album to be another body of work and another chapter for both of our lives.” Royce was talking about PRyhme, his collaboration with Brooklyn legend / Gang Starr producer DJ Premier. The two have a record out in December and it’s got some marquee features: Common, Killer Mike, Jay Electronica, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Slaughterhouse, Mac Miller and Dwele. But the record’s first single, “Courtesy”, is the work of just the two seasoned vets.

Marcus: I like projects like these because you get a sense that there’s some old 40-something marketing dudes “fighting the good fight” in a boardroom somewhere for “real rap.” I don’t know exactly how I feel about old dudes in suits “keeping real rap alive,” but I do know how I feel about DJ Premier records (this is a phenomenal DJ Premier record).

Royce da 5’9″ is excellent because he raps well, but never veers into the hyper-lyrical or super-preachy lane. He just speaks plainly and delivers the goods. These are the kind of songs that they should lock Trinidad James, Chief Keef and Bobby Shmurda (we already know he’s getting dropped next year, right?) in a room to listen to on repeat like, right now. There’s a level of intelligence and well-worn life living that should be required of all emcees that Royce just gets and displays here.

Aaron: Yes, yes, y’all. This is the shit. Snare game tight! I can’t hate. Premier is one of my ultimate dudes, and Royce may have some of the greatest punchlines of all time.

“My next album will be so dark and so fly the CD package will be wrapped in bat wings”?!??

GTFOH. Ridiculous. This beat is classic Primo with a twist. (Snobservation: The sample is very long compared to his usual 2-4 bar vignettes.)

I dont know where I stand on the fight for Real Rap most days, but I figure if Old Dudes invented rap, there’s still a few left that can save it.

Leah: I am so, so excited for this release. On a week where we talk about Young Thug, Weezy, Meek Mill, and Boosie, it’s just a breath of fresh air to hear real, interesting flows, which Royce delivers every time.  Primo demonstrates again why he’s more than just an Old Dude in rap by continuing to making fresh cuts. He’s just a hard fucking worker in rap. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

Phil: “Used to rap about death, now I’m only concerned to live / I value relationships, still I keep it competitive.”

This track is grass-fed beef compared to the pink slime we’ve been eating.


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