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

Today, Juvenile is back on Cash Money and sho(w)ing love; Chuck D and De La Soul aim to inspire the people; and THEESatisfaction continue to orbit our world. As always, our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Clyde McGrady, Damion M, and Weird City Fest‘s Aaron Miller.

Rich Gang ft. Juvenile & Drake: “Sho Me Love”

As discussed a few weeks ago, Rich Gang is Birdman’s amorphous invisible hovercraft for whatever music featuring Cash Money artists that he wants to release. This week, Rich Gang means Drake and YMCMB’s newest signee… Juvenile! Juvenile is back with Cash Money! This is like the time I asked Santa to get my divorced parents back together, except this worked! “I’m signed back. Rich Gang. I’m getting ready to get my little tattoo and everything,” the New Orleans legend said at end of October. “It’s all love. I’m here to stay too.” Juvenile’s first offering since the reconnection is “Sho Me Love”, which like most things Rich Gang these days, was produced by Young Thug’s go-to beatmaker, London On Da Track. “I just feel like the time is right. I had [Juvenile] in the studio and I think he got the right records,” Birdman said recently. “I really know how focused he is with his craft. He ain’t lost that. He can rap his ass off.”

Marcus: When I was the executive director of radio station and a recording studio, I met Juvenile between times that he has recently been incarcerated. Nice enough guy, but you get the sense that he’s really tired of the music industry, but really has no other marketable real-life skills other than hustling upon which to fall back upon. Thus, I can’t help but to be really sad about this song.

Drake and Wayne are here, and “Rich Gang” just feels like a way for Birdman to write checks for his homies that have been swallowed up by the music industry, the drug game or the streets in general. That’s cool, but when you sit back and realize that it’s 2014 and Juvenile is rapping about dead people and Drake is singing the hook, it just leaves you hollow. This song feels too real, like if Birdman didn’t arrange this for Juvenile that he’d be stuck trying to pay his rent. Glad to see Juvenile’s okay, but for the sake of allowing this man to be happy, why can’t they just call Low-Pros and let A-Trak turn him up a bit. This song is sad and does no favors for anyone.

Clyde: I’ve always liked Juvey’s sing-songy cadences and think it really sets him apart from all the other rappers who came up rhyming about money, hoes, cars and clothes. He’s also one of the few rappers who seems to be feeling the melody on any given track and he rides it to perfection here.

I was initially pretty lukewarm about “Sho Me Love” but after a few listens the melody grew on me. Overall, it’s a solid comeback song for Juvenile. Doesn’t get me excited about a potential LP but I’ll definitely give this song some more spins.

Aaron: I always though that Juvenile was one of the most stylish rappers out there.  He cranked out vicious street shit with a slurred out pimp flow to take the edge off. The No Limit Era is some untouchable shit.  I listen to Nolia Clap like every 48 hrs just to hear that flute. That flute has been stuck in my head since 2004.

“Sho Me Love”, however, is just a paycheck record. I’m not really feeling it. I question whether a dude like Juvey needs autotune or background harmonies.

Drake is just gonna Drake. Dude is softer than hamster yo.  Drake has absolutely zero dead homies. He probably pours out juice on the curb for all his people in therapy, like, “This for my niggas at the day spa – we lost you too soon. ” I hate him so much. Can we put him on that Virgin Space Plane and be done with it.

This track shoulda been Juvey and Makkkkonnnenn (sp).  It should have been hard and screwed down and not sounding like some pre-set thug love jam they play at high school proms.

I love Juvenile, but everything else about this track gets no love.

Damion:  Juvey’s always been my dude. I’ve always liked his slow, country flow.  His ad libs – especially the humming – remind me of the South every time I hear it.

“Sho Me Love” is aight. I like how that it’s different.  It almost sounds like an intro – and just like with an intro, Juvey needs to follow this up with a few bangers.

Phil: Each year of Birdman’s life is like a season of “House of Cards” or “Boardwalk Empire” or some mob show on Showtime that I don’t watch: The aging Don is presented with threats to his power from upstarts and haters, and he responds by methodically making new alliances, ruthlessly purging his organization of weakness, and, eventually, smothering the competition with a pillow in their sleep.

Just think about Birdman’s 2014. He honed in on rap’s buzziest talent (Young Thug) and signed him to a management deal just as that artist’s breakthrough (“Danny Glover”) was going supernova; basically brought that rapper’s go-to producer (London On Da Track) in-house; and paired the two of them with another zeitgeisty sing-songer (Rich Homie Quan) for a hit single (“Lifestyle”), massive tour, and one of the best mixtapes of the year (Tha Tour Pt. 1). He’s kept the biggest female (Nicki) and male (Drake) rappers on the planet under the YMCMB umbrella – and repping the label at every possible public appearance – and is fixing to print money when The Pinkprint drops in a few weeks. The dude has a vision for YMCMB, and whatever doesn’t fit it – albums from Lil Wayne, Tyga, and Busta Rhymes – gets Christopher Moltasanti’d.

At 11:59 p.m. on December 31, Birdman will sit upon his gold terlet, light a Cuban cigar the size of a basset hound, and laugh manically, as he does every New Year’s Eve.

Oh, and in one last stroke of diabolical genius, he’s brought Juvenile back into the fold for one last fucking-over. Fool me once, Birdman? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Ok, that’s on me. Fool me three times?!? You’re just too good, Birdman.

“Sho Me Love” is the sound of Juvenile getting processed by the YMCMB 2014 sausage maker. There are definitely Juvenile components in here. I can sort of taste them. But they come mixed with big chunks of Young Thug (as played by Drake) and encased in London On Da Track’s opiate fog. Much like “Take Kare” – which fed Weezy through the aforementioned sausage maker – it feels more like the vapors of a song than anything of actual substance. Juvenile’s first verse is basically rap magnetic poetry. But, thankfully, the second verse hits a little harder. As with “Gotti”, any time these guys want to genuflect in the glow of late 90s flashbacks, my ears are on standby.

De La Soul ft. Chuck D: “The People”

De La Soul released “The People” – a new cut with Chuck D – earlier this week. The trio explained the song’s creation in a message on its website: “The idea for the song came from a couple of samples, and the track’s vibe is earnest and has a pressing tone to it. The lyrics are commentaries of our struggles and successes, our weaknesses and strengths… the experiences… and trials and tribulations we have faced as human beings, a race, and as individuals. Lyrically Chuck brings a sense of authority and urgency. The power in his voice demands your attention. With Chuck on the track this is a dream come true for us. Originally ‘The People’ was suppose to drop in June around the same time the Chuck D/Hot 97/Peter Rosenberg situation took place. We chose to hold off and not add fuel to any fires. Our next aim was for a Black Friday release. Coincidentally the Ferguson tragedy took place, and more recently the non-indictment verdict. Somehow this song was destined to be a part of something more than just dropping a joint. We hope it will lend itself to something positive in these difficult times.”

Marcus: So, when do we get the remix with Rae Sremmurd, Quavo from Migos and ILoveMakkonen? Seriously, the old heads need to learn how to paint with the new colors if their words are going to resonate with the younger generation. Rap fans over 30 already know the score and are all – for the most part – pissed off. This song does nothing more than stoke those already hot fires, which makes what is a great song almost completely inconsequential.

I love that De La Soul own all of their masters now and have made almost everything that they themselves release a whopping price of free.99. However, when you drop a socially relevant rap song that demonizes all of the ills in pop music for no cost at all, it’s like dropping a lead weight into an ocean. If you expect it to float, you’re crazy. That being said, what a fucking song. It’s amazing. Chuck D is probably my favorite rap activist of 2014. Giving him a microphone or a platform ensures something amazing will happen. The Planet Rock sample, the hints of free jazz, it’s great.

If you’re 36 years old and sitting in front of your computer in musty basketball shorts, this is everything. However, if you’re watching “CoCo” memes on Vine, this song is about four minutes and 31 seconds too long, and obviously lacks a punchline. It is what it is. What are we gonna do?

Aaron: YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

I love it when somebody can flip magic into the same old sample that’s been used a million times . This song is solid. Marcus, stop making excuses for the kids. They still need to go to school and read the classics and shit. Saying this song is lost on the youth is like saying math is played out. Good luck with that, children. Holler at me when you are working fast food and the register goes down and you have to add that shit up in your head.

Surely there is room for enlightenment between turn ups? I don’t know about you, but I learned everything important while on drugs and dodging responsibilities, so Kids Today have no excuses. You can eat Molly, make money and fight the Good Fight.

The production here is ill. De La is running at a career 99% hot beat score. They are nothing if not dependable.

Chuck D is still the voice of all rap voices. On the Strength (that means really real, kiddos), very few rappers have a persona that resonates beyond the stage or the recorded material. His voice is like an old statue or a mountain.

Public Enemy was my real dad. He had to go away to war in 1989, and I was forced to spend time with mom’s new boyfriend, Gangster Rap. He alright. I thought he was cool even though he carried a pistol and spent the rent money on rims and dookie chains. He got locked up and had a sex change when he got out. We still talk but it’s not the same.

I miss my real dad.

Clyde: I have a confession: I don’t care for De La Soul. I feel like a heretic saying it, but there you have it. I tried listening to 3 Feet High and Rising, but was just bored.

I mean, “Me, Myself and I” is dope (mainly because of the sample). But every time I hear De La all I can think of is those same dudes in “musty basketball shorts” waxing poetic about rap’s so called “golden age” that JUST so happened to coincide with their teenage years. Dudes that act like rap started with “The Message” and ended somewhere around “Illmatic”– But hey, that Kendrick Lamar kid is pretty good!

Oh yeah, about the song.

I loved this line: “We are the World – come on Michael, that’s a motherfucking lie.” But could have done without the Pound Cake Speech that came after it.

Aaron: Clyde, you’re fired.

THEESatisfaction ft. Shabazz Palaces & Erik Blood: “Recognition”

THEESatisfaction’s follow-up to 2012’s awE naturalE – the similarly “e” enthusiastic EarthEE is – is out on February 24th. The duo recorded the record in its native Seattle, as well as Brooklyn. The LP features guest appearances from Shabazz Palaces, Meshell Ndegeocello, Porter Ray and Taylor Brown, and it was produced by THEESatisfaction and Erik  Blood. The record’s first, “Recognition”, dropped this week.

Marcus: Let it be said that I’m totally okay with Sub Pop allowing Sun-Ra vibes in my rap music to exist. Digable Planets started down that rabbit hole, and to see Shabazz and this duo keeping the tradition alive makes me very glad.

Clyde: PASS ME THE OPIUM OK THANKS.

Aaron: Ditto.

I love Shabazz Palaces. And I’m not gonna lie: I was not a Digable fan. It was too cute. But Shabazz  Palaces caught me by surprise a few years back. It is all the things hip-hop is not usually allowed to be: Obtuse, introspective, dense, weird as fuck, etc. They are definitely keeping it weird.  I just keep thinking, where was all this darkness and voodoo back in the day? Digable Planets could have used this kind of edge.

As far as THEESatisfaction goes, I just heard about them right now on this very blog and they are amazing. Instant fan. It seems that decent, heartfelt R&B shit is almost extinct right now and I was immediately struck by how cool and wholesome they are.

This song makes me wanna go to a house party and step through the door in slo-mo and just walk around and make friends and eat vegan food that I would normally hate.

If it matters, in this daydream I have an Afro and a patchwork leather coat on and some blunts rolled in glitter.

THEESatisfactionbyKingTexas011214

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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