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

Today, Drake finally shares his side of the story; Young Thug and Birdman feel your hate; and Andy Milonakis befriends Chief Keef and Fredo Santana.

As always, our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Joshua Phelps, Jose Lopez-Sanchez of Dead Curious, Clyde McGrady, and Weird City Fest’s Aaron Miller.

Drake: “My Side”

If you’re reading this, you probably know that Drake released the physical version of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late this week. The mixtape-album-whatever has already been downloaded 774,000 times and streamed 140 million times on Spotify, but now people can buy the CD. As an added incentive, purchasers of the disc will receive two bonus tracks. The first is “How Bout Now”, an especially petty track that Drake posted back in October, but did not make the cut for IYRTITL. (Rec-Room discussed it at the time.) The second is “My Side”, a previously unheard song produced by Noah “40” Shebib, OVO Noel, and Boi-1da. Did you know that 40 only officially produced two songs on IYRTITL? True story. They were “Madonna” and “6 Man”.

CLYDE: I really don’t like this song. It’s not close to either Drake’s, 40’s or Boi-1da’s best work. However, I’m less inclined to rip it since it’s a throwaway bonus track from the re-release of a mixtape (?) and not the lead single from The Most Anticipated Album of the Year. I don’t mind a failed experiment when the stakes are this low.

JOSE: Isn’t all we ever get is Drake’s side of the story? (6) God, dude, enough with the whining.

Confession: I grew to enjoy If You’re Reading This… more than I expected, and yes Clyde, you’re right, this is a sleepy jam they put together when they thought the tape wasn’t running. But I just can’t take it anymore. Why are all these millionaires so sad? Aside from the general emptiness and paranoia they must feel when they’re suspicious that everyone around them ain’t nothing more than a remora. Which makes me think of sharks. Did we miss Shark Week? When’s the new Kanye album dropping?

PHIL: I love the production. It sounds like a haunted fish tank.

“This shit sounds like what being rich feels like,” Drake tells us.

This makes me laugh, because I am a self-aware human being. Drake must watch “The Matrix” and tell people how having money makes stuff slow down, and how we can dodge bullets too, because he is The One.

Is Drake being for real?

“For real,” he adds. OK, he really means this.

He is the saddest tropical ghost fish in the world.

MARCUS: I like the fact that every single record on this entire last Drake album is a B-side. Like, even “Legend” and “Know Yourself” aren’t truly on the level of official lead album singles, feeling instead more like the Soundcloud filler between records. Has any other artist actually ever just released a bunch of random shit they’re kinda ehhh about and had it accessed or purchased 141 million times? That’s crazy.

“My Story” is really depressing, in that sense where all Drake songs are depressing when cast in the light of the idea of this being an artist-as-man who attempted to tame Rihanna and failed. Like, moreso than any other defeat the best rapper in the game right now took, he failed at putting a ring on Ri-Ri. Like, seriously. Listen to any heartbroken anthem the man has made in the last two years. Yeah, they’re likely all about the same thing. Pouring up a double cup in the studio at 5:00 a.m. when you’re staring at the words you’re about to speak into a mic and yeah. “This shit sounds like what being rich feels like?” Yeah. It does. All this money, all this power, and, yep, he’s probably lonely as hell watching TMZ videos of bae doing whatever the hell she wants and not looking like she gives a fuck about him.

Jay landed Beyonce. Kanye has Kim. And there’s Drake, the saddest tropical ghost fish in the world.

AARON: Breh. Something’s definitely fishy here. My first problem is this sloppy 40-bpm-ass beat. I took some morphine “in college” once. I scored it from my weed man, who worked as a piano tuner and got it from a recovered hospice patient he worked for. It was not fun at all, and it felt like this beat sounds.

This song is like the “Fight The Power” of whiny bullshit. I’m gonna say this right now: DRAKE, YOU HAVE NO STRUGGLE. As much as Drizzy would have us believe that it’s hard out there for an upper-middle class turned 1%-er light skin brother that drinks wine and wears Cosby sweaters, it is not. Please, shut the fuck up and get back to playing fake gangster while standing behind your boys.

As far as the overwhelming popularity of a humdrum mixtape? It ain’t trickin’ if you got it, but a great rapper named H.L. Mencken once said, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Real talk.

And while I’m keeping it really real, let me tell you something about women, son. They don’t like this kind of talk. They do not want to hear you complain all the time. They don’t want to hear you say reductive dumb shit like “Why are we wasting our relationship on a relationship.”

They most definitely do not feel the line “I empower girls that don’t deserve it/I don’t mean to do that shit on purpose” What kind of game are you spitting here? Because this is not chill and your moms is probably upset with you right now.

Also nothing clears Bad Bitches from a room like a beat they can’t dance to. What were they thinking?

MARCUS: Man. Ever get the sense that Rihanna wishes she never thought that Drake was cute? Like this shit is going to haunt her forever. Between “You can be as big as Madonna” and “I empower girls that don’t deserve it,” it’s like Drizzy is failing at really understanding all of that Memphis pimp game that his dad is probably feeding him about how to get his life together. Like, the real power in being heartbroken is to suck it up and keep it moving. If Drake were a wise man, he’d have totally embraced that Madonna kiss and been with Kendall Jenner by now. Just saying. But no, this is what we end up with in the end. Unfortunate.

AARON: I’m thinking Rihanna just gets power from this dynamic like the Hulk. The thirstier Drake gets, the hotter she gets. Irresistible force meets whiny, unmovable object.

It’s funny I don’t usually get involved in the TMZ side of things, but I would like to thank you all for reminding me of the getting-curved-by-RiRi-as-inspiration-for-a-whole-career angle.

Young Thug ft. Birdman: “Constantly Hating”

Much has been made of Young Thug and Lil Wayne’s beef over Barter 6 – which was formerly Carter 6 – and even more has been made of Birdman and Lil Wayne beef over Cash Money’s refusal to release Carter V, so it’s slightly eyebrow raising that the first track of Barter 6 would feature an-honest-to-god rapping Birdman. And purely by coincidence, “Constantly Hating” was produced by a dude who calls himself Wheezy. The Atlanta producer isn’t exactly a household name, but he has been on the rise lately, with credits for Rich Gang’s “Milk Marie”, T.I.’s “Bankrolls On Deck”, and Bankroll Fresh’s “On the Low”. Unquestionably, though, producing eight of Barter 6‘s thirteen tracks is his biggest look to date. Now “Constantly Hating” is the mixtape-album-whatever’s second single, or at the least, it has received the standard, low budget, film-Thugger-hanging-out video treatment.

JOSE: I love all the weirdness that is Young Thug, and his melodic rapping style works really well over this slouching beat. This bangs hard, even if it’s not obvious from the off. He’s won me over with his flow and aesthetic.

This dude is talented enough to go on that alone, but I guess if he’s letting the Devil/Birdman make the business decisions for him, he might as well sit back and kick it while Baby stirs the pot long enough to line the Cash Money coffers should Wayne take Drake and Nicki with him.

MARCUS: First, here’s a disclaimer: Young Thug is signed to 300 Entertainment, the big house next to the plantation of Twitter-happy ignorant black rappers that Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles throw money at in the form of distribution deals only. In turn, these black people fitting the worst stereotypes of black people all tend to act more ignorant, mainly because they have more money. Of course, because 300 handles distribution, these apparently ignorant artist’s entire model then moves away from live touring (like the rest of the modern music industry), and instead shoehorns them into radio airplay and every other antiquated way of making money in the music industry. It’s ugly, sad and the least impressive hustle ever – which, because there are people in the world who are still OK with not being true entrepreneurs, is why 300 is winning right now.

All that being said, Young Thug could be a great rapper, but he’s completely unpolished at the type of rapping that Lil Wayne made cool. This free-association, helter-skelter flow thing can be great, but you need Wayne’s vocabulary and charisma to really pull it off. Thugger’s popularity is thus largely based on his sonic similarities to Wayne’s flow, but now that we have a full album of tracks like “Constantly Hating”, which on the surface sound like what we love, but when listened to when not drunk or high, when we hear the wordplay, completely underwhelming.

Imagine this song with Wayne instead of Birdman. Foremost, Young Thug would’ve stepped up his game exponentially, and secondly, currently clear-headed Weezy could’ve eaten this beat for breakfast. Ugh.

CLYDE: Damn, I love this beat. It’s slow, but there’s a buoyancy to it.

Unfortunately, I’m gonna need someone other than a slightly more coherent Lil B and southern-twanged Puffy on the verses. Marcus, I hope Wayne unleashes a freestyle over this the second Thugger’s album drops.

AARON: This song was written about me and I am flattered.

I think that’s what this song is right? It’s full of direct pleas for me to like it, and maybe come to the studio and smoke somethin’ and just talk about life and shit, right? Like, “Constantly Waiting to Just Wake Up and Get In the Car and Drive to My House and Throw Pebbles at the Window to See if I’m Home”? I was thinking we could just throw money around and eat chips or whatever is going on in this amazing “video treatment” of you doing nothing like a boss.

That’s what I think I hear. I don’t know for sure, because I CAN’T UNDERSTAND THIS MOTHERFUCKER.

FOH. He has got to have one of the worst voices in the game. I dig the beat more than I should, but I am actually constantly hating on Young Thug.

It’s sad when all they would have to do to this track to get me to listen to it more than once is remove Young Thug and replace with basically anybody. Fuck it: 64 bars with no hook from Birdman and I’m straight.

Sorry Whole Wide World, I don’t fucks with this at all. And, yes, Weezy would have no doubt bodied this track.

Andy Milonakis ft. Chief Keef & Fredo Santana: “Maybach”

You are reading this correctly: Andy Milonakis, the little fat kid who is actually 39, made a song with Chief Keef and Fredo Santana. You are probably thinking, “Wow, money can buy you anything.” But, no, it gets weirder. According to an L.A. Weekly article, Milonakis and Chief Keef are kind of friends. Apparently, the two connected on Twitter, Chief Keef invited him to Chicago, they booked some studio time on a whim, and they recorded six songs together. One of them, “Hot Shit”, appeared on Chief Keef’s Sorry 4 the Weight mixtape earlier this year. Two of them, “Glogang” and “My House”, have music videos. This is real. This is happening. And on Sunday, they shared “Maybach”, which features maybe the hardest rapper in Chicago, Fredo Santana. It was produced by someone named Taso Teklife, which sounds like a bullet-flavored tea. The best part of all of this: Milonakis misspells Santana’s name “Santanta” on the YouTube and Soundcloud. How do you do something as stupid as misspell Fredo Santana’s name?

JOSE: This was dumb as hell, and I won’t legitimize it.

MARCUS: In the wacky, wacky world of post-modern rap, Andy Milonakis may be the realest dude in the game. If you follow his “career” back to like, 2007, Milonakis has cosigns from fellow internet-era rap-friendly legends like DJ AM, Diplo, Lil B and more, plus to boot he has more Youtube hits than most any “legitimate” rapper you know.

If a label were smart, the best rap trio ever was Three Loco, which combined Andy Milonakis, Simon “Dirt Nasty” Rex, and RiFF RaFF. The real failure of a label like the aforementioned 300 Entertainment is that they didn’t sign Three Loco over Migos or Young Thug. I mean, put Lyor Cohen and Diplo’s Rolodexes together and make an album. Playing by today’s viral-first rules It’s an internet and pop smash, right?

Also, there’s that whole fact that Andy’s got the coldest bars on this record, too. Some people would say this is a great example of rap fucking up. On the contrary, I say this is where rap on one level was supposed to end up in the first place, and why aren’t people jumping into this mess and cashing ALL OF THE WAY IN. Like, I can’t believe rap music is scared of itself these days. I mean, we pushed this thing so hard and made it so accessible that the fat white guy from MTV could very easily be the best in the game. On one level, yeah, that’s terrible. On another level, that’s EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.

AARON: This is not my week.

PHELPS: A cherubic 40 year old calling himself “young” and rapping about a car they stopped making 4 years ago? Where do I sign up?!

AARON: The only thing I like about this song is when Randy says, “If you ain’t me, you’re wack.” It’s so funny, ’cause it’s true. Then Frebo Santa said a whole lot of shit I can’t understand, but I know it was sick.

And where do I start with that crazy Cheif Keeb. He is rapping about guns and working out on the pull ups. You have to stay in shape in these streets, so I’m glad he said that.

What is going on here, y’all?! I refuse to believe that this is the current state of post-rap. I’m not gonna say that Milonakis and his signature hood-nerd style does not have it’s charm and it’s own lane, but realistically speaking, that lane is called the internet where anybody can do anything if they just push enough buttons.

Whatever shine this old-ass kid had “back in the day” has gone dull and is just half-cute now. You know how I feel about Chief Keef needing to be locked up in a medieval tower somewhere.

Phil, surely you meant “the hardest-to-understand-rapper in Chicago” right? Because this is the week I wildly misinterpret rap songs that I don’t understand and I just wanna make sure you understand that.

Also, props to Jose for the realest grown-man one-sentence review in Rec-Room history.

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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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