Rec-Room’s Best & Worst of 2015
Rec Room Therapy | Dec 10, 2015 | 9:00AM |

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

Today, we survey the landscape of 2015 to pick the best and worst of the last twelve months.

Our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Jose Lopez-Sanchez of Dead CuriousClyde McGrady, Leah Manners of Hip Hop Hooray, Joshua Phelps, and Aaron Miller of Austin Mic Exchange.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k55k1gr002c

Chance the Rapper ft. Saba: “Angels”

Chance might be one of the only kids rapping today that knows who he really is.

In a hip-hop landscape increasingly over-saturated with rich dudes, hammy concept rappers, art trap, and other overly serious bullshit, Chance is the least fake thing going right now.

It’s like son just walks the earth being happy, rapping better than you, and fucking with genre expectations, and the game just changes behind him with every step on some black-and-white to color shit; like, some real cliché flowers growing out of the concrete shit. (How am I even writing this?)

This is positive-sunshine-on-your-face music and, occasionally, even a Supreme Hater like myself wants to listen to a rap track that doesn’t make me feel like I might get stabbed outside the club after, like, the best night evar.

– Aaron Miller

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BRTIvyFYwA

Future: “March Madness”

Dirty soda in a styrofoam. Spend the day to get my mind blown.

I don’t know a lot of syrup sippers, but I know enough about heavy drug use to realize a person downing this much codeine and kush isn’t doing it because he’s happy.

Coming off a failed engagement and a commercial and critical flop with his second album, Honest (which I liked), Future didn’t begin 2015 in a good place professionally or personally.

But he bounced up like round ball, and in a year when he channeled the ghost of 2007 Lil Wayne and churned out trap hit after trap hit, “March Madness” is his best.

Never has a rapper put together this many cohesively themed non-sequiturs. What I mean is that even though the shit Future says seems like tossed off afterthoughts, it somehow all fits.

And that common thread is usually “I’m sad and high but still here to turn up through the pain because what else am I supposed to do with my life but live it?”

– Clyde McGrady

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Pusha T: “Untouchable”

With Notorious B.I.G. samples comes great responsibility, but no one’s more qualified than two of his contemporaries here.

Timbaland, currently peddling generically glam R&B cheese as music director on “Empire”, reaches back into the 90s and goes full Beatminerz with a track grimier than the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Pusha T, feeling hisself as the new CEO of G.O.O.D. Music, is more than happy to provide typically razor sharp coke raps which body you even at their most languid.

Only bang this in Uber Black’s or XL’s.

– Joshua Phelps

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Big Sean ft. Drake & Kanye West: “Blessings”

Maybe the biggest blessing of Big Sean’s career is that he staved off termination of his GOOD Music contract long enough to finally evolve into a serviceable mainstream artist. That’s the biggest takeaway from his 2015 album Dark Sky Paradise, a release that shows the Detroit native as more lyrically potent and able to make hits than ever before.

Maybe the best pure rap single on the album is his collaboration with Drake and Yeezus,”Blessings.”

Drake’s the hookman here, and does his best Nate Dogg impersonation. As well, Drizzy drops bars that for him are par for the course, which mean that they tap into the edges of coke-boy g-raps and turnt up club fare, all while keeping true to his milquetoast and entirely accessible core demographic.

Kanye’s verses here are more a laundry list of things that he was thinking about the day he stepped into the booth, those things including contemplating potentially getting his daughter North enrolled at a Montessori school.

The actual star here is Sean, who in his infuriatingly awesome rap-game Floyd Mayweather way, out-points his opposition with couplets and ad-libs, but never strikes a knockout blow. He’s punching with more power and fury now so his strikes have greater impact, and ultimately he’s defining a style that only he can comfortably own.

– Marcus Dowling

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Jamie xx ft. Young Thug & Popcaan: “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”

As a stand-alone song, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” is out of place both within the sonic spectrum of 2015 and on Jamie xx’s debut studio album In Colour. But that’s exactly why it works.

The song has a bouncy, elastic feel that evokes the sweaty, optimistic exuberance of those early summer nights, when any adventure seems within reach. Young Thug’s grimy, loopy delivery weaves and dips around the track, and Popcaan’s dancehall swag makes you want to break it down until the sun rises.

The “Song of the Summer” title was heavily contested this year, as always, but I can’t think of a song that fits that description any better than this one. Instant classic.

– Jose Lopez-Sanchez

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Despot: “House of Bricks”

“House of Bricks” sounds like a rap message board observation brought to life. Despot is so tough he could make “The Three Little Pigs” sound mean.

Obviously, he can. He’s Despot. He’s a short, pale, red head trying to make it in hip-hop. Every verse he records is the freestyle finale of “Eight Mile”. How did that little guy get on such a high horse? Let him tell you.

This song has been kicking around for three years, but “House of Bricks” doesn’t sound like it’s been sitting on the shelf because: 1) Ratatat productions were never cool; and 2) Despot isn’t exactly one for pop cultural winks.

No, he’s building a house of bricks, and that shit is made to last for ages. Listen to these bars. The dude is a master stone mason. Every line has been lovingly labored over, cut just right, and cemented right where it belongs.

Being a Despot fan – and perpetually waiting for that debut record – can be a frustrating experience, but when the rapper gives something to the world, the results are invariably magnifique.

– Phil R

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Rihanna: “Bitch Better Have My Money”

Bet y’all didn’t know I was gonna hit you with that mainstream shit.

“Bitch Better Have My Money” is truly, with no hint of irony, one of my favorite jams of the year. Say what you want about politics or upending the most played out pimp schtick catch phrase on the planet. This is the basically the angriest song from the sexiest woman on the planet.

That’s all you motherfuckers need to know.

And not regular angry, but a very specific baller kind of angry, like: How do all of you assholes not recognize how bad I am? Don’t make me kidnap a white woman, force her to party on my yacht, shoot up my cellphone, and then drop the bitch off at Hannibal’s house.Because I will do that. 

Shit, this is not even a rap song and shouldn’t even be on this list, or on this blog for that matter.

Don’t give a fuck.

Hardest song of the year all day.

– Aaron Miller

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Action Bronson ft. Chance the Rapper: “Baby Blue”

Man, did this song sneak up on me. I liked it OK when it came out in March, but I haven’t stopped listening to it since. I find myself humming that bouncy piano riff at the most random moments of my life.

It turns out that hell hath no fury like a chef-turned-rapper scorned. Bronson turns in a hilarious, self-deprecating verse as he watches someone else eat all the puddin’.

And Chance has the perfect “fuck you” sendoff, but it’s just tongue-in-cheek enough that you get the impression he’d take her back.

– Clyde McGrady

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YG: “Twist My Fingaz” 

Jeff Weiss’ recent LA Weekly article on XL Middleton and the funk renaissance underscores an important point: “It’s myopic to dismiss it as paint-by-numbers revivalism. The music coming from L.A. reflects an immutable native sensibility and impeccable sense of groove.”

And groove we will over Terrace Martin’s unimpeachable track laden with bass lower, thicker, and dirtier than LA smog in August.

YG is having so much fun here with raps more BBQs and brews than banging. But make no mistake: He will fuck you up if you don’t let him just do his dance, especially if you’re emo. (Shout out to Runco for noticing that one.)

– Joshua Phelps

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Janelle Monae ft. Jidenna: “Yoga”

This was the year that Janelle Monae and her magical crew of hipster friends bought in, cashed out, and in what could be one of 2015’s most telling industry stories, made so much one-percenter money that they may just join the Illuminati and never be heard from again.

“Yoga” is such a great single that it landed with the most powerful whisper of the year. (The other Wondaland single, Jidenna’s “Classic Man” – which earned Iggy Azalea enough hush money as a “songwriter” to allow Igloo Australia to go away forever, thank God – deserves a mention here). Usually, singles that tell people to engage in physical fitness that feature Motown-style elements would land with a bang and be a part of TV commercials, Super Bowl ads, and have Michelle Obama “doing the yoga.”

None of that happened, though, but if your favorite hipster friend didn’t post on Tumblr, Tweet, Facebook or send you an email or text link to this video, you clearly must’ve lost that mention in your mail or newsfeed – because it happened.

This was the viral hit of viral hits that nobody vigorously discussed, but somehow everyone knew. Kudos to Janelle Monae and her magical hipster Wondaland friends. So many Essence Jazz Festivals, NAACP Image Awards, R&B Grammys, SXSW secret shows and ghost-writing deals are in their future.

When the invisible hand strikes, you never see things move, but all the money gets made.

*Throws up Roc-A-Fella sign*

*Does the secret handshake*

– Marcus Dowling

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Kanye West: “All Day”

It’s been a weird year for those of us who worship at the altar of Yeezus. On one hand, it’s almost the end of 2015, and we’re still waiting for Swish/ So Help Me God / Whatever It’s Called with bated breath. But Kanye’s been pushing hip-hop in bolder directions with every release for over a decade, and each one of his creative decisions has been vindicated.

On the other hand, the first three singles he put out this year (“Only One”, “FourFiveSeconds”, “Wolves”) were decidedly subdued/hot garbage.  “All Day” changed all that, and it did it with goddamn flamethrowers. This song is menacing, in your face, and the biggest banger Kanye has released in years. “All Day” takes elements from all of Kanye’s previous works – the confrontational edge from Yeezus, the production techniques from MBDTF, the clever wordplay from Late Registration  College Dropout – and shoves it back in the listener’s face.

At this point, I recognize that Ye has earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants and collaborate with whomever he damn well feels like, without rap media scrutinizing so closely. He has surpassed the level of most other tastemakers on the planet; Kanye creates, people consume. And he is not fucking around here.

As simple as that, with the drop of one monster single, I have renewed hope and excitement for the next album. For fuck’s sake, we’ve had two Kardashian-West kids since the release of Yeezus. Can we please have a new album for Christmas? It’s only fitting.

And while you’re at it, ask Frank Ocean what’s good.

– Jose Lopez-Sanchez

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Open Mike Eagle: “Raps For When It’s Just You & The Abyss”

Nobody is thinking about more shit than Mike Eagle.

He’s spitting borderline rap perfection with a shrug, like, “I’m busy being smarter than you what do you need right now? Oh, a slow wave of esoteric bars and over your head punchlines from the innermost part of a man’s soul?I got you, fam.”

This beat is literally close to home for me. The Austin homie Lo-Phi is on the track. The man is on his game and exceptionally talented and weird. we’ll probably hear more from him any day now.

– Aaron Miller

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Drake & Future: “Jumpman”

I guess Drake, Future and Metro Boomin’ didn’t have enough going on in 2015 so they got together for a week long boot camp to make What a Time to Be Alive.

Drake is definitely playing an away game here but his well-known vampire skills come in handy because he fits right in.

These two slide all over the track as they carry on the rap tradition of co-opting Michael Jordan and telling people how little love they have for these hoes.

Plus, this.

– Clyde McGrady

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Kendrick Lamar: “King Kunta”

What a difference a few months can make? When we originally reviewed this single back in March, I wasn’t fully feeling it. Much like the rest of To Pimp A Butterfly, this song is dense, layered, and deeper than anything else on the charts right now.

But it’s hard to dislike something this funky, intelligent, and fun.

Props to Kendrick and all of the musicians who played on this album for making one for the ages. I for one welcome our new Compton overlords.

– Jose Lopez-Sanchez

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Freddie Gibbs: “Fuckin Up The Count”

David Simon’s characters from “The Wire” – amalgamations from his time reporting on Baltimore neighborhoods in the vice grip of crack and heroin epidemics – were at least too vivid to ignore, but at best they would keep you up at night. “Fuckin Up The Count” finds Gangsta Gibbs tapping this vein and firing a speedball straight into it, replete with samples of Mr. Simon’s opus and a gut punching video. Boi 1nda and Frank Duke’s forlorn electric piano track help guide Gibbs down a dark path you don’t soon forget.

– Joshua Phelps

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Yogi ft. Pusha T: “SIRI”

Pusha T is the best thing that happened to EDM in 2015.

In a genre and culture where drugs (explicitly, a fear of drugs) not-so secretly rule everything around the music, rap’s most eloquent cocaine rap lord getting into the fray is amazing.

You want Pusha around because he does this thing on “SIRI” where he steps into these big post-dubstep trap beats and instead of crawling up and down the half-time snares and synth builds, he efficiently chops them down to size while brazenly astride the 800-pound white horse in the room. While 2 Chainz is in one corner laughing at how dumb all of these kids look in their neon clothes turning up to trap music, Pusha T is moving bricks and earning dough.

I mean, to go from saying that he wanted to “Move That Dope” in 2014 to hopping on a track about cell phones and doing so in 2015, King Push is absolutely a man of his word.

– Marcus Dowling

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Gunplay ft. Triple C’s: “From Da Jump”

Of course Living Legend flopped. At a time when hip-hop’s landscape is dominated by spacey synths, spartan 808s, and sing-songing sad robots, Gunplay’s long-delayed debut sounded like it was just unearthed from a 2011 MMG time capsule. In fact, the only clue that it wasn’t actually made in 2011 was “Wuzhanindoe”, a DJ Mustard dog that was itself one year behind the Mustardwave. It was as if the Miami rapper spent a half decade preparing for the big fight, methodically dipped his cloth-wrapped hands in shards of glass, and then found out his opponent was a tank. He never stood a chance. It didn’t exactly help that Living Legend was way short on good songs, either.

Still, there’s something to be said for effective counter-programming. Case in point: “From Da Jump”, as loveable a slice of knucklehead rap as you’re likely to hear all year. Remember forward momentum? Remember when songs came firing out of a three-point stance and didn’t stop to stare at the sky and get misty-eyed? Remember Triple C’s? “From Da Jump” has it all. Torch and Young Breed breathe fire, and as usual, Gunplay calls bullshit on everyone’s struggle stories in a way that’s equal parts tough, funny, and human: “You never had it hard, you never had to rob / You never had a momma that ain’t never had a car.”

Gunplay is falling on his sword in name of authenticity, but it doesn’t mean his cause is without merit.

– Phil R

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H_ZlxcUS9k

MED, Blu & Madlib ft. DOOM: “Knock Knock”

In my head, this is what hip hop should always sound like.  This shit sounds like it could come out tomorrow, two years from now, or twenty years ago.

Madlib and DOOM are just the rarest cats.

Every track Madlib does is pretty much a living lesson in the craft and history of hip-hop production. Sample flips don’t get much deeper than this, and DOOM always comes correct on a Madlib joint.

Blu and MED have always been solid dudes. “Knock Knock ” is no different. Same as it ever was. MED will always win the award for Raps Most Like Dilla.

– Aaron Miller

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Oddisee: “Counterclockwise”

The 5/4 measure propels “Counterclockwise” forward, and Oddisee’s staccato delivery cuts through the the sonic congestion really well. It’s an elegant track by one of the DMV’s best MCs, and possibly his best work so far. Perfect for a cold morning.

– Jose Lopez-Sanchez

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Future: “Blow a Bag”

Our first taste of Future’s instant classic #DS2 was an excellent, syrupy stroll through Future and Metro Boomin’s haunted trap house.

But at 1:35 and 2:45, there’s a subtle but shocking, dark shift in the 808s that slays me every time. It’s slight but brings a sense of urgency to a Future track that is more than a titular ode to spending duffels of racks. It’s a shout-out to dead friends and family who would for sure for sure appreciate his unprecedented and still meteoric run since Pluto.

– Joshua Phelps

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Boosie Badazz: “Kicking Clouds”

In his first full year since being released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Boosie did exactly what you hoped he would: Release a very good (and quality controlled AF) record and continue to annihilate other people’s tracks. And while there were some doozies in that latter category – namely, “Tricken Every Car I Get” and“I Ride” – the song that’ll stick with me is “Kicking Clouds”.

What a weird little song. Boosie rapping over these trance synths? How does this thing even exist?

Boosie has traded largely in righteous indignation over the past 20 months (seriously, if he ever gets locked up again, please just visit his daughters), but “Kicking Clouds”is about the simple pleasure of smoking weed in the company of like-minded friends.

Nothing wrong with that, indeed.

– Phil R

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Earl Sweatshirt ft. Action Bronson: “Warlord Leather”

This shit sounds like a cypher you don’t wanna step in. Simply put, this is just two of the best rappers currently good at rapping, rapping about stuff they just thought of without even the slightest concern given to making “a hit” or even basic marketability. It’s essentially as hip-hop as the law will allow in 2015.

Props to Alchemist for this slow-ass Apache-on-heroin beat. It fits these two like a bloody glove.

Also, this wins for song title of the year.

– Aaron Miller

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Mac Miller: “100 Grandkids”

Two second-hand feelings I’ll deal with when presented with a white rapper are 1) embarrassment (see: Macklemore); or 2) when they’re far from corny or even nice on the mic, imposter syndrome. Luckily, Mac Miller’s confidence in himself has nothing to do with my own hangups and his output has been pretty great over the last few years. He’s supposed to be here.

Here, Sha Money XL of 50 cent fame provides a split-level soundtrack to Miller’s rumination’s on kids, kilos, grams and grandkids. Heart-on-sleeve earnest bullshit can actually work when the source is genuine.

– Joshua Phelps

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Aesop Rock: “Cat Food”

Aesop Rock? How 2003, Rec-Room!

Yeah, well, when your drums hit this hard, you get on this list. Also, Aesop Rock was always a 55-year-old curmudgeon in a young man’s body, so middle age suits him well.

Aaron Miller captured the essence of the emcee’s career back in January: Aesop Rock has created so much of his own thing that he kind of floats above – or at least off to the side and to the left – of most traditional hip-hop criticism. Back in the day, it was just a niche, then that niche turned into a genre. As it stands now, his style could be considered an archetype. It’s the gold standard of weirdo rap.

Side note: His cat is awesome and fuck anyone who thinks otherwise.

– Phil R

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Brain Rapp: “Not Today”

Maybe the best thing about rap in the Nation’s Capital these days is how disaffected and unconcerned about mainstream hype these guys are. It’s as if everyone’s watching Wale go ballistic over everything while Shy Glizzy and Fat Trel get left on the fringes and said, “Well then.”

Logic appears to be the dopest rapping ascetic since Jay Electronica. GoldLink improved upon Wale’s formula and is kinda hanging in the balance waiting to blow up and be bigger than DC, the US, and probably even the world, too. And Oddisee is somewhere in a diner in Williamsburg getting WhatsApp messages confirming tour dates from European promoters.

Into this bizarre fray enters Brain Rapp’s “Not Today”, a song about getting old and feeling fine while still at odds with what it means to try to be a “rap star” in a world where far worse things are happening both personally and in culture that make all of this feel so secondary. This is maybe the best anthem of the year for everything right about the transitional era at-present for local rap, it’s the quietest grand-slam of the year.

– Marcus Dowling

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Diplo, CL, RiFF RAFF & OG Maco: “Doctor Pepper”

Big Gulps, huh? Welp, see ya later! K-pop star CL’s first foray into music for an American audience is the indulgent treat our fast-food nation deserves.

CL’s hook, a repetitive reference to the franchise player of the Dr. Pepper/Snapple group, is perfectly fine, but RiFF RAFF steals the show here with dumb-smart raps over Diplo’s monstrous track. You shouldn’t think too hard about references to Anna Kournikova to a skater or jewel encrusted emerald camping apparel; just enjoy the silly rush like a McDonald’s apple pie dipped in a 64-ounce sea of pancreas-crushing corn syrup.

– Joshua Phelps

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Vince Staples: “Lift Me Up”

The beat is lumbering and Vince Staples’ delivery is measured, but “Lift Me Up” is relentless. “I’m just a n*gger / Until I fill my pockets / And then I’m Mr. N*gger.” That’s how this thing starts. From there, Staples tackles  survivor’s guilt, racial tourism, and his own moral quandaries. Did I mention it’s the first proper track of Summertime ’06? Fuck. Talk about setting the scene.

– Phil R

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Yelawolf: “American You”

“My boy has turned into Kid Rock Jr. with this saccharine stadium-ready abomination. This is gonna be the bomb at county fairs and rural high school proms all over. Right now, there is a kid who had to skip school and work the fields on his daddy’s farm today. He is bumping this track and crying and getting lit up on corn liquor. He’s had enough. He’s gonna let all the cows free, drive the tractor through the garage door, knock his dad out, and catch a bus to The City.”

– Aaron Miller (March 27)

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Vic Mensa ft. Kanye West: “U Mad”

“Vic reminds me of the kids I attended middle school and high school with who watched Yo! MTV Raps and stole all of their lifestyle cues from rap videos because they thought it was cool, even though they had no tangible connection to the communities whose lifestyle and clothes from which they were borrowing and in which they were swaddling themselves. All of the cues and culture adaptation are wrong here, and it just feels like Kanye is trying to force a round Vic Mensa into a square Chief Keef hole. That’s frustrating.”

– Marcus Dowling (April 17)

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Eminem: “Phenomenal”

“This is a snapshot into the bizarro world where Rabbit blew up, fell off, blew up again, and now mom’s spaghetti is actually made to order by a personal chef who rolls around the crib on a Segway. He’s on good terms with mom and the ex, and nobody is struggling – as per the ‘No Struggling Allowed’ sign clearly visible on the driveway leading up to 8 Mile Manor.

I don’t know what to make of this. It’s too slow. Too much stadium rock. The beat is fucking torture… This s an artist who’s been selling records like Elvis and just wants to take a nap in between writing really fast rap songs. This is an artist who everyone knows is permanently on top of the world – and his game – in spite of some very large missteps that would have killed most rappers careers ten times over.

People are inspired when they hear a regular dude say ‘I’m gonna be king.’

Nobody wants to hear The King holler about being king.”

Aaron Miller (June 5)

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Travi$ Scott ft. Future & 2 Chainz: “3500”

“The least interesting part of a Travi$ Scott track is consistently Travi$ Scott.”

– Phil R (June 12)

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Miguel ft. Wale: “Coffee (Fucking)”

“Ladies: Miguel wants to fuck you then watch you sleep but not in a sensitive rom-com kinda way; in a forgot-your-name-and-I-might-put-this-on-instagram-without-asking way. And Wale thinks your chocha smells like a machiatto.

Bruh. All groupie hygiene issues aside, this is just awkward. This is a song for nobody. Just like Wale’s dumb “album about nothing”

What’s with these two rich, famous, successful dudes sounding so goddamn thirsty? Please chill and maybe ask permission to fuck, drink some water, smoke a blunt and lay off the coffee. You both seem kind of anxious and impatient. Or maybe you could just fuck each other and get that scandal money.”

– Aaron Miller (May 8)

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ed Sheeran: “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)”

“I think Macklemore is physically incapable of putting together a metaphor. If he had a rhyme saying ‘I eat MCs for breakfast,’ I would be like call the cops cause this dude just confessed to cannibalism.”

– Clyde McGrady (August 7)

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Black Eyed Peas: “Yesterday”

“Thirty years from now, when they are playing rap songs in the elevators of government buildings, this is what it will sound like.”

– Aaron Miller (July 24)

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Tyga: “Stimulated”

“I don’t know who any of these people are and I don’t care. This song is kind of gross because of the mix of medical and slang terminology, and it’s not very good. And I seriously doubt this tiger person writes his rhymes in a spiral-bound notebook, especially in such an obviously windy locale. Get off my fucking lawn.”

– Leah Manners (September 3)

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Puff Daddy & the Family ft. Pharell Williams: “Finna Get Loose”

“Sounds a n***a finna get Alzheimer’s. It also sounds like a hot 64 bars of a crazy street person yelling at his reflection in the window. The Diddy we grew up on was wack but you forgave him because he was in charge. He got in on the ground floor of the Illuminati and we begrudgingly approved because we had to… because Biggie or whatever. Not this Diddy. This is obviously a crazy man that will hit you with a kettle bell… I forgot that heavy breathing and yelling is Diddy’s signature move. My man sounds like fucking Jadakiss doing a Harry Belafonte impression on this track. Shit is rough. He may have rap cancer.”

– Aaron Miller (July 10)

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Chief Keef: “Ain’t Missing You”

“This is what happens when that one ‘creative’ homie in your clique really isn’t actually all that creative and just wants to be Puff Daddy. I’m literally stunned. What made the Puff and Faith thing work is that Puffy was rapping about the Notorious B.I.G., so it’s like, no matter how incredibly corny the song is (and it’s incredibly corny), it’s the song that the guy who ‘discovered’ B.I.G. wrote about him so you have to give it all of the passes. But this is deplorable.”

– Marcus Dowling (July 12)

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50 Cent ft. Jeremih, 2 Chainz, & T.I.: “Get Low”

“The only thing that really got low during this song was my blood sugar. I need to drink some juice before I pass out now because this song is boring as fuck.”

– Aaron Miller (May 22)

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A$AP Rocky ft. Rod Stewart, Miguel & Mark Ronson: “Everyday”

“Last year, a guy in Wales baked the world’s most expensive load of bread. He replaced water with champagne. He rolled it in flakes of 23-carat gold. He made it three feet long. He called it the Royal Bloomer. Giving ‘Everyday’ to A$AP Rocky is the equivalent of baking a Royal Bloomer to make an Oscar Meyers bologna sandwich.”

– Phil R (May 15)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY7dbk27cTM

Drake: “My Side”

“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.”

– Aaron Miller (April 24)

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Terrence Howard & Petey Pablo: “Snitch Bitch”

“I think it’s over y’all. I think that not only hip-hop but perhaps all modern art and human progress just died with this song. Trump is gonna be president because of this song and I’m pretty sure the pyramids are sinking.

On the real. I fucking hate Terrence Howard. Next to private prisons, dirty cops, and high fructose corn syrup, Howard is the worst thing happening to black people right now.

Dude is a scandalous, self-hating, abusive, rat fink poser with a creepy mustache.”

– Aaron Miller (October 8)

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The Weeknd: “Tell Your Friends”

“I thought my headphones were fucked up or maybe I was having a stroke and my ears broke. The track literally sounds unfinished. It’s like this little nappy head diva walked past a mirror during the session and said, ‘Fuck it, I am going to stare into my own eyes and spit game and maybe slip a Molly in my own drink and we can add the rest of the mix later.’ I would tell him to go fuck himself if I didn’t think he had already tried. He is the result of an incestuous union between himself and himself.”

– Aaron Miller (August 28)

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DJ Khaled ft. Chris Brown, Lil Wayne & Big Sean: “How Many Times”

“This song displeases me. Weezy is 15 minutes from falling off.  Khaled is a goon. Big Sean is a pest. And I would like to fight Chris Brown with knives.”

– Aaron Miller (May 15)

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