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

Today, Oddisee starts his day with a cup of joe; ASAP Ferg and ScHoolboy Q praise their uncles; and YG and Nipsey Hussle join the #StopTrump movement.

Our distinguished panel consists of  Marcus DowlingPhil R, Joshua Phelps, Clyde McGrady, Jose Lopez-Sanchez, and Aaron Miller of Austin Mic Exchange.


Oddisee: “No Cream No Sugar”

On May 13, Mello Music Group will release The Odd Tape, an instrumental record from Brooklyn-via-Maryland rapper-producer Oddisee. According to a press release, it “revolves around the rhythms of the artist’s daily life.” To wit, it starts with “Alarmed” and “Right Side of the Bed”, and closes with “Long Way Home” and “Still Sleeping”. Early on, we get “No Sugar No Cream”, a track that he’s generously giving away for free at this very moment. As a reminder, Oddisee’s more traditional hip-hop record The Good Fight came out last year and is still great.

AARON: This beat is goddamn amazing. Oddisee might have the best ear in the biz right now. He is one lunch with Kanye away from taking over the world. He should make an album with everybody.

MARCUS: Deep down low somewhere, I believe that every piece of music that Oddisee puts out is some sort of thinly veiled “fuck you” to every person who really never actually fucked with him when “fucking with him” was a thing that needed to happen in order to get him “on.”

This is in the pocket. Like, that deep ass Blackbyrds, Donnie Hathaway and Chuck Brown pocket. It’s that pocket that we don’t talk about anymore because it’s so far removed from the mainstream that we almost forget that it’s there and how important it is to the past, present and future of music.

Oddisee is from DC, and I’m really proud that he’s a product of my streets. For every sub-par near miss that happens for DC people, I just check Oddisee’s Instagram and global touring schedule and say, “Yeah, you go, brother.” People deserve to be shouting from the rooftops about this guy as he wins ten Grammies.

However, he’s safe, secure, and probably riding the Eurorail while sipping a macchiato on his way to Paris to perform at a sold out show while reading this review. I know that success is as success does, but when I hear things like this, somehow I feel like the mainstream is really missing out on someone and something incredibly and enormously special here.

JOSE: This beat bangs hard, and it’s great to hear live instruments in a rap song – the drums dovetail nicely with the 808, and the bass line is way groovy. I love this track in all of its retro, down-home feel. This is what happens when band camp kids decide to make rhymes.

Oddisee is making some of the smoothest music out there and giving us plenty of food for thought. His tracks have enough going on to stand on their own – check out the instrumental version of “Contradiction’s Maze” off of The Good Fight for the perfect exemplar of what he’s doing.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2foQwkKQgc

A$AP Ferg ft. ScHoolboy Q: “Let It Bang”

Woo woooooo. New A$AP Ferg singe in the house. It’s called “Let It Bang”, and it’s a loose interpretation of Wolf Parade’s “Bang Your Drum”. (No, it’s not.) The track is the second we’ve heard from Ferg’s forthcoming Always.Strive.And.Prosper, following the Future collaboration “New Level”. For its part, “Let It Bang” features ScHoolboy Q, who also appeared on the “Work” remix.

AARON: I can deal with this.

I’m not a huge ASAP-anything fan. I’m tired of them and the overzealous forced-weird space they occupy.

Shit is – and has always been – just aight. It’s not that deep. It’s not really that throwed if you are from anywhere south of Canada. I’m not even sure if it’s wavy because I don’t know what wavy means, really.

However, this song is pretty hype. I will never get tired of young rappers becoming self-aware and hollering about the 90’s like it was some combination of Vietnam and the Bebop Jazz era. The flow is exciting, and Ferg is Ferg.

Q is always a savage beast.  “I’m the reason your mama O D’d.” Fuck dude. That’s harsh even for rapping.

PHELPS: This track is methadone compared to the speedball blast of “New Level.” Ferg in repose is just not nearly as exciting. Like Aaron, I can appreciate his appreciation for the 90s but I Was There. The video is excellent – made me want to buy an Avirex – but this wouldn’t keep my attention without it for a second. Q jumps on and he’s as grizzly as ever, I’d love to hear more collaborations between these two.

CLYDE: Earl > Tyler.

A$AP Ferg > A$AP Rocky.

Schoolboy Q > Kendrick… just kidding.

Q and Ferg are two of my favorite crew lieutenants, and I typically enjoy the Black Hippy/A$AP collabos (“Work [Remix]”, “Fuckin’ Problems”, “Brand New Guy”). This one is a bit more low-key but it still goes.

Yes, Q is always a beast and I think he eats Fergy’s lunch on this.

MARCUS: A$AP Ferg is a mall pop gangster rapper. He’s that fool that we should’ve never let have drug money from selling coke to college girls, because all he did was hit eBay and buy up lots of Avirex and WuWear plus all of the custom sneakers. Like, whenever I go to Harlem I see cats like him in front of the Harlem USA Mall, I get really pissed off and just wonder where did the hustle go wrong.

On the other hand, every word that Schoolboy Q spits on this song sounds like he’s the complete antithesis of who Ferg is in real life and actually makes this whole entire song worthwhile. Jesus he’s great. I get the sense that he’s got seven figures from features in his Paypal account, and that he’s still serving fiends base in some off-brand American city just like Cam’ron was doing in Ohio. I might just want to be Q’s wheelman when he’s doing these stickups that he’s discussing in these bars, too. He has that whole Pusha T vibe of “everything I’m about to say here is incredibly violent and totally illegal, but I’m going to make it all sound like the most amazingly engrossing and cinematic crime ever.”

Rap’s funny right now because the real heads are getting paper from the fake dudes who are making the money move from the top down. I mean, that’s NOT rap, but as long as Schoolboy Q gets to go crazy and talk about making someone’s mother overdose, I’m here for it. All this track is missing is Ferg’s A & R tracking down Sticky Fingaz and Fredro from Onyx to hit that other other level.


YG & Nipsey Hussle: “FDT”

L.A. throwback rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle released a song – produced by DJ Swish – called “FDT”. That’s short for “Fuck Donald Trump”. What else do you need to know?

AARON: I’m shocked that rappers all over America didn’t come together like fucking “We Are The World” and make this track two months ago.

This song is not good but it is very necessary because, well, fuck Donald Trump. You can’t get more zeitgeist than that right now.

It’s a little stilted-these guys aren’t exactly known for their politics but a broken Audemars is right twice a day.

I believe there are some salient points being made here. I’ll have to wait until the fact checkers really go through it with a fine toothed comb, but all in all it seems like a sound reading of our current situation.

I am not sure how I feel about possibly maybe calling for the death of a celebrity multiple times in one song, but politics (like rap) is a high stakes game, and I firmly believe that the streets should be watching this issue closely.

Watch Trump sue for sample clearance.

PHELPS: I agree with “FDT” in spirit but it’s a miserable song. On the plus side, I was surprised to learn that in California “if you went to jail you can probably still vote.” Once you’re off parole. Thanks Nipsey!

MARCUS: I have no use for this. This was 100 million times better when it could’ve been MC Eiht on the track going at Eazy E for contributing to the Bush campaign.

Rappers doing Donald Trump dis tracks is stupid when every single emcee they grew up loving not-so-secretly loved Donald Trump.

This is the worst case of when young rappers forget rap history and just come off sounding SO wack.

Nipsey is cool in theory but always comes off like the dude with a basement full of framed NWA album covers and signed ’90s rap memorabilia.

YG is that way, too. Like he’s the guy who will always tell stories about that one time when he had a hit album and Too Short stopped by the studio and told him about that one time that a groupie did that one thing to him that ended up in “Freaky Tales.”

Guys like these make hearing guys like Kendrick come out of the same state makes me feel like 90% of mainstream rap has completely fallen off.

Instead of writing this dis track, what about maybe making their current albums available for free if you sign up to vote in the 2016 election. Like, that’s something better than three minutes and 42 seconds of empty threats via second-rate dis raps.


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