French Montana isn’t the best rapper. But when grouped with others, the results can be promising. Such is the case with his single, “Pop That”. Propelled by Luke’s “I Wanna Rock” and a funky drum pattern, French and his affiliates update a rump shaking classic. If the sample wasn’t memorable enough, Weezy’s “Suck a nigga dick for some Trukfit” line probably was.
Azealia Banks kept it short on 1991. But depending on who you ask, she probably could’ve kept it to herself. Azealia’s efforts are admirable, but her EP is a messy integration of dance and hip-hop. Filling the void of Snap! and Crystal Waters is tough, but unlike her predecessors, Azealia’s lyrics are convoluted and shielded behind mindless instrumentals. 1991 was a good year, but we’ll leave this one in 2012.
Diggy’s my nigga, I hate it had to be him. But Unexpected Arrival was dead on arrival. Run’s son showed great potential on his “Made You Look” debut but his first album fails to ignite. He stumbles out the gate on “Hello World”, loses our interest on “I Need To Know” and guest Jadakiss can’t save the painful “88.” Young Simmons asserts himself better on “Two Up” and “4 Letter Word” and even adds some singing in the mix. But besides the LP’s saving grace, the dandy duet with Jeremih, “Do It Like You”, Diggy digs himself a major hole. Here’s hoping the talented kid’s second act brings him back in the game. Rumble, young man, rumble.
These days, posse cuts may seem oversaturated and underwhelming, but Cruel Summer‘s lead single was the complete opposite. Over a chopped up hook and a Fuzzy Jones soundbwoy-sample, Yeezy’s collective individually delivered. Big Sean takes off from the starting line with his repetitive flow while the metaphors from Pusha T soon followed behind (“I’m red leather, I’m cocaine, I’m Rick James, ho”). As the Scarface theme music slowly creeps in, Kanye pulls up with his boastful raps. However, it’s 2 Chainz’ closing verse that’s the song’s true blessing (“I’m drunk and high at the same time, drinking champagne on the airplane”). Oh, mercy me. Now that’s the true champion sound.
Whether you’re religious or not, Meek Mill took folks to church with his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape cut turned Dreams & Nightmares single. Over Key Wane and Jahlil Beats’ organs, Meek not only praised the man above, but the wealth and the bottles and models he blessed him with. Even Drake catches the holy ghost with his impressive preach (“Talking bout those other rappers getting old is even getting old/Worrying ’bout your followers, you need to get your dollars up”). Rebuke that boycott.
All summer long, Future’s guilty pleasure tune from Pluto had everyone dancing or annoyed, at the same damn time. The Atlanta rapper’s cadence has its shine occasionally, but the song’s success derives from the infectious hook and the hard-hitting sounds from one of the A’s shining producers, Sonny Digital. Not only did it spawn a few renditions by the likes of many, but Luda and the guy who invented the remix got on board, “I say ooh, I think she like me cause I cop Maybachs like white-tees”, raps Diddy. So gaudy. So hood. At the same damn time.
The Bay experienced a bit of a resurgence last year courtesy of E-40′s “Function”. Featuring YG, Problem, and IamSu, a monotone bass liquidates 40 Water’s spit (“I’m tossing this sloppy, offa my broccoli, Bacardi/On fifty one out of my body, I’m about that green like wasabi”). I’m just sayin’ man, “Function” was the kind of event we all wanted to attend.
Lupe went against the grain on the second single of Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. On the didactic ”Bitch Bad”, he addresses hip-hop misogyny with sensitivity and parental care. On the first and second verses, he explains the side effects of the B-Word, but by the third, his parable falls on deaf ears, “Bad mean good to her, she really nice and smart/But bad mean bad to him, bitch don’t play your part.” Bitch bad. Song good.
Following a series of EPs, Miguel dodges the sophomore jinx with the release of his second studio album, Kaleidoscope Dream. He sets the mood with the modern day classic “Adorn” and inspires more sexual healings on “Don’t Look Back” and “Do You…”. Behind the bedroom doors, he shows his tender side (“Use Me”) but then quickly takes control between the sheets (“Pussy Is Mine”, “How Many Drinks”). Things only get better when he glides over the 808s on “Arch & Point” and uses the Labi Siffre-sample to his advantage on the title track. Sweet dreams.
Rick Ross rung in 2012 with a bang. With a release date for God Forgives, I Don’t still a mystery, Rozay unleashed a new collection of tunes, an album before the album. We knew this was serious from the start when Sean Combs talked his shit all over the glorious “Holy Ghost”. The Teflon Don showed his true aggressiveness on “High Definition”, “MMG Untouchable” and “Yellow Diamonds”. But a major part of Mr. Roberts’ success is his ability to bring the best out of his collaborators. Nas sounds re-energized on “Triple Beam Dreams”, Styles P glides on “Keys To The Crib” and we all know what Drake did on “Stay Schemin”. Sorry Lonnie. While most artists wait until the summer to bring the impact, the MMG general took the initiative to take over, early. It was a great time to boss up.
Previously: #10 360 Everywhere & Back l #9 Trouble 431 Days l #8 Mac Miller Macadelic l #7 Fabolous Soul Tape 2 l #6 Big K.R.I.T. 4eva N a Day l #5 Wiz Khalifa Taylor Allderdice l #4 Freddie Gibbs #BFK l #3 Meek Mill Dreamchasers 2 l #2 Big Sean Detroit