Though it’s not the hardest cut we’ve heard from Common’s gangster-tinged The Dreamer, The Believer, “Celebrate” is the best one yet. The cheery exterior belies a ignorant core and Common sounds more comfortable than he does on “Sweet” or “Ghetto Dreams” (listen to both after the break). And he raps better than he has in a long time. Good times.
Zomby’s 8-bit grooves are some of the few that I can get behind. The jumpy vocal samples on “Labyrinth” and the ominous, meandering “Trap Door” are high points. Also peep his awesome album Dedication from earlier this year.
ScienZe and Melodi J. share a sultry duet where they tell both sides of a relationship’s steamy climax. It’s immodest but not over-the-top raunchy, relying on transparent euphemisms rather than porno terminology. Hip-hop doesn’t do subtle very often, so get your fill. “Perfect” appears ScienZe’s When Skies Fall, which is out now.
I heard about Chico 2Triple in January when Traps N Trunks posted “6 Year Grudge,” a loud and bullish self-introduction over stuttering hi-hats and a chipmunked vocal sample. Chico’s provided bio would make an A&R salivate: he had just been released from a six year stint in federal prison. In July, I spoke to Chico on the phone about his album The HomeComing, which was released online two weeks ago.
Chico was born in Columbus, Ohio, then moved to Detroit, “But I might as well be from Huntsville, Alabama,” he said. The city’s hip-hop scene has treated him well. “Before the rap thing, I was a real drug dealer. I was a real hustler. So they got respect for somebody who go off, do they time, don’t talk, and come back, and live what he really talk about.” Laughing, he added, “I can’t tell you how much free beats I done got and how much love I got.”
iSLAND is the second release from G-Side this year, the first being The ONE…COHESIVE. The group took yet another left turn and went less bombastic with iSLAND. It’s still dramatic and spacey, just more focused. I daresay… more cohesive?
Check out an exhaustive feature on G-Side and Huntsville rap in Spin.
Scram Jones lives on the sidelines. I’ve seen his name on production credits for as long as I can remember, but I can’t name any of them. He acknowledges his lack of visibility on “40 Bar Flashback,” where he says, “Was cool like that before I could produce a track / Ten years in the game and they’re like, ‘Scram Jones (who is that?)’” Littered with rap references, the tape is a hip-hop celebration with enthusiasm and mirth instead of suffocating reverence. There are familiar samples, punchlines that you’ll be tempted to tweet, a memorable Alchemist appearance (two if you count the previously-released Gangrene track), and Kenny Powers interludes instead of cries of “For the culture!” Proof that rap can still be casual and fun.
Before you ask.. yup, I watched a whole season (or 2..) of Degrassi, what other rap blawgs out there are doing that? I just though this was kind of meta, a rapper acting while wearing a t-shirt of another rapper. I’ve been dying to get an excuse to use this, so I’m posting this as some sort of commemoration of the release of Take Care this week. As for the 700k sellingTake Care? I’m not afraid to confess that I enjoy the album.