Welcome back for this week's edition of Straight No Chase, your one-stop shop source for all things hip-hop here on EARMILK. This comprehensive weekly feature aims to share hip-hop based content we may have missed during the past week, while also highlighting memorable content we did cover. In addition to the recap of our best hip-hop posts, SNC also includes a Video of the Week, Project of the Week, and staff-selected noteworthy upcoming releases.
As any hip-hop head worth their salt knows, these days music floods the blogosphere by the millisecond. Consequently, the landscape of hip-hop is forever changing. There are countless rappers, both established and up-and-coming, as well as renowned and budding producers and beatsmiths dropping their fair share of dope music for the listening masses. It is our mission to mine the interweb for both audio and visual gems, delivering them straight to you for your auditory consumption. But enough with the jaw jacking: let's cut straight to the chase
STRAIGHT KILLER, NO FILLER
DJ Khaled – “Never Surrender” (Feat. Scarface, Jadakiss, Meek Mill, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, & Akon)
DJ Khaled is the proprietor of the modern day posse cut. He has become quite proficient at bringing talented artists together to create memorable moments in rap history. In that vein, “Never Surrender” might be his most impressive work to date, for several different reasons. For one, the cut brings together a bizarre hodgepodge of artists that seem super mismatched on paper. Scarface and Meek Mill? Akon??? Just looking at the billing, it’s hard to fathom there’s a resourceful way to maximize the full soulfulness of John Legend and Anthony Hamilton on the same track, but somehow the record makes the most of every single artist featured. The narrative is impressively solid, and the strings and soulful background vocals help build the cinematic feel. This might as well be a movie.
Mellowhigh – “Extinguisher”
Domo Genesis has silently been making a stellar case for 2nd best lyricist in the Odd Future collective this year, and his run continues on the new Mellowhigh track “Extinguisher”. It isn’t quite the smooth, smoke break-approved music the group has become known for, but it is a welcome change of pace. Left Brain’s production emphasizes the breaks, and both MCs settle into the pockets rather nicely. Domo drops off gems like, “Spittin’ sick, rippin’ through visions of written syphilis / He slit his wrists to ink all my verses, blood in my penmanship,” and Hodgy Beats shows dexterity in his own right. The two ferocious spitters even close out the record with a nice Jada and Styles-esque back and forth. If you needed any more proof the Wolf Gang clique’s talent is deeper than Tyler and Earl, look no further.
Lucki Eck$ – “Want More”
Lucki Eck$ is without question one of this year’s breakout stars. His debut mixtape, Alternative Trap, garnered high praise from fans and critics alike, and he seems poised to be a major factor in the Chicago Revolution that is currently taking place. One of the other standout players from the Alternative Trap mixtape was producer Plu2o Nash, and the two collaborators reunite on a new track entitled “Want More”. Nash brings his signature spacey production, and Lucki lays his lackadaisical flow right on top of it, smothering it with colorful metaphors. It almost feels like he’s wading through water, which seems appropriate given the sound bed. These two are a match made in heaven, and every time they get together magic happens. Here’s hoping this is the first on many collaborations for an upcoming tape. Fingers crossed.
Smoke DZA – “Obey Your Thirst”
Smoke DZA and Harry Fraud reunite for a pseudo drug anthem entitled “Obey Your Thirst”. The song is everything we’ve come to expect from this tandem, it’s relatively eerie and the NYC MC brings his signature flow to the record. DZA always stays true to his stoner aesthetic at the end of the day, but he throws lean in the mix too, and the song feels perfect for anyone who uses either or both. Plus, there are quite a few clever NBA references for the basketball fans. Smoke DZA continues to be a steady force in rap, and his output is always commendable. Can we anticipate another DZA/Harry Fraud collaboration project? Only if we’re lucky.
Eminem – “Rap God”
Eminem’s return to rap music has been a bit underwhelming. It has been three years since he released “Recovery”, and the build up for the upcoming Marshall Mathers LP 2 has been less than great. “Survival” was mediocre at best. “Berzerk” was a retro, Rick Rubin-produced cut that felt like a rap fossil. In truth, the whole roll out has been rather yawn-worthy. “Rap God” is the first song that, at the very least, got everybody’s attention. The song is practically a solid six minutes of Eminem showcasing his skills as, well, a rap god. It the pure essence of rappity rap. Few in the history of the genre have ever done it better than Em, and he puts his skill set on display over another Rick Rubin beat once again to discourage those who don’t take the craft seriously from ever picking up a mic again. Though some of the references are a bit dated, and the wordplay does come off a bit taxing, there is at least a reason to believe in the Marshall Mather LP’s sequel. Hold out hope.
TRPL BLK – “Max B” (Feat. Danny Brown)
If you’re looking for a love song, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a tribute to Max B, you’re in the right place. Furthermore, if you’re looking for something raunchy, you hit the jackpot. TRPL BLK is a Bruiser, and as a Bruiser, you should know what to expect from him. Just think Danny Brown, but four times more crass. This is probably the first time Danny Brown had to rewrite a verse because the first one wasn’t nasty enough. “Max B” features some of SKYWLKR’s most inspired production in some time, and a very wavy hook that feels reminiscent of the incarcerated Biggaveli. Danny opens with a verse before TRPL BLK attacks the song with a very sing-songy flow that has a bouncy cadence. This one isn’t for the faint of heart and certainly not for the prude. Honestly, this song’s album art should be a parental advisory sticker. If you like lewd, misogynistic rap, you’d be hard pressed to find a song more appropriate than this.
Isaiah Rashad – “Shot You Down” (Feat. Jay Rock & ScHoolboy Q)
Isaiah Rashad is the first rapper signed to the TDE imprint since it became a staple of hip-hop culture, and he seems like a perfect fit. If you need proof, just look to the remix of his breakout cut “Shot You Down”, which features Top Dawg veterans Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock. The original record was incredible, but the TDE wolves add a ruggedness that the track was missing before. Jay Rock brings his street shit, “I keep shooters on the wing when I’m riding through /and if niggas out of bounds they gon’ probably shoot” and Schoolboy brings his wit and charisma. “Shot You Down” is even better the second time around, and if it didn’t receive the appropriate amount of spins on the first go round, it should now.
ON THE ROCKS: WEEKLY RECAP
Here's a recap of some of the best hip-hop covered this past week on EARMILK. Take a couple of minutes to stroll down memory lane and revisit a few of tracks brought to you earlier in the week. For those who may have been snoozing at the wheel, here's your chance to play catch up:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Joey Bada$$ – “Hilary Swank”
It’s hard to believe that Joey Bada$$ is still just 18 years of age. The Brooklyn teenager and his Pro Era crewmates have been around for a hot minute, and some critics have already heralded them as part of hip-hop’s bright future. Joey and the Pro Era boys have brought back those 90’s flavours that New York was so synonymous with, and he continued those vibes on his most recent mixtape, Summer Knights.
“Hilary Swank” is the latest track taken from Summer Knights, to get the visual treatment. The Lee Bannon-produced track, which was one of my favourite tracks from the mixtape, has those laid back vibes, with soft drums underneath a smooth synth and soulful horn sample. The video is full of grainy VCR footage showing Joey’s rise to hip-hop stardom, from a young Bada$$ rapping on the streets, to performing on Jimmy Fallon and more. “Hilary Swank” will also appear on Joey’s Summer Knights EP, which he is releasing on iTunes, October 29. The EP will feature five tracks from the Summer Knights mixtape, as well as two brand new tracks for our ears.
PROJECT OF THE WEEK
Get Home Safely
- Ocotober 15, 2013
- October 29, 2013
Odd Future is already having an enviable year. Both Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, The Creator released critically acclaimed albums, each will probably find their way onto a plethora of best of 2013 lists. Now, three of their crewmates have teamed up to bring fans even more good music, but with an entirely different vibe. Domo Genesis, Hodgey Beats, and Left Brain make up the super group Mellowhigh. They promise to deliver a cool blend of their unique brand of absurdity and enough weed to get an entire town blazed. It should be a treat to hear something new coming from their camp. Look out for the stoners rolling through on October 29.
- Def Jam Recording
- October 29, 2013
TDE, Drake, and Big Sean have all enjoyed the gorgeous melodic crooning of Jhené Aiko. However, she is much more than featured guest or a studio vocalist, which she guarantees to display on her solo project, Sail Out. This isn’t not her first rodeo, but she hasn’t released anything under her name since 2011’s Sailing Soul(s). It was a standout tape from the year, and when coupled with Aiko’s numerous high caliber guest appearances, this EP is shaping up to be a major hit. You can get your hands on it on October 29.
Lil Bibby’s Youtube videos have been helping the young artist gain a lot of attention. The Chicago emcee is one of the hardest spitting in the game, and he is only eighteen. His upcoming mixtape, Free Crack, is highly anticipated—partially because it has been pushed back a few times. You can expect to hear some of the rawest rhymes and some real street storytelling when this project drops.