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Chillin, High as Mount Rushmore, Yeah Baby I’m a Drug Store

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Lil B takes the trap star analogies to the next level on his homage to his hometown Berkeley off of his excellent Black Ken album, he’s not a drug dealer, he’s an entire drug store. F*ck a Walgreen’s or a Rite Aid, the BasedGod has got what you need and accepts most health insurance plans.

I also like the line immediately following it, “We in downtown Berkeley, I’m not rich, but I’m working.” Lil B always has a way of turning the mundane and banal into a positive and makes you fee la little better about grinding away to make ends meet every week. The beat for Berkeley seems like it could go on forever and it goes perfect with the overall atmosphere of the song.

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I Don’t Care if you Play this on the Radio, ‘Cause They Love me from Oakland To Fillmore

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Y’all thought I was done over here? Nah bruv I’ve just been so immersed in Lil B’s new Black Ken album in which the Based God engages in a bit of revisionist history and reimagines himself as one of the pioneers of hip hop from the 1980s that I’ve lost track of time.

The beat almost sounds like something from a 70s or 80s movie where some sort of menacing but ultimately cartoonish villain is strutting onto the scene for the first time. “Watch out, I’m a bad motherf*cker…” opens Lil B. I don’t think anyone could pull off an album, song, or even just the song title ‘Bad MF’ in 2017 besides Lil B. And not only can he pull it off, he makes it into an absolute slap.

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Yhung T.O – Been Through

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Forget accolades like best up and coming young rappers or best Bay Area artists, Yhung T.O is up there as having one of the strongest 2017’s of any artist, period, regardless of region or age bracket. Between his output with SOB X RBE, some of the slaps on his debut project On My Momma like ‘Love the Way’ and his recent collaboration Try Sumthin with OMB Peezy, Yhung T.O just can’t miss right now. Even with all those jams under his belt, ‘Been Through’, off of his new Before the Fame EP, may be his best song to date.

You can really feel both the pain and triumph in his voice on the resilient ‘Been Through’:

“Feel like I deserve a trophy, ballin for my homies, gotta keep a 30 in my 40, cause you don’t know what I’ve been through,” croons T.O over an almost melancholy piano-driven beat, as he more sings than raps on most of this track.

“Lately, sh*t been drivin a nigga crazy, I gotta watch my back cause they hate me, so how could you blame me, for putting 50 in this drakie? I gotta make it home to my baby.”

A very compelling track by one of the most charismatic artists in the game. It’s early but I think ‘Been Through’ is going to join OMB Shawniebo’s ‘4 Minutes All Me‘ and Berner’s two new gems with Young Dolph ‘Win Big‘ and ‘Knuckles‘ as early candidates for my favorite couple of songs of 2017.

 

Berner & Young Dolph ft. Ampichino – Win Big

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This song has me feeling like me, Berner, Dolph, and Amp just won a big, hard-fought battle in an enemy city and we’re now realizing it’s over and it was costly, but we gave it our all, we won, and we’re all still here and we’re all good. We’re taking our masks/helmets/visors off and putting our guns down and we’re just triumphantly looking around and surveying the carnage and taking it all in, looking at each other and giving a knowing nod to our brothers in arms. Or we just won a championship and Berner hit the winning 3 at the buzzer against all odds and now we’re all just basking in the glow of knowing we achieved glory.

I was already singing the praises of Berner & Dolph’s collaboration project ‘Tracking Numbers’ because ‘Knuckles’, the first track they leaked from it, was already easily one of my favorite songs of the year. Little did I know that by the time this 8 track mixtape was over that another song from it would be right up there with Knuckles as one of my favorite songs, and beats, of the year. The beat for this one is so triumphant and honest and perfectly captures the ‘Win Big’ mantra. I have to find out who came up with this beat. Berner is like Jameis Winston right now; he’s been around for a couple of seasons but now he’s entering his prime and ready to take the league by storm.

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“Overkill Peezy”

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You guys thought I was done over here? Nah fam, I was just hibernating and bumping the new Berner & Dolph mixtape on repeat for the last week. In other news, OMB Peezy continues his streak of very solid releases with this menacing ode to those who dare cross him, ‘The Hard Way’. Nothing fancy here but the foreboding beat, great chorus, and good verses is a surefire and time-tested combo. Just another really good release in Peezy’s overall body of work, I don’t think he’s released a bad song yet. What’s more, Peezy shows a knack for tasteful wall art at his home and even more importantly that pillow he’s lounging on that makes its debut at around the 0:37 mark looks comfortable AF, almost like he’s chilling out on a fluffy white cloud. I’m also loving the self-appointed moniker ‘Overkill Peezy’. He’s also teasing another song on Instagram called ‘Pressure’ which should be dropping soon so I’m fully expecting his streak of hits to continue.

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Top 10 Songs August 2017

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August was probably the best month of new music in a long time for your humble host, with new projects out by everyone from Kodak Black to Peewee Longway to Berner, and probably two of my favorite songs of the year so far, ‘4 Minutes All Me’ by OMB Shawniebo and Berner’s new joint ‘Knuckles’ with Young Dolph and Gucci Mane. Perhaps most importantly of all we got news of what I expect to be the holy grail in a long list of Berner collaboration albums, his project with Young Dolph, which should be out at the end of this month. Here are the top 10 songs for an unexpectedly great month.

OMB Shawniebo – 4 Minutes All Me

OMB Shawniebo comes out with an early contender for song of the year on here. See previous post on 4 Minutes All Me here. You can never go wrong with this type of combination of wolf masks, baby blue Gap sweatshirts, luscious beats, and 4 minutes of just obliterating one of the tastiest beats in recent memory.

Berner ft. Young Dolph, Gucci Mane – Knuckles

Ever the savvy businessman, Berner teased the release of Tracking Numbers with Young Dolph by serving up Knuckles, also featuring Gucci Mane, as a tasty appetizer for it. In almost any other month, when I didn’t first hear ‘4 Minutes All Me’, the unexpected duo of Bern and Dolph would have taken home the crown for top song of August. As In any case, I have a feeling that this will clock in in my top handful of songs for the year and I’m looking forward to Tracking Numbers at the end of the month. As I said at the time… 

“According to Dirty Glove Bastard, the upcoming project with Young Dolph, entitled ‘Tracking Numbers,’ will have features from Gucci Mane, Peewee Longway, OJ Da Juiceman, Juicy J, Philthy Rich, and more. I can’t wait to hear the one with Project Pat. I loved DGB’s tepid/noncommital reaction to news of the Berner/Dolph project – “Berner & Young Dolph were probably the last 2 people you’d expect to collab for an entire project, but here we are.” You’ve got to love the ‘But here we are’ as the way to end your thoughts on something that you’re just not sure what to make of. Also, are the ‘Tracking Numbers’ referred to in the title referring to shipments from the Cookies clothing line that this hard-working fashion entrepeneur is senidng out to his customers, or to ‘cookies’ of a more illicit nature? Only time will tell when the album comes out.

I was excited enough just to see an unexpected collaboration between these 3, but the beat is absolutely delicious and takes this song to a whole different level. I’m curious who made it and what the sample is from. It has me feeling like I’m at a roller rink in the 70s with Berner, Dolph and the crew just casually skating around, smoking some cookie, chatting up the roller girls.

I loved Big Bern’s opening salvo “No handouts, I got here with nothing. The bezel and band on my wrist keep busting. I got birds from the Asians, guns from the Russians, VVVS’s on my chain keep dancing all custom” BUT the part of his verse that put it over the top for me and really spoke to me, as a big introvert, was Berner’s bold declaration “Fuck the club, dog. I’d rather stay in. I’ve got stacks to count, plus this batch just came in.” We definitely need more of that attitude in the rap world I’m all for it. I mean I don’t have many stacks to count when I stay in it’s more likely that I’m just eating takeout and watching Shark Week or Drugs Inc. but I’m feeling what he’s saying.”

Ryan Hemsworth ft. Yakki, E-40 – Hunnid

Definitely one of the happiest and sunniest songs of the year so far, this unlikely group of tres amigos certainly bring the fire on Hunnid. This is another song that in some months could have plausibly took the honor of song of the month if it wasn’t such a stacked lineup already.

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Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba

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Rap songs named after NBA players just seems like a natural combination and a tale as old as time, really anything from Young Dolph’s ‘Lebron’ to Starlito’s ‘Black John Stockton’. We get another addition to that proud pantheon with Sheck Wes’ ‘Mo Bamba’ except that not only is Mo Bamba not an NBA player, he’s actually yet to enter the college ranks and suit up for the Texas Longhorns for the first time. The 7-foot tall center out of Harlem, the #4 overall player in 2017’s ‘ESPN 100′ chose Texas over Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan, and will be starring for the Longhorns this fall, so I figured Wes Sheck was from Texas but he and Bamba are fellow Harlemites.

“I be ballllllin’, like a motherf*ckin pro, I be baaallllin’, like my nigga Mooooooo”

The way Wes sings and drags out the words, pro, Mo, etc. in his gravelly voice is almost so abrasive that it becomes instantly catchy and melodic, almost like some of Tay K’s recent songs, or Chief Keef’s more experimental work, or of course XXXtentacion, but it is also his own unique spin on it. I also like the way he switches up his flow at about the 1:40 mark and goes into overdrive. The light beat by 16yrold and Take a Day Trip is really nice and goes perfect with the blunt vocals.

I would love to see Texas Longhorns run out onto the court with this as their intro music for home games this season but I’m not quite sure that that will happen, but alas a blogger can dream right?

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Tay K – Dat Way

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After ‘The Race’ mania from the last few weeks I decided to check out Tay K’s “Santana World” mixtape (which admittedly wasn’t any huge commitment on my end since I’d be surprised if the 8 tracks clock in at more than 20 minutes) and there were definitely some more slaps on there.

My favorite of these was ‘Dat Way’. While sunnier and more cheerful sounding than ‘The Race’ it’s similar in the way that Tay K takes an extremely simple, lo-fi kind of catchy beat and just kills it. It almost reminds me of vintage Chief Keef from when he would crush fuzzy, simple, happy-sounding beats like on ‘Citgo’ and the cheerfulness or haziness of the beat would belie the menacing flow and subject matter. Tay K seems to be another master of this art, between this song, ‘The Race’ and also check out his latest ‘Lay Low’ for another good example. This is definitely one of those short, 2-minute type songs that you’ll play 20 times a day the first few days after you hear it.

Tay K’s future output is obviously uncertain given the extensive legal troubles facing him, but it seems like new songs are coming out post-incarceration, so hopefully he has a stockpile of material in the safe somewhere that can be released periodically going forward.

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Berner ft. Young Dolph, Gucci Mane – ‘Knuckles’

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Ohhhhhhh yeah. Stop the presses, stop the presses! We interrupt this broadcast to bring you good tidings and news of Berner’s new collaboration with Young Dolph and Gucci Mane, ‘Knuckles’. Seriously could there be any better news for an erstwhile, newly out of the closet Berner fan such as myself than news that not only does he have a new song with The King of Memphis and Wop, but that he has a whole EP coming out with Dolph? (Berner is carving out quite the niche market for himself with these ‘collaboration’ albums/mixtapes he’s got projects out with everyone from Cam’ron to The Jacka, including his most recent ‘Vibes’ project with Styles P which was a very solid release). I feel like Big Bern’s stock is at an all-time high right now. Ask the rap gods for new Berner material and ye shall receive. Honestly at this point I may need to make a new category on this blog for Just Berner. At this point it’s too early to say but Knuckles may be my favorite Berner song, and you’re talking to a man who listened to a good 4 Berner albums on a long drive last night.

According to Dirty Glove Bastard, the upcoming project with Young Dolph, entitled ‘Tracking Numbers,’ will have features from Gucci Mane, Peewee Longway, OJ Da Juiceman, Juicy J, Philthy Rich, and more. I can’t wait to hear the one with Project Pat. I loved DGB’s tepid/noncommital reaction to news of the Berner/Dolph project – “Berner & Young Dolph were probably the last 2 people you’d expect to collab for an entire project, but here we are.” You’ve got to love the ‘But here we are’ as the way to end your thoughts on something that you’re just not sure what to make of. Also, are the ‘Tracking Numbers’ referred to in the title referring to shipments from the Cookies clothing line that this hard-working fashion entrepeneur is senidng out to his customers, or to ‘cookies’ of a more illicit nature? Only time will tell when the album comes out.

I was excited enough just to see an unexpected collaboration between these 3, but the beat by TraxxFDR (who has collaborated with Berner previously  and whipped up some magic with him on my previous favorite Berner song) is absolutely delicious and takes this song to a whole different level. I’m curious who made it and what the sample is from. It has me feeling like I’m at a roller rink in the 70s with Berner, Dolph and the crew just casually skating around, smoking some cookie, chatting up the roller girls. If I do a ‘beats of the year’ type article at the end of the year this one has staked a strong claim to the top of the list.

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Young Scooter ft. Future – Can’t Play Around

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Young Scooter goes hard AF on the Future-assisted ‘Can’t Play Around’ off his new album ‘Jugg King’. The piano-laced beat is so harsh and foreboding, I feel like I’m ready to scale the castle walls and go to battle with this Black Migo Gang/Freebandz horde. This is one of the best songs I’ve heard out of ATL’s legion of trap rappers in a while and it feels great to blast it out of the car.

Future sounds great on the chorus; “I stay working through a hard rain and thunderstorm, I’m gonna stack this paper up again like I’ve never done. I’ve got these rose gold jewels I feel better now, I put the city on my back and I can’t let ’em down.” There’s just an unmistakable heaviness to this track, with the way Future extols hustling whether it rains or shines, and how Future and Scooter both reflect on losing everything and getting it back.

I love Young Scooter’s first line, “They like Scooter where you been, bitch I’m in Saint Laurent. My nigga VL keep that stick like he play lacrosse.”

This is more my fault than any reflection on Scooter himself but I guess I had overlooked him a bit, with so many rappers coming out of Atlanta during that sort of first ‘post-Gucci Mane’ era/wave and sort of all being part of that same scene and aesthetic. I had always more thought of him as Gucci’s old cellmate/a guy being featured on songs with Gucci, Future, Chief Keef, etc. but he certainly seems to be rounding into form as his own artist and making his own name for himself; Jugg King was a really strong project top to bottom so I’m interested in checking out some of his previous output now.  Also even with all of the work we’ve gotten from Future this year, by year end I think that Can’t Play Around is going to be amongst his top few tracks of 2017.

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