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Top 10 Songs March 2018

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03 Greedo – Baytoven 

It was a hard choice between this and Never Bend but Baytoven is my favorite song for the month and overall my favorite song off of Wolf of Grape Street, which is my favorite project of the year so far. From the original post…

“Another ridiculous banger off the new Greedo album. The drums on the beat hit hard AF as Greedo melodically yells about how he’s quick to dog a bitch like Beethoven (presumably the sloppy but lovable St. Bernard from the 1992 movie Beethoven as opposed to the more famous 18th century composer by the same name, although it’s certainly plausible that that Beethoven would also similarly ditch a female companion) and then gives a nice homage to one of his main producers Ron, Ron, comparing him to Zaytoven (and also favorably compares his other producer Beat Boy to Metro Boomin’).

“Dog a bucket head bitch like a cocker spaniel, 03 Greedo got it lit just like a Roman candle”. I’m not entirely clear on what a bucket head bitch is but presumably it’s not a desirable trait and the line flows nicely. So many other wild rhymes and rhyme schemes in this one; “Dog a little bitch like a Pomeranian, I’m in Dubai, hair-tied like Arabian, tryna know if niggas pulling triggers all my bitches gradient I be on some player shit”. I would pay to see 03 Greedo exploring Dubai and the Middle East.

I can’t get this one out of my head and I keep blasting it in the whip. I hope 03 makes a video for this one, for some reason I can picture it having an awesome dance to go with it. 03 Greedo is playing above the rim right now.

NO LOW RIDER BUT I’M MOBBING AND JEFFING!

03 Greedo – Never Bend

From the original post…

“03 Greedo has me feeling grapey with Never Bend, the monumental nightcap off of his ridiculous new Wolf of Grape Street album. 03 has about as much charisma and star power as anybody in the game right now and keeps things interesting with his unique, larger than life personality, adept lyricism, and dope production.

Greedo produced the sick beat for Never Bend himself on a laptop while he was laying in a hospital bed after being shot. I really can’t compare him to any other artist right now; the closest analogy I could make would maybe be a more experimental Sada Baby, but if you ask him, he wouldn’t compare himself to any rapper at all, but iconic figures like Prince and Michael Jackson and he describes his sound as “emo music for gangbangers.”

I love the droning, self-produced beat for Never Bend, with that recurrent noise that interrupts it intermittently, and I love its resolute, defiant message of the chorus; “I’m thanking God, I could have died in the pen, you haven’t been against the odds like I been, you haven’t been where I been, I never fold never bend.” Greedo also briefly alludes to being shot by someone he loves and being betrayed/snitched on by family members. This is definitley one of the most compelling figures in rap and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of his backstory.

The entire album is filled with amazing songs, and I don’t want to overreact/be too hyperbolic as bloggers often can be, but Wolf of Grape Street is an instant classic in my book and an early choice for Album of the Year for 2018. After listening to it a couple of times front to back this weekend, there really are no tracks that are skips, which is saying a lot for an album with 21 full-length songs on it (and keep in mind this is only half the length of previous releases like Purple Summer. Sitting down and listening to full 03 Greedo album is making a commitment but it’s a worthwhile one). If I were to name my favorite 3 tracks on it so far I’d go with Never Bend, Baytoven, and the Yhung T.O-assisted Bacc to Bacc, but it’s hard to narrow it down. What would it take to get a collaboration between 03 and his fellow Grape Streeter Blocboy JB?

Don Q ft. Desiigner – Trap Phone 

Favorite song off Don Q’s new, all-too-short Don Talk project. The beat is just so triumphant; it sounds like something you’d blast as you ride through a city you just conquered. A lot of people are saying they don’t like Don Q rapping over trap beats but he sounds dope to me on this one and a lot of the other ones on this tape. I didn’t expect to be rocking out to a Desiigner feature in 2018 but this goes. Ultimate song for the whip.

03 Greedo ft. Yhung T.O – Bacc to Bacc 

Yet another banger off of Wolf of Grape Street. SOB X RBE is everywhere right now and Yhung T.O complements 03 nicely on Bacc to Bacc.

Fat Tone – Juicy

Kick back, put your feet up, and soak in the nostalgia! Obviously this song isn’t actually from this month but I found myself bumping it over and over again this month after initially hearing Fat Tone thanks to the Martorialist last year. I love the ‘Sprewells on my car’ in the chorus. Fat Tone’s take on ‘Juicy’ is now up there with the one with Fat Pat and DJ Screw as my favorite of all of them. RIP Fat Tone!

Rich Homie Quan – Fuck Wit Me

RICH HOMIE BABYYYY! Here’s one I didn’t see coming. Rich Homie Quan seems to be making a nice comeback for himself in 2018 with his new album ‘Rich as in Spirit’. It may seem like a long time ago now but it was just a few years ago that Rich Homie could basically make an undisputed claim to the title of hook god. I remember listening to some of the earliest, pre-Rich Gang Quan songs like ‘Can’t Help It’ and ‘Where Were You’ (probably still my two favorites by him) and feeling like this guy was on a whole different level at the time.

Obviously he had some success thereafter with Rich Gang but it seems like while Young Thug’s career catapulted from there, Rich Homie just completely fell off the map. I’m not sure what he was up to or what he went through in the time period since he was last a marquee name, but from listening to Rich as in Spirit you can tell he’s been down in some dark places and bounced back/worked his way out of it and is eager to perfect his craft again. ‘Fuck Wit Me’ was probably my favorite song off of Rich as in Spirit but there were plenty of other contenders, like ‘Achieving’, ‘Foot Soldier’, and ‘Changed’. Honestly the whole album was really good and there were no songs you feel like you have to skip on it, which is saying something for a 19-track album.

I’m interested to see what Rich Homie does next, I feel like he’s almost comparable to a post-hype high NBA draft pick that doesn’t live up to his lofty draft position, than people write him off, but then he comes back in a new role on a new team a couple of years later and is a force to be reckoned with again. A lot of new guys have come in and set up shop in his lane that he carved out but he can definitely reclaim his spot amongst them.

Trouble – My Boy 

“I AIN’T EVEN ATE YET, DRINKING LEAN WITH MY BOY”

Substitute Lean for Coors Light and I’ve been there before with you Trouble, I know that feeling.

Speaking of Atlanta rappers of the early 2010s making a comeback, Trouble just released a really solid project called ‘Edgewood’; produced entirely by Mike Will Made It. ‘My Boy’ was the highlight of ‘Edgewood’ in my opinion. I remember bumping his stuff 6-7 years ago and then kind of losing track of him/not keeping up with him anymore but it seems like he’s back. He’s in a good spot for himself here working with Mike Will Made It and getting features from Drake, Quavo, Boosie, etc. ‘My Boy’ seems like one of the more unassuming tracks on the album at first especially given some of the superstar features, but it’s stayed in my head for weeks and has become my favorite.

AR-Ab ft. Lik Moss – Blood Brothers 

You know the old saying; hell hath no fury like an AR-Ab scorned. Ab is in fine form here on Blood Brothers as usual. This is quintessential Ab – Ab being provoked brings out the best in him, as he mixes hilarious bars with brutally violent threats and just a downright sneering mockery for all who dare oppose him. Those who have read my ‘homage to AR-Ab‘ from last year know he’s one of my all-time favorite artists and a rapper who I feel truly embodies the gritty spirit of Philly.

“I’m purple-hearted I done been to war; you kill one of mine I kill ten of yours. Ring his bell than I riot pump through your door, then I try to stomp your head through the fucking floor.”

“Tell my brother if you spot him get brutal with him, my only problem is deciding which shooter to send.”

“I watch Instagram I seen what you said homie, now I’ma fill your whole page with your dead homies.” (P.S. I love the idea of Ab reluctantly joining the social media age).

You’ve got to love Ab’s ever-present charisma and how expressive he gets with acting out his lines as he raps them, like how he jumps down and stomps the floor when he says about stomping his opp’s head through the floor, or when he motions to his homie behind him holding the pool stick like a rifle when he says his only problem is deciding which shooter to send. Or when he acts out throwing a no-look pass. (Not to mention his illustration of ‘stab you with both hands like Wolverine’ at the 2:55 mark).

“They was on the Gram talking murder, I was no good, now I declared martial law on your whole hood. I heard your corny mixtape, did it go wood? My plug pass me the brick with the no look.” This sequence is classic Ab – deftly maneuvering from threatening violence on his enemy’s whole hood, to mocking his mixtape and gloating about how he’s sold more copies than him.

While Ab’s brother Lik Moss doesn’t get as demonstrative as him, he brings a lot of raw bars and the self-assured veneer of someone who knows they’ve earned their stripes over the years and earned the respect of their hooddd, sneering as he raps lines like ‘Call Moss and see if he scrimmage, but I ain’t leaving off the field until the evil is finished’ and ‘They don’t try me here and they don’t try me there; niggas try me anywhere there’ll be a body there.’

“I’m laying dirt broke before I compromise what I stand for, these niggas laying down they manwhores… keep my foot on the gas as soon as they slam the can door, right back to putting niggas out like a landlord.” Steadfast would be a good way to describe Lik Moss.

AR-Ab – Glory Road

The booming opener to AR-Ab’s new ‘Protocol Volume 4’ mixtape is textbook Ab; in 3 short minutes he discusses the ups and downs of selling dope to his uncle, seeing his old head become a junkie, his murder trial, and having to take Percocets to fall asleep at night. Alright admittedly that sounds like more downs than ups but Ab made it through it all to tell the story, and now he’s cruising around town in his luxury vehicle, literally and figuratively looking down on the girls that used to curve him for having holes in his sneakers as they comb through the trash. Other highlights from the tape include ‘Biggest Fear’ which has a pretty dope chorus, his remake of Pac’s ‘Hail Mary’ and ‘Come Home’ which has a beat you wouldn’t expect to hear Ab rapping on.

Yo Gotti ft. 8Ball & MJG – Walking in Memphis

Another blast from the past I found myself bumping all month, something about the start of spring has your humble host here feeling nostalgic. I’m not even really a big Gotti fan or that into most of his recent hits but his remake of ‘Walking in Memphis’ where he links up with Memphis legends 8Ball and MJG and repurposes the hook of the famous song of the same title is a personal classic of mine; they just use that sample so flawlessly. My favorite part is 8-Ball coming in at the end and just knocking over everything in his path; “Boys hatin’ cause their hoes be so in love with it, that pussy might jump off a bridge if he knew I hit it. That’s why I keep my pistol closer than my boxer drawers, handle my business without ever getting the law involved. Fake niggas get the Ruger to their fucking chin, mama don’t raise punks I ain’t gonna say it again.” 8Ball manages to be both chill and intimidating in the same time in that way that only big dudes are able to. Hotbox Social just put up a dope tribute to 8Ball with a big collection of his best features on his site a week ago.

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Yeah I Watch Instagram I Seen what You Said Homie…

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Lik Moss ft. AR-Ab – Blood Brothers

You know the old saying; hell hath no fury like an AR-Ab scorned. Ab is in fine form here on Blood Brothers as usual. This is quintessential Ab – Ab being provoked brings out the best in him, as he mixes hilarious bars with brutally violent threats and just a downright sneering mockery for all who dare oppose him. Those who have read my ‘homage to AR-Ab‘ from last year know he’s one of my all-time favorite artists and a rapper who I feel truly embodies the gritty spirit of Philly.

“I’m purple-hearted I done been to war; you kill one of mine I kill ten of yours. Ring his bell than I riot pump through your door, then I try to stomp your head through the fucking floor.”

“Tell my brother if you spot him get brutal with him, my only problem is deciding which shooter to send.”

“I watch Instagram I seen what you said homie, now I’ma fill your whole page with your dead homies.” (P.S. I love the idea of Ab reluctantly joining the social media age).

You’ve got to love Ab’s ever-present charisma and how expressive he gets with acting out his lines as he raps them, like how he jumps down and stomps the floor when he says about stomping his opp’s head through the floor, or when he motions to his homie behind him holding the pool stick like a rifle when he says his only problem is deciding which shooter to send. Or when he acts out throwing a no-look pass. (Not to mention his illustration of ‘stab you with both hands like Wolverine’ at the 2:55 mark).

“They was on the Gram talking murder, I was no good, now I declared martial law on your whole hood. I heard your corny mixtape, did it go wood? My plug pass me the brick with the no look.” This sequence is classic Ab – deftly maneuvering from threatening violence on his enemy’s whole hood, to mocking his mixtape and gloating about how he’s sold more copies than him.

While Ab’s brother Lik Moss doesn’t get as demonstrative as him, he brings a lot of raw bars and the self-assured veneer of someone who knows they’ve earned their stripes over the years and earned the respect of their hooddd, sneering as he raps lines like ‘Call Moss and see if he scrimmage, but I ain’t leaving off the field until the evil is finished’ and ‘They don’t try me here and they don’t try me there; niggas try me anywhere there’ll be a body there.’

“I’m laying dirt broke before I compromise what I stand for, these niggas laying down they manwhores… keep my foot on the gas as soon as they slam the can door, right back to putting niggas out like a landlord.” Steadfast would be a good way to describe Lik Moss.

He also voices his disdain for people wearing jackets in the summer for attention, which I can certainly agree with although it’s not a problem I frequently witness. I see what he’s saying though, someone of his age and stature doesn’t have a lot of patience for some of the antics and fashions that some of these younger guys will pull for attention.

I don’t know the specifics of the beef between Ab and Trendsettaz Shady, but damn, couldn’t this guy have picked an easier/less threatening Philly rapper to beef with? Like going after Lil Uzi Vert or something?

Ab’s new tape, the fourth installment of his ‘Protocol’ series came out recently as well, so he’s certainly been active lately. I’ve listened to it 2-3 times in full in the car so far and so far my favorite two tracks off it are ‘Glory Road’ and ‘Biggest Fear’. Ab also just recently put out his own spin on ‘Hardaway’.

P.S. I don’t know who the producer is, but I feel like I keep hearing that Yogi Bear ‘Hey Boo Boo’ tag more and more.

I Dog a Bitch Like Beethoven, Ron Ron just like my Zaytoven

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03 Greedo – Baytoven 

Another ridiculous banger off the new Greedo album. The drums on the beat hit hard AF as Greedo melodically yells about how he’s quick to dog a bitch like Beethoven (presumably the sloppy St. Bernard from the 1992 movie Beethoven as opposed to the more famous 18th century composer by the same name, although it’s certainly plausible that that Beethoven would also similarly ditch a female companion) and then gives a nice homage to one of his main producers Ron, Ron, comparing him to Zaytoven (and also favorably compares his other producer Beat Boy to Metro Boomin’).

“Dog a bucket head bitch like a cocker spaniel, 03 Greedo got it lit just like a Roman candle”. I’m not entirely clear on what a bucket head bitch is but presumably it’s not a desirable trait and the line flows nicely. I also love how he always says the full ‘Oh three Greedo’ instead of just 3 Greedo or Greedo in songs.

So many other wild rhymes and rhyme schemes in this one; “Dog a little bitch like a Pomeranian, I’m in Dubai, hair-tied like Arabian, tryna know if niggas pulling triggers all my bitches gradient I be on some player shit”. I would pay to see 03 Greedo exploring Dubai and the Middle East.

I can’t get this one out of my head and I keep blasting it in the whip, it’s a perfect car song. Baytoven is in contention with Never Bend for my favorite song off of Wolf of Grape Street. I hope 03 makes a video for this one, for some reason I can picture it having an awesome dance to go with it. 03 Greedo is playing above the rim right now.

NO LOW RIDER BUT I’M MOBBING AND JEFFING!

The Big Bad Grape Street Wolf

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03 Greedo – Never Bend

03 Greedo has me feeling grapey with Never Bend, the monumental nightcap off of his ridiculous new Wolf of Grape Street album. 03 has about as much charisma and star power as anybody in the game right now and keeps things interesting with his unique, larger than life personality, adept lyricism, and dope production.

Greedo produced the sick beat for Never Bend himself on a laptop while he was laying in a hospital bed after being shot. A lot of people are talking about how they’re wavy right now but few if any can say that they’re as wavy as Greedo. I really can’t compare him to any other artist right now; the closest analogy I could make would maybe be a more experimental Sada Baby, but if you ask him, he wouldn’t compare himself to any rapper at all, but iconic figures like Prince and Michael Jackson and he describes his sound as “emo music for gangbangers,” and they’re certainly not unwarranted claims.

I love the droning, self-produced beat for Never Bend, with that recurrent noise that interrupts it intermittently, and I love its resolute, defiant message of the chorus; “I’m thanking God, I could have died in the pen, you haven’t been against the odds like I been, you haven’t been where I been, I never fold never bend.” Greedo also briefly alludes to being shot by someone he loves and being betrayed/snitched on by family members. This is definitley one of the most compelling figures in rap and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of his backstory.

The entire album is filled with amazing songs, and I don’t want to overreact/be too hyperbolic as bloggers often can be, but Wolf of Grape Street is an instant classic in my book and an early choice for Album of the Year for 2018. Even the cover art is epic. After listening to it a couple of times front to back this weekend, there really are no tracks that are skips, which is saying a lot for an album with 21 full-length songs on it (and keep in mind this is only half the length of previous releases like Purple Summer. Sitting down and listening to full 03 Greedo album is making a commitment but it’s a worthwhile one). If I were to name my favorite 3 tracks on it so far I’d go with Never Bend, Baytoven, and the Yhung T.O-assisted Bacc to Bacc, but it’s hard to narrow it down. What would it take to get a collaboration between 03 and his fellow Grape Streeter Blocboy JB?

I’m a little late to the 03 Greedo wave but I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a new (to me) artist since FMB DZ and Sada Baby last year.

Image result for 03 greedo

Refrigerated Cup Holders When I’m Sippin’

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Nipsey Hussle – Freestyle on Funk Flex 

Neighborhood Nip killing it on the Funk Flex show a couple of weeks ago. I’m always a sucker for the ‘If I Ruled the World’ beat and this was a great use of it.

“Bullets got blue tips like they Crippin’ nigga, F&N got 30 in it and I’m tripping nigga, refrigerated cupholders when I’m sippin’ nigga, fuck work sell words it was written nigga, see the Staples Center from my kitchen nigga, on the phone with Forbes asking how I did it nigga”.

Something about the imagery of the refrigerated cupholders and seeing the Staples Center from his kitchen is such dope use of imagery and just paints such an evocative picture to me. I’m not sure if he means refrigerated cup holders in his house or in the whip but either way I want them now. Nipsey can’t miss right now!

“$30,000 for the pythons, rocking knee-highs, sipping white wine, listening to ‘In My Lifetime, looking at the city skyline, getting sky high.”

 

Top 10 Songs February 2018

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It’s been a wild month over here, and this month’s top 10 will reflect that. I went down a lot of different wormholes whether it was a Tupac nostalgia trip brought on by my birthday and feeling old, to randomly bumping a lot of 80s R&B which rarely happens either, to a journey through the new Memphis to exploring a bunch of stuff I missed from the Griselda label and ultimately checking out a bevy of quality new releases from Nipsey Hussle, Kodak, Ralo, 6ix 9ine, and more. Hey any month that you can headbang to 6ix 9ine and slow dance to New Edition in the same month is a month worth living if you ask me. So here’s my February top 10, we’re a day late but let’s do it…

Benny the Butcher – Fat Dom 

Benny’s got me feeling like throwing on a Buffalo Sabers jersey (the red and black one with the evil-looking buffalo, of course) with all this fire he’s releasing.  I posted about Benny last week after seeing a really nice freestyle from him and this song ‘Fat Dom’ is my favorite song from his ‘Butcher on Steroids’ tape with Green Lantern that came out in November. Between Green Lantern shouting out his name and ‘Invasion’ over the tracks, to the flashy coke raps and the next-level lyricism, this tape (and song) really brought me back to another time and place, like the mid-2000s Dipset golden age and that is a very good thing in my opinion. Benny is like an Upstate NY, modern-day Diplomat.  I’m going to feel like an idiot, but a grateful idiot, when one of my loyal readers points out to me what this beat is from since I know I’ve heard it before and it’s probably something obvious but I just can’t remember what it’s from, but in any case Benny kills it. This tape was great, and his project that just came out about a week or so ago entitled ‘Stabbed & Shot’ with his fellow Upstater 38 Spesh was really good as well (and features one track with Benny & 38 trading bars with Styles P and Jadakiss in typical Styles and Kiss fashion)

6ix 9ine ft. Tory Lanez, Young Thug

Much to the chagrin of rainbow-grill haters from coast to coast, the 6ix 9ine debut album (mixtape?) finally came and while it was short, it was economical in that it packed a lot of bangers into just under a half hour. Everyone already knew Kooda, Gummo and Keke which were amongst the best songs on it, but perhaps the best of all of them was a new song called Rondo. Rondo features a trio of collaborators in 6ix9ine, Tory Lanez, and Young Thug that is as unexpected as it is potent. I feel like Young Thug basically was the 6ix 9ine of a few years ago, with people up in arms about him wearing a dress and having a nose ring so it’s perhaps only right that these two kindred but very different spirits came together to bring some serious heat. I’m usually not really down with Tory Lanez but I have to admit his vocals on the chorus here were sick and really brought the whole song together. Like most of 6ix 9ine’s other big hits so far, especially Keke, really the only problem with ‘Rondo’ is that it’s way too short for such a dope song especially when you have 3 different guys of this caliber on it. Whether you love 6ix 9ine or hate him, or fall somewhere in between, I challenge you to bump Rondo at top volume and not get amped up about it.

Nipsey Hussle – Grinding All My Life

I actually posted this song in my top 10 a while back probably in September or October, but after appearing on Nipsey’s highly-anticipated ‘Victory Lap’ it’s back in this month’s 10. Nipsey was talking about Victory Lap for literally about a year and a half and it finally came out for All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. There were a lot of dope tracks on it and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve seen an album get this much love/anticipation both from the internet whether it was blogs, social media, or forums AND people bumping it outside in real life in quite a while, so good for Nip. There were a lot of good songs on it and it’s a nice, cohesive album where he really hammers home his vision of entrepeneurship and empowerment, but Grinding All My Life is still my favorite after all this time. I like his flow and bars better in the first half of the song than in the second, but either way it’s a banger.

“Don’t know a nigga like myself. I say self-made meaning I designed myself. County jail fade you could pull my file yourself. Spot raid, swallowed rocks I’m getting high myself.”

“Damn right I like the life I built, I’m from West side 60s, shit I might got killed, standing so tall they think I might got stilts. Legendary baller like Mike like Wilt, ’96 Impala Thug Life on wheels. Up against the wall, squabble at Fox Hills. Like a motherfucking boss ask me how I feel, successful street niggas touching their first mill.”

“Look I’m married to this game, that’s who I made my wife. She said I’d die alone I told that bitch she probably right. One thing that’s for sure, I’m not a stranger to this life, got a safe that’s full of Franklins and a shoulder full of stripes.

Nipsey Hussle ft. Kendrick Lamar – Dedication

Another highlight from Victory Lap. I’m usually not crazy about Kendrick but this song was incredible and it was cool to see him and Nipsey on a song together. Nice beat, great verses from two of the biggest modern-day LA/West Coast rappers, and furthermore it’s actually a pretty uplifting/positive song. Favorite line… Nipsey – “This ain’t entertainment. This for niggas on the slave ship. These songs are the spirituals that I swam against the waves with; made it to the shore to their amazement.” That line is so real it legitimately sent a chill down this old jaded blogger’s spine.

Moneybagg Yo – Black Heart 

Wrote about this one earlier this month during my audio trip through Memphis…

The intro to Moneybagg Yo’s new project ‘2 Heartless’ goes hard as a mother. It’s under a minute and a half long but it packs quite a punch. I wish it was a full-length 3 or so minute song because it ends right as he’s really heating up. The beat is harsh and I’m always down with rappers starting mixtapes with clips about themselves/their crimes/shootings etc. from the radio/news. I’m also down with Moneybagg including a clip of a guy yelling ‘Man, fuck Moneybagg!’ on his own tape. “Niggas turned hippie, they want peace, hit ’em with the iron get ’em creased, hottest nigga moving through these streets, all in my shows with the heat, dealt with more crosses than a priest, I ain’t let it break me with the lease.” The ‘niggas turned hippie they want peace, hit ’em with the iron get em creased’ is one of my favorite rhymes in a while it’s so simple but so effective. The hippie line has me picturing Moneybagg Yo’s opps in Memphis walking around with bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts and something about hit ’em with the iron get ’em creased just sounds so brutal. I love the way he says ‘iron’ with that Tennessee drawl; ‘eearun‘.

Blocboy JB ft. Drake – Look Alive 

From original article

As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, Drake wasn’t down at the FedEx Forum taking in a Grizzlies game with Blocboy JB because he wanted to take in Mario Chalmers NBA return or to see one half of the Harrison twins. Drake knows exactly what he’s doing – while it may look like he’s trying to help out a less famous up and coming artist, he actually needs Blocboy more than Blocboy needs him – he sees the hype Blocboy JB is getting and the love he’s getting on the streets, so he jumps on a song with him and rides the wave with him. I’m not even hating on it it’s actually a great business strategy and as much as I’m not usually a big fan of Drake as a rapper I will say he does have a great ear/eye for talent in terms of a lot of the guys he’s co-signed over the years and would make a great A&R.

I’m down with the Jordan jumpsuit Drake is rocking in the video; I’d be in full favor of clothes like that making a return instead of the women’s jeans and designer man-purses that a lot of rappers are sporting today.  Drake’s dance actually isn’t bad in this video, but it’s no surprise that he’s upstaged by Blocboy, the guy who has all kinds of college and pro teams copying his dance from Shoot. And speaking of the fashion in this video, anyone of you readers out there know what the cargo pants w the orange stripe on the side that Blocboy is sporting are? Those are pretty fresh. P.S. I think he’s also wearing a Green Day ‘American Idiot’ shirt?

The ‘blow you like a flute’ line was kiiiiind of suspect but hey for the guy that made ‘Rover’ and ‘Shoot’ we’ll let it slide, Blocboy has earned himself a few slip-ups. He gets back into more typical excellent Blocboy form shortly after with this dope line – ‘Came a long way from sitting in the nosebleeds. Now a nigga on the floor talking to the ath-letes, man I’m so close to the game that I could steal the stat sheet.”

Drizzy is feeling grapey after his Memphis Vacation and who can blame him?

6ix 9ine – Billy

‘Billy’ is just so, so aggressive. It’s almost more of a hardcore song than a rap song. Apparently the video shoot for this got shut down in NYC today. I had thought there was a clip or version of this with Cuban Doll in it but I guess it didn’t make it to the album? I don’t know who is giving the speech in the beginning but it definitley sets the tone for the rest of the tape. A lot of high school kids are going to get punched in the face at parties with this song on in the background. I kind of want to make a mixtape with this, Kooda, and Knuck if You Buck just on a continuous loop.

Top Dolla – Set Trippin (C Mix)

Wrote about this one the other day

Even 6ix 9ine’s harshest critics have to indirectly give him credit for at least getting Casanova to make ‘Set Trippin,’ one of the unfriendliest songs out of NYC in a long time, which then indirectly caused a wave of Set Trippin remixes all over the city and beyond, my favorite of which may honestly be this OG ‘Top Dolla’ trying his hand at it. I don’t know much about him and he only has a couple of songs over the last few years but I’ll take him over half the rappers out here these days, the man has charisma and stage presence.

I love the skit at the beginning. To summarize; Top Dolla and his boys are cooling out on the block when an erstwhile Blood is unlucky enough to stumble across their path. Top Dolla disappointedly asks him when/why he turned Blood and chides him for turning Blood in jail when he didn’t even have a long bid. Top Dolla’s henchman also takes his flag out of his pocket for wearing it on the wrong side. But then ultimately in a surprise twist, Top Dolla acts fairly magnanimously and decides to spare him because they grew up on the same block, their moms know each other, and he basically watched him grow up. Knowing he’s no match for him, he lets him cross the street and leaves it to the Damus down the block to deal with him.

The navy blue and gold Pelle Pelle jacket he’s rocking looks sick and goes well with his standard Yankees hat, always a timeless classic. There are a lot of dope clothing choices in this video amongst his crew, whether it’s his boy in the Seattle Mariners pullover from the skit, or the guy with the New York Islanders jersey. Perhaps best of all is the rarely seen Minnesota Wild hoodie.

I like the raw aggression/energy and just sheer gravity Top Dolla brings to his version of the song, you just feel an added weight with some of the lines since you know he’s lived what he’s rapping here in his unique take on the song. He mainly talks about being in the minority as a Crip at Rikers Island and the NY State prison system, and standing tall whereas many other Crips were afraid to claim in jail since they were vastly outnumbered.

I love his spin on the chorus; ‘Throw your hood up, nigga bang, on Rikers Island a lot of niggas they was scared to claim, Neighborhood nigga that’s the gang.’

‘Young top Dolla a known threat; 18 Years, Neighborhood, only been one set. They tuckin from the streets to the jail, nigga I bang mine, the Six is like kids around tax time, I claim mine. What I hate is tuck and tell, knowing well, they get in a spot with some Crips, they claimin’ other jails.’

‘Some niggas pick and choose when they rep, we gotta fix that, if you reppin over there adn not over here, you gettin’ bitch slapped…on Rikers I was making it known, they can’t forget that, and up north, I was keeping it funky like where the Rips at?’

SOB X RBE – God 

Amazing song from SOB X RBE. Only caught this at the very end of the month but this is so good. ‘God’ is off their new album Gangin, which is apparently being called a debut album – I thought that last year’s self-titled one was their debut album but I guess that was a mixtape. Last year’s album/mixtape was one of the best projects of the year; I have to really get into the rest of this album and listen to it in full while I have time but so far it sounds great. SOB X RBE is definitley one of the top groups in the game these days and individually these guys all have some great solo stuff too. After being on the Black Panther soundtrack I’m sure they’ll blow up even more and they certainly deserve to. It’s too early to say because this was a last-minute change right before I put this article up but so far I’d go as far as to say ‘God’ is one of my favorite songs from the SOB X RBE camp so far to date.

Kodak Black – Why You Always Gotta Go

The new Kodak Black album was kind of hit or miss to me but when you really try to try some new things and push the envelope some things are going to miss so I can’t fault Kodak for that. I almost feel like this new album HBK was him going avant-garde. I picked ‘Why You Always Gotta Go’ as my top song from it and my 10th song for the month after a couple of listens of the album but really it was a close choice between this and the couple of other songs I liked from HBK, namely Acting Wierd, Laudy, Running Outta Love and When Vultures Cry. I loved the ‘I made my first $100,000 in my Soldiers’ line.

On Rikers, I was Making it Known, they can’t Forget that. And Up North? I Kept it Funky Like ‘Where the Rips at?’

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Top Dolla 60 – Set Trippin’ (C-Mix)

This Set Trippin remake actually goes hard and puts a bit of a unique twist on it. Even 6ix 9ine’s harshest critics have to admit he at least caused Casanova to make ‘Set Trippin’ which then caused a wave of Set Trippin remixes all over NYC and beyond, some better than others, my favorite of which ultimately turned out to be this one from this OG ‘Top Dolla 60′ trying his hand at it. Until some further research I actually wasn’t even sure if Top Dolla 60 is an actual rapper or if he’s just doing this as a one-time thing to get a few points across but damn it I’ll take him over half the rappers out here these days, the man has charisma and stage presence, so now I want to check out the rest of his material.

I love the skit at the beginning – almost feels kind of Jim Jones-esque; I feel like we need more skits/vignettes in the beginning/end of vidoes again. To summarize; Top Dolla and his boys are cooling out on the block when an erstwhile Blood is unlucky enough to stumble across their path. Top Dolla disappointedly asks him when/why he turned Blood and chides him for turning Blood in prison upstate, presumably for protection, when he didn’t even have to endure a long bid. Top Dolla’s henchman also takes his flag out of his pocket for wearing it on the wrong side. (Also, note at 0:59 the old Italian-looking guy is loving this skit!) But then finally in a surprise twist, Top Dolla acts fairly magnanimously and decides to spare him further punishment because they grew up on the same block, their moms know each other, and he basically watched him grow up. Knowing that this small fry is no match for him, he lets him cross the street and leaves it to the Damus down the block to deal with him as they see fit.

The navy blue and gold Pelle Pelle jacket he’s rocking looks sick and goes well with his standard Yankees hat, always a timeless classic. There are a lot of dope clothing choices in this video amongst his crew, whether it’s his boy in the Seattle Mariners pullover or the guy with the rarely-seen New York Islanders jersey. Perhaps best of all is the even rarer Minnesota Wild hoodie. I’ve got to just be upfront and say it, I’m not saying one is better than the other and I have no dog in this fight, but it seems like Crips seem to have a better and wider overall selection of teams to choose gear from then the standard Chicago Bulls or Philadelphia Phillies stuff that you usually see in vidoes from their counterparts on the other side of this divide.

I like the raw aggression/energy and just sheer gravity Top Dolla brings to his version of the song, you just feel an added weight with some of the lines since you know he’s lived what he’s rapping here and feels strongly about it. To him this isn’t a fashion statement or a trend like it is to many, this is his life. He mainly talks about being in the minority as a Crip (and more specifically a Neighborhood Crip) at Rikers Island and the NY State prison system, and standing tall/keeping his head held high about who he is whereas many others were afraid to claim in jail since they were vastly outnumbered, a theme he hammers home again and again… “Some niggas pick and choose when they rep, we gotta fix that, if you reppin over there adn not over here, you gettin’ bitch slapped…on Rikers I was making it known, they can’t forget that, and up north, I was keeping it funky like where the Rips at?”

‘Young top Dolla a known threat; 18 Years, Neighborhood, only been one set. They tuckin from the streets to the jail, nigga I bang mine, the Six is like kids around tax time, I claim mine. What I hate is tuck and tell, knowing well, they get in a spot with some Crips, they claimin’ other jails.’

I love his spin on the chorus; ‘Throw your hood up, nigga bang, on Rikers Island a lot of niggas they was scared to claim, Neighborhood nigga that’s the gang…Who loc’d you in, how’d you turn cuz? You went up North and you turned blood?”

“Got a real community over here, my Neighbors with me”

I like the fact that he includes some Bloods in the video that he considers ‘real Bloods’, as he says, “Got Fam that throw B’s but cuz I bring them C’s out”. Apparently even Casanova himself was down with this version of the song, judging from IG.

‘The Butcher’ Serving up Prime Cuts

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Benny – ‘Off Top’ Freestyle

Man, I remember during Dipset’s golden era Juelz and Jimmy constantly (and usually needlessly) comparing themselves to the Taliban, bin Laden, and all sorts of other global megavillains of the time, so it’s only right that we finally have someone from this new day and age coming up with some Kim Jong Un/North Korea references. I used to love those needless Taliban comparisons because I get where they were going i.e. yeah we ride around in pickup trucks with guns like we’re some crazed mujahadins but overall the analogies really served no other purpose but to most likely shock and alienate a huge number of casual fans and also ensure that the song would never appear on a retail/major album.

On a serious note though this freestyle by up and coming upstate NY rapper Benny (aka Benny the Butcher) is amazing. The beat is hard body and it’s only fitting that somebody spits some serious bars over it.

“In prison, it’s 10% physical, the rest mental, the shit  I was cooking had me looking through jail windows…Think I made it out the hood since they saw me on BET. I be ’round the way in the store spending EBT. For 2 ounces of soft, the judge give you 3 apiece. You come home with a scar and a GED. You know all of us risk takers, put coke in water just to get caught up in rent payments.”

“I’m going out with my pistol blasting. On my North Korea shit, sending missiles at ya.”

This video just came out yesterday but overall I’m admittedly late to the party on Benny. I only found out about him a couple of days ago and he’s quickly becoming one of my new favorites.  I just checked out his tape with mixtape with Green Lantern called ‘Butcher on Steroids’ that apparently came out in November and I’ve been playing it non-stop, along with his dope new mixtape with fellow upstate NY rapper 38 Spesh (Benny is from Buffalo, 38 is from Rochester). The tape with Green Lantern really took me back to another time and place; I was half expecting DJ Clue or DJ Kay Slay to come in out of nowhere and start screaming their name over the beat. I guess he’s part of a crew/label with fellow Buffalo artists Conway and Westside Gunn called Griselda and these guys have all built up quite a bit of a dedicated following of their own and have some sort of deal with Shady Records now (didn’t even know that was still around!) but it’s all new to me so I’m looking forward to diving headfirst into their catalogue.

‘Niggas Turned Hippie They Want Peace, Hit ’em with the Iron get ’em Creased’ A Couple of Memphis Quick Hitters

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Your humble host has been too dormant for the last week or so but now I’m back out here in the trenches with y’all. I’ve noticed that unintentionally, I’ve been listening to a whole bunch of releases by Memphis artists in a row over the last week or two, in between some Tupac while I was in nostalgia mode after my birthday and randomly New Edition’s ‘Gold’ greatest hits collection (I can feel my street cred instantly plummeting as I type this) so I wanted to put up a post rounding up some of my favorites from some of the new stuff going on down there with some quick-hitting thoughts on each.  Between all the love Blocboy JB is getting, the new Moneybagg Yo project that just dropped, and new mixtapes from both Key Glock and Jay Fizzle, Memphis is on fire right now – they’ve got me feeling like a Memphis Grizzly right now. A hibernating Memphis grizzly, but a grizzly nonetheless.

Moneybagg Yo – Black Heart 

The intro to Moneybagg Yo’s new project ‘2 Heartless’ goes hard as a mother. It’s under a minute and a half long but it packs quite a punch. I wish it was a full-length 3 or so minute song because it ends right as he’s really heating up. The beat is harsh and I’m always down with rappers starting mixtapes with clips about themselves/their crimes/shootings etc. from the radio/news. I’m also down with Moneybagg including a clip of a guy yelling ‘Man, fuck Moneybagg!’ on his own tape. “Niggas turned hippie, they want peace, hit ’em with the iron get ’em creased, hottest nigga moving through these streets, all in my shows with the heat, dealt with more crosses than a priest, I ain’t let it break me with the lease.” The ‘niggas turned hippie they want peace, hit ’em with the iron get em creased’ is one of my favorite rhymes in a while it’s so simple but so effective. The hippie line has me picturing Moneybagg Yo’s opps in Memphis walking around with bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts and something about hit ’em with the iron get ’em creased just sounds so brutal. I love the way he says ‘iron’ with that Tennessee drawl; ‘eearun‘.

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“All My Chains On I Don’t Tuck None, Call Me Simba Bitch You Fucking with the King’s Son”

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Cookie Money – Pops Died Last Week

An intense and heartfelt song by East Oakland’s Cookie Money about the death of his father. You can really feel both the sense of sadness and loss as well as the feeling of resolute determination to carry on the family legacy and shouldering the burden of making sure that the rest of his family is straight no matter what it takes. You can really feel where he’s coming from with the unique mix of angry defiance and deep sadness that’s hard to describe. Apparently his father was a serious hustler during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and then spent a lot of time in prison but he and Cook remained very close. I usually don’t watch Vlad TV that frequently but the Cookie Money interview on it was pretty good and delved more into Cookie Money’s background/life story etc it’s long but I would definitely recommend it.  It seems like he’s lost a lot of people close to him recently over the last few months from his dad to his grandmother to some of his homies so hopefully he can find some peace and things get better for him soon.

I don’t think Cookie is doing anything crazy lyrically but he’s a real, genuine artist who can really make you feel what he’s saying, which makes it even more impressive. He’s not doing it with crazy wordplay or rhyme schemes he’s just doing this with pure heart.

“All my chains on I don’t tuck none, I’m tryna tell them that they fucking with the wrong one, call me Simba bitch you fucking with the king’s son.”

“My daddy died last week bruh this shit hurt. I never thought he’d be the one who had to leave first. I gotta hold my brother down I gotta take the torch, show these niggas what this East Oakland shit is worth.”

“Ready to kill any pussy nigga that look at me wrong. Broad day, no mask, whole clip to his dome. I would never question God I can’t say that he wrong, you were more than my father bruh it’s hard to move on. How the fuck you tell (???) that her Papa is gone, I hear your voice late night ‘Lil nigga be strong, same name do your thing keep the legacy going’, I lost my best friend bruh y’all didn’t even know him.”