Jim Jones ft. Jadakiss, Philthy Rich – Don’t Know what They Took Him For
This Heatmakerz beat is unbelievable. Almost makes me feel like I’m in the 80s watching some type of promotional video from one of those sketchy self-help gurus where the actors are talking about how good their lives are after they paid him to walk over hot coals in his sketchy desert retreat and made his suggested life changes, or like a corporate training video from the same era telling you how to be a good employee. Or maybe even some sort of anti-drug PSA where the kids are talking about how great their lives are by not doing drugs. So many good Heatmakerz beats on Jim’s new album but this might be the best.
“On birthdays was the worst days, now I might pop $80 grand on a Thursday”. I love the over the top ‘Grrr’ ad lib after he mentions goons his goons purging which we’ve also seen previously in ‘Dipset Forever’ (the second coming of it). Ad lib game on point as always, and Jim does very well with the hook.
I’m never opposed to hearing what Jadakiss has to say and I obviously welcome the Phil feature. Jadakiss sounds like he’s in a very good place here (‘Count my blessings get my lessons out the Good Book’). Jim and Philthy have done some good work together before on ‘East Side‘ with Peezy. (Wish he would have gotten a Peezy feature for this album!) It’s kind of random that the Jim Jones album ends with a Philthy Rich verse but again I’m down with Philthy so I don’t really mind.
Harlem to Yonkers to Oakland
Side note: is Nef the Pharaoh locked up or is Philthy talking about a different Nef?
Jim Jones ft. Fabolous, Marc Scibilia – Nothing Lasts
Yimmy is back with a new album El Capo to follow up on last year’s somewhat overlooked Wasted Talent. I can’t decide which I like better yet after a couple of listens but they’re both good. Jim is having a nice little Indian summer to his career with 2 straight solid albums in 2 years, and has evolved from probably the least checked for main member of Dipset (through no fault of his own) to arguably the most checked for and is going the strongest of all them with the most consistent output. After a couple of spins so far I’m really feeling this one, Mama I Made It, and Don’t Know What they Took Him For (which has a Philthy cameo!).
I can’t decide if ‘Still going cray on them like a coloring book is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard in a rap song or one of the worst lines I’ve ever heard in a rap song.
This production with the Lionel Richie sample is sounding downright godly. Heatmakerz have a lot of nice beats on this album. I’m not sure who the hell Marc Scibliani is or why he’s all over every song on this album but he doesn’t sound bad on the hook here so I can’t hate, and let’s be honest no one could ruin this sample. Imagine if Jim wanted to get a little wavy and got El Debarge on the hook? Or if he was hellbent on going down the white R&B singer route for whatever reason, if he sprung for like a Michael McDonald or the guy from Hall and Oates or something? Lol. Either way Jim definitley has a nice smooth summer jam on his hands here. In a perfect world this would be a summer hit on radio.
Dave East – No Pork / Kiing Shooter ft. Dave East – 30 Percent
Welcome to the Pink C Bodega where we got two Dave East loosies for a dollar.
Coincidentally we’re staying on our recentNYC Crip wave with this post although now we’re heading from Brooklyn uptown to Harlem.
East has me lacing up my Timbs and throwing on a big Marmot jacket with this first one. The smooth ‘No Pork’ might be the magnum opus of East’s career thus far. It’s a ‘classic’ sounding NYC rap song done right without sounding dusty or too formulaic. This is that classic wintertime music, and the type of track that you want to play while you’re hunkering down at the crib or out on a rare nice sunny day in the winter. East goes into full-on nostalgia/story-telling mode as he takes us on a trip down memory lane through the ups and downs of his life growing up in Harlem.
“I told Shooter (see below) we gon get rich no matter what, they was happy when we was down now when we see them they made as fuck. We don’t got to live in the projects no more, I dropped out, but it’s funny I’m hitting college on tour. I need ’em fresh, cop em again if I copped em before. Charlotte Hornets top and bottom, colored aqua velour. Ahki used to let me in after the locks on the door. I ain’t speeding, I ain’t smoking, what the fuck you stopping me for? I hid my first .38 behind the socks in my drawer, my mama asked me why you got a gun, you not going to war? If I go get a cigarette there might be opps at the store.”
Meanwhile 30 Percent is the first track from his aggressively-named protege Kiing Shooter’s mixtape ‘Fucc the Doubters’. The interplay here as East and Shooter trade bars back and forth like a Styles and Jada is great. Whereas ‘No Pork’ is the type of song you could kick back and relax at home listening to, ’30 Percent’ is more of an aggressive one you’d blast when you’re in the mood to get rowdy. Shooter has a dope and pretty unique-sounding deep/’blunt’ voice and raps over the top ignorant lines like “I’m creeping through the back window hoping they don’t keep alarms, .40 on me just in case the dog or the grandma home.”
Poppa da Don, Dave East, Tulito, Trap God Mula – Crip Shit
It’s turning into winter fast out here, and you know what that means, it’s that time of year to hunker down, lace up the Timbs, throw on a big Marmot jacket and see what’s going on in the big apple. These NYC Crips have really been coming out with some heat lately. Here, we get two of the best linking up and Brooklyn and Harlem joining forces with Poppa da Don and Dave East, along with Tulito and Trap God Mula/Sha Mula who may have the best verse of all on this one.
I love the pure energy and fervor Mula brings here as he says ‘Sha Mula I’m the Trap God, probably made $100 thou in my backyard,” pounding his fist as he raps it. “Blue flag 100 Locs I’m moving wocky nigga, 2-seater, I8 they couldn’t stop me nigga!” I’m hyped off of the defiance he’s spitting with.
East makes a typically solid contribution here as well, and also just released arguably the best song of his career, in my opinion, with ‘No Pork .’ Poppa da Don put out a total banger ‘Smoked‘ with Abillyon over the summer which I think is going to start blowing up even more because Meek Mill was talking about it recently.
My only very minor gripe with this one is that I wish they grabbed my man Top Dolla and got him on this one this would have been perfect for him!
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.
Ray Mula ft. Dave East, Don Q – Wassup with the Wassup Remix
Had been wanting to throw up a post about Ray Mula’s ‘Wassup’ for a week or two and hadn’t gotten around to it, and now a remix of it just came out with Don Q and Dave East jumping onto it in addition to Ray’s first verse from the original.
The song title had me feeling like it was going to be like a 90s Budweiser commercial but Ray kills this. He has his own style but also almost brings an AR-Ab type of presence/quality (which is a very good thing in my opinion) in terms of both his voice/delivery and the fact that he has non-stop quality bars which mix in both humor and grittiness. This is what NYC rap is supposed to sound like.
“Shorty sleeping on the hookah so we made her pay for refills. I’m still taking her home, but if she throw me on the Snap than I’m breaking her phone.”
“Used to wake up for the count now I wake up just to count.”
“8 Ball rolling, nigga no pool, trap house jumping more scales than Whole Foods”
No homo but I love Mula’s voice it’s perfect for this type of song.
“I was fucking all these hoes way before I started trapping, looking like a rapper way before I started rapping. Yeah I’m from the 8 talk about it make it happen, we could get it poppin, we could get it crackin… Harlem world AKA money making, hoes started liking, niggas started hating. Tried to keep it funky, niggas started faking, grip on deck but we can still get it shaking.”
The original was already a banger and then when I was getting ready to catch up on some posts I saw on my recommended videos on Youtube that there’s already a remix out now from a couple of days ago. The original ‘Wassup’ only came out in November so these guys definitely jumped on this remix fast because they know it has the potential to be big. I like that they didn’t change up the video for the remix; they still just shot it in front of the same housing complex; all that’s really changed is the more appropriately-heavy looking jackets since it’s been absolutely freezing in New York this winter. Mula switches from a bright green windbreaker to a yellow and black North Face, and there aren’t any dirt bikes out this time.
Dave East has been a busy man lately between releasing Paranoia 2 and adding a sick verse to this remix.
“I was on some broke shit, roaches by the mattress, on some Loc shit way before I started flagging.”
“All this double G be on me got me fucking nigga’s wives. Came home without a scar, could give a fuck about your life.”
I’m not sure what Dave East’s chain is but it’s looking super frosty here.
Don Q makes the trip down from the Bronx and puts the song over the top with his verse..
“I be walking through the fire when the smoke clear. Tell my niggas open fire when the coast clear. Yeah that block was on fire but I post there. Don’t stand by that car tire we got coke there. Fuck a prince nigga I got king status. Stuffed $200,000 in a queen mattress. All my ice bright nigga I done seen darkness, my lawyer got pistol cases looking like weed charges.”
I liked the simple but kind of harsh beat for this song and these guys went 3 for 3, all obliterating it with their verses.
Even the little details of this video like putting the rapper’s name on their screen as they start or the fire graphic that comes on the screen when Don Q says ‘I be walking through the fire when the smoke clears’ give it that classic feel.
Ray and the team definitely deserve to start getting some heavy rotation on NYC radio and beyond with this one.
I don’t know if we even deserved Cam’ron lacing us with a newalbum, but I can’t think of anything America needs more right now. I wasn’t expecting this at all so I’m hyped.
Rather than an ode to the purple, slumber-inducing concoction, ‘Lean’ is literally a rap song over a beat sampling the 1972 classic ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers. I guess this should come as no surprise since Cam’ron has mastered this type of song and rapping over these types of samples more than any other artist, whether it was Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘Oh What a Night‘ by the Four Seasons talking about the night he got shot in D.C. and drove himself to the hospital, or improbably rapping about IBS over the all-too-short ‘Any Way You Want It’, or one of my all time favorite Cam efforts, his take on Rose Royce’s ‘I Wanna Get Next to You’
Killa is rattling off lines like he’s in the midst of a lengthy, multi-decade prime here…
“I grew up with Big L, all I knew was ebonics; jealousy, crack, greed, homicide and chronic, where niggas catch a body change their name like the Sonics. It was hot like Phoenix, I used to look up at the Lenox Ave sign, on my heart, and pledge allegiance.”
“I share my wealth, humble beginnings, hunger strangled us, Pops had a choice, me or drugs, he chose angel dust.”
I’ve only listened to ‘The Program’ a couple of times so far but it certainly does not disappoint. A few early favorites aside from ‘Lean’ include Coleslaw, It’s Killa (the album opener, which brings back memories of the ‘Killa Cam’ intro from Killa Season), Chop it Up, and ‘Dime after Dime’ which features a welcome return from Sen City, which would also fit in with the examples above, as Cam’ron raps about serving fiends over Cindy Lauper’s prom classic ‘Time After Time’. Because of course Cam’ron would do that.
With this new album and a new song with both Cam and Jim Jones called ‘Once Upon a Time’ coming out a couple of days ago, hopefully this is just the beginning of a lot of new material from Dipset.
*Update: Didn’t realize there’s also already a video for Lean, see below. Dope video for this type of a song and I’m feeling Cam’s New York Lotto hat.
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?
After your humble blogger here met Cam’ron at a Zumiez in midtown Manhattan last week, I decided to act like a middle-aged classic rock snob and go down a wormhole of sifting through nonstop Cam’ron ‘deep cuts,’ so to speak, for all my listening last week. ‘Lala’ from one of his ‘First of the Month’ projects from a few years ago, was the crown jewel of the songs I’d never heard before and actually may rank up there with even my longtime favorites. I feel like this bouncy, piano-infused jawn by Killa Cam is a spiritual ancestor of Kodak Black’s ‘Patty Cake’. Does anybody rap over these types of beats better than Cam? Whether it’s rapping “weighed 220, with 2 honeys I moved money’ over the beat from Journey’s ‘Any Way You Want It’ or ‘The animals I grew up with? They extinct nigga’ over that ‘in the jungle’/’the lion sleeps tonight’ song, no one else obliterates these types of beats like Cam. A lot of other rappers would sound silly over them but he makes them into classics. (And let’s not forget some of the others like his songs over Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing, the Four Seasons’ ‘Oh What a Night’ or even songs over… the Golden Girls theme song and Facts of Life theme song?!)
A lot of good lines in this one but my favorite has to go “Cocaine, we ain’t even in the ballpark, tell the white boys to sniff it up like an aardvark”. I have a weirdly disturbing mental image of ‘Arthur’ partaking in the illicit pleasures of the white girl now but hey that’s a small price to pay to add ‘Lala’ into my playlist of Cam classics.
Driving back across the I95 towards the GW Bridge after a short trip to Philly last night and getting eager to get home, I switched from my own playlist over to Funk Flex’s radio show on Hot 97 just to hear Flex going absolutely bezerk (in typical Funkmaster Flex fashion) over this new cut ‘Up in Harlem’ by Miss Hustle featuring Vado and Neek Bucks. “This what my city sound like!” “This what Harlem sound like!” screamed Flex over and over again. I started getting equally hyped and driving faster, becuase playing Flex at max volume after you’ve been driving for a few hours, as he starts going wild, tends to do that to you. At first I thought he was just playing the ‘Up in Harlem’ sound bite from XYZ or I was hoping Jim Jones’ and Max B’s ‘Up in Harlem’ from Jim Jones’ ‘American Gangster’ mixtape from about 10 years ago but I thought this would be unlikely just given how old and obscure the track was. Awesome, but unlikely. To my pleasant surprise, it was a brand new song using the same sample, by a female artist I had never heard before called Ms. Hustle, featuring Vado and Neek Bucks, and they actually killed it.
The sample is from a 1977 hit called ‘Native New Yorker’ by the soul/disco/dance band Oddyssey. Jim Jones and Max B first used it for their own ‘Up in Harlem’ about ten years ago on a track that is one of my favorite Jim Jones songs of all time (if not THE favorite) and may get its own post in the next couple of days, with shimmering production and a great verse by Max B (obviously before their falling out).
But the three artists on this track definitely make it their own and make it a memorable and welcome addition to the Harlem iconography in its own right. Vado pays homage to Harlem and NYC legends like Big L, McGruff, Ma$e and of course Killa Cam in his verse and I love his line ‘Ski rack on the Range, the inside champagne”, and raps the chorus “Where A and Rich got rich at, blocks and strip packs to get crack, grams sold we did that, parades we went strapped… the known mecca forever proud, where you won’t see Kevin Liles but Kevin Chiles, where you was blessed to meet Big L, party with Hud 6, Von Zip”. The ‘parades we went strapped’ line goes perfectly with the sample for the chorus and perfectly captures the rags to riches, 90s-nostalgic uptown vibe of the song. The chorus is rich with references and tributes, to deceased Harlem rappers Big L and Huddy 6 who tragically died before their time, to larger than life neighborhood legend Eric Von Zip, and implying that you’re more likely to see former drug lord Kevin Chiles around than record executive Kevin Liles.
Ms. Hustle keeps it real with a gritty and hard-nosed verse that also captures the vibe of the neighborhood rapping ‘Right up the block from the A Train, outside the Chinese store, go f*ck with Mai Ling, we sell that China White I call it Beijing,’ and ‘Can’t forget the homies up in Polo… all my niggas real they still say ‘no homo’, we shop uptown and get garments from Soho’.
Neek Bucks comes out swinging for his verse rapping ‘All these diamonds can’t see the time tick, laces off the Louie’s ’cause Harlem niggas don’t tie sh*t, ‘jects baby I was born broke Ima die rich, Cuban off of the Coogi I feel like Biggie in nine six.’ Later in the verse, I can’t quite tell what he’s rhyming it with but I also like when he says ‘Get a deal, bail out all my niggas when the advance comes, every time they said I was broke I put a band up, I’m just trying to make a million off a Samsung’.
All in all, this collaboration was a great way to bring new life to a classic beat/sample, pay homage to a ton of colorful and larger than life figures in Harlem and NYC history, and showcased the skills of three newer artists from the area. It was a really fun song that gets you hyped up feel good to be in NYC, especially with Funk Flex playing the best parts over and over again and yelling about them in typical Flex fashion, and I hope that it stays in the rotation on New York radio like it deserves to!