Guys sorry I’m late with this May top 10 and posting it in June, and have been MIA for the last week, I’ve been holed up in a cabin in Wyoming, wearing wierd clothes, working on my next album…
Kevin Gates – Change Lanes
Gates is really baring his soul on this one. Right from the opening bar this one hits you…”Been through a lot of pain in my life and I pray the Lord take it all away. I’ve got family doing life that’ll never see the sun shine again and I pray it all away. Gates touches on a lot of heavy, real topics in his life in ‘Change Lane’s, including his time in prison in Illinois, incarcerated family members, wanting to pull back from public life/fame, and, also, McDonald’s salads and rocking Islamic fashion out in Paris. This is off Gate’s 3 song ‘Chained to the City’ EP, his first work after being freed, and I’ve got to say, Gates is back in a big way because that EP was ridiculous. Not to mention the work he’s been putting in and posting the snippets of on Instagram; I almost want to include a couple of those as my top songs of May as well but I feel like that would be cheating a little.
Kevin Gates – Vouch
As much as I love ‘Change Lanes’, ‘Vouch’ might be even better. The singing, warbling Gates might be my favorite type of Kevin Gates. “I do for me I feed myself my crew not willing to help me, we either die or go to jail so what the fuck could you tell me. Fully loaded Mac 11 when this pressure get applied; got a brand new Glock 90 and I keep it by my side. That part starting at around 2:15 just sounds absolutely heavenly; “”I ain’t never change up, let’s get that understood, I’m in that 70805 they don’t show love in my hood.”
Lil Baby ft. Drake – Pikachu
Damn it feels like this came out a year ago instead of a few weeks ago, what with all the sniping back and forth between Drizzy and Pusha T just completely usurping everyone’s collective attention span, not to mention Drake announcing his ‘Scorpion’ album and then of course the new .
From the original article…
While I wouldn’t have gone as far as to call myself a Drake ‘hater’, I think the old, healthier but less enlightened me would have perhaps best been described at the very least as a ‘Drake skeptic’ or a ‘Drake nonbeliever’. I wasn’t that into his early stuff when he first started blowing up and later on I really couldn’t stand most of his hits over the last few years like Controlla and One Dance. More than anything I kind of just considered him to be bland elevator music. But I’ll be the first to admit, and as someone whose been critical, I feel responsibility to give credit where credit is due; I’ll be damned if Drake’s last couple of songs haven’t been absolute bangers. He’s had a good 3-4 songs or more in a row (this one with Lil Baby, his song with Trouble on the ‘Edgewood’ album, ‘Look Alive’ with Blocboy JB, and I’ll admit I was even down with Nice for What even though that was definitely shamelessly pandering to the ladies. I also didn’t mind God’s Plan.) that have forced me to mention them with the same disclaimer every time, ‘I’m not a big Drake fan but…,’ so I don’t know if he’s actually getting better or if I’m just going soft in my old age but I’m slowly…becoming a fan??? That was hard to type!
Whether you love him or have him, (or should I say – whether you’re siding with him or Pusha T in the new World War 3?) the man has a pretty unassailable ear for great beats, and if he retired from rapping he would make a great A&R he has an eye for up and coming talent. He has a penchant for working with hard, down south rappers like Blocboy, Trouble, and now Lil Baby. Drake is like the 2018 version of 2017 Berner to me.
Enough about Drake though, Lil Baby is actually the real headliner here. His verse/flow is crazy. He’s another artist I was kind of tepid on at first, not that I disliked him but just none of his songs really jumped out at me, but I loved this song, and ‘I Remember’ with Quando Rondo, and ‘Day in my Hood’ with Sherwood Marty were pretty solid jams so I’m starting to become more and more of a fan. I’ve also warmed to his hits like ‘A-Town’ and ‘My Dawg’. ‘Trap Star’ while delving into his previous work in preparation for ‘Harder than Ever’.
Drake is doing his best Hoodrich Pablo Juan impression on this one. Side note on the Drake verse – he says ‘my shorty a goodie’; most of my friends have been calling bad bitches baddies have they been doing this all wrong? My favorite part is where Lil Baby sings, ‘Waaah waahhh waaahhh bitch I’m the Baby’.
Another side note – apparently on the album this song is called ‘Yes Indeed’ but when it dropped on Youtube they were calling it Pikachu and I’m still calling it that.
YELLOW FERARRI LIKE PIKACHU, CARTIER LENSES I WON’T EVEN PEEK AT YOU
All Star Lee – Cash Money Flow
Flammable song by All Star Lee out of Detroit. I’m loving the throwback Orlando Magic jerseys and the soulja rags in this Cash Money homage.
Lil AJ, Joe Blow, Lil Frost
Dope song from two workmanlike Bay Area stalwarts who don’t get as much love/hype outside of the Bay as some of the bigger names from out there, but who are pretty much always reliable for solid, real music. I’m starting to like Lil AJ’s stuff more and more over time. “Lash Money burning bridges nigga, see an opp slipping in traffic and them niggas get the business nigga, rest in peace Boss Nuge and the nigga Jack, catch me out in traffic riding with the mini MAC”. I didn’t realize Lil Frost had passed away until I saw this video; and it took me a minute to realize what was going on. His verse being overlaid by old clips of him rapping interspersed with the scenes from his funeral, since he wasn’t here to shoot the video, was straight up heartbreaking and actually hit me pretty hard since I wasn’t expecting it. RIP to Frost man, gone too soon.
Pusha T ft. Rick Ross – Hard Piano
Some people are mad about the album cover, some people love it. Some people feel like Drake bodied Pusha with his diss track, and other people feel like Pusha ended Drake with his response. Regardless of all that, there were some straight up slaps on ‘Daytona’ (I love that name by the way), my favorite amongst them being ‘Hard Piano’. Kanye really did work his magic on the beats on this one, regardless of his recent controversies and what some would call his subpar rapping on ‘Ye’, the guy is in the zone right now on the boards, this album had some of the best beats/production I’ve heard in a while. I like the combo of Pusha and Rozay. If Ross is sounding like this, I can’t wait for his comeback album. It’s funny I didn’t realize how much I missed prime Ross until I heard this. Yeah he’s another artist with plenty of questionable moves/songs over the years but at the end of the day he’s still here, he’s been through a lot, he has a lot of dope songs over the years throughout his catalogue and I’m looking forward to what he has to say on his next album.
“The Warhols on my wall tell a war story.”
“Chilling in a condo full of ready rock”
As much as I like my rappers and their music to be ‘real,’ sometimes some straight up luxury/over the top drug kingpin rap can be dope too, if it’s imaginative and really paints a picture for you, which I feel like Hard Piano does.
Mannie Fresh & Birdman
This was uh… unexpected… and ridiculous. Man I love Mannie Fresh. Such a classic Mannie Fresh type beat! I could have lived without the 3 minutes of vignettes that randomly interspersed throughout the song that kept interrupting it but on the other hand I loved the video itself with the New Orleans mardi gras band in the street with them. Any time you get Mannie actually rapping on a track is always a good thing; he’s just so happy and jovial – “$100,000 in a brief case, orange Lamborghini yours with the dealer plates… Bricks, pounds, scales, weed, went to Hiroshima came back speaking Japanese.” The chorus for this one is super menacing; ‘Note around his neck saying get right with the Lord.” I don’t know if Big Tymers is back but if we could get some more stuff from Mannie or even a full Big Tymers project that would be a pretty nice surprise.
Pusha T – If You Know You Know
Another dope song off of Daytona. The production is so good. ‘If You Know You Know’ is going to be big this summer. I bumped Daytona so many times over Memorial Day weekend.
Quando Rondo – Paradise
I put ‘Paradise’ up in April’s top 10 but I only heard it at the end of the month and I really bumped it much more in May so I’m kind of cheating here. Quando Rondo is dope I’m starting to get into this new wave of Atlanta guys like him, Lil Baby, and Gunna which I wasn’t expecting.
Lil Reek ft. Brodinski – Rock Out
I’m surprised this hasn’t blown up actually. Maybe it’s just because it’s a change of pace but I love this kid’s voice!
And that’s my top 10 for May but here’s a couple of bonus tracks for ya since this month was one of the best in a long time…
03 Greedo – Fortnite
Q Money – Countin’ Up a Check
Tee Grizzly – Colors
Sherwood Marty ft. Lil Baby – Day in My Hood
Playboi Carti ft. Lil Uzi – Shoota
P.S. I usually follow the Martorialist’s embargo on rappers with septum rings but I’m not going to lie this one with Lil Uzi from Playboi Carti’s new album was just too catchy not to mention here.