21 Savage, Abillyon, Blueface, Cam'ron, Dave East, Diplomats, Dipset, Envy Caine, Future, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Juice WRLD, Kiing Shooter, Kodak Black, Poppa da Don, Sha Mula, Trap God Mula, Tulito
Diplomats – Dipset Forever
Dip Gods are back. Just in time for Thanksgiving Dipset laced us with this reunion album. This was easily my favorite song off of it. Such a triumphant, prime-era Dipset, all-conquering Heatmakers beat. Apparently it samples a Queen song but I have no idea I just know it’s making me feel invincible right now. I love the over the top ‘Grrrrrrrr’ ad lib at 0:34 after Jim Jones says he was ‘purging for a check’ almost sounding like a rabid grizzly. Jones actually probably had the best verse out of anyone on this and has quietly had a really strong 2018. While Juelz rapping that he ‘gets loose like a tooth’ seems uninspired and isn’t the prime Juelz we all remember, it’s still good to hear from him and he makes up for it with just the sheer self-belief and intensity as he raps ‘From the stoop to the coupe, money stacked from the floor to the roof’ or ‘Cam saw a star and showed the world my light… I put in work they can’t take my stripes’. The song ends on the strangely sad note of Juelz musing that ‘I guess forever means forever til forever’s gone’ until, of course, Dame Dash breaks in with a typically firey Dame Dash half-time speech and starts yelling about that Dipset will live forever. A grandiose effort from the Dips and I would expect nothing less at this point. I wish I got to go to the album release party where, from what I can gather, it looks like everyone went around Harlem in an open-top bus, listened to the album on headphones with some sort of blue LED’s, smoked vape pens and ate chop cheeses.
Poppa da Don x Abillyon – Smoked
1a and 1b this month were Dipset and this one. Staying on this unexpected NYC Crip wave/Poppa da Don wave with Poppa and Abillyon’s ‘Smoked’. Like one of those cartoon angels on your shoulder or a Loc’d out Sunday school teacher, Abillyon implores you to ‘do the right thing or you’ll get smoked’ in that heavenly voice of his. Abillyon is quite the hook-smith and this could be one of the best of the year. I also love the gleeful ‘I’m on the other side with the Locs!,’ willfully declaring themselves as the ‘other side’ or the opps and celebrating it. Abillyon is a name some may recognize from the height of the GS9 era; from looking at his Soundcloud and quickly browsing other streaming sites, it doesn’t look like he has released a ton of music since then but he seems to be making a resurgence now. Poppa is in the middle of a strong run as well between this, ‘Crip Shit‘ and his mixtape ‘Fucc Wit Da Cuz Vol. 2‘.
Dave East – No Pork
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.”
Envy Caine – Intro
Your host got caught lacking in his car trapped in the big east coast snow storm this month for over 12 hours on the same mile of highway but fuck it it takes more than a few snowflakes to kill the old Pink C. Not only am I alive and well but as you can see I’ve been on a NYC kick lately catching up on some of these young bols. Even though I’m hella late on this one from Brooklyn’s Envy Caine but I’ve been blasting it non-stop. This is the intro to his ‘2 Many Situations’ mixtape from the spring.
“Damn, My whole city AGAINST me, but fuck it cause I got all these killers with me”
I love the raw aggression/malice and the me against the world ethos that Envy delivers that bar with. Almost reminding me a bit of AR-Ab.
This song goes so hard/aggressive it’s the new song I play when I want to get angrier in a situation, like in traffic or in a long line at a store, although that’s actually probably a counterproductive strategy on my part.
I also love the delivery of “Opp niggas throwing salt, tryna bad mouth” line. Salt kills snails but not Top Opposition.
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!
Peezy – Pressure
Peezy is so consistent, coming out with one if not more song every month that usually cracks and sometimes tops this list. We really need to take a minute to step back and appreciate the run that this guy is on, he’s forced his way into the argument for top rapper of 2018 in my opinion. You’ve got to love the triumphant ‘Got shot a couple times they was hoping I died, popped up buying Rollies out the store with my guys’ especially since everyone really was briefly worried he died last winter.
Blueface – Respect My Crypn
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first when I first heard about him but hadn’t listened to him yet, but Blueface is starting to grow on me. The ‘mop the floor and hide the wet sign just to catch him slippin’ line’ is genius; I can’t believe no one came up with that before. And to his credit apparently he really does ‘pull up and bounce out with a briefcase when it’s time to handle business,’ according to recent news reports.
I love his tone on the ‘I’m an alpha male, ain’t no bitch in me. Grown ass man, feed my family” line, like he’s incredulous that someone is even questioning if that’s the case. The ‘Give a fuck if he like it, he gon respect this Crippin’ hook is also strangely infectious. Blueface is almost sounding like a less artsy/creative but more Crip west Coast Young Thug. And while he can be a bit over the top, he actually has the charisma and personality to pull it off.
Juice WRLD – All Girls are the Same/Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams/Juice WRLD x Future – Fine China/Juice WRLD – Used To etc.
At the risk of getting cyber-bullied by music critics with far better taste than me, I’ll admit that I went back and listened to a ton of Juice WRLD this month. Yeah, it’s some guy whining about girls but some of these songs are actually really dope. Some of these beats are absolute fire as well. I’m cheating here and putting all the Juice WRLD songs as one song. I’m going to ask my mom to drive me back to Hot Topic now. GO AHEAD AND CYBER BULLY ME, DO YOUR WORST!
Kiing Shooter ft. Dave East – 30 Percent
A third Dave East appearance here for this month’s top 10; 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.”
So dark and foreboding from Kodak.
Metro Boomin’ x 21 Savage – Don’t Come out the House
This became more of a meme than a song at this point but I had to include it even though we’re at over 10 songs now. This was a risky gamble by 21 Savage that paid off – if done wrong, his whole whisper thing could have backfired and sounded way too intimate and sensual (Pause!) but somehow he pulls it off and makes it sound menacing. I feel like 21 Savage has went on a certain trajectory, when he was first making a name for himself he was releasing a lot of interesting stuff, then he sort of reached peak Savage and got oversaturated as he got super popular, and now that we’ve sort of crossed past that bridge he’s releasing some nice verse here and there again.