Ty$- Ratchet In My Benz (Feat. Juicy J)
Ty$ is a very good songwriter (though his lyrics leave something to be desired), but the true talent behind his music lies in the D.R.U.G.S. production team. Ty himself is a part of the group, which has become increasingly large and diverse, and is the backbone of both installments of the Beach House series. They rarely rely on current production trends, which is what sets Ty's music apart from a lot of the R&B coming out today, with a lot of focus on dynamics that much hip hop production lacks. "Ratchet In My Benz" is no exception, and provides a dreamy soundscape for Ty to give his extreme womanizing a dose of sweetness.
Big Sean- Beware (Feat. Jhene Aiko & Lil Wayne)
As far as I'm concerned "Guap" is the best thing Big Sean will ever do. His goofy delivery is difficult to place, as it sounds plain silly on a menacing beat like "Mercy", but can go overboard on the cornball-isms on something like Dance (A$). While "Beware" is no "Guap," it is a step in the right direction. Sean is best when he can add subtle melodies into his flows, and the poppy backdrop found here allows him to craft some simple but effective hooks, without sounding too serious or too absurd at any given time.
Kevin Gates- 4:30 AM
What Kevin Gates has on other "emotional" rappers is the lyrical ability to color his sappy hooks with jarring narrative. It nails the whole "I'm complicated" approach that less capable rappers like Kid Cudi could never quite sell (what you know 'bout night terrors?). His street-wise background and gravely voice also make it a little easier for him to go full-emo on some hug-the-block type shit, but even so, he is able to transcend the easily occupied 'insecure gangster' persona for something that seems both new and convincing.
Soulja Boy- Ridin Round
Soulja Boy has a bad habit of heavily biting of-the-moment artists, which is too bad because he is capable of sounding unique, and is best when he does (see: "First Day Of School", "Mean Mug," and "Turn My Swag On"). Whether he's copping Lil B ad-libs, Odd Future production, or Frank Ocean headbands, his immitation is probably more indicative of his excitement about other artists than anything. On his newest track-- which is also his best in a while --he's definitely channeling Khaled-mode Drake (he even drops "I'm On One" a couple of times). Somehow this works a little better than his usual posturing, maybe because Drizzy is a little out of his league, and the result sounds more removed than it's intended to. Either way, while it's not quite up their with his very best singles, it ends up being a pretty enjoyable listen, and proof that Soulja can have moments of brilliance.
Ace Hood- We Them Niggas
Ace Hood's raps are mechanical to the point that you almost feel like someone needs to put a quarter in him to get him to spit a verse. This type of rapid-fire flows are perfect for the Khaled tracks Ace often spits on, and serves as an interesting contrast to Boi-1da's woozy half time beat.
Staff picks for the week of June 24-30.
This feature highlights a hand-picked selection of some of the bigger tracks of the week. We have chosen a few of the tracks that landed within our top 25 most played, focusing on those that stood out and left room for discussion. This edition features Ace Hood, Ty Dolla $ign, Big sean and more! Take a look at the list in the gallery above, and feel free to let us know your own favorite tracks in the comments.