Pusha T- Sweet Serenade (Feat. Chris Brown)
Chris Brown is becoming the go-to hookman for rappers who are in need of some crossover appeal. Fabolous, a similar rapper to Push, in that he's strongest on hook-less pure rap tracks, successfully used Chris on "Ready" earlier in the year. Pusha's approach is reminiscent of "Ready," with Push aiming for his pop moment without sacrificing bars.
DJ Holiday- Miley (Feat. Waka Flocka & Wiz Khalifa)
DJ Holiday capitalized a bit on the Miley/Twerk phenomenon, but it doesn't make the track any less of a banger. Waka demonstrates his underrated ability to craft hooks, proving that he's happy to be the world's greatest hypeman rather than a conventional "emcee". Wiz also turns in a memorable 16, mirroring melodies from the beat in his verse.
2 Chainz- Netflix (Feat. Fergie)
2 Chainz gets a mish-mash of sounds from C-Note, Diplo, and Fergie, which could easily have become messy, but is actually executed pretty well. It comes to a coda with some clear Diplo (or whichever ghost-producers he happens to be working with) production, in which Tity showcases his newfound talent for taking on electro beats.
Lil Wayne- You Song (Feat. Chance The Rapper)
Wayne could once rap over any instrumental and instantly make it his. Those days are over, and the once thrilling act of Weezy taking on a selection of some of the biggest beats in recent memory has now become a chore. Therefore "You Song," one of the few original productions on Dedication 5, comes as a breath of fresh air. It also benefits from featuring Chance The Rapper, an emcee who sounds just as excited to rap as Wayne did in his prime, and forces Tunechi to step his bars up for a minute.
Big K.R.I.T.- Just Last Week (Feat. Future)
Big K.R.I.T. sort of operates in his own universe. The rapper has established his own brand of southern rap that he seems happy to stick with, perpetually hovering somewhere between mainstream and underground. Thus its a surprise to see him make a seemingly full-out crossover move by putting Future on a hook. Whether or not his attempt at a larger form of success is granted, his integrity will not be compromised. The song follows naturally with everything KRIT has been doing for the last few years in a slightly more concentrated and accessible fashion, and isn't that what any single is supposed to do?
Eminem's album was divisive, which is not to suggest he took any risks. Instead, Em went the safest route possible, toning down his offensive content, teaming up with certified hitmakers like Rihanna, and making his most conventional album to date. The watered down approach obviously lost him some fans, but gained him an even greater number. "Berzerk" is also a divisive choice, but in a completely different way. While there's a certain degree of "classic hip hop" referencing that will always be a safe bet, Em has chosen to take it farther back than we're used to. The minimal rock-infused Rick Rubin production the song harkens back to is a slap in the face-- something Em's last album tried everything it could NOT to do. So regardless of the outcome, Em should be applauded for deciding to take risks again, whether or not he lands the attempt is another story.
Staff picks for the week of August 26th to September 1st.
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 Lil wayne, Eminem, Pusha T 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.