YG's Just Re'd Up 2 is evidence that the Bompton rapper has his formula down pat. A glossier version of that very tape could send him straight to the big leagues, which "My Nigga," and "Who Do You Love" seem to be setting him up for.
YG does his thing, while Drizzy seems thrilled to be on his very first (?) Mustard beat. As proved by his surprise Bay-inspired hit "The Motto," Drake is fully capable of going west coast, and brings some outsider flavor to YG and Mustard's invite-only party.
French Montana was very vocal about how he had a song with Lana Del Rey, the paperwork of which apparently slowed down Excuse My French. What he neglected to say is that rather than a collaboration, it was simply a very prominent sample of one of her biggest songs, which makes a lot more sense.
Much like his Mikky Ekko collaboration, the pairing strangely works. Lana's production often goes in a hip hop direction (sometimes distractingly so), so this rework sounds right at home alongside those. No strangers to crossover records, Wiz and Snoop also act as great compliments to the track.
Drake can sometimes get lost in the midst of big production. While Drizzy brought his mean-mugging best to Take Care's "Lord Knows," he had a hard time keeping his head above water over Just Blaze's tsunami of an instrumental (meanwhile, Ross showed up on a surfboard[t]). A similar thing happened with his "Sh!t" freestyle just a few weeks ago.
NWTS saw the OVO rapper trying out some noticeably hardened deliveries, used most prominently (and majestically) on "Worst Behaviour". This borderline-blurted approach gave Drake a heightened presence on the menacing DJ Dahi beat, which may have otherwise overpowered him.
"Trophies" may be the most triumphant beat Drake has ever put a verse too, and thus he was faced with a similar fate to "Lord Knows". Of course, Aubrey's instinct is to pull out his #WORST flow once again, but this time it feels like over-compensation. Slightly more forced and considerably less fun than its predecessor, "Trophies" still takes a W for the undeniable beat supplied by Hit-Boy. As a well-deserved victory lap, it certainly serves its purpose-- but they don't have no award for that.
50 Cent- This Is Murder Not Music
50 is at his stoic best on the first minute of "This Is Murder," taking the opposite approach to Diddy's "don't forget I'm still a rapper" 16s, which are generally packed with enough energy that he only has to do them on an annual basis. Fif, who also is known more as a businessman than a musician these days, provides an understated, but instantly nostalgic few couplets that leave us wanting more. Oh yeah, then he goes completely bonkers for the next 3 minutes. We love it though.
Nicki Minaj- Boss Ass Bitch
Nicki Minaj can rap. That should not be a controversial opinion at this point (it's more of a fact, really), but many will still try to question her skills, generally through the unfair criticism of her pop aspirations. Luckily, Nicki still has the technical chops to put purists in their place.
One of Minaj's most overlooked talents is creating new flows, (something a lot of rappers are struggling with these days) and she pulls out quite a few on her new track, delivering her rhymes with considerable wit and charisma throughout. She doesn't hesitate to get weird either, as her rapidfire verses crash into a spontaneously sung interlude reminiscent of her "dick in your face" turnaround on 2012's gleefully maniacal "Come On A Cone".
Nicki's next move looks like it'll be in a more hip-hop direction, but if we're lucky, her melodic sense, humor, and unapologetic weirdness will remain intact as well.
A selection of the biggest tracks from December 30th to January 5th.
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 Nicki Minaj, Drake, YG, 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.