Danny Brown- Express Yourself
Mr. Brown let's go of a twerk anthem inspired by the song and accompanying Express Yourself meme, created as a means for Diplo to encourage female fans to send suggestive photos to him daily. Danny, who is a full fledged music nerd on top of being a great rapper, came across the beat in a soundcloud binge, and decided to "do one for the #ratchets" on a whim. You won't find this one on his upcoming sophomore album, OLD, but it stands as further proof that Danny is one of the most exciting voices in rap, even when he's just fucking around.
Big Sean- Switch Up Feat Common
Big Sean is one of the biggest cornballs in the game, and Common can give him a run for his money when he wants to (Universal Mind Control anyone?). But being a cornball doesn't have to be a bad thing, it can be pretty fun sometimes actually. Sean only loses it a bit when he gets into a staycation/paycation couplet, but otherwise keeps his head well above water and his ad-lib game sharp on this tight instrumental.
Joey Badass- Day In The Life
Joey goes in over a beat from the perpetually-winning Harry Fraud to predictably great results. The Pro Era leader is proving himself as a rapper who can rise above the initial hype he received for being a 90s baby who rapped over Lord Finesse beats. Joey is looking more and more like he'll have a long and interesting career ahead of him. This track stands as a small but sure step towards experimenting a little more with his production, something that will only serve to make him all the more interesting.
Tyga- Hit Em Up Feat. Jadakiss & Tupac
It's silly to argue about whether Pac would actually work with Tyga if he were still around. The line was crossed when he showed up on a Ja Rule song ten years ago, and now it's anyone's game. Either way it's kind of cool to hear Pac over something as of-the-moment as DJ Mustard production. It actually works, and with Jeezy's growing list of R.I.P. (Remix) collaborators, it's starting to seem like any type of rapper can hold their own on the Bay-infused beats (unlike trap production which can often make older emcees sound incredibly lost). Jadakiss even sounds at home on the deep 808s somehow, and suggests that Mustard's production may be a little more than just a passing trend.
Dizzy Wright- Kill 'Em Wit Kindness
Surrounded by a rap world that is continually obsessed with grandiosity, Dizzy continues to engage while keeping things simple and effective on the production end, and emphasizing the art of emceeing in a time where the flashier elements of rap can sometimes cloud its importance. You want Dizzy to win, and not just because he's a great rapper, but cause he just seems like a genuinely humble and down to earth person, a quality that rarely surfaces in rap personas.
Kid Cudi- Girls Feat. Too Short
Kid Cudi does what he does best on the verses here. Bridging the gap between singing and rapping, but not going too far in either direction. This means he doesn't stumble over is own double time flows, or strain his vocal chords too much, and keeps things within the spectrum of what he did so well on his breakthrough mixtape. The production is a little more ambitious than his early material however, and lends an apocalyptic quality to the song that is also reflected in his artwork. It seems like the song could burst up in flames at any moment, and while it gets a little too close to combustion on the hooks, Cudi generally maintains control of the track, not letting his ambition overwhelm his execution.
Bonus: Worst Track Of The Week
Ray J- I Hit It First
Ray J has released a single that wreaks of such desperation, and general tastelessness, that it can only be described as a very rare case of self-ethering. Here, J reminds us all of the fact that he slept with Kim Kardashian, an event which was taped in 2003, and released in 2007, and one that served as the jumping off point to Kim's rising fame, and the early peak of Ray J's. Since then, the only hint of publicity Ray J can get is referencing this night, often through badgering Kim on twitter, or attempting to shame her for an event that he's now milked more than she ever did. Meanwhile Kim is making Forbes list, and Ray is so broke his song only comes through on the left speaker. Yes, Ray J, you hit it first, no one is denying that, it's well documented, and you seem to be the only one who still cares.
Staff picks for the week of April 1st to 7th.
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 Joey Bada$$, Big Sean, Tyga, Danny Brown 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.