Young Jeezy- R.I.P. (Remix) Feat. Chris Brown, YG, & Kendrick Lamar
Young Jeezy has played it pretty close with the DJ Mustard camp recently, and at first it seems strange that a rapper who made a name for himself off of lush synthesized trap beats with multi-tracked vocals and ad-libs is embracing such a stripped down sound. But Jeezy has proven himself to be much more versatile than one might expect, lending songwriting talents to Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak, and sounding surprisingly great on features for more radio ready material. His deep rasp plays well off of Mustard's signature snaps and 808s, and once again shows that Jeezy's vocals can actually sound pretty fun in the right context. Whether or not he's capitalizing on a trendy sound, he's at least giving Mustard some well deserved shine, and brings his ratchet-birthing counterpart YG along for the ride. Everyone sounds pretty great on the track (though I'm starting to think Mustard beats tend to boost anyone's rhyme ability, judging by the number of weed carriers who shine on Just Re'd Up 2). The sometimes self-serious Kendrick seems to be having fun, and even when Chris drops a cringe-worthy, homophobic and not even close to clever shot at Drake, the beat is moving along so well that you just kinda forget about it.
B. Martin- I Want It All Feat. Kendrick Lamar & Juicy J
Juicy J's incredibly wooden flow continues to be the catchiest thing ever, and Kendrick's polar opposite of wooden flow continues to be just as great. B. Martin brings a considerable amount of skill to the table as well, making him out to be a pretty exciting newcomer to the game.
Freeway- Hot New Hip Hop
Yes, we are a little biased on this one, but come on it's pretty good right? Philly Freezer returns with a track that reminds us of everything we loved about the emcee. Look out for more heat as this new exclusive series continues.
Future- No Love
Future abandons his recent string of bangers and anthemic hooks for a straight up ballad. "No Love" follows a similar formula to his Mike WiLL assisted R&B tinged work from Pluto. Future has a better understanding of the basic dynamics of a pop song than most rappers these days, and him and WiLL generally exemplify that knack for well structured songs with proper pre-choruses, bridges, and beat changes. While WiLL is absent from this track, the Askronaut's natural ability to put together a song remains, and as WiLL has said in interviews, the rapper has a tendency to work in studio with producers and rearrange the beat as he's writing, which may explain why the "No Love" instrumental is a little less one dimensional than the typical hip hop backdrop. As evidenced by his work creating reference tracks for Rihanna and Ciara, Future is a songwriter first and foremost. Those who value technical singing ability and lyrical content over all may never understand his appeal, but if he continues to pump out great melodies and interesting song structures, at least those who recognize good songwriting at its core will be satisfied.
Bun B- I Been On (Remix) feat. Scarface, Z-Ro, Willie D, Lil Keke & Slim Thug
Bey continues to pay tribute to her hometown of Houston and its very important hip hop history, selecting an influential and often overlooked collection of southern emcees for her remix. "Where's Kirko Bangz?" - said no one (except Kirko Bangz).
Ab-Soul- Bubble Gum Blues Feat. Short Dawg
Ab-Soul flows over an incredibly lo-fi and spacey beat from Mac Miller. It complements his weirdo introspection well, possibly even better than some of the more "serious" boom bap production he will often favor.
Staff picks for the week of March 25th-31st.
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 Future, Kendrick Lamar, Juicy J 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.