Juicy J- Shootin' (Feat. Wiz Khalifa)
Juicy J is great because even at his most menacing he's still witty and charismatic. "Put a hole in your head like a dolphin"? That's not scary, that's hilarious! Lines like that are what keep people tapping rappers like Juicy and 2 Chainz for features-- as simplistic as their formulas are, they continue to deliver memorable verses, and most importantly MOMENTS that manage to engrave themselves into your brain indefinitely.
Bone Thugs- Everything 100 (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
It's crazy that it took this long for rappers to really embrace melody. Bone Thugs were definitely ahead of the curve when they introduced the world to their tuneful flows back in the 90s, but it only makes them sound surprisingly comfortable on modern production here. They are also nicely paired with Ty$ whose self described "real nigga R&B" often refuses to choose between rapping and singing. This track proves that sometimes the best choice is no choice at all.
Jay-Z- Dead Presidents 3
It would have been nice to hear some rapping like this on Magna Carta. "Yesterday I was needin' this dough" serves as a far better double entendre than the clumsy "seasick" punchline from MCHG (not to mention it's awkward yet self-congratulatory explanation via Samsung ad), though even here, Jay exhibits the habit he's always had of throwing in an unnecessary "get it"? after some slick wordplay. The song is reminiscent of his work on American Gangster, which may be the last time he truly shined as a lyricist, and serves a concise piece of what makes Jigga great, without the bloated event-rap presentation.
Ace Hood- Before The Rollie (Feat. Meek Mill)
A song about Rollies on a Sonny Digital beat-- definitely a good setting for emcees like Ace Hood and Meek Mill to excel. Sonny Digital always does a good job of supplying click-y non-conventional high hat sounds, which work well against Ace and Meek's percussive flows. If there were a mathematical equation to creating a "banger" it would definitely involve most of these elements, and bang it does.
Young Jeezy- It's A Cold World
This one is best left to speak for itself.
J. Cole & Wale- Winter Schemes
Cole and Wale took part in chart history last week, and they decided to soundtrack the event with some "16 Ain't Enough" extended verses on a joint track. The two rappers go in over some Jake One production, and both sound totally in their element here, and make it difficult to call. So who had the better verse?
Snoop Dogg- Passenger Seat
Many were confused when Snoop dropped the anti-violence protest song "No Guns Allowed," and then was talking about how he was gonna "lick shots" on a French Montana track a few months later. This because Snoop Dogg and Snoop Lion, are two separate (albeit incompatible), yet co-existing personas, and it kind of works. Snoop has spoken of how his original moniker has too iconic of a status for him to ever retire it, or refrain from performing songs from that era-- so what's to stop him from making new songs in that style? Here Snoop sounds like a mix of his former self, and more contemporary kush-rap aficionados like Wiz Khalifa (it doesn't hurt that he's rapping over a Cardo beat), and actually sounds a lot more comfortable here than anywhere on his Reincarnated album. So instead of criticizing the hypocrisy of the two identities, let's just be happy that Snoop can have his passion project, while also still giving us music from the Snoop Dogg we all know and love.
Staff picks for the week of July 8th to 14th.
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, Juicy J, Jay-Z, 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.