Much of Kells' new album finds him approaching current R&B trends, whether it be DJ Mustard beats, 2 Chainz features, or throwing 'turn up' ad-libs every which way, the seasoned crooner sits himself right amongst the millenials, and does so fairly successfully. While some of his signature charms get lost in the autotune, Kells has always been a versatile artist, and it turns out he's fully of capable of an all-out banger in 2013, sounding no less at home in the new ratchet climate as obvious R. Kellys students like Ty$.
Top Tracks Of The Week: Nov. 25- Dec. 1
Gucci Mane- Mention Me
Gucci must be sitting on a mountain of Mike WiLL beats. As the rapper who gave the producer his first break, as well as his name ("Mike WiLL Made It/ Gucci Mane slayed it"), GuWop continues to pull out instrumentals from the now major label-signed producer. Chances are, much like the cache of Rich Homie Quan collaborations he'd saved up (so many, that he was able to release a joint mixtape without Quan's knowledge), Gucci probably has a bunch of tracks recorded over WiLL beats from a couple years back that he's just gradually letting out.
"Mention Me" is a special one, decidedly more minimal than the producer's more recent work, relying mainly on a wobbly baseline for Gucci to bounce his colorful wordplay off of. It's the most single-ready tracks he's released in a minute, which makes his recent charges seem all the more tragic.
For an "event" record, this one is kinda boring. Something about the mid-tempo beat kind of makes it impossible for any of the rappers involved to really go in the way they could've, but also makes it hard to faceplant (Rocky however, sounds like he could fall into a kush coma at any point during his 16). The verse everyone is talking about is Cole's, but without the the acknowledgement of "Control," there isn't anything too memorable going on, including his slightly too late adoption of Migos' triplet flow. King Push comes through with the W here, the only emcee out of these three that can actually benefit from a more composed delivery, and rather than going for a stale topic like control, he makes a more exciting claim at album of the year.
Mac Miller- I Come In Peace
Mac Miller wraps up 2013 with a reminder that his stoned, stream of consciousness flow, and ear for left-field production have remained extremely consistent throughout last 12 months. "I Come In Peace" isn't much better than anything else he's done this year, but that's more of a testament to the surplus of quality material he's graced us with recently.
Durk signed to French Montana's Coke Boys imprint earlier this year, but let's hope he's still got a deal with the streets, because the overcrowded MMG features seriously dilute the paranoid atmosphere created on Durk's original track. Fortunately, his best verse remains intact, with the rapper detailing the realities of Chicago violence in a world-weary croon, "I can't do no shows cause I terrify my city, they say I terrify my city."
While the big league features seem out of place on such a personal ode, one redeeming factor is the major label tune-up given to Paris Beuller's haunting instrumental, which bodes well for the beatwork on Durk's Def Jam debut. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that they don't cram it with unnecessary features.
Kendrick shows up for his second surprising feature of 2013 (after the WTF-inducing Fredo Santana guest spot), and it's another memorable one. The two Compton rappers fill the roles of Malcom X and Martin Luther, though both come out guns blazing in their verses.
Review: Hopsin's "Knock Madness"
Hopsin delivers an undoubtedly solid project with "Knock Madness".
A selection of the biggest tracks from November 24th to December 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 J. Cole, Gucci Mane, Mac Miller 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.