Thursday, October 13, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, Oct. 7-13

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. Hip-Hop in all facets here, including a new Trap anthem, along with the return of a famous Gangsta Rap promoter. 

Pusha T - H.G.T.V.

After releasing Darkest Before Dawn late last year, an album he calls the best in recent memory on 'HGTV,' Pusha T has been hanging relatively low, with one other single, 'Drug Dealers Anonymous' with Jay-Z, and a feature on Desiigner's mixtape New English. As he prepares, eventually we hope, to release the long-awaited King Push, 'HGTV' brings us another taste of what to expect. And, in typical Pusha T fashion, it's exactly how it's always been, take it or leave it. 'HGTV' features an unorthodox banger of a beat from Mike Will Made It, which has inadvertently become my main interest point for Push's music recently, ever since 'Numbers On The Board' dropped. Bonus points for another creative music video to accompany it, something 'Drug Dealers Anonymous' was lacking.

On 'HGTV,' Pusha T continues to flex with witty bars aimed at several rappers. For starters, he defends Desiigner, implying the 'Panda' rapper will stick around a lot longer than those making fun of him, a questionable statement to say the least. Later on, he continues to throw shade at Drake, taking a stab at his realness and ineffectiveness as an emcee writing his own lines. A bit outdated, considering all the hoopla was a few months ago, but Push has always been aggressive when delivering these lines so slight redundancy can be forgiven. 'HGTV' as a whole, much like his recent material, thrives off his hard-nosed Gangsta Rap and its association with unusual beats, something very few like him are currently doing. The GOOD Music association, of which he's now the president, certainly the main influencing point for this.

Cakes Da Killa - New Phone (Who Dis)

The great Adult Swim series continues, this time with Cakes Da Killa. 'New Phone (Who Dis)' does nothing else than to confirm the insanely talented flows and bars of Killa. 'New Phone' doesn't fit the format, barely making technological references apart from the forced hook, so it's one of those Hip-Hop tracks dedicated to spitting two 16's. Nothing more, nothing less. But with a passionate, aggressive, and somewhat schizophrenic personality, 'New Phone' still succeeds on being right up Adult Swim's alley. This is accentuated by the absurdist music video, directed by Ben Clarkson in conjunction with Red Bull Sound Select, which features animation very similar to that of Adult Swim's cartoon shows.

However, the best part of 'New Phone' might be its production, which adheres to the phone theme closer than Killa by using classic phone bleeps and bloops to formulate its beat. Then there's the constant beat switches, which changes not only the beat but also the tempo, and you have a track that remains interesting throughout its duration. How Killa handles the bass drops is marvelous too, and if it weren't for Hip-Hop's listener's general apprehension to listening to an openly gay artist in their car, this would be a perfect whip banger. Only complaint, a minor one, is that it's slightly long, only because Killa dominates the entirety of the track, giving it no time to breath.

Lil Yachty - Bentley Coupe

Another week, another Lil Yachty track. Trap's most prolific artist of the year continues his streak, quality aside, even surpassing Young Thug and maybe, just maybe, the elder featured alongside him here; Gucci Mane. Personally, I've never dug Gucci's music, namely because his era of dominance came during what I feel was Trap's weakest era. Now, of course, it led the charge for what the genre would become, but the first couple years, with the likes of Gucci, Waka Flocka Flame, and your carousel of one-off emcees, were a little rough. Definitely in the minority here as many hate Yachty's music, and other Trap artists like him, but I'll always side with the weirdness.

Now onto 'Bentley Coupe,' another banger in the growing discography of Lil Boat. Doesn't reach the heights of 'Up Next 3' or 'Mase In 97,' but 'Bentley Coupe,' specifically designed to be a whip-riding anthem, hits with a ferocious bass after introducing the track using an oldie's sample of 'Lovin You' by Minnie Riperton. Classic Yachty weirdness. As far as the bulk of 'Bentley Coupe' goes, the chemistry between Yachty and Gucci is on point, even despite the likely event their verses were phoned in. They match the beat equally, and while Yachty's got the wild bars, Gucci's verse certainly holds it down. Making his rounds once again, I can commend Gucci for working with the young Trap artists who looked up to him, even though the genre has progressed greatly since his days.

Clarence Clarity - Same

Leave it to the meme-touting Clarence Clarity to release an EP containing one song repeated five times over. Better yet, it's called 'Same.' This man lives in a world of tongue-in-cheek stunts and relishes in the irony. 'Same' even concludes with a hushed female vocalist saying "again...," fully aware of what's about to happen next. Of course, excluding, the last song where that same voice says "99 cents." Like his 2015 release No Now, 'Same' presents a wild barrage of synth arrangements, sound collage interludes, and frightful vocals that collide in beautiful mis-harmony. The cover art as well, which sees digital constructions exploding in a wide array of colors, it seems Clarence Clarity already knows his niche and aims to investigate every inch of it.

However, while people expecting a five-song EP featuring different components may be disappointed, there's a hidden track entitled 'Telenovela' to satisfy that urge. Just as wild as 'Same,' 'Telenovela' erupts with a slew of noises, effects, and disjointed digital fragments. There's even a strange trumpet ensemble to conclude the track. Clarence Clarity's work, however intriguing and eccentric, does suffer a bit from redundancy though. Once the awe wears off, especially after a five-song EP of the same track, Clarity's work, and 'Same' by effect, feels a tad bit samey. But alas, the music still feels fun, enjoyable, and invoking, and Clarity certainly lives in a world truly his own.

Macklemore - Drug Dealer

When I reviewed This Unruly Mess I've Made, I gave Macklemore the benefit of the doubt in many cases. Now, I still didn't enjoy the album, and it was as corny as I had come to imagine, but there were redeemable moments and I respected his craft. 'Drug Dealer,' the latest single from Macklemore, doesn't seem him giving into the industry's standards, creating another track that'll surely bubble under the radar with its focus on socially conscious lyrics and sincerity, tackling prescription drugs in much the same vein as he did on 'Kevin.' Think of 'Drug Dealer' as a successor to that song, and while I did enjoy 'Kevin,' due in part to the overbearing personal matters at hand, 'Drug Dealer' just seems a little too general and trending to make an impact for me.

I say that because in the first verse you can hear why this song was made, as Macklemore lists off a handful of famous musicians, all losing their life to overdosing on prescription drugs. He's done this sort of over-utilized relevance before, and while I understand the purpose, it does seem a little forced and tacky. Can't knock him pushing lyrics no one else in Hip-Hop would dare rap about. Drugs are one thing, as their place in culture is seen as 'cool,' rather than being looked at for the destruction they cause. Prescription drugs, given by doctors under totally legal pretensions, is another matter entirely. This is largely from Macklemore growing up in a middle-class world, where the problems derived came from these issues not heavier ones. But, as mentioned before, I respect him discussing the issues he's clearly invested in, even though Hip-Hop may not be the best place to do it. His rapping is still rather weak, the rhyme schemes even weaker, so the collision of putting the topic before anything else causes 'Drug Dealer,' as a musical piece, to falter.

Riff Raff - Back From The Dead

Apparently, Riff Raff is releasing an album entitled Balloween a couple days before Halloween this year. And apparently, he scrapped a Country album entitled Truck Stuff & Butterscotch Butts. All this, coming mere months after his latest release Peach Panther, an album which is currently sitting on my Spotify, even though we all likely know it won't be listened to. You see, in in 2014 I gave Riff Raff a chance with Neon Icon, his debut album at the peak of his fame. For its comedic factor, I found it redeemable, some parts musically as well, even though I've never returned to the record. 2014 was my infancy stage of this blog, and my musical taste has come along way since, which has, unfortunate or not, pushed me away from Riff Raff and others like him. 'Back From The Dead' shows me why.

Joke records are only good a time a dozen, they can't be exhausted or else the fun wears off. Or then there's the moments the comedic artist feels they can make a serious work of art (*shudders*). Riff Raff hasn't reached that level yet, still fooling around with Hip-Hop, but the novelty is beginning to wear off. 'Back From The Dead,' as I assume much of his recent material has been, tip-toes the line between serious and ironic. The bland, outdated rapping and clumsy flows really hurts the appeal 'Back From The Dead' had, and Skepta, featured here, doesn't do all that much to alleviate the tedium. If it weren't for the Halloween-inspired beat, 'Back From The Dead' would be a prototypical Trap anthem. And even then, you can find better spooky efforts on Flatbush Zombies' BetterOffDead or, if you're looking for recent material, Captain Murphy's 'Crowned.'

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