In the Cut: XXL’s Song Picks of the Week
After an incredible amount of controversy, false reports, out-of-context quotes and TMZ videos, Weezy seems to be back home and recuperating, and actually looks pretty virile for a guy who's been laying in a hospital for the past week. Fans and journalists have mixed feelings about how the situation unfolded, but I think the one thing we can all agree on is that we're glad Weezy's okay. After all, he's been an integral part of the rap world for more than a decade, responsible for some our generation's most ubiquitous hit songs, and is a part of the reason we all love rap music. And, he's the guy who brought the world Drake. So…he's important.
JT put his record out this week. It's not stellar, but it's pretty damn good and super listenable and everyone has a favorite song on 20/20 that they relate to their romantic experiences. He also announced (via ?uestlove) that he'd be releasing the second half of the Experience later this year, with ten more songs set to release sometime this fall. Looks like we'll continue to let the groove get in all year.
Queen B also grabbed most of our collective attention a few days ago with her new double-single, "Bow Down/I Been On," which is co-produced by Hit-Boy and Timbaland. It's a liberating banger for B, who's status as a mother has seemed to dull her Sasha Fierce edge. Rush Limbaugh said some really ignorant things about Beyonce after the song came out, which isn't worth quoting here, but know this - Slim Thug, Scarface, Lil Keke and other H-Town heroes are reportedly working on a super Texas-y remix of the song right now. This is great news.
Anyway, in our weekly column called In the Cut, the diversely-opinionated XXL staff celebrates another lively week in hip-hop and picks some of their favorite releases from the past week. Some are songs, some are videos, all are incredible in their own way. See you next week, rap world.
Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay-Z - "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe (Remix)"
Kendrick and Hov's "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe (Remix)," or as I like to call it, "Hip-Hop's Wet Dream of the Week," topped my iTunes play count these past couple of days as the highest, número uno. Sure, the debate is still up in the air as to who killed the record, but overall this best-of-both-worlds combination was truly a gem worth talking about. Oh and there's nothing better than hearing Jay reassure us that he could, "Fuck up a pie and still be skraight." - Ralph Bristout, Assistant Lifestyle Editor
Rihanna ft. Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Juicy J & T.I. - "Pour It Up (Remix)"
As if the original was enough of a reason to ball out, Rih Rih upped the ante on the remix to her hit-the-strip-club ode. Not only did it sort of reunite Jeezy with his foe-in-rhyme (and life?) Rick Ross, it also provides a new anthem for all you wild spring breakers out there to get turn't up to. Hopefully Miley Cyrus gets to twerkin' to this one? #WishfulThinking - RB
Gucci Mane - “White Man”
Between going to see Spring Breakers, listening to his three new mixtapes and putting this together the other day, I’m actually kind of burnt out on Guwop at the moment, but I still wanted to give this Trap Back 2 standout some shine. There are a couple cool things at play here: 1. The idea of your average white man being the reference point in measuring just how drunk someone is. 2. 19-year-old Metro Boomin’ continuing to prove himself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming producers in Atlanta. 3. Gucci “confirming” that Young Scooter’s signed to 1017 Squad Brick squad when the Black Migo Gang party line of late has been that he’s unsigned. 4. This: “Gucci Mane so debonair/I sell water to a well/Sell a turtle to a snail/Front your boyfriend 30 bales.” - Neil Martinez-Belkin, Assistant Music Editor
Snoop Lion ft. Drake & Cori B - “No Guns Allowed”
I watched Reincarnated a few weeks ago and it’s kind of an all-over-the-place mess, but the recording of this song was one of the few highlights. In the movie, Snoop’s joined by his wife and daughter in the studio where they put together “No Guns Allowed,” and it’s just a super cute moment all around. Somehow Drake found his way on it now, which is OK, because we all know Drake makes every song better. - NMB
Lord Finesse ft. KRS-One - "No Gimmicks (Original Version)"
Over the past year, Lord Finesse has been digging deep in his stash to unearth a host of rare, unreleased and wholly revamped cuts from his impressive discography. This past week, the Funky Man brought back his '96 collaboration "No Gimmicks" with fellow Bronx Bomber KRS-One, featuring a different intro and re-vamped lyrics from the Teacher. Even after nearly two decades since its release, it's undeniable that Finesse is one of hip-hop's underrated geniuses. - Sean Ryon, News Editor
Tha Dogg Pound - "Them N*ggas (G-Mix)"
It's been a minute since Daz and Kurupt linked up as the DPG's, but the West Coast duo scored a major win in taking a crack at Hit-Boy and Audio Push's single "Them N*ggas." The track is a gleefully brash banger to begin with, but to hear two icons of the G-funk era pass the torch to one of the region's newest crews is a sound example of the power of Left Coast unity. But mainly, the song knocks because Daz and Kurupt are just those dudes. - SR
Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines" Video
When I posted this video earlier this week, I said, "This is Curtis Mayfield for the molly generation," and that line is too nice not to use twice. I love this song, and Robin Thicke sounds like he does too. The line, "You want to hug me.. what rhymes with hug me?" is the kind of off-beat gem Robin's famous for throwing into his more sultry songs. Much can be said about Tip's dance moves in the video, but it might be better to not say anything about them at all. Anyway, the song reminds me of "Meiple," which I played for an entire summer and kept having to convince people it was good. Summer '13, here we go. - Dan Buyanovsky, Associate Editor
Lil Wayne - "Romance"
This song didn't technically come out this week, it leaked from I Am Not A Human Being II, and is an immediate standout. Wayne spends the majority of his time on the new record rapping really hard and being generally aggressive, but the best Weezy is the slowed-down Weezy, who takes time to think things through and drop beautiful bombs like, "She even did anal, when she don't do anal. That's romance." For anyone who's been in a seriously committed relationship and can relate, yes Weezy, that is romance. - DB
50 Cent ft. Kendrick Lamar – “We Up”
This is great. When it comes to legitimate shit-talking, there’s no one else in the game better than Fiddy. The original version with Kidd Kidd was nod-able, but it wasn’t as infectious as this latest drop with the G-Unit general chiseling in a third verse. And is that K-Dot on his ignorant, “Backseat Freestyle” steelo? 50 really needs more bumpers like these. - Jaeki Cho, Senior Online Editor
Perrion - "Get a Job" Video
Don’t sleep on Perrion. Harlem’s clustered with young talent, but Perry’s potential feels well-defined. Out of the new breed of New York rappers that advocate skating, rapping, and guzzling 40s (like a scene out of Kids), Perry seems most polished as an actual MC. “Get a Job” is a Golden Era knocker, and the self-reflective brags feel right in Perry’s lane. It’s an angle he should further explore, while fans continue to discover him. - JC
Young Chop ft. Johnny May Cash, King 100 James and Roland Green - "1 Hunna"
The #3Hunna campaign is in full force. Young Chop, the label head behind the newly-formed 8 Tray Music Group, is preparing to release a solo mixtape that will feature cohorts such as Johnny May Cash, Rampage, Loui Baggs, King Rell and more. “1 Hunna” is fitting for Chop, as the beatsmith puts together a tough horn section with drums for his featured guests to go in on. There’s no word on the tape’s release date, but rest assured it's right around the corner. - Eric Diep, Editorial Assistant
Black Milk - "Sunday's Best/Monday's Worst"
Beyonce isn’t the only one releasing two singles in one. The Detriot native Black Milk showcases his talents as a MC and producer on “Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst.” While weaving in some intricate bars, he delivers a pair of refreshingly soulful, sample-heavy beats. You can expect this gem to appear on his upcoming album, due out this summer. - ED