In The Cut: Chance The Rapper & J. Cole Made XXL’s Top Songs Of The Week
As April turns into May (and spring allergies continue to plague our collective day-to-day existence), the XXL staff is grateful, because another summer means a lot of things to look forward to, like girls in sundresses, rooftop barbecues and an inevitable abundance of beers. On the music front, Kanye might be putting out a new album on June 18, and we're sure it's going to be like the best thing that's ever been made. Also, Mac Miller (who we recently spent the day with) is putting out his sophomore LP on the same day, which can be either great or not-so-great for the Pittsburgh young'n.
This week also saw the release of a new J. Cole mixtape—dude is so good to his fans—as we continue to wait for his upcoming Born Sinner and a new project from Chance The Rapper (which is great, so you should get it here). Tyler, The Creator stirred up some controversy with his Mountain Dew ad after a lot of people called it racist. In our opinion, it's not actually racist, but you can read his "apology" here. Finally, Chris Kelly of Kriss Kross sadly passed away at the age of 34, and we extend our sincerest condolences to Kelly's family and former collaborators.
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. Until next week—keep it trippy,
mane rap fans.
French Montana ft. Mikky Ekko - “Trouble”
I've never heard French Montana rap like this. We all know he can create club bangers—pretty much each single he's been on gets major rotation at clubs. But to hear him really lock in and lean into this somber beat is amazing, as he raps about his journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the industry's "it" rappers. When you add in the magnetic, sampled vocals from Mikky Ekko, this shit is definitely a hit. The album, Excuse My French, lands in stores May 21, and I might just have to buy it.—Emmanuel C.M., Assistant Editor
Chance The Rapper ft. Noname Gypsy - "Lost"
Chance's Acid Rap mixtape is full of memorable jams, but on first listen this one stood out immediately. From the cute opening refrain, where he longingly sings, "My druggy, love me when I'm ugly/Hug me when I'm bummy, scummy…," he sets the tone for a romantic tune that's the perfect soundtrack for a high school love affair. The female rapper/singer featured on the track, someone named Noname Gypsy, reminds me of a girl who performs really sexy and intimate poems at spoken-word open mics (I mean this in a positive way). It's also just a really versatile song—you'd feel as comfortable jogging to it as you would making love to it, and there's something to be said about not having to change playlists for sexytime.—Dan Buyanovsky, Associate Editor
Casey Veggies ft. Juicy J - "Young Niggas"
For starters, Juicy J probably shouldn’t be on a song about young winners getting it. But alas, the trippy pioneer is right here doing what he does best on “Young Niggas.” The live-fast anthem features a slow-grooving beat by The Futuristiks—a perfect sonic backdrop for amped-up rhymes. As usual, Casey tosses together tight rhymes, showing that his growth is impeccable.—Eric Diep, Assistant News Editor
Run The Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) - "Get It"
Fresh off last year's stellar R.A.P. Music, Mike and Jamie reconnect under the moniker Run The Jewels to drop a new song titled "Get It." Like its predecessor "Butane (Champion's Anthem)," "Get It" is a down-and-dirty banger that finds the duo trading venomous, braggadocios barbs over El-P's trademark skitzo production. It's a great early sign of what may be another winner of a collaboration between the Atlanta bruiser and Brooklyn vet.—Sean Ryon, News Editor
J. Cole ft. Young Jeezy - "Kenny Lofton"
As soon as I pressed play on Cole's Truly Yours 2 this past Tuesday, this joint stayed on repeat—the irony of Cole and Jeezy together on a cut that's more introspective than a bundle of boasts is what had me really geeked out. The Canei Finch production serves as the perfect soundbed for these two to lyrically flex—serving wordplay so dope, that you could snort it like lines. Word to TM 103.—Ralph Bristout, Lifestyle Editor
Quelle Chris ft. Tanya Morgan, Fresh Daily & Cavalier - "Greene Eyes"
Creativity doesn’t always require a big budget. After all, hip-hop wasn’t started by a batch of pocket-heavy artists. Fittingly, Quelle Chris’s new video for his posse cut “Green Eyes” is hilarious. The record, off his awesomely titled Niggas Is Men project, is simplistic and rap-friendly, showcasing Chris an open canvas. Maybe that’s why the direction of the visual followed a similar path? Just use your eyes and ears for this treat.—Jaeki Cho, Online Editor