We’ve been digging into the old crates these last few weeks, looking at old-school electro and 90s MPC work, but let’s catch up with the new school for a minute. Some scoff “all this new shit isn’t hip hop! This some ratchet shit!” But that’s just the evolution and commercialization of a genre that’s approaching forty years old. Like it or not, it is what’s happening right now.
I’ll be the first to admit that the hip hop coming out in the 80s like Bambata and Mantronix was way more progressive and cutting-edge than anything coming out now (that I know of), but the kids aren’t trying to hear all that. A lot of this ratchet music is really fun to dance to. Also, let’s face it, a lot of old hip hop (especially before the 90s), much like old house, doesn’t sound very clean on a big soundsystem when played next to music made with modern production techniques.
New rap falls into three basic categories
1) Purification and polishing of tried-and-true rap motifs, e.g. Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, A$AP Rocky.
2) Rap/R&B crossover, e.g. Drake, “Pour it Up,” Chris Brown, etc. (note: fuck Chris Brown and I will never play his songs or any song he’s featured on in any of my sets)
3) Throwback rap, a la Joey Badass, Action Bronson, and Flatbush Zombies. Honestly a lot of this sounds like 90s New York hip hop, albeit updated. That’s fine because 90s rap > 2000s rap.
Note: There’s also strip-club rap (“Bands Make Her Dance,” Big Sean/Nicki Minage “Dance (Ass)”) and club rap (see Future Brown below).
Only a few mainstream rappers nowadays do anything that’s like “wow, that’s some different shit.” Like, when Wu-Tang Clan first came on the scene in 93, that was some different shit. Chance The Rapper, Lil B, Yeezus, Danny Brown, and even Busta Rhymes’ with “Twerk It” fall into this category.
So this week I’ve rounded up a few songs from the very recent past, from all of the aforementioned categories.
This first track is pretty much early 90s NY throwback a la Black Moon, but updated with craftier lyricism. We need more funny rappers/chefs like Action Bronson. Definitely appreciate the humor in this, or say, The Fat Boys, more than all the gangsta “leave you in the bushes” posturing. Wacka Flocka Flame/Action Bronson is a dream collabo.
Flatbush Zombies – Club Soda Feat. Action Bronson
But about that hard rap…I definitely slept on Yelawolf until his latest album, but he’s dope and there’s some really solid tracks on there. Love the production on this one. Sounds like GTA 5 soundtrack material.
Yelawolf – Gangster (Feat. ASAP Rocky & Big Henry)
Killer chorus and production on this YG song on a Jam City mix months back. This one definitely falls into the explicit Rap/R&B crossover sex-jam category, but it’s 2013 so YG and TeeFli come more direct and arguably less creative than older but similar tunes like H-Town’s “Sex Bowl.” Still, the beat and chorus on this…A levels.
YG – Sprung feat. TeeFli
Straight up Atlanta club-rap with a clever flow on the chorus. Probably the next “Versace” or “Bugatti.”
Johnny Cinco – Gave The Wrong Young Nigga Money
Heading to the East Coast for this one – a cross between Baltimore rap and dark-but-hype club music a la Kingdom and Nguzunguzu. Hopefully the commercial and underground worlds can more frequently meet somewhere in the middle like this kind of tune. For a good example of what I’m talking about, check Kingdom’s mix for Logo.
Future Brown – Wanna Party ft. Tink
And one more from Baltimore. Can’t get enough of good female rap…
Sheila D Yeah – Kill It (Prod. Jay Feddy)
Alright that’s all for this week – bump these hard on that public transportation. And if you know of some good new rap, please leave a comment!