On "Word Is Bond," Joey Bada$$ continues his hazy trip through '90s New York hip-hop. The Statik Selektah beat, with its piano plinks, boom-bap and Premier scratches, is pure catnip for the old school heads and Bada$$ even plays along, namechecking George Pataki and employing dense numerical lyricism.
On "Darker," the always-embattled Gucci Mane touts his new mentor-protege relationship with Chicago's Chief Keef. It's a delirious cauldron of bravado, nervous energy, garbed intergalactic wordplay and grimy street darkness. Fight music!
On "High Art," two of the finest writers of our time converge in an operatic bid for summer jam glory. Really, the beat on this one is just gargantuan with my main man The-Dream throwing hooks like sexual, drugged-out darts and Jay-Z at peak-level bravado.
Let's welcome Chance The Rapper to the weird-rap continuum. The Chicago MC's biggest moment in the spotlight, this new mixtape entitled AcidRap, is upon us and, in addition to his irresistible ambition, it features Internet favorite singles like "Good Ass Intro" and "Juice," as well as guest spots from Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and Twista.
Mixtape Download: Chance The Rapper - AcidRap [WeTransfer]
A seemingly odd pairing at first, DOOM's word avalanche collides with Clams Casino's cloudy valleys on "Bookfiend." Neither artist bends their style too much as ol' MF slows it down, turns his drawl to molasses and garbles through dense, one-liner wordplay. Rap as escapism.
On "Girls Love Beyoncé," Canada's national treasure Drake summons the spirit of Destiny's Child to indulge in his own loneliness. It's a sultry creeper and yet another example of Drizz knocking-out a quality R&B track by snaking every little vocal inflection into a sexualized, dejected hook.
On "Numbers On The Boards," Pusha T ups his viciousness over a bed of rumbling, glitchy minimalism cooked up by Kanye West and Don Cannon. It's straight bravado rap – angry, defiant, gracefully lyrical ("I might sell a brick on my birthday/ 36 years of doing dirt like it's Earth Day) and a delightful anecdote to the blasted-out ignorance dominating airwaves right now.
Just like Beyoncé before him, Jay-Z returns to the solo game by putting the music industry, media, NBA and US government on notice with the vicious, curmudgeon rap of "Open Letter." Produced in over-night session by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland and rapped just as quickly, Hov responds to recent controversies (Nets ownership! Cuba!) with his trademark icy coolness and a dose of powerful old-man anger.
Silky smooth Miguel posed a big, kind-of-gross romantic question last year with "How Many Drinks?," and now he's tapped the talents of fellow 2012 MVP Kendrick Lamar for an official remix. Even though it's 'old,' this could actually surge into Summer Jam territory this year with all its tongue-flicking (shout out, K. Dot) motives.
Hanging off my fire escape, I've been screaming like a crazy person about a New York hip-hop resurgence for a couple years now. Luckily, there's someone like Peter Rosenberg to actually map the scene out on this brand new New York Renaissance mixtape. Its highlight is its first song – a dreamy collaboration between Joey Bada$$ and increasingly-excellent producer Harry Fraud.