True Master ft. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah - “Batman and Robin”
JAMES: I have to admit, I balked a little at the name True Master, but I don’t have anything negative to say about this track. It’s nice. I feel like Raekwon kinda obliged but Ghostface showed up. The beat is pretty simple, so there’s not a whole lot to make this track stand out.
Lil’ Wayne ft. Chance from D5 came up next on soundcloud shuffle and made me forget what I just heard. Suppose that says enough.
VINCE: Come on, JC. Sometimes all you gotta do is look a dude up on Wiki. True Master is somewhat of an actual true master. One, “true master” is vintage, oft-used kung fu term. Two, True Master has been rockin’ production for the Clan since the early ‘90s. Check that man’s credits, fam. “Fish,” “Sweet Love,” “The M.G.M.” … I could keep going, but I won’t. True Master gets down.
This track right here isn’t memorable, but it is dope. Dope like circa 2012 “dope,” before the term got Bieber’d or Miley’d or Taylor’d. Also, you gotta check some of Rae’s lastest cuts. What sounds like a lazy monotone is actually his new steez. I prefer the amped Rae of yesteryear, but his new delivery should not be mistaken as boredom. Ghost is most definitely still Ghost.
Oddisee - “Own Appeal”
JAMES: Oddisee is an interesting guy. Never heard of him, which isn’t as surprising as much as it is sad. Anyway, thanks, Internet.
He appears to be bigger in the UK, as iTunes UK voted his album No. 1 Rap/Hip-Hop in 2012. You’ve probably heard his work before, though, as he’s been used during the NBA Finals.
I’m down with this track. But like the last one, there isn’t a whole lot to make it stand out. I’m interested to listen to more of his music, though. He’s obviously lyrically talented.
Also, investigating Mello Music Group may have turned me into a Taoist.
VINCE: I have no idea why he’s so popular in London. He appears to be a Yankee. Interesting.
At any rate, this dude sounds like J Cole, no? I mean, his flow is just like Cole’s (although Cole is Lupe’s son). Voice is like a 90 percent match, just a little more bass. Please don’t tell me we’ve arrived at the moment where J Cole is going to start spawning flow-disciples. I just won’t be able to take that...and I dig Cole...but I just won’t be able to abide by him having some kind of vanguard status. Although, his discography predates Cole’s, so maybe he’s always been rhyming this way.
The track is cool. Mellow indeed. It might even make a “cathing up on some reading on a rainy fall Saturday” kind of playlist.
I’m terribly frustrated right now, though. That guitar sample was used in one of my favorite hop songs from a while back and I can’t think of who/what it was.
SchoolBoy Q - “Banger (MOSHPIT)”
JAMES: This song is exactly what you think it is. It will also most certainly start a moshpit when performed live. I like that.
I think SchoolBoy Q gets a real kick out of a live audience. He’s been known to do some crazy things at concerts, from diving into the crowd shirtless to orchestrating n-word chants in audiences full of white people. A song like this makes him like an orchestrator of chaos at a show. It’s gonna be nuts.
VINCE: Oh this joint right here is a problem. A “banger” for real.
As you know, JC, Q is my favorite from the TDE/Black Hippy clique. Kendrick Lamar is unquestionably the most talented. But Q goes. Kendrick is most definitely the most charismatic, but Q is most definitely among the most entertaining characters on the mic right now. Kendrick’s Section.80 will probably always be my favorite album anyone in that clique ever delivers, but Q’s Habits & Contradictions is right behind it. I think Q is a star. And there’s no kweshun that he probably thinks (and TRULY believes, which is key) that he’s the dopest rapper out. When he finally drops Oxymoron he might prove that.
Tons of props to tHe renegades for the production on this one, too. Don’t much about them. Hoping I hear more from them.
Robert Glasper Experiment ft. Common and Patrick Stump - “I Stand Alone”
JAMES: Robert Glasper is following up his critically acclaimed Black Radio with Black Radio 2 in late-October. I’m not very familiar with his work, but I imagine it’s pretty difficult for him, or any jazz musician, to compete with the nostalgia and appreciation jazz-heads must experience when listening to anything modern.
Glasper isn’t exactly flexing any muscles here, though. It’s an uplifting song, but I’m not really sold on Patrick Stump… especially given the theme of Michael Eric Dyson’s speech towards the end.
VINCE: Before Glas’ became somewhat of a crossover figure, he was probably my favorite young jazz pianist. Got hip to him around 2001 (maybe 2002) with the Strickland Brothers...or maybe it was with Jeremy Pelt...all the whiskey of the past 15 years is really doing a number on my memory.
At any rate, when he wants to be, Glasper is probably the most athletic pianist of his generation. Heavy too. Boy could/can drop chords for days. This is lightwork for him. And, given the glorious highs of some of Common’s most socially inspired verses, what he’s spitting here also seems to be lightwork. Maybe something he scribbled some extra’s cleavage on the set of whatever flick he was filming, at the time. Wait, that came across way too smarmy. I apologize for that, Comm’ (like he’s reading this). I’m just saying that both of these dudes are some of the best to do what they each specifically do and what they did right here ain’t their best -- by any stretch.
I’ll probably get into a deeper examination of Glasper’s career evolution in a few weeks when Black Radio 2 drops. That’ll also give me some time to actually digest the content in this song. I think it’s saying something...I just don’t, upon first listen (which is the M.O. for Please Jam), if the message is trite or not.
Also...Patrick Stump...please have several seats .
BONUS: (33 second song) Pete Rock - “Sex”
JAMES: This is perfect.
VINCE: Peter Phillips...please jam.