The weather got colder this week, but new rap joints kept the fye alive in our hearts. We heard from the Dips (!!!), up-and-comers Rae Sremmurd, our old pal Bronsolini and more. Stay warm and stay woke, ATG hip-hop heads.
5. The Diplomats – “Have My Money”
While this is definitely a harbinger of great things to come from the newly reunited Dipset and, in spirit, a hella exciting way to kick off 2015, “Have My Money” doesn’t exactly scream “triumphant return.” This is no “The Ruler’s Back.” The beat is nice and soulful, the verses are tight and we’re treated to more than one instant classic Cam line (he “just made a quarter mill off Ebola,” apparently). Most importantly, it features Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones all together again, which is why it deserves to be at least somewhere on this weekly list.
That said, this seems somewhat like a missed opportunity – what could have been a massively celebratory proclamation (something like Cam gave us last year with “Dipshits“) is instead a decent track with a slightly muted vibe that apparently you had to sit through an hour’s worth of Funkmaster Flex doing his Funk Flex thing before it premiered on HOT 97 this week. In any case, there’s a whole new Dips tape on the way, and we here at ATG will be covering that like a muffuggah. Freekey!
4. Lil Durk – “What You Do To Me (Remix Ft. Dej Loaf)”
The Chicago Drill purveyor and last year’s break-out female rapper of “Try Me” fame go Marvin and Tammi for this totally heart-warming duet. “We can be like Kim and Kanye / said you could be my fiancé” croons Durk. “He a savage, I love everything about him” Dej replies. Rumors of coupledom fly fiercely around the pair, and it’s becoming evident that LD x DL are truly the Rachel and Ross of the rap game. A must-add for your Valentine’s Day playlist, lovebirds.
3. Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife
You’d be forgiven by this column for writing Rae Sremmurd off as jackers, the latest ad lib-crazy wannabes to come out of post-“Hannah Montana” Atlanta. Go ahead, we won’t stop you. But first, we invite you to consider that their debut full-length, SremmLife, is full of extremely enjoyable listening material — a guitar crunching powder keg in “Lit Like Bic,” a Nicki Minaj/Young Thug feature that brings out the best of both in “Throw Some Mo,” and the best Migos track not performed by Migos in “Up Like Trump.” Mike WiLL Made-It helms the production and elicits solid contributions from the likes of Sonny Digital and Young Chop. I’m not saying it’s album of the year, but so far guys, it’s album of the year.
2. Action Bronson – “Actin’ Crazy”
I love Bronson, but I love him in his element — when he’s squeaking out Ghostface-meets-Thomas Keller flows over the meat-and-potatoes breakbeats Tommy Mas served him on Dr. Lecter or the kitsch soufflé he devoured on Party Supplies‘ Blue Chips tapes. His more recent attempts at ordering beats that are, well, radio friendly, just left a bad taste.
Which is why “Actin’ Crazy” is such a pleasant surprise. Here, Drake‘s right-hand-man Noah “40” Shebib whips up something a little more club-ready…and he likes it! Action really likes it! He’s “hopping out the Studebaker with Anita Baker.” He’s enjoying “Adriatic summers on the sailboat.” For once, it paid to go off menu with his production.
1. Malia Obama – Pro Era Shirt
And here it is, the best thing in hip-hop this week: the fact that Malia Obama is a proud Pro Era devotee. Granted, the first daughter’s expert taste in music is no great secret, and the media kerfuffle surrounding the photo leak is undue and invasive, but dammit if I don’t feel all the more proud to be an American now that I can imagine 1999 on full blast at 1600 Penn, the bass shaking vases in the Vermeil Room and dislodging portraits in the Cross Hall. Malia = coolest first daughter ever. Sorry, Zoe Bartlet.