Artist: Nacho Picasso
Album: Trances With Wolves
Song: Nacho Man
Just like Macho Man Randy Savage, Nacho Man is a nervous, spastic and completely unpredictable time bomb. It should score a highlight reel of the beloved wrestler. Fueling the friskiest most hyper violent elbow drops coming from an overly tan veiny hulking monster is where this song belongs.
It could have been the reason he chose black and red over black and white. Those bulging and eager eyes, consuming his face, all but popping out of his over sized sunglasses. The flamboyance, the pageantry that gravely strained voice resurrected once more.
Artist: Vado featuring French Montana, Pusha T and Chinx Drugz
Album: Slime Flu 4
“I be whipping hard…till my wrist hurt”
Listening to Kopy effectively transforms your head into blustery snow globe. A whirlwind of yayo magnificently gusted from the nostrils of some of the most vicious rappers in the game. The diversity in sound/delivery from Vado, French Montana, Pusha T and Chinx Drugz makes for a fascinating collaboration. Each creates a uniquely menacing, immersive and oddly educational portrait of the life of a coke dealer. The dependence of clientele. The distorted symbiotic relationship of dealer and fiend. The urgency, precision and inexorable hustle.
Artist: Dillan Ponders + Deniro Farrar
Song: Just Drive (Remix)
The Just Drive beat had to have been exhausted by Dillan Ponders. Bleed…completely depleted. The perfect fusion of grisly beat and haunting lyrics.…
The beat was resurrected yesterday…only to be completely shattered, razed and violently consumed by new verses from Deniro Farrar and Ponders. Every ounce driven beyond the brink of destruction. Each rapper takes their respective turn bludgeoning the sample by Runsbeatz. Leaving it picked clean, an unblemished bone. Think the cow that got lowered into the raptor pen in JP1.
It exceeded all expectations.
Artist: Corner Boy P
Album: Red Eye Mixtape
Song: Winners Never Lose
The first chords emulate the rise or descent in an elevator; it’s undetermined which at this point. The dim, imprecise and strangely welcoming beat envelopes like the feeling of waking up and discovering it’s Saturday, after indulging in an uninterrupted, lengthy night’s slumber. As this warm sound yawns on Corner Boy P’s gentle voice triggers, intricate verses drizzled in every nook and cranny of the beat. The lyrics ripe with both optimism and distrust. The confidence is infectious.
The elevator is rising.
Artist: The Concept & The Remot
Album: No Role Models
Song: Transformers (No Lies)
The lyrics to Transformers (No Lies) were likely scribed in chalk…on scalding grade school asphalt, underneath the shadow of the basketball hoop and directly adjacent to the window of scorned/feared second grade teacher Ms. Bykowski. (I maintain confidence that she is eternally Ms. as her perpetual hatred of all things and love of fire and brimstone preaching would likely be a deterrent to any perspective gentlemen callers.) I want to play this in a Discman with the coveted 45 seconds anti-skip that still to this day makes no sense.
Transformers (No Lies) beautiful devotion to vintage flows and beat really propels the listener back to simpler times. The Remot layers the horns and bass, both beating methodically, the steady drawl absorbing and compelling. The Concept capers across seamlessly, with complex and engaging rhymes, delivery impeccable.
The minutes on your work computer clock are eerily similar to the hands of the dust ridden standard issued classroom clock. Both dictating a dismissal…to a similar but different recess. That stubborn tick. The concentration of your gaze causes appears to have a slowing effect but diverting is impossible.
Listen Transformers, you feel the familiar abrasions of the best basketball on the playground, an escape from the fluorescent and a satisfying, worthwhile skinned knee.
Album: Bars & Bullets
Bars & Bullets lumbers into your ears like the deliberately sluggish, measured, near vomit inducing pace of a Xanax drip. The saliva taunting and mocking your uvula, as you desperately gasp for some type of relief…there exists none. You lie in bed listening to the violent, irregular, heart rattle…the pressure in your chest is beginning to get concerning. The moisture pooling beneath is indistinguishable.
The emotionless and distant delivery of lyrics dripping with violence and drugs over immensely deprived empty sounding beats is eerie as fuck, and perfect. It’s an uncanny sound riddled with drug induced paranoia. It transforms the most trustworthy situation into something suspicious and mistrusting. The best of friends into weary strangers. Those are difficult feelings to evoke and the UDF crew does it wonderfully. Gothic Goon is beyond mean.
Artist: Lil Flip
Song: Apollo Creed
There are certain catalysts unbeknownst to us that ignite incredible gladness. Never anticipated and always welcomed. Only two days removed from vacation I could already sense the inevitable and unsettling return of the usual viscous moss blanketing my brain. Apollo Creed was the elixir needed to remind me of the weekend’s lucrative existence, the fumes fueling our empty tanks.
Apollo Creed is unique in the sense that the sample used should by all means be sad. The words and rhythm layered across however suggest the perfect anthem for an appetizer: slow motion yacht party followed by main course: equally slow motion Jacuzzi after-party. (Two of the most joyous events in all of human existence, regardless of point and place in time, one does not exist without the other) Cherish the feeling of your top lip sliding over the cold metal of your grill. Listen and let the melody be the backdrop to your daydream of uncaring, friends, and the drink.
Artist: Hollywood Squadda
Album: In the Name of Greenova EP
Song: Oh Yeah
The humidity in Chicago 3 days ago was 200%. Every breath was like eating a steaming hot Shepard’s pie. Breathing was an enormous undertaking, as the odious, moist and sticky air did not lend itself to easy consumption or expulsion. A morning where you hate everyone and everything. Exchanging perspiration with jaundiced sunken business man next to you sweating through his suit. Each fried hair on his balding head drenched and clinging to the disintegrating root. Very few things are enjoyable on mornings like these, as no one likes to go to work with a saturated stinking ringpiece, that is generally reserved for the end of the day.
The only escape was the soothing sound of Hollywood Squadda’s Oh Yeah. As my breaking point approached, a calm came over me. The peaceful beat of Oh Yeah had somehow tamed some of my frustration. Hollywood Squadda’s auto tuned voice had transcended the heat and like a lullaby put me into a trance like state where I was vaguely unaware of the heat’s misery. It was welcomed, I sat and enjoyed the song until my stop and promptly left the train thinking it was overall a very bearable experience.
Artist: G Eazy
Album: Must Be Nice
It’s as though I existed simultaneously in two realms of time. Physically…sitting with numbing limbs allowing the size 11 Times New Roman on the screen to further decay my retinas. Mentally I was elsewhere. In a 1995 suburban with leather seats, I remember this because just as I longed for a few more moments of the best summer up to that point in my life, my aloe drenched skin refused to detach as we pulled into the San Diego Airport.
Letting the puka shells dig into my sunburned neck, and listening to the just released Fly by Sugar Ray through my water logged ears, I became immensely sad at the thought of only living this summer once. Experiences certainly cannot and are not meant to be duplicated. Though we fantasize they can. Each experience living as its own unique organism suggests why they are so celebrated and cherished.
I say organism because as time passes that memory molds, shifts, inflates and inevitably decays. Trying to duplicate only muddles the memory. An incredible/rare grouping of emotions and people that you and anyone else there shares, owns and remembers in entirely different ways. What I didn’t realize at that airport in 1997 was I would have dozens of other summers just as joyous or perhaps more joyous but differently so.
This song for whatever reason makes me feel that way:
Artist: Machine Gun Kelly
Album: Black Flag
Song: Raise the Flag
I should start by saying I should by no means in no plane of existence like this song. The bizarro Mark Wilson likely doesn’t even like this song. Simply put Machine Gun Kelly is a complete and utter dud, loathsome really. I personally witnessed him get booed off stage at WrestleMania. That same crowd met Flo-Rida with a ravenous standing ovation so obviously easily appeased. I find myself somehow enjoying Raise the Flag despite it arguing with the core of my being. Guilty pleasure. Admitting this enjoyment parallels being caught crossing North Avenue Beach, helmet on, walkie talkie in hand on a Segway tour of Chicago or cutting an eye stinger at the urinal the second your CEO walks up thus having to stand there in silence peeing in your stench. This silence comes after he asks if you had an “angry lunch” and the lack of a response confirms this.
Roll the windows up in your car, make sure your headphones are in tight and put this on the same playlist as your Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jespen. Title the playlist “For Thugs Only” and pray that no one actually clicks on it. Enjoy the sweet guilt: