This past week gave us a ton of long-awaited music. New full-length mixtape projects from Obie Trice, Wiz Khalifa, and Action Bronson, among others, joined the usual flood of teaser singles, freestyles, and miscellany. Below, Action Bronson reads the paper, Sene pays tribute to a legend, it’s all Greek to El-P, Los takes a ride, and newcomer 360 gives us cooking tips. This was the week that was:
5. “Timbos and yarmulkes/You ain’t in my genre/B*tch, blow me – harmonica/Arts & leisure, peace to Jon Caramanica” – Action Bronson, “Arts & Leisure” lyrics
Action’s mixtape Blue Chips was one of this week’s biggest releases, and this track is a standout. The rapper shows that he knows what side his critical bread is buttered on, as he shouts out Caramanica, a New York Times music writer who has been very kind to Bronson, including him on year-end lists and in think pieces. The first line, while seeming nonsensical, is actually a sly nod to his Jewish heritage as well as his old-school hip-hop sympathies. Timbalands were the meme hip-hop shoe of the era Bronson apes so convincingly, 90’s New York City rap.
4. “So in the name of the father/Where I’m from, S Dot Carter/With Pacino, yelling ‘Chi Chi’ by the water/On some Jungle Book sh*t, but I’m the author” – Sene, “BackBoards” lyrics
Sene, a Brooklyn rapper, pays touching tribute to an icon of his borough here. Jay-Z, a.k.a. Shawn Carter (or “S Dot Carter,” as he called himself on his 1999 song “S. Carter”), made a classic song about his Brooklyn projects called “Where I’m From.” There’s also a nod to Jay’s propensity for Scarface references with the Pacino/Chi Chi line. Finally, we have a creative spin on the ghetto-as-jungle idea, which we thought had been entirely played out. However, Sene reinvigorates the metaphor with, of all things, a Rudyard Kipling reference.
3. “I say I got mo’ pads, that’s cribs for us to go tonight/He say he got mo’ pads, that ni**a’s on a motorbike” – Los, “I Do (Freestyle)” lyrics
Diddy’s new signee Los manages to overcome his unoriginal rap moniker (far too similar to Fabolous’ “Loso” nickname for us to take it seriously) with a playful freestyle over Young Jeezy’s hit song. While Jeezy’s version is a distracting carbon copy of a UGK song from several years ago, Los manages to be more playful and less rote. Here, he playfully puns on motorcycle seat pads.
2. “So dog, you can hop off/Try and convince these other nerd ni**as that you not soft/Fronting like a top boss/Putting bread and vodka in the microwave is about the only way you’ll pop off” – 360, “Talk To ‘Em” lyrics
A quick Google search of “vodka and microwave” reveals that tons of people think combining the two will lead to fire, explosions, etc. While we can’t say for sure if that’s true (and please, DON’T try this at home), 360 mentions this well-trod rumor here. We at RG are suckers for unusual jokes, and this certainly fits the bill.
We are long-time fans of iconic underground rapper and producer Jamie “El-P” Moline. Sadly, he releases solo albums at a Dre-like trickle. So we were ecstatic this week to finally get both a release date (May 22nd!) and a song from his upcoming album Cancer for Cure. “The Full Retard,” with its Tropic Thunder-referencing title, shows that El’s apocalyptic, futuristic, paranoid vision is thankfully alive and well.
Here, he poignantly compares himself to Cassandra of Greek mythology, the woman who was given the gift of prophecy along with the curse that no one would ever believe her visions. This image is all too fitting for the oft-doomsaying El in a world that seems to move closer to chaos with every passing day.