This past week saw the explosion of a long-simmering beef between Pusha T (now backed by Kanye, Kid Cudi, and their G.O.O.D. Music affiliates) and Lil Wayne (riding with YMCMB’s Drake, Nicki, and co.), one that expanded into both their camps. However, the idea of Drake and Kid Cudi weighing in on any rap disagreement is pretty comical — what will they do, have a sing-off? Regardless of who’s ultimately involved, the back-and-forth made for some good music (no pun intended). Otherwise, the notable events of the week included RG favorite Big KRIT playing with vocabulary, The Mad Rapper settling old scores, Big Boi sounding sexy in a notably un-sexy context, and the South’s OG-est of OG’s, Scarface, reminding us why he’s a legend. Below, the week that was.
5. “Window crack on the ave, marinate the scene/When I lean and crawl, couldn’t see me with your high beams” — Big KRIT, ‘Live From The Underground’ lyrics
We celebrate King Remembered In Time for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is his ability to bend words to his own purposes. Much like Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty, who famously made a word “[mean] just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less,” Krit here takes “marinate” and turns it into an evocative way of describing how he is looking around and taking in the situation. As people who love words and how they are used, we cannot get enough of this stuff.
4. “Ni**as call me Scarface ’cause I gave them a reason to/All you get is one chance and then I come get even, fool” — Scarface, ‘Scarface’ lyrics
Since he first adopted his De Palma-inspired moniker over 20 years ago, Brad “Scarface” Jordan has been one of rap’s most respected figures. Here, he reminds us both of his stature in the rap game, and of the actual danger inherent in crossing him.
3. “How many licks does it take to get to the bottom of a Tootsie Roll?/Pop goes the whistle when I explode in her mouth, but that’s cold/-er than Shaquille O’Neal from the free-throw line/And I’m a peaceful person, so she wanted to give me piece of mind” — Big Boi, ‘She Said OK’ lyrics
This song, a collaboration with Theofil…Theopho…um, that dude from Brooklyn whose last name is “London,” is not actually very good. The hook is obvious and cringe-worthy (“Let me see your titties” is one of its less-terrible lines, to give you an idea), and the first verse — by Theophilu…um, the other guy — is nothing to write home about. But Big Boi saves the day. He sounds great — smooth, seductive, playful, confident — and his sports metaphors, his sly turning of “weasel” into “whistle,” and his “piece”/”peace” pun make up for the overused Tootsie Pop joke.
2. “I was really in that Travelodge/You just lying through your catalogue” — Pusha T, ‘Exodus 23:1’ lyrics
Lil Wayne really has no idea what he’s gotten into here. Pusha’s song is full of devastating disses to Wayne and his crew, while never even mentioning them by name. This line, pointing out the absurdity of Wayne’s claims to street credibility despite having been signed to Cash Money since he was nine years old, is one of the best in the tune. Wayne, who hasn’t recorded a good dis song since he was twelve and did “F**k Big Boy,” is in an unenviable position here.
1. “Still rep the Brook-nam, live crazy cat/Still waiting on Puff to pay me back” — The Mad Rapper, ‘Nice’ lyrics
Deric Angelettie is a man who wears many hats. Formerly an Afrocentric rapper in the extremely underrated duo Two Kings in a Cipher, he has long been a master producer, working a lot with Puffy during Bad Boy’s heyday. He also has a comic alter-ego, The Mad Rapper. Familiar to listeners from the skits on Bad Boy’s classic records, The Mad Rapper is always, well, mad about being slighted and unrecognized. This new song finds him “still smelling like vacation” and, of course, still mad.