The week around Independence Day is normally an extremely slow news time. No such luck in the hip-hop world, where new music from Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Yelawolf, and M.I.A., plus one very noteworthy anecdote from Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean, kept us working for (and through!) the weekend. Below, the lines of the week:
5. “I need angel dust to calm my nerves/And I slapbox with preachers just to wake up the church” — Konfident, ‘Fire in the Hole!’ lyrics
This Oh No-produced track is an absolutely banger. The powerful rock guitars and woozy, insular feeling of the beat mesh perfectly with Konfident’s hyperbolic boasts. This one is the pick of the litter, as the rapper claims to need PCP just to feel normal, and brags about hitting men of the cloth. While we wouldn’t necessarily want to run into him in a dark alley after hearing this song, we’re extremely happy for the music.
4. “The winter come, the trucks is big/Mike Tyson attitude, ni**a, f**k the kids” — Jim Jones, ‘Don’t Judge Me’ lyrics
Props to Jim Jones for finding a way to write about one of sports’ weirdest moments, Mike Tyson’s rambling June 2000 post-fight interview. Towards the end, the boxer taunts Lenox Lewis, saying, “I want his heart, I want to eat his children.” Jones uses this weirdest of moments as a jumping-off point to talk about his own careless attitude.
3. “F**k boys chase Hypetrak chicks/And ni**as who stopped texting after 1.6″ — Childish Gambino, ‘We Ain’t Them’ lyrics
There aren’t many rappers who, upon receiving a devastating review from the influential music site Pitchfork, would ever talk about it again, never mind mention it in a lyric. Props to Gambino here for thriving after his 1.6 (out of 10) filleting, and for turning it back on the people who thought the review marked the end of his rap career.
2. “In Jesus’ name, let the choir say/’I'm on fire, ay,’ that’s what Richard Pryor say/And we annihilate anybody that violate/Ask any dope boy you know, they admire ‘Ye” — Kanye West, ‘New God Flow’ lyrics
This verse got a startling and effective debut as an acapella on the BET awards. Its delivery on an actual song is almost as good. Kanye sounds prideful and powerful as he brings together some of his major themes (religion, overcoming injury and adversity, getting respect from unusual corners) into a powerful verse-closer.
1. “I got a ill gift, I’m real swift/They be like, damn, he’s still rich/When I send my men in black/Listen, none of them ni**as named Will Smith” — Cam’ron, ’60 Rackz (Remix)’ lyrics
It perhaps understates the case a little bit to say that we at RG are big Cam’ron fans. The site was originally supposed to be “Cam’ron Genius,” after all. So when Killa drops a killer verse, as here, we have to give respect where it’s due. This collaboration with Jim Jones and Lil Wayne has all the hallmarks of prime Cam — the knotty rhyming (“ill gift”, “real swift”, “still rich”, “Will Smith”), the equally clever and violent threat, and the above-it-all tone that mixes malice and humor. Welcome back, Cam!
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