Monday, October 22, 2012

"Heart, Pt. 3" ft. Ab-Soul & Jay-Rock

"Truthfully I just started rappin' to get away," Compton MC Kendrick Lamar tellingly raps midway through his first verse on the muted-soul of "Heart Pt. 3." It's a stark moment of honesty from a rapper well known for autobiographical insight. But to borrow a De La Soul track, the "stakes is high," now. Between a BET Award for "Lyricist of the Year," a feature as a XXL 2011 Freshman, and a bevy of rave reviews for his Section. 80 LP Lamar has the weight of West-Coast hip-hop on his shoulders. Tomorrow his good kid, m.A.A.d. will drop in stores, and his entire crew is betting the house on its success. 

The pressure is palpable in his rhymes, as he name-checks West-Coast legends: 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, & Dr. Dre. and admits his, "biggest fear is not feeling accomplished." At times his voice approaches a rasp, as he struggles to let every last gasp of his hip-hop soul out. This all or nothing desperation is buoyed by the Black Hippy Crew, with major-label outcast Jay Rock recounting his struggles and "secret weapon" Ab-Soul acknowledging "we never asked for no hand out." Near the track's end, Kendrick confesses "I put my whole life in these 12 songs, my fight in these twelve songs." It's a fight only Kendrick can win, and come Oct. 23 we'll see the results.

"Heart, Pt. 3" ft. Ab-Soul & Jay-Rock

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Solange- "Losing You"

The moment the beat on “Losing You” drops in from some distant planet, there is absolute ecstasy. A faint shout recalls a rapturous party, the pitter-pattering drumbeat is pure sugar, and the soft guitar strumming possesses a sweetness that’s undeniable. Then a buoyant synthesizer steps out, threatening to spoil the whole affair. “Tell me the truth boy, am I losing you for good?” Solange calmly inquires. Her own inquiry is quickly affirmed, coming to the realization, “clearly we are through.” Trying her best to swallow her pride and save face, she feigns a threat “I’m not the one you should be making your enemy.” She’s reached the point of no return, given everything she can with nothing to show for it. The bridge belies this desperation, as a gray haze drags the track into the ether. All this melancholy can’t be contained though, and the track is soon riding high again, as Solange finds her place in all this turmoil. It’s the aural equivalent of waiting out a storm, looking for the sunny day that’s just out of sight. 

"Losing You"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Compton" ft. Dr. Dre

If you would've told me there'd be a track in 2012 featuring Just Blaze behind the boards and Dr. Dre rattling off vintage Chronic lines, I'd have laughed and told you that getting Dre to do anything rap-related in this day & age is something of a miracle. But on this boisterous Blaze-beat that's exactly what we get. Kendrick is his usual slippery-self, sliding in-and-out of a deadly double-time flow with ease. He name checks Compton locales like "Rosecrans Avenue," and crowns himself king. Meanwhile, Dre is all bluster, bellowing out threats and once-again namechecking his Dre Beats. By the time the vocoder drops by and brings back the ghost of "California Love," it's clear that when it comes to the West-Coast, "King Kendrick" isn't too much of a stretch.

"Compton" is the third single to drop from the forthcoming good kid, m.A.A.d. city album which is set to drop October 23. There's the compelling tracklist below which might be the first on record to feature both Dr. Dre & Lady Gaga. 

1. "Sherane"
2. "B***h Don't Kill My Vibe" ft. Lady Gaga
3. "Backseat Freestyle"
4. "The Art of Peer Pressure"
5. "Money Trees" ft. Jay Rock
6. "Poetic Justice" ft. Drake
7. "good kide"
8. "m.A.A.d city" ft. MC Eiht
9. "Swimming Pools (Drank)" (Extended Version)
10. "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst"
11. "Real" ft. Anna Wise
12. "Compton" ft. Dr. Dre 

Extended Version
13. "The Recipe" ft. Dr. Dre
14. "Black Boy Fly"
15. "Now or Never" ft. Mary J. Blige
16. "Collect Calls"
17. "Swimming Pools (Drank)" 

"Compton" ft. Dr. Dre