Moe Pope & Rain featuring REKS & Dua Boakye - "Spit vs. Ramo"
The hustle is real, and when you're knee-deep on a mission to promote your artistry, it's even realer. What Moe Pope & Rain paint within the bars of "Spit vs. Ramo" is a subtle ode to hopefulness. Living in a world where there's a constant desire to balance money with meaning (for some), it's tough to really comprehend which holds the priority. As the track opens, Moe Pope muses over a life where he can feed his family while promoting message music. That seems to be the theme of the cut as memories of slingin' rock are overshadowed by the will to move mountains with words, as REKS brings a darker edge to the song by showing how the hunger for success can be disheartening. It's an all around beautiful track really - with a sample-free hypnotic beat from Rain and a video that's shot split screened and documentary style with enough pleasant filters to look like an animated Instagram page. Bad Rabbits' Dua Boakye comes through at the end with a smooth couples of coos, adding to the meaningful simplicity that this song offers. It's definitely enough to check out the rest of Moe Pope & Rain's latest project Let the Right Ones In. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Black Milk - "Sunday's Best, Monday's Worst"
Admittedly, it's taken me some time to appreciate Black Milk as an emcee as much as I've admired him as a producer. Going back to the 2005's self-titled Slum Village album, BR Gunna has been one of Hip Hop's best kept secrets. Stepping into his own, B.M. has broken the secret and through Tronic especially, made a career that's outdone some of his peers. While I was not the biggest supporter of Album Of The Year, Random Axe remains one of the best albums of the last three years—in my humble opinion (and Black & Brown is also deeply slept-on). "Sunday's Best, Monday's Worst" is a triumphant return to Black's gifts. Moreover, the song, which plays into childhood, religion and nostalgia, shines through. I'm not sure where it belongs—if anything. B.M.'s co-manager Bill, who's been a longtime friend, showed me. I honestly don't care. In the wake of high-profile remixes, collaborations and all else that this past delivered, this song mattered more to me than all of the others, and I've played it. And I hope that this Sunday's best (today) might be tomorrow's worst. Word to R. Kelly's favorite toast, but that's a story for another day. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)
The Doppelgangaz - "Skin Yarmulke"
Opening with a chiming grandfather clock and a shot of a closed metal hinge lit by a full moon, "Skin Yarmulke," the latest video from Orange County, NY's The Doppelgangaz calls to mind the words of Al Jourgensen that, "everyday is Halloween." These guys have that genuine Punk Rock we-don't-give-a fuck attitude that takes me back to the days when the Geto Boys and Gravediggaz were lounging around society's underbelly. Like these groups, "The Ghastly Duo" of EP and Matter Ov Fact embrace the world that seeps out after the sun sets; unfinished basements full of wart covered characters who indulge in violence, sadistic behavior and twisted sex with their friends' mothers. But watching this video and listening to their new album HARK you'll understand what makes The Doppelgangaz rise above all the derivative muck...they never lose a sense of humor. This same world is a place where the thugs send their women out not to buy the ubiquitous Magnums we hear about in every Hip Hop track but "Lifestyle snugger fits." Sonically this song does some unique things also. A cough and groan is turned into a repeating sample and rather than try to make it sound like the entire track is playing off a record, the vinyl pop is jacked up so high it becomes the source of the rhythm like jittering ghost notes on a high hat. "Skin Yarmulke" will do the same thing "1-800-Suicide" did for Hip Hop heads 20 years ago. It will make you laugh, cry, cringe and hit repeat.