Mr. MFN eXquire featuring Danny Brown, Nacho Picasso & Flatbush Zombies - "Tomorrow's Gone"
"White man's guilt is the Black man's poison / that's why I'm always paranoid, why I be hearin' voices," says Mr. MFN eXquire on his latest "Tomorrow's Gone." The SickSentz-produced track starts off super dark, with eX bringing a level of distrust and horror in his lines. Then comes Danny Brown, whose squeaky voice is comical no matter what, but coupled with the gruesome beat sounds like a serial killer. Nacho Picasso comes with a line like "I tore my heart out and gave it to my Valentine," while Flatbush Zombies add a whole other angle to the track. The result is a twisted audio horror flick. I like how the beat is off balance and each of the artists try to walk along it with their own signature styles. It's one of the few collaborations that Mr. MFN eXquire has on his latest mixtape Kismet, and it's well worth it. It's also good to see the new blood of Rap all working together to scare the shit out of everyone. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Bird featuring Little Brother & Notes To Self - "Still Shine"
Admittedly I’m a sucker for glorious horns towering over soulful vocals and empowering rhymes. There’s something nostalgic about that equation; something timeless; something unabashedly Hip Hop. Toronto producer/emcee Bird delivers that relentless mashup seamlessly on "Still Shine"—the first leak from his upcoming LP, La Notte. Notes To Self and Little Brother’s Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh make for a nice common man combination, each kicking personal challenges with impact and optimism. “Just because something’s ailing you / Don’t mean that God is failing you,” Tigallo raps. “It just means to listen harder to what he is telling you / Not always fair and not always bright / It’s not right / It’s not wrong, my nigga / It’s just life.” By the time Roshin bum-rushes the third verse with “My sibling had a kid too / My bitty want a shih tzu / My cousin out in boot camp / My momma need a sick view,” replay value is intact. “Still Shine” is a welcome reminder that problems are only as powerful as perspective. - Justin Hunte (@TheCompanyMan)
Willie The Kid - "Halal Tuna"
Thankfully John Boros' video for Willie The Kid's "Halal Tuna" focuses all its attention on surreal imagery and spares us the dreaded music video storyline. While they may lack a linear narrative, the visuals still manage to be infused with all the things that make for great drama: bloodlust, revenge and the futile search for riches. Aesthetically it feels like pieces from three of my favorite films have been dropped into a rusty blender and given a liberal sprinkling of wormwood. There are echoes of the Coen Brothers' Millers Crossing in the prohibition-era fashion, cars and gangsters; The Wicker Man's (1973) love of damp ground and drugged-out pagan picnics; and some female characters reminiscent of the playthings in Eyes Wide Shut who lounge around isolated mansions wearing Mardi Gras masks that didn't make it through quality control. What makes this even more of a triumph are Willie's idiosyncratic rhymes which evoke images as potent as those seen in the video. Just like Boros keeps some space between his cuts and doesn't waste any shots, Willie keeps his wordplay efficient and references sharp, mixing the Victorian with golden age Mafioso and modern pop culture. - Michael Sheehan
Genesis The Greykid - "Might Be A Dream"
Creative Control affiliate Genesis The Greykid is still an artist I'm musically getting to know. After last year's tremendous introduction "A Thought," I've had my ears out. "Might Be A Dream" is a heavy dose of reality raps. Overtop one of Oddisee's Rock Creek Park instrumentals, Gen raps about post-modern ambitions, addressing materialism but finding a common bond in humanity—all in a way that Curtis Mayfield would probably dig. It's a simple song with deep subject matter. More than that, in an age when so many young artists are churning out songs at a head-spinning rate, Genesis chooses his moments carefully. The poet and writer comes out, along with the B-boy, and it reminds me of my mid-'00s first hearings of Jay Electronica. This guy is one to watch, as a handful of songs have made a willing consumer of a project—something I cannot say about many emerging artists at this profile-level of the last year. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)
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