Best Singles of the Week | 2020: Week 13

Shit’s really starting to hit the fan now. Slim Thug has tested positive for COVID-19, and now Scarface has as well. In terms of pop culture, that’s probably the most devastating news I’ve heard this year. I know people were heartbroken by the Kobe Bryant thing, but I wasn’t really affected by it. This is different though. I really hope everything turns out okay with both of those guys. I hope AG da Coroner is okay too because I think he said he wasn’t feeling well lately. Shit’s really getting serious now. A lot of people are gonna die. Honestly, celebrities are the last people we should be worrying about. Scarface isn’t a broke ass dude like the rest of us. He benefits from a lot of privileges that the rest of us unfortunately don’t have. I’m not gonna go on a tangent about how fucked up and stupid the US healthcare system is or how incompetent Donald Dump is. I like to think I’d be preaching to the choir. Stay the fuck inside though. Don’t be like those dumbass Spring breakers in Miami. By the way, I think I need to take a week off just to get back into my normal groove and set up a proper schedule. I most likely won’t publish any reviews, but I think next week things will be back to normal inshallah. Anyway, this was a pretty great week for music honestly. I really love a lot of these songs, so give ’em a listen and lemme know what you think.

Monday, March 23rd

PICCOLO by AKTHESAVIOR & Leon Fanourakis produced by Yung Xansei

I haven’t really been into a lot of the latest material from The Underachievers, but I was actually entertained by this track. The production from Yung Xansei is pretty hard, and AK sounded great over it. The most surprising and unique aspect of the song is easily the presence of Leon Fanourakis. I’d never heard of this guy before listening to this track, and it’s because he’s Japanese. The only other Japanese Hip Hop musicians I’ve ever been into are Dos Monos, who are an experimental group signed to Deathbomb Arc, so they sound nothing like this. Well, I guess Nujabes was a Japanese Hip Hop artist, but he’s not a rapper. This is basically just bilingual Trap music. It’s been interesting to hear English & Japanese MCs working together lately. The first time I’d ever heard anything like that was when I listened to Tachyon Ghetto Blaster, but They Hate Change dropped a song with Botsu last week too. I mainly enjoyed this song due to the production and rapping from AK, but Leon did his thing too. Check this shit out. It’s pretty good.

AMAZING, Pt. 3 by Dave East produced by Buda & Grandz & Burns Beats

I almost didn’t listen to this song just because I hadn’t ever heard the first couple AMAZING songs, but I’m really glad I changed my mind because this shit is fucking awesome. I’ve always loved Dave East’s voice, and he sounds perfect over this weird, mellow, cinematic beat. His flow is dope as hell here too, and I love how grimy the content is. The song is over 6 minutes long, and he’s rapping his ass off the whole time. I need more shit like this. He murdered this track. I have no gripes with it at all. This is my shit. Don’t sleep on it. It’s one of my favorite tracks of the week.

Tuesday, March 24th

Donuts & Derbies by T.R.3 produced by Ariano

As much as I enjoyed the two extended plays that T.R.3 dropped earlier this year, I think this song is a nice change of pace. ANGELES & GRIEF were both very well made projects, but I don’t think I’d be able to describe them as “unique” in good faith. ANGELES was basically just a Soundcloud Trap project, and there are obviously hundreds of thousands of those all over the site, albeit with varying degrees of quality. GRIEF is more my cup of tea, but that lofi, melancholy style is super trendy right now, even if I think GREIF is one of the best projects in that style. This song right here doesn’t sound like him following trends though. The influences aren’t super obvious anymore. I feel like we couldn’t have gotten something like this without that GRIEF EP. This sounds like the result of him digging himself out of the depression he was in throughout the recording process of that project.

I’m sick and tired of wasting time
So I spit up and change the climate
No more rainin’ from my eyelids
In a blink we could be flyin’
Yet you live afraid of dyin’
We could be something bigger than giants
Like a star to Orion, constellations in this booth
I spit a word, it’s livin’ truth

I love the way this song is structured too. He’s just spazzing the entire time, and the way the beat progresses prevents it from getting stale. Even if he’s not switching from a hook to a bridge or a verse, the production is always changing up. Shoutout to Ariano too. That beat is really goddamn great. I saw that it was compared to Organized Noize, and I guess that’s the closest thing I could compare it too. It’s kinda ATLiens-ish. This track has me really excited for anything T.R.3 has coming next because he’s clearly showing off a lot of versatility this year so far. Check this shit out.

Shoot Sideways by Conway the Machine featuring ScHoolboy Q produced by The Alchemist

Conway the Machine is releasing a collaborative extended play with The Alchemist tomorrow entitled LULU, so that’s pretty exciting. As I’ve said countless times already, Conway is easily my favorite rapper out of the Griselda crew. He had a song with ScHoolboy Q & The Alchemist back in 2018 if I’m not mistaken, and that shit was fire, so I already knew I was gonna love this song. The sung hook from Q is really dope, and Conway of course murdered the opening verse.

He with the action, still ridin’ with a stick in traffic
So if it’s smoke he ’bout to have your mama pickin’ caskets
I came a long way from flippin’ on a pissy mattress
Now I smell the piss on them bricks when I rip the plastic

The second verse was even better though.

Every time I drop a project, I just increase the violence with it
Talkin’ funeral homes, hospital visits
Yeah, I got the killers on the loose
Not stoppin’ ’til the opps blood spillin’ on my boots
In the streets or on a beat, I can kill ’em in the booth
Shooter lock ’em in the scope, he ’bout to drill ’em from the roof

It would’ve been nice if Q had a verse, but he did his thing on the hook, and I don’t know if he could’ve kept up with Conway. This shit is hard as FUCK though. I’m really looking forward to LULU. I hope it’s followed up by a full album.

Yankee & the Brave (ep.4) by Run the Jewels co-produced by Wilder Zoby & Little Shalimar

This song was previewed by El-P on March 21st on Instagram, but I chose not to listen to it at the time. I’d rather just wait ’til the full, CDQ version of the song drops. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long. This shit is fire. I like this even more Ooh LA LA. I was more impressed by Mike on that song, but it’s the opposite for this one. I think El-P got ’em here. His flow was crazy, and it fit so perfectly over this amazing, hard-hitting production. Don’t get me wrong though; it’s not like El-P completely smoked Mike. They both killed it. I was just slightly more impressed by El-P. The storytelling here is wild. It’s so fucking good. It kinda reminded me of Nas’ Undying Love in a way, but this is more of an over-the-top, cartoonish Action story than a Tragedy. This is apparently the opening track from Run the Jewels 4, which is kinda bittersweet to be honest. I don’t usually like when the opening song to an album is released ahead of time, but it’s not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. I think the song is amazing.

Wednesday, March 25th

The Plague by Sadistik produced by Aloe Yoroi & Steezy Prime

Sadistik dropped one of my favorite albums of 2019 last April with Haunted Gardens, so I was really excited when I stumbled upon the premiere of this music video two minutes before it began. I don’t know if he already had this song in the stash before this whole pandemic thing began or if he made this after the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, but either way it’s very apt given current events. I’m also not completely sure if Aloe Yoroi & Steezy Prime actually produced the song or if they just produced the music video. I think they did the song though. Anyway, Sadistik’s writing all over this track is gorgeous.

Search a surface immersed in blackness
Tongues are tungsten, lungs are sunk in
A hunger lingers when stomach hums hymns
To summon something, succumb to numb
Running from the glum ribs drums to sunsets
“Dead,” says the little voice in your head
So you wrote it all with poisonous lead

His flow on the opening verse is fire, and the closing couplet was really poignant to me.

Worship the warship that wards off the spirits
Sometimes reality’s worse than the fear is

The line he says right before the second verse begins was kind of a nice callback to the garden theme of his latest album. The reference to Aleister Crowley’s philosophy was dope too.

Do as thou wilt ’til the flowers wilt

The way the beat kinda switches up for the second verse is really fucking cool, and he of course killed it. I love how his delivery gets a bit more aggressive for this part of the song.

Cagey in a cage so the raven flew
Even if I suffocate from tasting fumes
Stay strained in the brain ’til the grave
We don’t stay in bloom

The song was released early for Sadistik’s patrons, so that’s cool. Haunted Gardens had a very despondent aura to it, and this song feels a bit more antagonistic in tone. I may be wrong about this, but I think he’s working on a third entry in his Salo Sessions series, so this would be more in line with something like that. I’m looking forward to whatever he does next though because this shit is fire. Don’t sleep on it.

Hypocrites by T.R.3 produced by Ariano

Honestly, I think I might like this track even more than Donuts & Derbies. I don’t know. I can’t decide which one I prefer. This shit is great though. I think this one has a bit more bounce and energy to it. T.R.3’s aggressive delivery is really infectious, and his flow here is impeccable. He fucking slaughtered that first verse, and the hook is actually really nice too. Honestly, there’s really nothing I don’t like about the song. I think this shit is amazing. The production is glorious, and T.R.3’s energy here is really exhilarating. He was spazzing all over this shit.

You niggas just cap like a blue emoji
You niggas ain’t real like a tickin’ rollie
And you niggas ain’t gang, stop finger foldin’
False claiming, you niggas just takin’ shots & not aiming
Need a whole machine behind to be famous
Dangerous details, you followin’ satan
Can’t celebrate livin’ with all of these pagans

I fuckin’ love this shit. It’s fire. Don’t sleep on this one.

Ooh LA LA by Run the Jewels co-produced by Wilder Zoby & Little Shalimar

This shit is fucking fire. I can’t wait for Run the Jewels 4, man. I will say, I do have some nitpicks, but overall I love the song. First of all, the beat is fire. It is very repetitive, but I’m okay with that because the loop sounds fantastic. The Greg Nice sample got slightly tedious by the time the first verse ended; I feel like they could’ve fleshed the hook out a bit more. A third verse would’ve done this song a lot of favors too. The rapping here is phenomenal though. I’ve consistently been more impressed by El-P with all the RTJ albums, but I really feel like Mike stood out the most here. El-P still killed this shit though.

When we talk we Kalashnikov, keep us in your thoughts
Fully dressed at the crack of dawn, weapons letting off
I can hear them from the block, see them creeping through the fog
Season’s greetings, now feeding season can start, oh my God

I just feel like Mike made it a point to sound as villainous as possible on this track, and he definitely pulled it off. He’s a fucking beast on this joint.

First of all, fuck the fuckin’ law; we is fuckin’ raw
Steak tartare, oysters on the half-shell, sushi bar
Life a bitch, and the pussy fish; still fucked her raw
I’m a dog, I’m a dirty dog, HAHAHAHAHA

OOOOOH

His final verse was even fucking better though. I love the anarchistic attitude that RTJ bring to every record, and Mike went all in here.

Fuck a king or queen and all of their loyal subjects
I’ll pull my penis out and I piss on their shoes in public
People, we the pirates, the pride of this great republic
No matter what you order, motherfucker, we’re what you’re stuck with

My lort

I live for this shit, man. Again, I think it could’ve been a bit more fleshed out—an additional verse or a more detailed hook could’ve done a lot to help this track. It’s still fire though, and the scratches from DJ Premier were a really nice touch. Don’t sleep on it.

Golden Oldies by R.A. the Rugged Man featuring Slug & Eamon produced by The KickDrums

Last week R.A. the Rugged Man dropped a single for his upcoming album, and I actually thought it was pretty bad, so that was kinda disappointing. However, he bounced back strong with this new one. This is a dream collab, and one of the most exciting songs from the track listing of All My Heroes Are Dead, which is scheduled for release on April 17th. I really like the production, and the opening verse from R.A. is dope even though he comes off as a super old, dusty, conservative, boomer dumbass. Honestly, the content of the lyrics made me roll my eyes, but the rhyme schemes and flow were on point as always. I feel like he was directly targeting a boomer audience with this track. He reminds me of my dad here, and that’s not a compliment. It’s fine though. I like how it sounds. Slug fits perfectly over this beat by the way. If somebody told me this was an Ant beat I’d probably believe them. I definitely think Slug had the better verse. It may not have been as technically intricate as R.A.’s verse, but the content of what he was saying was far more likable. R.A. kinda sounded like an old conservative “GET OFF MY LAWN” type dude who’s mad at everyone else for not being like him. Slug seemed far more self aware. He was basically like “Damn, I’m getting old. I can’t keep up with these kids.” R.A. almost seemed mad at the world for changing. Slug was way more understanding. Overall, I think the song is dope. The final verse from R.A. was really awesome. Shoutout to Eamon for killing that hook too. Check this shit out and let me know what you think.

City on the Map Freestyle by Wrekonize produced by Daringer & Beat Butcha

Wrekonize has become another one of those rappers who seemingly has an endless surplus of bars. He dropped 52 freestyles last year, and he’s been releasing a shit ton of music this year too. He released an EP on Friday, which obviously was preceded by this freestyle. I don’t really think Wrekonize’s kinda feathery, light voice fits very over this Griselda beat that well, but the verse itself is really impressive.

You buncha monkeys play your music funky
You probably bound to go hungry without this extra bungie
Get to dancin’, your temper tantrums are super lovely
Emo Rap’s a genre now, I bet you’d fit in comfy

It’s just a remix of someone else’s song, so there’s not much going on here aside from the verse itself, but it’s very good. Check it out.

Old Town Vegas by Punch featuring Daylyt & Nick Grant produced by Danny Ives

This was a really nice surprise. I don’t know if we’ll ever get a full body of work from Punch, but he at least gives us a few verses each year, and every now and then he’ll bless us with a song of his own. This one in particular was more exciting due to the features. The singing on the hook is smooth as hell, and Daylyt killed that first verse. I never noticed this before, but Nick Grant actually reminds me a lot of Lute. I feel like their voices and deliveries are kinda similar. Shoutout to Danny Ives by the way. This beat is phenomenal. The two featured verses were fantastic, but Punch really stood out a lot to me. Maybe it’s just because I feel like I haven’t heard from him in forever. I feel like he was rhyming better than he has in the past. He killed this shit. Make sure you don’t miss out on this gem. It’s dope as hell.

Thursday, March 26th

NASTY by Thurz produced by JohnnyStormbeats & DJ Battlecat

Y’all had to have known this was coming. As I said last week, Thurz drops a fire track EVERY SINGLE WEEK on Thursday. If you’ve been sleeping on these tracks, you’re fucking up. When I saw the title and artwork for this track, I was admittedly a bit apprehensive. If you’ve been following me for a long time, you know that I have an aversion to pornographic music, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like this. The Battlecat placement was definitely intriguing though. The song thankfully ended up being fire. Again, the content is very sexual, so I probably wouldn’t be able to listen to this comfortably in public without blushing, but Thurz’s flow here is great, and the production is fantastic. The hook is actually really nice too. I’ll say it again. Stop. Sleeping. On. Thurz.

Light Harvest by T.R.3 produced by Ariano

I don’t know exactly what it is, but something about this track in particular made me feel like T.R.3 is probably gonna be gaining a lot of new fans in the near future. Maybe it’s because of how polished and well-shot the music video is, but this doesn’t feel like a song from some random, obscure independent artist. I’ve compared him to Mick Jenkins in the past, but this track in particular reminded me more of Kemba. The melodic delivery during the first verse kinda sounded like something he would do. The hook on this song is fire though. Like, seriously, this is catchy as fuck. The singing sounds way more polished than I would’ve expected. Maybe it’s because of the way the vocals are layered, or maybe he’s using some effects. I can’t really tell. This shit sounds great though. I can’t decide which song is my favorite out of the three singles he dropped this week. All of them are fire though. This one is probably gonna be the most popular because people generally gravitate to more melodic stuff these days, but I love all of them. If you’re gonna listen to anything this week, make sure it’s this. It’s dope af.

Snakes by Mick Jenkins featuring Kojey Radical produced by IAMNOBODI

This is one of two songs that Mick Jenkins released this week. I don’t think this particular track is amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it. It sounds like it would’ve fit in really well alongside the Circus EP that he dropped in January. I really like the production from IAMNOBODI, and I think the opening verse from Mick has a really cool, kinda off-kilter flow. His verse was dope, and I like the hook too. I’d personally never heard of Kojey Radical before hearing this song, but I enjoyed his performance. He’s British, but his accent didn’t seem that strong. I mean, it’s definitely there, but it’s not super distracting. He sounds like a good rapper. I think this is a good collaboration too; they sound like they have a lot in common artistically. I fuck with the song. It’s dope.

Friday, March 27th

Frontstreet (Freestyle) by Mick Jenkins produced by Kaytranada

I think this track is a lot better than the first song Mick dropped this week. I just feel like this one has more energy. I feel like the general consensus is that Kaytranada & Mick Jenkins always work really well together. I think their songs are usually pretty good, but I’m not really crazy about Kaytranada like a lot of other people seem to be. This shit is dope though. The beat is real nice, and I love how aggressive Mick’s delivery is here. Honestly, I think this is better than anything from his Circus EP. Even though I liked most of those songs, his relatively energetic and animated delivery here just feels far more passionate. This song has more punch. I think this shit is fire. It’s one of the better songs I’ve heard from Mick in a while. It has me excited for whatever he does next. Don’t sleep on this one.

Adios by Gorilla Twins featuring Immortal Technique & D.V. Alias Khryst produced by Scud ONE

At the beginning of the year, Ill Bill & Nems announced that they’d be working together as a duo, which was super exciting to me. I’m a big fan of Ill Bill, and Nems released one of the best albums of 2019 in my opinion, so this was a dream collaboration that I never thought would happen. I expected the first single from these guys to be on some hyper-masculine, super aggressive battle type shit, but this is a bit more thought provoking and emotionally gripping than that. They’re kinda going in about karma, and evil shit that happens in the hood, and life and death. First two verses from Bill & Nems respectively were very good. I don’t know whose performance I prefer. I’m kinda leaning towards Bill, but it’s not like he completely bodied Nems. Both of their verses were very well written. I just think Bill fits this production style more. This sounds a lot more like Nems entering Ill Bill’s world than vice versa. It works though. Also, that closing verse from Immortal Technique was a nice touch. I feel like I haven’t heard from him in ages. He killed this shit though. I’ve personally never really been crazy about D.V. Alias Khryst, but his hook here was solid. The song’s really dope. Check it out.

The Old Me by Jarren Benton featuring Shaolin G produced by Ace Taylor & J. Padron

Every single track that Jarren Benton has released this year has been fire, so I’m really looking forward to a full project from him. This song is no different. I think the loud ass hook is a bit obnoxious personally, but Jarren murdered every verse here. The Nü-Metal-ish, electric guitar driven production actually turned out surprisingly good. I think the beat is actually one of the best aspects of the song, but mainly because Jarren just did such a good job with it. He sounds great here. I’m not familiar with Shaolin G, and the weird sung, Electronic outro was unexpected. It’s kinda cool though. Overall, I really fuck with the song. It’s super dope.


Remember what I said last week? “I really gotta stop waiting ’til the last minute to write these posts. I know I say that every week, but seriously. It takes such a long time.” Guess what? I apparently haven’t learned my lesson because I made the same mistake this week. I fucked up. I think I covered most of the dope shit that dropped though. As always, if I didn’t mention a song that came out this week, I either didn’t like it or didn’t hear it. Again, stay the fuck in your house and don’t leave. Shit is real out here, y’all. Be safe.

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