By Bert Connelly
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
If you know Pusha T as the guy whose name isn’t Jay-Z (whose verse may or may not, but definitely is, plagiarized) or RZA from Kanye West’s “So Appalled” or the guy with, possibly, the worst verse on the whole album — right behind Chris Rock — on “Runaway,” then I apologize. As a good friend of mine once said, “Mixtapes is for the thugs, albums is for the bitches.” Pusha T released his “Fear of God” mixtape on Monday, March 21.
On this tape, on which Pusha goes in (as is the parlance of our times) over beats you know and love from Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Bun B and Soulja Boy and kills it. Pusha T and his brother, Malice, hail from Virginia and were/are in the rap group known as Clipse. He has the braggadocios style of a dude who used to deal a bunch of coke and then became a famous rapper. Regardless of whether he ever got blackmailed for that white girl, he is “searchin’ for that fish scale like [he’s] trying to find Nemo / [He] still want to sell kilos” with Rick Ross on “I Still Wanna Rock.”
I recommend downloading the whole mixtape from wherever — the Internet is easy— but if you don’t want to allocate the space on your hard drive quite yet, check out “My God,” “Speakers Going Hammer Freestyle,” “Cook It Down,” and “Raid” which features 50 Cent and Pharrell. This last song is especially refreshing because the Neptunes, Pharrell’s production team, used to produce a lot of music for Pusha and Clipse. If all of this doesn’t convince you, check out the freestyle he did with Kanye West on Hot 97. Kanye’s verse is lifted from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but Pusha goes nuts and exhibits his highly lauded freestyle abilities. For more on Pusha T, check out Complex magazine’s online profile of his best songs, in his own words.
XXL Magazine Freshman 2011 Mixtape
This is a pretty good introduction to a lot of up and coming rappers, as well as some from whom you will probably never hear again. Lil’ B shines on the couple tracks he is on, actually rapping instead of opting for his arguably more popular “hoes-on-my-dick” genre that he is helping to cultivate. There is also a solid showing from Kendrick Lamar, the Compton MC, who might be my favorite in this whole list. Yelawolf, the token white dude who recently signed to Eminem’s label, also makes a couple tracks, with his trunk music/dirty south sound. Oh, just kidding! Mac “Wiz Khalifa is my best friend” Miller is also totally here. I have nothing against Mac Miller, he can rap, but I am two mixtapes deep with him and I don’t really understand the appeal. I guess smoking weed and eating yogurt is cool with the kids. Ignore Diggy Simmons, YG and Lil’ Twist, who does very little other than name drop and fail to ride the beat from super-genius/producer Lex Luger. SWAG.
Rebecca Black’s Friday
STOP! She is making $27,000 a week from this terrible song about the difficulties of having braces and being in moving automobiles, or whatever this is about! I don’t care that Lady Gaga called her a genius and neither does Jon Hamre.
The Weeknd – House of Balloons
This is a really bizarre little EP. Everything kind of makes it to the party; autotune, dubstep-y stuff, rap, soulful crooning, A LOT of drugs. It confuses me. To be completely honest it is pretty cool for a listen, really experimental, but that feels like the intent, which in turn, feels a little phony. Is that still a word people use? Did Salinger copyright that? Worth a download, or at least a YouTube trip.
Cut From The Vault
Scarface – One – The Diary
You should probably check out this whole album if you are into older gangster rap, but at least check out this song, for me. C’mon guys.
Why Haven’t You Tried ______ yet?
Frank Ocean. WOLF GANG