Neon Hitch f. Tyga - "Gold"
Here's a little known fact about Neon Hitch - she was Amy Winehouse's old flatmate out in London. She also came from a gypsy family, which I feel adds to the flavor of her music. I have my issues with Bruno Mars (he's the co-writer on this track), but I can't lie, this song is pretty hot. Neon Hitch has this versatile voice that travels through many octaves when she sings, and it's just so beautiful. Granted this song is pretty EDM-slash-Pop-heavy, but Neon's voice manages to shine through regardless. Adding Tyga in was pretty smart. For one, Tyga's "Coconut Juice" beginnings have offered him the ability to be a chameleon in music, showing up on hard ass tracks like "Rack City" to really poppy joints like this one. Perhaps it's the fact that he's related to Gym Class Heroes' Travie McCoy that he understands both the Hip Hop and the Pop worlds pretty well (Neon Hitch was also on GCH's "Ass Back Home"). Either way, they strike a perfect balance on a radio-friendly track. I dig it. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Torae - "The Journey Part II"
For almost five years, I've been a really big Torae fan. At a time when so many rappers are about projects, this Coney Island "young veteran" really puts his energies into album-worthy projects. That's precisely why I've purchased Torae's releases over the years and still keep them in the collection to this day. One of my favorite tracks that I still play regularly is "The Journey," from Daily Conversation. One of the things Tor is particularly great at is helping a fan/critical like myself really understand the hustle and grind of getting on. The original song traced Tor's time running with The Diplomats, meeting power-producers in elevators and getting the industry okie-doke time and time again. With his Off The Record digital EP coming, I was really shocked to hear a part two this week. With DJ Eclipse, Torae's Sirius XM radio partner on the decks, the follow-up picks up with Torae's do-or-die approach to getting onto radio, into stores and his dream actualized. Years later, something worked, but the record shows how difficult making a career in Hip Hop can (and probably should) be. This is dope storytelling and the kind of radio-rip that reminds me of a pure and exciting time in Hip Hop. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)
Wrekonize - "Mighty Healthy Freestyle"
When talking about Ghostface Killah's "Mighty Healthy" I get to use a descriptor normally reserved for hyperbole-fueled ads for things like Revlon cosmetics, Bulova watches or luxury sedans and the metal marbles that are able to roll along the edges of their hoods. Yes, track #9 off 2000's Supreme Clientele is the definition of "timeless perfection." So freestyling over its beat - largely responbile for the song's magic - which combines a classic Melvin Bliss break, a surprisngly ominous Sylvers sample and one disconcerting shot from James Brown's "Funky President" is akin to trying to cover Hendrix, The Stooges or Pink Floyd with your bar band. Yet once every few years a freestyle pops up like this week's from MAYDAY!'s Wrekonize that conquers the track thanks to a fresh voice, delivery and interpretation of the paramters of the production. I'll even go as far to say that Wrekonize's "Mighty Healthy" freestyle is one of the greatest takes on a Wu instrumental I've ever heard. As was evident on this year's sleeper hit Take Me To Your Leader, Wrekonize doesn't shy away from the darkest backdrops amd can rock the positive mental attitude and revenge fantasies within the same verse. Just listen to the first minute of our current pick that feaures bars like " I don't regret the past with Roc-A-Fella, because today my acapellas chop letters into half-chewed mozarella..." Add in things like Breaking Bad and Juggalo Gathering references and you're about ready to slip and ask Pretty Tony who?