Paypa featuring Crooked I - "RPM"
Okay for about three seconds, when this song began I thought it was "Notorious Thugs," but eventually we hear some morbid ass church bells and you know it's totally not Bone and Biggie. Paypa's come a long way lyrically. We've heard him dabble in Swag Rap, straddling the line between Drake and Kanye West, but now it sounds like he's really found his voice. It's a good one too, unique to him and suits him well. On "RPM," we see a balance between Paypa and Crooked I both catering to the dark beat but riding it in their own ways. Paypa slick talks while Crooked plays the aggressor. It's like the two are holding up a bank, where Paypa plays the guy going to the bank teller to distract her while Crooked pulls the gun. See? Perfect balance. While Kim Jong Ill sounds like a crazy name for a new project, I'm curious to see what this next phase of Paypa's career will sound like. Judging by this track, it should be pretty great. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Action Bronson & Alchemist - "Dennis Haskins"
A friend of mine was recently awakened on the morning of her birthday with a phone call from Mr. Belding himself, Dennis Haskins. Being a huge Saved By The Bell fan she initially felt like it was a moment she'd be telling her grandhildren about. But then came the heartbreaking realization that the only work Dennis Haskins could get was from a "celebrity greetings" call service that also employed "Beetlejuice" from the Howard Stern Show. So leave it to Action Bronson this week to not only drop one of the year's strongest mixtapes, Rare Chandeliers (featuring nothing but dark grimy Alchemist beats) but on my favorite track off the project show a little love to Screech's lifelong nemesis. On "Dennis Haskins," Bronsonlino continues to display why he's one of music's greatest walking contradictions. He has the primal urge to "get his dick milked" on tour and unwind by "smoking the wax like a candle" but is also refined enough to prefer "patterns woven into thick silk" over the standard tissue. In his world there are a table of bosses who may decide to put you in a coffin, but if you're smart enough to not fuck around you can enjoy a dish of thin veal cutlets (probably cooked in a restrained olive oil and rosemary blend). I like Action Bronson because he's an intelligent guy free of all pretentiousness. Many of us would also love to "put our fist through a Monet" just to see Ivan Lendel back on the court or Jim The Anvil back in the ring. Let's use Rare Chandeliers as the inspiration to just admit it. - Michael Sheehan
Tito Lopez - "Options [Venting Session #7]"
Without a blink, Tito Lopez has earned my vote for best new artist in 2012. Admittedly, I've never been the type of music journalist that seeks out new talent, but when the veteran-grinding Lopez crossed my radar in the last 12 months, he sounded like a veteran. "Options" might be my favorite moment of his to date. With slick wordplay and some name-dropping, the same is everything I want in getting to know an artist. If this is Tito simply venting, imagine what some actual songwriting will look it when it comes to album time. Capitol Records hasn't been known to bring lasting artists out (not since Dilated Peoples on my skeptical watch), but if they act soon and let this man control his destiny, I think Tito Lopez can become an enduring voice in the culture. After watching this, I thought, "Wow, someday I may trip that I got a chance to kick it with this guy for an hour in 2012." And that's not like me at all. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)