Brianna Perry featuring Pusha T - "Red Cup"
Truth be told, I thought I was going to hate this song so much. I think I even tried to hate it, mainly because Brianna Perry slays dudes in this song about using stale slang like digits and wearing fitteds, yet calls her song "Red Cup." I digress though; this song is pretty damn good. It's good in the repetitive high energy type of track, where you're at a party holding up said red cup and acting ridiculous. We all need a little of that, and Brianna's provides the soundtrack. The hook "Red punch, red cup. I'm drunk," echoes throughout the cut, as Perry channels the quirky soul of Missy Elliott with the audacity of Nicki Minaj, and playfully punches you in the face with her bars. Pusha T adds to the party with his male counterpart perspective. It's interesting - we're entering a new era for female rappers. While the past involved a strict dichotomy of hyper-lyricism vs. hyper-sexuality, we're getting a next gen crew of ladies who are not only talented, but can legitimately have a good time. We can thank our foremothers like MC Lyte, Monie Love, and Yo-Yo for that one. It's cool that it's all coming full circle. Hopefully more new girls outside of Azealia Banks get their deserved exposure. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
Dahlia Black - "Fuck A Rap Song"
I have to admit I really slacked in 2012 when it came to making an effort to discover new music out of the UK. Time stopped at 2011 as favorites like Wiley's 100% Publishing, Massive Attack vs. Burial and the Attack The Block OST still occupied the upper regions of my playlists. So last week when I stumbled on the video for "Fuck A Rap Song" from the duo Dahlia Black a/k/a the alter-egos of producer / emcees Blue Daisy and Hey!Zeus (by way of South Africa), I realized how much British brand narcotic-fueled darkness I've been missing. Remember this is the country that turned the word "grime" into a genre and Dahlia Black uses that aforementioned sound as a jumping off point, slowing things down to a lethargic crawl that pays homage to the can-I-call-that-rapping? vocals of Tricky and the instrumentals of DJ Screw. And as others have mentioned there's also a demonic Ying Yang Twins vibe in whispered delivery. But the real star of the "Fuck A Rap Song" video is director RUFFMERCY whose freehand sketching is animated and super-imposed onto the faces and bodies of Blue Daisy and Hey!Zeus (who seem to shop at a store that stocks both tuxedos and ski masks). And while RUFFMERCY'S from the gut choices elevate the video to a masterpiece of Punk Rock aethetics, there is still a method to the madness as the animation syncs up with the lyrics and filmed footage. Coke goes up noses, triple X's are carved into the smoke, key words are highlighted in a lunatic's scrawl and flashing tribal masks materialize and disappear within seconds. - Michael Sheehan
Nottz featuring Pete Rock - "Turn It Up"
Since the days of "The Creator," Pete Rock has always been one of my favorite producers on the mic. He's no Large Professor or Diamond D—in terms of vivid descriptives and intricate wordplay, but like his legendary drum pads and samples, Pete has a soulful flow that accentuates his songs and others. This "Turn It Up" track and subsequent video is my favorite Nottz moment since Graduation. It's dope to see two mic-carrying producers kick science about the craft, with a cool, gritty visual. "Turn It Up" isn't brain surgery, but it's the type of cool-guy Rap that I was raised on, and it's great when guys who are more known for beats still take a lot of pride in their lyrics too. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)