Danny Brown - "Hand Stand"
I have nothing particularly insightful to say about this track, really. I just like it. Danny Brown's voice is so pleasantly grating that it fits nicely within the background sounds of the wild ass production on "Hand Stand." His is the kind of cadence that sounds like he's screaming and having a fit on the mic, even when he might be just having a simple conversation. In the midst of the electronics, Danny Brown is rhyming (I really have no idea what he's saying most of the time on this one, though I heard "vagina" somewhere) about "her hands on the floor" and "her feet on the wall" twerkin' it. People can say what they want about the Detroit native, but he knows how to party. - Kathy Iandoli (@kath3000)
The Underachievers - "Leaving Scraps"
Lex Luger has been taking a beating from Hip Hop's self-appointed intelligentsia (read: Golden Era purists) since helping propel Waka Flocka Flame to stardom in 2010 with "Hard In Da Paint." I think some of the criticism has been justified, given Lex's outright appropriation of Mannie Fresh and other producers. But Luger has also been quietly diversifying his sound beyond staccato snares and blaring synthesizers. What happens if you remove him from the trap and throw Brooklyn's critical darlings The Underachievers over his production? Well you get the usual fare of "poppin' beans" and being "off the lean," but also Issa Dash's admission, "My generation need solvin'." Arguably the only thing I enjoy more than Hip Hop that leans toward the weird, eclectic side is when artists take risks and defy convention. Granted, Lex isn't turning into Quincy Jones anytime soon. But ditching his signature drop and going understated is a start. And The Underachievers match his efforts by reminding everyone why Indigoism was so dope. While half of New York's rappers still have their panties in a bunch over Kendrick Lamar’s "Control" verse, Issa and Ak are talking astral projection, elevation and still pulling your female if the opportunity presents itself. Beast Coast indeed. - Omar Burgess (@omarburgess)
Goodie Mob - "Vallelujah"
Goodie Mob is back together, complete with Cee-Lo—and yet, everybody's talkin' about "Control" almost two weeks later. I heard the album, as you can, and I applaud Goodie Mob for taking serious risks well over a decade after World Party. Additionally, Cee-Lo, who has a profile at stake, with head-on back into his Dungeon Family roots. "Vallelujah" is one of the more interesting Age Against The Machine cuts, complete with a soaring chorus, a funky-ass beat (courtesy of new-gen D.F. affiliate Jack Splash), and some great verses from the quartet. I cannot believe how few listens this got, and I'm a bit disappointed that the same Hip Hop fans who bemoan all the things that aren't there anymore are the same ones being passive about one of the great 1990s crews. - Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)