The Good:

“I Don’t Know Y’All” by Young Dro featuring Yung LA

Until T.I. comes home, I personally was looking forward to Mike Bigga and 8Ball & MJG a lot more than Dro or LA. This video, directed by Gabriel Hart, is the coolest post-production on a Rap video I’ve seen since The Beastie Boys took a step down. Mind you, the song is mediocre at best, but the color distorted, granulated treatment of the Southwest ATL (I think? ask Shawty Lo), the Cadillac, all of it makes me learn to love the song. If that’s not it, the break with the Black Sheep crackhead attack is unbelievable. I won’t front, the second time I watched this, I stopped halfway and pulled out the Dres. In any event, salute to Young Dro and his protege LA. This is the best thing smokin’, since I gave up smokin’.

The Bad:

“Give It All You Got” by Lil Jon featuring Kee and Tinchy Stryder

I would like to applaud Rihanna for respecting her brand enough to turn down this appearance. Lil Jon clearly must have run a classified in the Atlanta Constitution Journal for soundalikes. In any event, the King of Crunk, who made some of the hardest records of the last 10 years, clearly has AkonTimbo envy. Lil Jon‘s deft production seems to have given way to him pimping his voice as if Dave Chappelle was the one who made him famous. That’s not even counting this video, that looks something like a mid-’90s MTV The Grind episode-meets-Dance Dance Revolution. This is no different than when hard ’70s Rock bands made ’80s ballads to stay relevant. Rethink this approach sonically and visually ASAP, OKAY!?

The Ugly:

Beanie Sigel & 50 Cent Discuss the Fall of the Roc

Break-ups are always ugly, and seeing Beanie Sigel began his campaign against former mentor Jay-Z, was one hell of a reminder. The allegations of backstabbing, skimming money and a general lack of common sense when it comes to finance (two Bentley car payments per month, really?) brought back visions of the movie Casino instead of that good all Roc camaraderie from Back Stage. And since 50 Cent lives by the ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” it came as no surprise to see him seated next to Beans during an interview with The Hot Boyz on Power 99. The rap game ain’t for the faint of heart, but this situation brought out the ugly side of everyone involved. Odds are that we’ve only seen the beginning.

The Accapella:

“16 Bars” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

I’m so used to seeing street rappers kick the freestyles, as Diamond District did this week with “Gully.” In this case, 15-plus year veterans show us a glimpse like we haven’t seen before of their Cleveland-Cali Gospel gangsterism. The cool thing about Bone in this case, is you can easily see how their abilities vary, something often lost on produced tracks. Wish‘s got the content, while Krayzie Bone proves why he’s always been the mouthpiece. Layzie Bone murders the silence with his slick flow. And Flesh, fresh outta jail, has the sincerity. The Court Dunn 16 Bars exclusives on DX look good, and they’re only getting better – just can’t figure out why Dunn does that with the sound. I hope Bone‘s album is as good as their last, with the whole unit in tact.

The Redemption:

Shyne‘s Press Conference From Belize

These days the “Free (Insert Rapper Name Here)” shirts are usually printed up before the judge slams their gavel at the average rapper’s arraignment. There seemed to be a general outpouring of sympathy when Shyne went down for firing his gun in a crowded nightclub and subsequently being thrown under the bus by Puffy 10 years ago. It’s still hard to figure out how so many people felt sorry for a cat who shot a woman in the face. So while his actions then are hard (if not impossible) to condone, Po has paid his debt to society. Only time will tell if the man now named Moses can live up to the lofty goals associated with his new name. But I salute him for handling his time like a man, taking accountability and not asking for any sympathy.