The Good:

“Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)” by BlakRoc featuring Mos Def and Jim Jones

Capo Satus Jim Jones on a Blues record? Sounds about as likely as a Dipset Christmas album… All cynicism aside, this reminds any doubters why Jimmy got himself a major label deal off of talking sidewalk executive wisdom. Mos Def and Jones in the same studio same track seems also a recipe for disaster, but The Black Keys‘ Delta grooves bring this joint to life. While many of us thought that Dame Dash‘s next venture in Rap music would prove to be as successful as Suge Knight‘s, Dame shows his eye for talent. While few people are talking about it, BlakRoc looks like it could be one for the history books. This video makes Dan Auerbach and company’s studio look cool as shit, as Jim vacuums the propane piff, and the long-last art of studio kickin’ it and jamming out comes alive, which sold me that this transcends simple “Rock-Rap” cliches.

The Bad:

“Love Come Down” by Diddy featuring Dirty Money.

Sean Combs may go down as Hip Hop’s ultimate hustler, but this joint was a straight up shit sandwich. The initial word on his upcoming Last Train to Paris album was that it was supposed to be a futuristic blend of different genres. But after “Angels,” and now this, I’m expecting more paint by the numbers Euro-trash. The beat sounds like a bastardized version of Premier‘s infamous bells, with some synths mixed in and a Jay-Z sample from “IZZO (H.O.V.A.)” thrown in for no apparent reason. The ladies of Dirty Money hold their own on the vocals, but the song’s lazy verse, hook, bridge format can’t even stand up to the work “Sean John” gave Total over a decade ago. Even during his “Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks” phase, Puffy was still a beast on the boards. But “Love Come Down” was more like beastiality.

The Ugly:

“Chickn Talkn” by Triple C’s featuring Rick Ross, Mack 10 and Warren G

Remember when Mo Vaughn left the Boston Red Sox to join the Anaheim Angels? I forgot too, till I saw Officer Ricky in that Angels fitted, riding shotgun with Mack 10 in a ’57 Chevy. The truth is, I like this song. Hell, I even like this video, because I’m a believer that videos were a hell of a lot better when they had nothing but low-lows and broads in them, circa ’92-’99 (what up Jeffrey!). Still, something here is slightly comical about watching Mack and Rick tear the town down, with three dudes squeezed in the backseat. Entourage rapping hasn’t really changed much, when you recall 2Pac driving around L.A. in ’96 in that Rolls Royce Corniche, with like 17 Outlawz in the backseat. Of the 87 videos that Triple C’s released for this album, this one’s my favorite. And yet, I totally applaud Warren G for not appearing in it.

The Strange:

“Good Morning” by Chamillionaire

Chamillionaire is the type of dude I’d put on my resume references. He smiles a lot, doesn’t curse, and seems like the type of fella that would answer the phone at 10-in-the-mornin’, unlike my actual broke-ass, unemployed, weed scented homies. However, while I can never seem to find anything wrong with Cham (besides that whole “Ridin’ Dirty” interpretative shift to the burbs in ’06), this video and song perplexes me. Firstly, it’s a Kanye West song title. Then, it’s got the same Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (white girl crack) sample that Pimp C used on “I’m Free.” Then, Koopa does the same fake-video-shoot-follow-me-around shit that Lil Wayne pulled last year with “A Milli,” which, for the record, was brilliant. Somehow watching Weezy F. is far more interesting than Cham‘s “can i borrow a cup of sugar?” dream nextdoor neighbor self. I’m at a loss here with this one, but something tells me that Venom won’t fail. Chamillionaire just might be the last rapper in Texas that I think can go at least gold, till Bun B gets the budget he deserves.

The Live:

“Soul Food” by Goodie Mob featuring The Roots

If you’ve ever been to a Roots show, you quickly understand how and why they’ve earned the title as Hip Hop’s top live act. I’ve seen them seamlessly transition from their own hits into “Every Little Step” by Bobby Brown, followed by Beyonce‘s “Crazy In Love,” and then throw in some Kool G Rap to remind you that ain’t shit sweet. They scaled things back a bit for Goodie Mob‘s first nationally televised appearance since officially reuniting. The classic “Soul Food” got a smooth, contemporary makeover, but the potent message of this classic cut was still loud and clear. I won’t front. They could’ve lip-synched for all I care, and the fact that The Roots and Goodie Mob rocked the same stage would’ve still made this performance great. The fact that they didn’t makes me look forward to the day when these Dungeon Family alums perform in my city.