The fourth quarter is upon us, and in case you haven’t noticed, your favorite rappers can’t sell a CD to save their lives. Sure, Jay-Z and Eminem are platinum. But by now you’ve likely worn out your Blueprint 3 copy, and I don’t know about you, but my girl ain’t trying to rock out to “Must Be The Ganja” and “Crack A Bottle.” Bottom line is that if you want some action crackin’ under that mistletoe, you might have to tone things down a bit. Lucky for you Shakira, Beyonce, Rihanna and Alicia Keys are trying to push some holiday product too. In the interest of holiday cheer and forgiveness, I would throw Chris Brown‘s “Crawl” in the mix, but dude doesn’t play nice with the ladies. We all got dreams of cuttin’ an R&B chick (I see you Swizz!), and if I forgive Lady Gaga‘s butterface syndrome, then all these jawns fit the bill.

The Good: “Give It Up To Me” by Timbaland, Shakira & Lil Wayne

Once upon a rhyme, Lil Wayne replaced Juvenile as Cash Money Records‘ flagship artist. The results have been in the tens of millions, and taught legions of Americans what a Degrassi was. Timbaland‘s longtime sugary Pop princess has been Nelly Furtado. For his upcoming  Shock Value 2 album, that nobody seems to be talking about, Tim went from Europe to South America, and plucked Shakira. Ol’ girl lacks the arrogance that’s made Nelly so clutch, when she was battling Scott Storch and ‘dem on behalf of Tim, but many can argue that Shakira‘s assertion of preserving her sexy is an upgrade. She reprises her naked (looking) suit for this one, and Wayne probably drops the best R&B/Pop remix verse that he’s dropped all year, except for that “down like the economy” Jay Sean shit that my nine year-old nephew thinks sounds so cool, while his mom looks for work.

The Bad:

“Video Phone (Extended Remix)” by Beyonce & Lady Gaga

After she starting bleeding from her tits before she hanged herself in effigy during the MTV VMA’s, nothing Lady Gaga does surprises me anymore. So teaming up with Mrs. Carter for a Pop ditty that is clearly an offering to 15-year-old girls and all the dudes who give two snaps up in Z-formation is a no-brainer. I can’t endorse any video with half-naked men in it though. And ringtone Rap is bad enough without having a Pop song devoted to giving a chick her own Caller ID video. I say mute this shit and enjoy the part where Bey is twerking in that two-piece.

The Ugly:

“Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” by Alicia Keys

When art gets too much money, problems start – remember Master P‘s episode of Cribs? Alicia Keys has the beauty and the God-given songwriting talent to make a VMA-winning video on the budget of my weekly takehome pay. Still, she and the director sat down and decided to make a video that appears inspired by super-heroes, Ruff Rydin’, and some miss-my-Uncle-Charles Bone Thugs-N-Harmony “Crossroads” shit, saving a dead dog at a Downtown crosswalk. All this for a song, about some True Life: I Miss My Ex sleeping problems? This song is something that I hope to hear at the Pathmark buying groceries, in the car on Top 40, and probably during some Tyler Perry preview. It’s a great song, and while I love looking at the video hairdoo flips, eyes and long-legged-lyricism, the plot here looks straight out of a nerd journal.

The Scornful:

“Russian Roulette” by Rihanna

Remember when Kanye first started chilling with Italian fashion designers? The rhymes got a lot more abstract and the jeans got tighter. I’m guessing it’s Rihanna‘s turn to enter that phase. Supposedly this video is some kinda metaphor about Rihanna, her career and dealing with both in the public eye after Chris Brown violently beat her. Ri-Ri is sounding and looking better than ever, despite her wig-piece being in full Kate Gosselin mode. If you’re an English major or something, maybe all of the symbolism is right up your alley. But between the gunshots and the padded room, I’ll pass. Mrs. Beta Mack already fills my quota for bleeding, crazy chicks once a month.