This week’s Sunday segment features two newer artist getting critical cosigns. They’re each on the cusp of predicted label deals, with a growing list of tapes and visuals from oft-uncovered regions. The third act is a Detroit city veteran who often gets more recognition for his hand skills than his songwriting. However a game-show-themed mixtape track caught our ears this week.
Trick Trick featuring Diezel The Hitman – “The Price Is Right”
I think we’ve all heard Sheila Cole’s theme for the Price Is Right in the context of the game show it was written for so many times that it’s been stripped of its dignity as a real song. For the last 40 years it’s been nothing more than a few measures of background noise used to bridge the gap between a portly Midwestern housewife or U.C.L.A. frat boy’s descent “coming on down!” the show’s puke-colored shag carpeted steps to a stage exploding with so much cheese it makes the “Match Game” set look like a beacon of minimalism.
Is this why producers have been afraid to sample it? Or in the rare cases that they do (see Lord Digga’s “My Flow Is Tight” and Big Sean’s “High Rise”) it’s been completely emasculated, all the things that make not just a great game show theme but a truly great piece of music snuffed out.
Last week changed everything as legendary Detroit emcee and Goon Sqwad member Trick Trick released his self-produced “The Price Is Right.” Worthy of its title, the track sees Trick Trick and frequent collaborator Diezel The Hitman showcasing (no pun intended) nimble and adaptable rhyme skills by rocking over yes, the untouched theme song. Sheila Cole’s 1972 piece isn’t a catchy but utilitarian melody like Merv Griffin’s Jeopardy theme (coincidentally sampled by godfather of Horrorcore and fellow influential Motowner Esham) it’s some real funk. Trick Trick has welcomed rap fans to Detroit for nearly two decades with an aggressive, raw, what-you-see-is-what-you get body of work. As the Drew Carey’s have come and gone he’s been one of the city’s the Bob Barkers. – Mike Sheehan
Black Cobain – “Triumph (Freestyle)”
I’m an unapologetic ’80s baby, but when it comes to ’90s Hip Hop, I’m totally biased. That’s probably because I was really old enough (a teenager) to appreciate the value of most pre-97 and certain post-97 Hip Hop that was happening in the ’90s. I say all that to say there’s something very 90s about Black Cobain’s delivery. That’s not to say he’s outdated – he’s far from it, spitting on Wu-Tang Clan’s “Triumph” instrumental like he owns it. But the ’90s had a certain je ne sais quoi; it was the era of Timbs and reckless rhymes, where street anthems weren’t about hustling coke, but stomping fools out with their boots, smoothing down their hair and getting back to business. There was a swagger to rappers from that time period, like Mr. Cheeks, Smif-N-Wessun, etc. Black Cobain reminds me of those guys (not just because of his locks), despite his cosign from newer cats like Wale. You can definitely feel certain rappers in B.C.’s delivery though. I chose this freestyle for the week to show how comfortable he is over ’90s production. Black Cobain didn’t pick the instrumental of the moment like most of his peers tend to do. He took a classic cut and rocked over it like he was starting the 37th Chamber. It’s nice to hear an artist inadvertently pay homage to the extended golden era. It makes some of us hopeful for a second coming. – Kathy Iandoli (@Kath3000)
Tito Lopez – “Conversation With Tito”
I really wouldn’t be surprised if 2012 is defined by Mississippi Hip Hop. As David Banner prepares his next album (after a streak of scorchers), Big K.R.I.T.’s retail debut awaits, Tito Lopez is hanging in the wings. Gulfport’s pride is the latest act to be cosigned by Dr. Dre (though not yet signed). In recently years these cosigns mean less and less, after Dre started to seemingly bless thugs-who-happened-to-rap above actual talent – but somewhere after Black Hippy, things started looking up, and my own ears perked up. Tito is new to many, but he joins Don Trip as one of the brightest new faces and voices on the scene this year.
I’m getting to know Tito, and this just-released visual to “Conversation With Tito” is the perfect “who am I” introduction to new listeners and viewers. Although Tito Lopez lacks the fanfare of many new rappers, his sincerity and strong sound makes him the third exciting artist from the Gulf to watch this month. Let’s keep this conversation going… – Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine)