Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Singles/Songs of 2008: Part 2

Captain Jean-Luc Picard Reacting to the Latest Soulja Boy Blog

VIC- "Get Silly"

There's currently a three-way tie in my life for the best ringtone rap song of '08 between this, "Yaaah" and "Marco Polo", although this song wins by default for forcing me to incorporate that fucking dance into my everyday life. Too bad VIC will never have another hit, but if it means he's taking Soulja "Nas killed hip-hop, not the genre's ever-diminishing returns" Boy with him, and therefore FL Studio orchestral hit-based beats, then fuck 'em.

Bow Wow- "Marco Polo"

I've said everything I need to say about Shad a few months ago, but I've got to say, if Soulja Boy could actually produce albums full of beats this intricate and catchy, then maybe his coonery could be forgiven a bit.

Although every time I watch this video I'm reminded of what happens when state governments cut school funding. Jesus Christ.

Busta Rhymes-"Arab Money"

HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN. It's weird to see Busta go from geeked out backpacker to one-dimensional yet really bugged out and fun to a 50 Cent knock-off to a ringtone rapper. Honestly, everytime I watch the video for "Gimme Some More", I just feel ancient. Fail on two other levels: Dude is fat and hunched awkwardly now, looking a bit like Donkey Kong or King Koopa, and the "Arab Money" dance is just a really lame modification of the "Get Silly" dance. Busta suffers from DMX/LL Cool J syndrome wherein dude is important and has made great songs but never once made a good album so I have to feel for him considering no one gives a shit about what he does.

Maybe alienating his gay fanbase wasn't too smart. I mean, we've seen wonders what those residual fans can do for records sales, a la Britney.

Three 6 Mafia-"Playstation"

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. The best track on what was a pretty underwhelming Triple Seis record, although there were some cool moments and Juicy J's raps>everything. But disappointment aside, the beat for this song is huge and pretty intimidating, though the theme is sort of retarded. But that's the point, the sort of retarded things you'll find on a Tree 6 Mafia album are so well-made and unforced that they don't rub you the wrong way or smack of failure like, say, "Arab Money". They're not traveling out their niche, its just natural.

Shawty Lo-"Dey Know"

This beat is a fucking instant classic. I don't understand why everything doesn't sound this great anymore. Weren't we swimming in hot beats until about 2004? I still can't believe this guy is from D4L. That'd make a Ghostface freestyle that more awesome, considering that random dart he threw their way two years ago. Dude's kind of like a happier, less froggy Young Jeezy, meaning infinitely better, but I could easily see wanting to kill myself after enduring one too many songs with that delivery. Yung Joc>All.

Jim Jones-"Pop Champagne"

Confession time: I used to fucking love Jim Jones during that summer I was a DipSet stan in High School. To this day, I think his singles from On My Way To Church are still some of the best non-Cam shit they ever did and his verses were actually pretty good. But honestly, everyone not named Ron Browz on this song is god-fucking-awful. How do you not kill this beat? As clunky and awkwarf as it is, it knocks like crazy and actually has an A-B-C structure, jazz-style that someone could easily work with.

Anyway, part of my obsession with this video is how weird Freaky Zeeky is how terrible and goofy Juelz Santana has become. 2:30 into the video says it all, to me.

Also, how much of an unaware douche do you have to be to make gaudy records about wasting shitty sub-alcoholic status beverages? Politics aside, its just disgusting that people are still cooning on this shit on the brink of financial collapse.


This is the only useful thing I've gotten from Byron Crawford next to that "I Wanna Lay Pipe" song by John Brown. I'm tickled as clits that this video has 1 million views, but I'm pretty disappointed that this song has yet to become huge. I mean, come one, it's a Collipark production with a novelty theme and a Yes sample from arguably the second best Yes song. COME ON. There should already be a Lil' Wayne/Busta Rhymes remix by now, dammit.

Ludacris-"One More Drink"

Up until 5 years ago I worshipped this motherfucker. Like, fiended out whenever I'd see dude in videos, even if it was just a cameo in an Outkast or Missy jawn. That's back when he was cool. Dude's going through Nas syndrome (I need to copywrite these things), wherein aging rappers become awkward and sort of lame as they strive to some weir imagine plateau of adulthood. From all his Conan appearances and attempts at acting in movies, its clear dude is really awkward and terrible and skates by on that crossover star-power we just hurl to musicians regardless of acting ability. Although it must be hard when Lil'Wayne has stolen your shine as the most boisterous and out-there rapper from the South. Still, dirty as cornwos Luda>Fresh Caesar and acting roles Luda.

Lil' Wayne-"Phone Home"

This is still the one track, besides "A Milli", and "Dr. Carter" on Tha Carter III that prevented it from being more bad than decent. This was pretty much all I listened to on my walk to work at the MET over the summer, although there's a question it brings up: Are you still "weird" if that's the way you consciously sell yourself? My experience in High School with goths would say nah, b.

The Roots- "Get Busy"

I haven't really given a shit about new Roots albums since Phrenology, which the the final entry in their trilogy of classics before they started making terrible music. Although this was a really unsuspected bright spot in their 00's output, mostly buoyed by an awesome dirty synth beat and surprisingly ill Peedi verse, which became the only reason I started checking for him on Nahright before realizing I didn't give a shit. This album was a good climb back up to their past quality but its nowhere near the "great" record a lot of people made it out to be, synths and political diatribes be damned.


The conventional wisdom that Untitled/N.I.G.G.E.R was another shitty Nas album (let's be real, like Jay attested, he made one classic and one okay record and that's it) that seemed even worse in light of how amazing the Nigger Mixtape is. I still listen to latter, though I've reduced the former to a select 4 or 5 MP3's on my iTunes. This is probably the msot beautiful song I've heard all year in terms of the sample, although the drum rbeaks and fill-happy bass playing should've gotten cut out. Although if Nas had the foresight to edit properly we could've had 7 or 8 Illmatics by now.

And, and "Sly Fox" is fucking embarrassing.

Johnson & Jonson-"Bout It, Bout It"

All my doubts about Blu from last year were excised when this came out earlier in the year, since the only thing wrong with From the Heavens was he seemed like one of the thousands solid and gifted yet boring rappers that get Okayplayer/transgressive "real hip-hop" head love. But then he hooked up with Mainframe to actually drop catchy songs, this being one of them which is really a lot more likeable than it has any right to be and has a weird rewind quality where at first I thought it was cool but would keep playing it without knowing why as I grew to like the song more. Hopefully dude can live up to that "West Coast Lupe Fiasco" tag I'm trying to attach to him.

KRS-ONE-"Rider Pt. 2 Freestyle"

...where in the hell did KRS' jaunty corpse find the fire he brought to this song? Holy shit. Seriously, who the fuck would've thought of all people KRS would've ethered a track in 2008, no less a bullshit G-Unit track (side note, that G-Unit album is decent). Streudel into a poodle>"Got Money"

Cory Gunz- "Check the Rhyme (sic) Freestyle"

Check this shit out and try to tell me this motherfucker isn't the best rapper in New York. He and Blu were the only good inclusions on that infamous (LOL @ e-beef) XXLmag cover but it feels like the guy is still a bit slept on despite this, his ridiculous radio freestyle (also on this mixtape) and the fact that he was the only person not named "Lil' Wayne" to properly rock the "A Milli" beat. Plus dude's clever.

If Peter Gunz' kid can grow up to be this ill, shouldn't Ghostface's kid Sun God or GZA's son Justice be B.I.G. status by now?

The Knux-"Fire"

That album is still crap with 3 good songs on it, but fuck those three songs are really good. I first listened to this song on my friend's toilet in her Montreal apartment while I was sick from cat dander and cigarette/weed smoke, and it sort of made me feel much better while it was playing. Everything right about late 90's/early 00's rap is present on the track, which is a shame because prolly no one outside of internet rap circles and mtvU's audience checked it out.

Fuck this song is gorgeous.

Ghostface- "Clientele"

Technically clearly a Raekwon track (from the hook) and technically prolly from either '99 or the early 00', this was on the first of two Ghost B-Sides albums released this year, the second of which completely useless, but the first one really interesting the more you listen to it. Ghost does one of those things where he kind of goes off and chooses a different subject of songwriting method on a track, and on this he basically goes off about torturing and killing some guy who crossed him for his whole verse, as opposed to the more traditional stuff Rae and Fat Joe spit on this. Besides that, the song is really good, although my 90's bias might be influencing how much I dig this track.

Dj Premier-"Spin Live"

Its my duty as a head to check out shit, even if I know it'll be crap, but there were two gems buried in Premier's instrumental CD he dropped earlier this year, the better of the two being "Spin Live", which seems to be begging to have Nas' voice on it. It's just a perfect fucking beat and lightyears ahead of this Polow Da Don/Salaam remi fuckery lil' homie likes to involve himself with.

Joe Budden-"Who? (Parts 1-4)

This should be mandatory listening for anyone who calls themselves a rap fan right now. First of all, this is probably the only good 15 minute song ever. Second, its definitely the only good 15 minute rap track ever. Joe "The Jumpoff" Budden, whose entire Ramen noodle budget is based on paypal donations and adclicks it seems these days, finally does something else of note and basically articulately, with a slew of good points, although there are a few missteps, assesses the situation of the genres continual decay. And in a non-preachy/haughty Common/Talib Kweli/Okayplayer way!

"Pump, pump pump it up!"

Heltah Skeltah-"Everything is Heltah Skeltah"

When I got into Sean after some ballyhooing last year, I was caught off gaurd by how fucking clever dude is. That album is still great, but unfortunately this record, 13 years after Nocturnal is pretty filler-laden and cheap sounding, which is disappointing because if there's anything apparent about this era of rap, old-heads are continually dropping amazing shit under the radar, for the most part.

Another great thing about old-heads: They're not afraid to look dumb or be goofy.

Sean Price>Busta Rhymes

N*E*R*D-"My Drive-Thru"/"Everyone Nose Remix"

Considering its been 4 years since the Neptunes were the go-to guys for hits, I wonder how Pharell can still entrench himself into the highest echelons of hipster culture. I was sure there was a statute of limitations on that sort of anything.

Unsurprisingly, N*E*R*D again fail to fully follow-up In Search Of... which I'd argue is in the top 20 if not top 15 albums of this decade. Real talk. Weird though that not only did they put out two great singles in one year, but neither of them were actually on their album. The Santogold/Julian Casablancas song was in a GAP commercial I think, but is somehow really good and Julian has a great voice that somehow balances out and improves the two other annoying personalities on the track.

And there's the "Everyone Nose" remix, which is prolly the posse track of the year, though it does resemble "Swagga Like Us" in that the last verse (TI and Pusha T respectively) was by far the best. And unlike "Swagga Like Us", there weren't really any bad verses on the track.

Fonzworth Bentley-"Everybody"

I know everyone collectively scoffed when Kanye and Fonzworth talked about how 4 years ago when the remix to "The New Workout Plan" came out that he was prepping for an album. But if the shit sounded anything like this song, then I'm all for it.

Although most likely, like Sa-Ra, Jean Grae, Busta Rhymes, and just about everyone else he'll release an album name and concept and single to have it shelved forever and then leaked to the net/

Erykah Badu-"The Cell"

One of a few tracks that kept me coming back to New Amerykah and prolly the second best song on the record. It manages to reign in the purposeful weirdness of the album in a conducive way with the crazy breakbeat, odd-timbred samples, and nearly minute long rendition of the hook as the song's outro. Something about this reminds me of Huey Newton and Don Cornelius.

Eagles of Death Metal-"Heart On"

Despite being a woefully incorrect conservative libertarian, Jesse Hughes is still a minor God and member of one of maybe three good capital "R" rock bands left in existence on the planet. And none of that Pitchfork garage rock shit, which is well and decent but lacking in songs. Their new songs are a lot less quirky and lo-fi rock than they used to be, but somehow they've gotten progressively catchier over the years and this new record was only hampered by the weird decision to include dull ballads.

Austrian Death Machine-"Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers"

The only metalcore bands I cared about, As I Lay Dying and The Black Dahlia Murder, have all become fucking terrible, thereby making them just like the rest of 00's metal. However, this immature comedy side-project Tim Lambesis did has one redeeming feature, "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers". Though AILD starting sucking when they really decided that they were a thrash band, the breakdown in this makes me happy for about 10 seconds at a time, and its a nice reminder that not only did quality metalcore use to exist, but that this Whitechapel/Suicide Silence bullshit is already on its way out.

Krallice-"Wretched Wisdom"

The album wasn't any good, but this song is fucking amazing. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of prog/tech guys brought a shitload of interesting counterpoint playing to this random-ass black metal side project. Their confusing the hippies/hipsters/modern rock fuckwads but uniting the 12 metalheads left at my college a few months ago at out Fall Fest concert reminded me that metal, no matter how bad, serves an important social function.

Disfear-"Fiery Father"

Hardcore as a crusty musical/sonic aesthetic will always be better than hardcore as a music form which has always been notoriously shitty and is basically just the soundtrack for ritual rather than anything to sit and listen to. Another CD that was okay but shouldn't have been as hyped as it was.

Kanye West-"Love Lockdown"

I'll talk more about this Thursday evening, but I could've chose any one of 5 or 6 arguably flawless songs off this album, but it only makes sense to include this as the moment when I realized eventually Kanye West is going to make a full-blown Chromeo/Justice/Tears For Fears pastiche album. Oh, and its the most well-formed, least objectionable song on the record. My first reaction was disappointment, and then , just like with Graduation, that evolved into temporary obsession. Dallas Penn's assessment of the song is spot-fucking-on so I'm going to be lazy and just hyperlink that.

In Two Days: The Completely Objective Best Albums of '08 List