Macklemore X Ryan Lewis- Wing$
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been doing music for a little while now. They released VS and VS (Redux) for the masses in recent times. Now, Macklemore wants people to understand even more of who he is. Convincingly, he goes in on “Wing$”, a song detailing his love for gym shoes starting at age seven. Yet, this is not a pure love song. Rather, it’s a cautionary/educational tail trying to understand the capitalism behind hoop dreams, expensive gym shoes and Carlos, who was killed over his Air Jordan 4’s. With the chorus sung by a Seattle’s own Denny International Middle School Choir, Macklemore revisits childhood mentalities and beliefs from a 20/20 understanding of a grown man. There is nothing better than realizing that what you valued in the past may not have been worth the trouble. Peace to Phil Knight.
Pharaohe Monch- Clap
M-Phazes on the beat? Yeah. Pharoahe Monch on the rhyme? Yeah. The infamous lyrical Monchichi namesake gives his rendition of hood representation. While the chorus is sung by Showtyme and scratched by DJ Boogie Blind, he asks everybody to “clap” against the foolishness, the ignorance of ending the use of the “n-word” without ending what causes the use, and living through nonsensical ways. Towards the end of the track, the production is replaced by a handclap that lets Monch guide his lyrics about clapping against everything that should be clapped against. And by clap, I do mean “shoot down”, not “applause” or “the friction between wiggling butt cheeks”.
Kendrick Lamar- Vanity Slave Pt. 2 feat. Gucci Mane
Over a spaced out synth heavy dream of a track, Kendrick wants people to understand who he is. And one of the things he claims to be is a “vanity slave”. Even if he feels his ancestors are “turning in their graves”, he will remain that slave to the finer things and why not. With a chorus that goes “word around town that I’m all about the bitches/word around town that I love my 26’s/word around town that I gotta stay paid/lord please forgive me, I’m a vanity slave” and Gucci Mane adding his silly, yet suffice and necessary commentary/adlibs make this something for the lyricists and the hood homies. At the end of the day, why should he worry about wearing Gucci when it “gets him more coochie”? Kendrick Lamar is the future, people. So play like Marty McFly and catch up.
Ric Jilla & Soope feat. Twista and Blazed- Personal Trainer
If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. Anybody knows that if you want a dope track that can be used to get the women saturated, you need to have Traxster on the boards and Twista on the assist. Ric Jilla and Soope understood the formula and went for theirs. What they got is the smooth, electrically funky session for sexual romps and slick cinema finger loving (for you old schools and youngin’s that like to get naughty). With references to “working out”, “cardio”, and “running out of breath”, the trio makes sure that people see the connection between sex and a good workout. Blazed kills the hook like no other R&B group coming out of Gary, Indiana. This is something that all should be proud of: a complete composition used for sexual consumption. Break a sweat to this one, ladies.
Kanye West feat. John Legend- Eyes Closed
Kanye West does what he does best: express himself over his type of production. Over guitar rifts, a thumping bassline, and boom-blips reminiscient to Maino’s “Hi Hater”, there are many things he can see with his eyes closed. He starts off each verse with “I sold my soul to the devil, that’s a crappy deal/at least it came with a few toys like a happy meal”, going over the tribulations, misunderstandings, and harsh realities that make Kanye’s life visceral and all worthwhile. He keeps it the same way he does most songs: honest, upfront, and often times hilarious. Plus, anyone with their eyes closed could see that he is still making the type of music he wants to make: real.