the rap writer’s endless grief.

“Did you hear about XXXTentacion?” he said, to all of us. The older dude who worked on our floor, that I didn’t know at all, was the one who broke the news to us that the young rapper, had been murdered in broad daylight. Seconds later, the video of him laying in his driver’s seat was on the large Mac displays we had in our office, back when I worked out of one of those. I hurriedly said “don’t show me,” because well, I can’t deal with seeing people breathing their last breaths, no matter how much the internet has desensitized us. I felt hollow for the rest of the day, and out of sorts: I was no fan of X due to the crimes tied to his name, but I knew he had talent, and I was two months removed from seeing him turn Rolling Loud Miami, into a total frenzy. He was gone now. Permanently. And I knew right there, in that moment, as I ate dinner, alone in a restaurant, that these rapper deaths would hit closer and closer to home. One day it would be someone I really had love for. I hoped I would be prepared. I was not.

I could say the rise of Pop Smoke in NYC was something you had to be there for; he got hot so fast that he was already stretching outside of the boundaries of tri-state area by spring 2019. I knew who he was, of course, I heard his songs, I thought they were cool, but I didn’t “get” what he was doing until I met him. I had no idea what to expect, after watching and reading his other interviews; rappers who haven’t been in music very long, can be standoffish, or guarded. He comes to the office, with just a few of his friends and his publicist, and he’s disarmingly cool, like someone I would’ve grown up with, even though I was at least 11 years older than him. What was most striking about Pop, was his happiness. He was happy to do press, to talk his shit, to be successful, to make music and be loved for it. But most importantly, he was happy to be himself, completely comfortable in his own skin in an industry that makes husks of promising young talent, because it only loves their output, with little care for the human being behind it. After I met Pop, Meet The Woo, his debut tape, made sense to me, the songs landed, he had a fan and supporter in me.

Y’all know where I work, and you know what we on when the new year starts….the Freshman List. Every year, it’s a who’s who of the rappers who are up next (and with the speed of how rap moves, those who are up now). January 2020, Pop Smoke came to the office to do his Freshman pitch, where he is interviewed by staffers about what his next steps are for the year, he discusses why he should be a Freshman and how he feels about the idea, things of that nature. I was working on something else, so I was going to check on Pop when he got out of the meeting. It was kind of late, like 7 or 8 pm, and he strolled out of the back, the same stocky, star power-exuding dude I remembered. He, of course, got picked to be a Freshman, because understand: he HAD to be. He loomed LARGE in the city (and beyond), he WAS Brooklyn Drill to most people, by far the most recognizable act within it. I dapped him up and told him congrats, and he def poked fun at how muscular I was after I shook his hand (likely too strongly)…which is crazy, cause he was also strong as shit. It was great to see him, and he was ecstatic to be a part of this.

February 19th, 2020. Pop is dead, murdered in a home invasion in Los Angeles that still doesn’t make sense to me, the reality of it just being too much. He was 20 years old, man. Seeing his light be snatched away, knowing where he was headed and how committed he was to getting there, was really disturbing as fuck to me. I don’t think I really ever recovered, because I basically couldn’t feel anything, when I realized the rumors were true, Pop, that guy we all loved in the office, was gone. Forever. Look past the music for a second; the person, the human being, was gone. And we had to sit with that. And I say “sit” as a figure of speech, because working within rap means you are endlessly moving through death, hoping it gets easier, or in my own personal case, hoping the constant loss of life doesn’t strip me of my humanity, of my ability to feel pain for these artists, and that hole that never really fills in their absence. I remember standing outside, talking to my coworker’s about Duke Deuce’s tape which dropped the same day, Memphis Massacre 2, and how Pop’s death made it hard to focus on such a strong project. I was in a daze for the rest of that day, the rest of that week, the rest of that month, my only respite being denial, refusing to accept what happened.

My connection to Von was very similar to Pop’s, but a bit more involved, just because of how different Von’s route was to fame. Mired in legal troubles and unable to get his feet out of the street, Von pretty much came out of nowhere and dropped “Crazy Story” and “Took Her To The O” within 12 months. “Took Her To The O” was when I realized “Von is going to take off, and everyone has to accept and realize this.” I actually interviewed him nearly a week after Pop got murdered, and remembered feeling that “I hope he gets to hang around and enjoy this shit” feeling. Losing artists you actually knew, were around, and helped promote puts you into that kind of mindset; you become fearful, you worry about these people, you wonder will they get to bask in their success, or will all of this get cut short. Von was cool as hell too, just like Pop, and unflappable and very open, speaking very clearly and honestly to me about his jail time and cases, without me asking or really pushing (I think it’s extremely police when interviewers press on topics like this, but thats another conversation). I was a fan of Von, but worried his the criminal investigation (accusation of a shooting in Atlanta, alongside his friend and OTF leader/labelmate, Lil Durk) he was wrapped in would hold him back at XXL. He really did want to be a Freshman, his team pushed hard for this, and he was easy to work with. I was in his corner, but understood the reality of the situation.

In winter 2020, we were trying to launch Who Am I? Live, an IG Live interview series split between me and my colleague, where we Scheduling, destiny and perfect timing led to us opening the show with Von, and us both having to trust each other on something new. I had to believe that Von would be engaging and open to talking, and that I’d ask the right shit, and he had to trust that I would do my best to give him room to let his charisma and music shine though, and give his fans what they wanted.

Von was incredible in the interview, giving me a tour around his hotel room, introducing his friends, playing a ton of unreleased music, and even playing one of his videos before they dropped. He rose up to the moment and so did I, and I hope he realizes how much he held me down and legitimized me, as I did something I hadn’t done before. The aftermath of this interview had my parents, who are both in their 60s, singing Von’s praises, this young dude from Chicago who had been through it all. That specific interview was a source of happiness for me; I was dealing with my own depression/anxiety issues, worrying about the love of my life’s fibroids and the pain she was feeling, and just trying to survive the pandemic, when it felt like letting your guard down for a second would put you in a coffin.

Just over a week later, Von was gone, killed in a fist fight with Quando Rondo that turned into a shooting. I was in Houston when I found out, where I had been for about a month with my girlfriend, so I was alone while she was at work. I felt that familiar sinking feeling, but I chose to not believe social media, and held out hope that there had been some sort of misunderstanding, that Von just got shot but wasn’t dead. I came into a work meeting on Zoom as they all realized it was true, Von died on the way to the hospital, 700 miles from his hometown, the victim of social media beef that boiled over. I muted myself on Zoom, because I was crying in an empty room, and could not compose myself to say anything to my coworkers. I was in a lot of emotional pain at the time, which would soon lead to my anxiety disorder getting so bad that I had a gnawing in my stomach that would go on to last for months. I was worried about my girlfriend, I was worried about myself, I was worried about everyone I loved in the middle of a pandemic that was cutting lives short left and right, and I was under a lot of duress at work. Then I wake up to Von being killed over some bullshit, and I was expected to continue on like everything was ok.

I texted my sister and my parents and told them Von was dead, and even reading the text messages makes me remember how distraught I felt in the moment; it’s something I can’t forget, even now. Those thoughts were in my head again, where I didn’t feel I could be this close to hip-hop anymore, and just push through the psychological effects of “This person I’m cool with is dead now, and they can all be snatched away from us, in an instant.” It was fucking me up, it still is. The very thing I knew would happen to me, did. And it came quickly. Obviously, I hung in there, but the deaths really didn’t stop, and there is no simple answer to slow it down, no path to peace without nuance.

Before Von died, Juice WRLD died via overdose, which was terrifying and something I still haven’t come to terms with. Young Dolph being killed just weeks ago was too much; I loved the man and his music, and who he was, what he represented, and was beside myself to meet him the one time I did. Every time these deaths happen, like Drakeo The Ruler this past weekend, or Slim 400, or Mac Miller or Nipsey Hussle, I lose a bit of myself to this shit, to this hip-hop world I exist in that I contribute to. This is not about me being a fan, which I will always be. This is about me working in rap, getting to know these people, then refreshing TMZ to find out they got their lives taken or died in the most heinous ways.

Every time a rapper is lost, it chips away at my will to maintain my proximity to covering the genre. But the reality is, going back to being purely a fan is no easier, and may be more difficult in certain ways. Plus, walking is somewhat cheating my gift and my dream, and I owe something back to hip-hop, for all it’s given me; I love being a part of this shit. With each additional rapper death, it becomes more and more difficult to bounce back; it makes this all seem little futile and very finite, knowing that any rapper you’re a fan of, could be gone in the blink of an eye.

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 7)

I know, I know, it’s been a long time. *WEAK ASS EXCUSE HERE*. Onward to the jams.

Travis Mendes – How Close (Closure Edit)


Travis is a singer-songwriter, most recently known for his work within Jon Bellion’s band/collective. I also, went to elementary school with Travis! Seeing him on the road with Jon, and becoming more of a success by the day is a real inspiration. Travis recently dropped an EP of his own (“Closure”) and this is surely my favorite song on it. How Close is about the familiar feeling of knowing someone is perfect for you, but feeling that urge to pull away. Being wrapped up in them is inevitable; Travis captures that emotion perfectly here.

Bricc Baby ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Kid Ink – Lie 2 Kick It


This is pure ignorance. Dolla $iiiggggnnn kicks it off with a smooth body shaming/”you BROKE and wear fake clothes” combo and Bricc Baby accuses you of not letting your gun off, for starters. The beat is Mustard at his most menacing in years, and dare I say it, Kid Ink kinda snapped (#KidInkTrutherGang, more on this later). The minute I heard this song, I KNEW. I just KNEW. I feel like Mustard over-saturated rap with his sound; he definitely benefitted from laying low a little bit. I’ve listened to this song every day since I stumbled across it, because I enjoy shit that sounds like an unsafe neighborhood in California.

VanJess – Adore


Adore describes a perfect night of sex and related filth, from a woman’s perspective.  A really sultry rnb song, thats just perfect for this time of the year. Their voices are perfect for the subject matter, and there’s some quality lyricism, hinting at roleplay and rough sex, without hitting you over the head with it. There’s magic in a little subtlety.

PNB Rock ft. Fetty Wap – Spend The Night


I decided to check out the Fetty Wap & PNB Rock collab tape that dropped this week (Money, Hoes & Flows) and its a pretty fun listen; they have really good chemistry and seem to enjoy working with each other. “Spend The Night” is an overture to convince that special girl to stay over and let you slap your meat off inside her. I swear half of the hook is inaudible, but Fetty’s melody game is ridiculous, as always. The production also sounds like riding a carousel on Mars, perfectly tying Fetty’s off kilter singing and PNB Rock’s abrasive lyrics together perfectly.

Kid Ink ft. Jeremih & Spice – Nasty


First off, shoutout to my man David Drake. He put me on via his monthly column. I LOVE THIS SONG. It has everything I look for in fun ass songs: filth, steelpans, a simple hook that can be yelled while drunk, and extreme catchiness. I can’t wait to embarrass myself to this after Dark And Stormy number 4. I am also a Kid Ink truther, it’s not lost on me that he always finds a way to get to a hit….and he’s done it again. I listen to this song every day, and I am not exaggerating. This is a super fun, dancehall-tinged (ok it’s an American ass take on dancehall that gets away with it via Spice’s involvement) song that should definitely light the summer up.

Maxwell – The Fall


I grew up on Maxwell. My mother loved (and still loves) him; his music has always ben a special, nostalgic thing for me. As he has matured in his subject matter, I’ve grown as a man. What gets me most about him is his vulnerability, his unwavering commitment to singing about his difficulties. The Fall is about the interplay of feeling like someone loves you when they are with you, but not knowing where you stand when they aren’t. While being aware of the inconsistency of things, you’re also waiting for the other shoe to drop, for things to “Fall” apart. I’ve been there, it’s real, it’s very real. The song is just extremely well written and the fullness of the percussion is incredible; I have to see this live.

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 5)

Hellooooooooooo buddies.

Hope all is well. Strongly considering doing this every week and dropping it on the same day every week (Thursday is likely).

Onto the SONGS.

Rich The Kid – Who Dab Is That Ft. Migos & SKIPPA!!!!


I was openly opposed to listening to a tape called “Dabbin Fever”, because I’m pretty sure I’m dabbed out. Alas, we are here. This tape has a couple tunes on it and Rich is becoming a better rapper before our very eyes. This is pretty much a QC posse cut, with everyone going to work. Migos have made a TON of songs where they complain about wanting credit for dabbing (ugh) but this one is PRETTY damn good. Offset opens it (and he really hasn’t lost a step since he’s been free) but Takeoff is the star Migo of this one. Rich and Takeoff close the song off perfectly. See what happens when you channel your anger over your dance getting stolen into something productive???

SIDENOTE: Skippa is probably the best dabber in the universe.


Nef The Pharoah ft. Philthy Rich – #Saydaat


Nef has certainly been on my weekly list before, and he worked his way back there again. #Saydaat really sounds like Bay rap finding a sort of middle ground; the shit is hard (and very accessible) regardless of where you’re from. Nef is doing very interesting things with a distinctly regional sound that is pushing him higher and higher by the week. I love this song, I love the beat, I love Philthy Rich’s feature voice. Nef has a huge 2016 ahead, and I don’t ever have to have been to Vallejo to know that.


Jacquees – Hot Girl


Jacquees’ latest tape Mood is VERY good. Picking one song was a difficult choice, as I would’ve been comfortable picking nearly any thing on the project. Jacquees’ tone is interesting as always, the lyrics are very fun. He’s really got a young guy’s perspective to women, it feels natural and isn’t really overly graphic (well most of the time). The hook also passes the public singing test: I was singing the entire HELL out of it while I was waiting for the A train last weekend. GIRL SAY MY NAME I AINT JUST ANYBODDDAAYYYYY.


2 Chainz – Not Invited


I’ve been a 2 Chainz stan for a long time, now. He always finds a way to keep himself fresh, and usually has at least one tape a year that really impresses. Feel Like Cappin is that tape, so far. Not Invited is really simple: 2 Chainz’ girls are fine, yours are lackluster and can’t attend his party. While all of the praising of #foreigns and #exotics is kinda problematic, it is what it is, the shit is smooth. Btw, I highly recommend clicking play on every 2016 TM88 beat you come across. He is a contender for the best beat on a 6 song tape with Zaytoven, Cardo, Mike Will and Timbaland on it. Craziness.  The end of the song is also pretty hard too, 2 Chainz traphouse descriptors are second to none.


Travis Porter – 187


I appreciate Travis Porter’s growth/slight change of direction, musically. Ali is definitely a better rapper now, Strap is as raw as ever, Quez holds it all together. But I also remember peak Travis Porter; when if they came on at a party, it turned into a SEA OF ROTATING BUTTS. 187 is bringing the rotating butt back. Its cold and miserable in NYC; this song makes me happy, makes me imagine warmer temps and better times. This is pure “locate the finest girl in here” music, like undergrad is back (SHOUTOUT TO 2008!). If this song doesn’t snake its way into parties up this summer, I will be rather disappointed!


GoldLink – Late Night (ft. Masego) & Chaz French Ft. GoldLink – Ready


These two songs are permanently tied together for me, because they LITERALLY happened to me, nearly verbatim, with the same girl.

Long story short, Late Night is a story about admitting you have other women that you entertain, but liking one girl more than the rest of the field. It’s just passionate and heartfelt, and real. The first time I heard this song, my stomach turned. I was literally coming home from her apartment and thought “this whole thing is going to end so poorly”. Not because I didn’t clearly lay out that I didn’t want to be exclusive yet (because I did, quite plainly, more than once), but because I knew behind that smile of hers, there was a sense of dread. Anytime you’re dating someone, there’s a chance they could up and leave you. She was aware, and I think it was something bubbling under the surface that she refused to confront. I felt the change in the waters, and bought it up to her.

Ready has Chaz and GoldLink trying to keep a woman around who can no longer tolerate whatever it is they currently have. She eventually told me she didn’t feel comfortable dating me because I had other women, which I respected. I didn’t fight, I didn’t argue, I don’t do shit like that. GoldLink talks about the girl in question basically ignoring when he says how much he cares, the belief that he has a bunch of women (but lets be honest, when a girl really likes you, one more girl is too many), her friends trying to tell her he wasn’t shit; ALL OF THIS HAPPENED. Chaz tries to play the middle and hope things work out while knowing that the situation would eventually go toxic; which is also a stage I went through. She tried to “un-dump” me twice, I wouldn’t go along with it, and now we’re done, as of 5 weeks ago. I’m at peace with it. The best choice isn’t always painless, but it is freeing. I wasn’t going to be ready in a timely fashion, and we both knew it.



Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 4)

Happy new year and all that there. Hopefully your 2016 is going swell. ONTO THE TUNES!!


Ye Ali – Ring 4x


I’ve known of Ye Ali for quite some time now, first due to this song. I saw Ring 4x (aka RING RING RING RIIIIINGGGGG) all over my TL for the past two weeks or so, but I didn’t actually listen until I saw it reposted on Soundcloud timeline. Vocally, he sounds derivative of #SomeGuyFromSaugaCity here, but I cannot deny this tune.  The tempo and the subject matter are in complete synchrony. There are plenty of songs about women blowing up your line; this is an extremely catchy one. The hook is pretty much perfect and the song as a whole would make the lamest of lames feel like a ladies man.


Freddie Gibbs – Hot Boys


Pretty sure I was speechless off first listen. Had no idea what to expect, and got my head blown clean off. Pretty much Gibbs bringing the “Packages” flow back to life over one of the CRAZIEST beats he has rapped on in his entire career.  He is legit rapping over some goddamn late 90s RPG flute with 808s under it. Shit prolly shorted my headphones. Help.


Your Old Droog – Basketball & Seinfeld


First off, shout out to @NicholeGunz for retweeting this onto my timeline.

Now, I have never really been into Droog, I believe I got into a mini argument with him way back about that “IS HE NAS????” controversy (people had full blown “HE IS NASIR JONES” conspiracy theories, holy shit). HOWEVER, the guy can rap. He kills this song, which chops elements of the Seinfeld beat into a slick 80s jam. I barely watched Seinfeld, but all of the references I understood were great, the beat is fantastic, Droog’s obscure NBA player game is way up….everything is good. The very idea of the song is very cool, and the execution is even better.


K Camp – WCW


As you may know, I will pretty much listen to anything K Camp is tied to. He recently dropped K.I.S.S. 3, which is pretty good (and short, which I appreciate). WCW tiptoes between appreciating the woman you’re with and also just wanting sex from her (which isn’t exactly mutually exclusive). It sounds like a sweet love song but it isn’t. K Camp is spending whatever to put a smile on her face, and I support that.


Lil Uzi Vert – Enemies


I was avoiding Lil Uzi for a while because….. Imma come clean………I hate his name. Between that and that he reminds me of a couple guys who already exist, made me steer clear. His name kept popping up, so I gave Luv is Rage a shot.

I love this damn tape! He’s a better rapper than I originally gave him credit for and the tape is excellently produced. Enemies is a quickly paced and boisterous trap song about brushing off those against you. The production is attention grabbing to the point that it really does work me up into a good angry froth, as I think about people I hate. Songs that speak to the worst parts of my personality always win with me. Uzi’s use of empty space between the hook and verses is excellent; it really sends the emotion of the song home. It’s not a dark song about dwelling on the opposition; its more about why they don’t matter.


Kodak Black – Like Dat


I’ve kept an eye on Kodak’s output from afar over the last 5-6 months or so. Once he put out a full project after he got really popular (Institution, which I recommend), I jumped all over it. Like Dat has a really hypnotic hook, the beat is nuts (CHIMES!!!), and the flow he chose just fits perfectly. I also feel that Kodak has an excellent rap voice; the very overt grit of it with the sparkle of this beat are a match made in heaven. I also am extremely amused by “THATS A BORING CAR!!!!!!”.

Songs I Like This Week! (Vol. 2)

I took way too long to put this together.

So I had to really think hard and not put too many songs on this.


Key! ft. Retro Jace (Of Two 9) – No Where

First off, Jace SHREDS this shit. SHREDS. Mike Will has an eye for talent, man. I’m a huge Key! fan, so I recommend you check out this EP period (“No One Is Ready 3”). The song itself is very catchy and dark which….pretty much describes Key!’s (DONT FORGET THE EXCLAMATION POINT!) entire discography. That piano is crazy too.

Hil Holla – Backseat

Full disclosure: Hil is a good friend of mine. With that said….this shit is smooooooth. Hil walks you through the steps of a good night and does so with the confidence of someone who has actually lived it and details it so believably. He meets a fly woman, goes to a party, and shows you how to say things a bad one might wanna hear. Just hit “play” and try to talk to that girl that’s slightly out of your league (there is no league, I will expound on this later though)!

Nef The Pharaoh – Big Tymin’

The song is just….fun. Fun as hell. So Oakland but still has a bounce you can’t ignore, regardless of where you come from. I really enjoy rap from regions that just has an authentic feel. Nef is part of the wave of younger Bay rappers; I like his style. If you say “BALLIN LIKE BAYBEEEEHHHHHHHH” and don’t automatically feel a wave of happiness, you are worthless and probably lying. Very smooth tribute to Ca$h Money too. There’s also a remix with TY$ and YG, but I had to show Nef his proper shine for the song he made.

Fetty Wap ft. Shy Glizzy – Why U Mad

This song is HARD. Much better than I expected….which doesn’t make sense, because I’m a really big fan of Fetty AND Glizzy. I guess I was just concerned as to how their styles would fit. Fetty’s versatility really shines here. Zaytoven shows up and I honestly believe Gucci (whenever he gets out) would really appreciate this one. Glizzy closes the show really well too. This ain’t “cook crack with bae” Fetty, this is “riddle your body with bullets for being short a few bucks” Fetty!

Makonnen – Leave It There

Now, I was a big fan of Makonnen maybe a year ago. Felt he got a bad rap. Then, he started to decline pretty quickly. In the Internet Age, if you put out 3-4 stinkers in a row, thats yo ass. After Drink More Water 5 dropped, I kinda gave up. Nonetheless, this song snuck onto my Soundcloud feed and….Makonnen might be getting it back together. This is a slow, emotional tune about trying to restart a damaged romantic relationship, and subsequently giving up on it. While one would think this is NOT the subject matter of a banger, you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Mélat – If Its Gold I Love

This song is just….wonderful. My man @YOUNGSAFE (FOLLOW HIM!) sent me her Soundcloud and her EP (“It Happens So Fast”) is really great. She has a good voice, her tone is wonderful, her ear for production is fantastic; I’m just very impressed. This song might totally be about some subtle filth (I’m not even sure yet), but use it as you will. Light and airy; feels like she’s singing to me in a dream.

Sevyn Streeter – Consistent

I am a huge fan of Sevyn’s music, I think she’s really talented. I also have a crush on Sevyn; she’s pretty damn hot, BRO. Her EP’s are consistently good, and “Shoulda Been There Pt. 1” is no exception. This song is about a dude who doesn’t treat her well emotionally, but he is dropping off that #pipe in them #draws. It’s fire, its sonically the best song I’ve posted here. I tweeted that all of her songs are about bad relationships, she tweeted me “not true”. Then followed me. She must’ve felt the thirst coming through my veins. No disrespect to B.o.B., thou shall not covet the next man’s bae, thats what the Bible says…or something.

Until next week, friends.

Songs I like this week! (Vol. 1)

Lets get right to business, shall we?

Chris Brown – Ghetto Tales

Forever in my “Talented Shitbags” list (its extensive…..Tyson, Rick James, KELLZ!, you get the picture), I find myself never TOTALLY counting Chris Brown out. He literally does some disappointingly dumb shit every year, but he keeps churing out good music. IN COMES “GHETTO TALES”. He’s basically telling whatever girl hates him this week to cut that pride shit out and hit him up so they can smooth it out and he can take her to the Bone Zone. I would say I can relate but I don’t beg for shit but an extra BBQ sauce at Popeye’s…FOR THE FREE. Chris eventually gets his wish by the last verse, where he tells you about delivering the #meat and doing drugs with the world famous Migos flow. He’s also getting A LOT better at rapping.

Drake – On A Wave (ft. TInashe)

This shit amazing. And leaked. And extremely unfinished. This ain’t IF YOURE READING THIS ITS REPETITIVE Drake, this is “Club Paradise” , lobster tails, butter sauce, and soft weeping Drake. He’s saving girls from his busy life (a change from his regular “saving girls”), Tinashe sounds like 2015 Aaliyah (AND ITS A GOOD THING) ; everything fits together. I’m pretty critical of Tinashe (I still don’t like Aquarius/she has the personality of a crushed Cooler Ranch Dorito) but she did well here. And Amethyst is multiple fire emojis. She may just be turning turning the corner. Here’s to hoping this song gets finished (it won’t).

Beatking – I Got Hoez

I really listened to this Beatking tape for a week straight, pretty much. Pure ignorance. He says so much shit thats in poor taste but guess what, he reminds me of OLD Houston. Great voice, great ear for beats, obscure ass references, misogyny….WHAT ELSE COULD YOU WANT! Outside of how funny he is, Beatking is actually a pretty clever rapper. Short Dawg’s verse is pretty damn good too. Please check out the tape ( “Houston 3AM“).

RJ – Hoes Come Easy

“Beach fulla sand WHY I GOTTA BRING MINE???” sets the tone. Song makes me feel like I’m in a gang in LA, doing my corresponding gang walk, yelling into my cell phone to whatever girl I’m treating terribly that week. I’m also off the Henny and I have no shirt on. I would be an ultimate goon. Just hit play and tell me you didn’t nod your head AT LEAST A LITTLE. He also references choosing to bring his gun to the club instead of his girlfriend; how could you not love this?

Trey Songz – Flick

Best song about having sex and recording it since….I dunno. Melody, hook, beat…all perfect. Trey Songz is quietly putting out better music nowadays. And instead of boning your girlfriend, he is boning your EX girlfriend and telling her he is better at sex than you. It’s somewhat predictable fare but guess what, “I wanna make a MOO-VIE!” is too easy to sing and remember…so I don’t care. The song also manages to avoid cornballery, which is very easy to tread into with this type of subject matter.

Vince Staples – Get Paid

I saw some people saying they weren’t digging this song because it was “too commercial” for Vince. I don’t particularly agree. It’s just a fully formed song that’s kinda catchy with Vince getting his usual underlying point/message across. It’s gritty, its visceral….but it has that bounce! There were some other songs I coulda tossed in here from “Summertime ’06”, but this is the one that hits on all cylinders.

Stay tuned. More to come. Soon. Or never. 0_0!

EDIT: follow me on Soundcloud.


For those unfamiliar, when two rappers are on a song and one’s verse(s) happens to be glaringly better than the other rapper, we say they got “washed”. This is a regional thing; I’m from NYC, you probably say something different in your hut in Des Moines, Iowa. “He got cornhusked/irrigated” whatever you bumpkins prefer. Moving onward.

But what happens when you’re a singer and you are washing other singers, or even WORSE, rappers? I take mental notes of when this happens, and I’m going to show you a few of my favorites. This happens more often than it should, actually. *begins lecture*


Now, I am teetering on a Miguel stan. BUT. BUT! He didn’t have to add Kendrick to this. “How Many Drinks” is a wonderfully catchy song about Mig inquiring as to how many watery Cran and Vodkas does he need to purchase for you to come home with him and get UOENO’d. I wouldve preferred the original album version with him harmonizing and hitting mad wild notes as you don’t notice he’s singing about getting hoes loose off Peach Ciroc. Did Kendrick get “washed” per se? No. Could he have just stayed home? Sure. Never did I hear this song and think “You know what this smooth tune needs??? Kendrick Lamar rapping about eating the love box.” Kendrick is still the man though. Please don’t tell security to grab me by my lengthy tank top and Jazzy Jeff me out of your show.

Remember You.

The first time I saw this online, I thought “Yes! Wiz and The Weeknd!” I hit play and listened to a rapper get ran off of his own song. Wiz had 0 business on this (yes, I’m aware it was his single). Abel drug-yodeled Wiz right up outta here. From the moment Abel said…

Girl, take pride in what you wanna do
Even if that means a new man every night inside of yoOoOoOoOoWhoOoOoOoO (OH!!!!)

….I became concerned for Wizard Khalifa. Very concerned. Just got uglier from there. Abel also said he’ll “smoke anything thats handed” to him but let’s overlook a famous singer possibly smoking wet/sherm/The Shenanigans and lets focus on him cooking Wiz. Wiz’s verses were cheeks so I’m not gonna quote em. Just know: The Weeknd ate the first verse and you can cut it off after he does the hook.

Sex Room

Ok. This song is terrible. Sex Room, as I will tell anyone who will listen, is in my top 20 favorite songs ever. That explosion you’re hearing sound is my credibility disintegrating, but so what? Every time this shit comes on, I am  Richmond goon yodeling Trey’s every word, cause he killed it. The whole premise of the song is corny and Luda’s bars are super forgettable but soon as I hear that “OOOOOOO OOOOOO OOOO OOOOOOOOOO” I’m going in. Trey Songz ate FOOD on the last part. Son was just yelling “OHHHH OHHHH” mad loud in the background while dropping gems such as “Lemme get a vowel  I.O.U./I.E.U. MEANS I EAT U”. Flames. This was at a time when Trey was still the RnB filth lord (that spot has been usurped by this guy).

sidenote: Sex Room finished and it started to play the rest of the album…this shit was a trainwreck. If only it was actually the Shawnna/Luda collab album it was supposed to be.

double sidenote: I googled “Shawnna” and there was an image tab that just said “Ass”. Props to Google for being just as scummy as me and knowing what I was here for. *exclusive footage of me when the page loaded*

And now, for the star of the show.


YEAH. YEAH SON. I was playing this stupid loud in my freshman dorm, being a stereotypical #Black and making the walls shake(not via sex, because Robby at 18? Getting girls? #LOL!). Everyone was prolly like “oh he jamming that cause of that beat and that Jay verse”…….


I was listening to Beyonce get BARS OFF. Don’t get me wrong, Upgrade U is possibly a top 5 Jay feature verse. He did work….but he stood NO chance against….

Audemars Piguet watch
Dimples in ya necktie
Hermes BRIEFcase
Cartier top clips

Beyonce singing her ass off about being the ultimate equal to her man in love AND business? Touching. Then she gave him wild high fashion bars back when I had 0 idea wtf an Audemars was (a 19 year old Meek Mill heard this and then spent 2 years straight telling us about his watch. There were more RAPS but you listen to the whole song and you’ll see what I mean. She bounced back nicely after Hov Knowles went off. Unlike that one time he hopped on that Kendrick song and got put in the dumpster.

Listen. Enjoy. Appreciate singers washing people and be great.

the light in the darkness.

You never know when the words will touch you. Or what those words will be.

A long time ago, I was listening to “Murder to Excellence” and heard the ensuing lines.

What up, Blood? What up, cuz? It’s all black, I love us

–  Jay – Z

“I love us.”

The line always stuck with me. As a black man, I’ve always felt passionately about my racial identity. I was a  4 year old kid on the floor; in my draws and my little Hanes white tee…thumbing through books about African kids learning Swahili.A bunch of brown faces that looked just like me and my sister and my parents. Different skin tones. Braids. Big smiles. I felt pride then and I really didn’t know what it meant. I just knew that there was something important about my people. I always had this feeling in my chest that my race was a big deal and something to hold onto tightly.

I happened to be on UnKut.Com and saw this….


When BDK(Big Daddy Kane) came out….I felt the same way I did when I read those books about black children. I was proud. Look at that park full of people with the same skin, ancestry and culture as me. Everyone peacefully gathered in the park , simply desiring a good time. It doesn’t even feel like 2013; everything about the scene looks like what I’d imagine the 80s to be. I’m not one of those “YO RAP WAS THE BEST BACK THEN EVEN THOUGH I WAS BARELY ALIVE” people but certain things can’t be denied. This video is beautiful. In addition to BDK still having stage presence and the same talent that won crowds over when I wasn’t even a thought yet , the energy strikes me. The energy. From us.

I love US. US.

Black people. My brothers and sisters(black women changed my life.) and uncles and aunts and friends. Not just “black” in the typical sense , ethnic people. I think we all have some aspect of black culture or ideologies within us.


I can’t do certain things because of the presence of this….love. I can’t really fuck with WorldStar; I feel silly and embarrassed. I think we are far too beautiful and talented and strong to have a website thats 80 percent dedicated to us making a fool of ourselves. I can’t laugh at some of those jokes pointed towards black women; they’ve been around me all of my life (and instrumental in who I became over time). I can’t dig certain TV shows because they dont accurately reflect the black experience that I know and live daily.


In that same breath , the love makes me smile. I see a black person doing well and striving , I commend them because I know the shit is tough. The people who really pushed the hardest for what they desire all too often go thankless. I don’t ever let myself hold back credit when its due; but if its a person of color its even MORE important to me. I LOVE to see a black man or woman touching destiny and impacting people with their gifts. It’s vital. That is the real meaning of life. It’s what I really want to do before it’s all over.


Luckily for me , its nowhere near over.

Ten Days to listen to #10Day.

Now , I was pretty late to the party.

I first heard Chance on Childish Gambino’s “They Dont Like Me“. I was impressed by the rhyme scheme he decided to go with and how crazy his voice sounded. He held his own and did what he had to do on there. Didn’t think much past that.

I managed to catch the “Juice” video a few months ago late one night (I’m always up late yet fall asleep very easily) and thought “this is sorta interesting.” Admittedly , I wasn’t super impressed but immediately thought dude can rap , I’ll revisit this.

Fast forward a BUNCH of months and its March. I’m getting ready to head to my second annual dose of “SXSW teach me things about life”. I typed in my Notes app “LISTEN TO CHANCE THE RAPPER”.  10 Day is Chance’s debut mix tape, which he recorded after a 10 day suspension from high school. In pure cool guy fashion , I couldnt get to Chance’s tape unless I listened on the plane. As I took that good “middle seat on a 4 hour flight” loss, I settled in and finally hit play.

What a great decision , Robby.

First off , my mind is blown that he’s this young (19 years old as I write this) and this confident. #10Day clearly feels like he did whatever he wanted to. There’s no fear , no sense of holding back his creativity.  His beat selection is good , he can actually put coherent words together , he’s descriptive, he sings and most important of all??

He’s happy and serious all in one breath.

Happy ass rap annoys me and makes my skin crawl. Thus if you hand me a B.O.B. cd….just call me Uncle Rico. The thing is , Chance is happy about life and shows hope but is no stranger to the darker parts of life. He makes them both work seamlessly in a world where all the big rappers are extremely moody. I love some moody ass rap….because I’m sort of a dark dude (SKIN JOKES SKIN JOKES!) , but that burns you out. Chance is just…refreshing.

Every time I hear this song I grin. Does this not just sound like a HS crush at a sweaty basement party your mom would probably kill you for attending? It’s just fun. Everything from the catchy bars and the carefree energy to how easily Chicago juke/footwork music is worked into the song. It’s perfect for what it’s supposed to be. Chance is a young kid having fun , which we all are at heart (or what we should try to be.)

Then you have a song like “Acid Rain” off of his upcoming tape Acid Rap.

My big homie died young; just turned older than him
I seen it happen, I seen it happen, I see it always
He still be screaming, I see his demons in empty hallways

Jarring.  To hear someone just clearly rap about being haunted by visions of a murdered friend says so much. I immediately knew Chance had quite a personal story of his own to tell. He comes off as somewhat of a tortured soul with lots of talent. Aren’t we all tortured souls? The thing is , we won’t all turn that strain and suffering into art. He spends the duration of Acid Rain rapping about the darker realities of being a Chicago teen , even with his newfound and building stardom. Self doubt , fear of the future; things any 19 year old has come face to face with. Chance chooses to go that route and is never preachy. It’s just…real. He gets vulgar like anyone else but it nothing like the drill music from the likes of a GBE.

Which is another interesting thing about Chance. He has shouted out Chief Keef on multiple occasions , even leading a “SOSA FREE!” chant at SXSW on the day Keef was released from Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Chance’s music is nothing like Keef’s but he understands the balance needed. Chief Keef needs to exist , even as violent and dark as his music is. Keef and Chance speak for a generation of teens that in reality, aren’t all that different. Being that both hail from the inner city of Chicago , things are tough out there. Chicago is not a scene out of a Wild West film to be ridiculed and ignored; those wonderful children have hopes , goals and dreams like anyone else. Regardless of what side of the tracks the teens fall on , they need outlets. Keef’s music is very angry and aggressive but guess what? So are those kids. They are frustrated, displaced teenagers seeking guidance and answers. Chance like Keef , is a talented kid from Chicago with a lot of painful things going on around him. He just expresses himself differently and didn’t end up so firmly planted in the street. Clearly , teenagers like that exist in Chicago and everywhere else.

I say all of that to say this: Teenagers from Chicago are not inherently bad people. They are putting themselves into music and creating a world for themselves that they could’ve never imagined. Keef is doing it. Chance is doing it. I’m proud of both. Chance is a better rapper in the classical sense and is excellent at relating his personal life and experiences to other people. With that said, I truly believe Chance is next and I’m excited to see what his future holds.