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How Big Is Your World? Good, Kinda New Rap Songs


-DJ Booman featuring Ray Lugar, Lic Shots, and Mullyman ‘Move Over’
Click here to download ‘Move Over’.
I got this song from Al Shipley’s indispensable Baltimore music blog Government Names. This laid-back soul beat is pretty much the antithesis of what Booman is commonly known for, batshit crazy Baltimore Club (check out his Unruly Records work in particular). Similar to what I said about Mullyman’s ‘Oh Baltimore’, ‘Move Over’s an anti-anthem in the sense that it quietly asserts itself rather than screaming its many quotable threats but that’s more appropriate for a Baltimore “we’re takin’ over” type song anyway, because Baltimore isn’t New York or some other rap mecca. This is a modest and leisurely posse cut that quietly tells you how it’s going to kick your ass. In 2008, when every fucking rap song has squelchy party synths and shout-outs from do-nothing DJs and a bunch of rappers talking shit, ‘Move Over’ is the real-thing because it dares not to have any of those things. The song kinda plods along, the samples breathe, and the urgency is found only in the verses, especially Booman and Mullyman’s. I’m reminded of Scarface’s ‘The Fix’ more than anything else, which is pretty impressive from a guy whose career is based on making “bangers” and so, he easily could’ve made something that sounds closer to what a song titled ‘Move Over’ should sound like.

-Pete Rock featuring Jim Jones and Max B ‘We Roll’
Click here to download ‘We Roll’
Another song that’s sort of this weird exercise in contradictions or seemingly irreconcilable musical differences: A pretty-classic sounding Pete Rock beat with two Dipset goons rapping over it. The vaguely buzzy pulses that move in and out of each speaker recall the classic pings that punctuate the ‘Mass Appeal’ beat and there’s a rubbery, flanged-out bassline that makes me think of ‘Flava In Ya Ear’ but then it also has the stuff that most Pete Rock fans presumably think is wrong with New York Rap…typically terrible but entertaining verses from Jim Jones and Max B and a disturbingly 50 Cent-ish hook. Soul Brother #1 reconciles the best and worse of New York rap pretty perfectly and that’s sort of the thesis of the ‘NY’s Finest’ record: Stop complaining about the bad music and make good music any way you can.

-Z-Ro and Trae ‘Who’s Tha Man’
Click here to download ‘Who’s Tha Man’
Is this the most chilled-out beat ever? That warm synth line glows throughout and anchors the Lil Keke chopped-and-screwed chorus and snap drums. Another Southern rap song that sounds like opiates; at one point Z-Ro says “full of novacaine”, a good descriptor for the beat as well as whatever he’s talking about at that point in the song. I’m sure its blasphemous, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Trae and his gruff enunciation kinda messes this song up a bit, but maybe that’s because I’m too into that synth line to have any real perspective. Z-Ro (who is apparently huge in DC!) on the other hand, can do no wrong. Most rappers spend all their time talking about their money and stuff with occasional forays into depressive reality, but it’s the opposite with Z-Ro and his success at the beginning of the first verse here feels palpable and earned but before you know it, he’s back to worrying about who’s out to get him and going back to jail…it’s sad how many S.U.C guys are mentioned by Z-Ro as “never comin’ back”. I can’t wait for this Z-Ro/Trae album to come out.

-Pastor Troy ‘My Box Chevy’
Click here to download ‘My Box Chevy’
This song is upfront and honest, best exemplified by the fact that it’s a literal celebration of Pastor’s first box Chevy. When he’s talking about his car, he’s really talking about his car, it’s not another car-as-metaphor car song. The tinny kinda metal, kinda Michael McDonald guitars add to the looking-back glory of Pastor’s down to earth reminiscing. The verses outline the progress of his car and how it goes from the car he bought from “an old white couple” that rode “kinda slow” to in the final verse, the car everybody around him wants. There’s a genuine sense of like, youthful waiting and joy in the way he delays getting the nicest rims and wheels out of indecision and perhaps, the economic reality of having to make his car nice, one piece at a time. You keep waiting for him to finally get the rims: In the first verse, he says “With all leather seats/It just needed feet”, in the second, “purple paint, with purple seats/All it need is some feet” and a reference to how he “still don’t know what rims” to get and then, the third verse is the reward of having a car that’s the envy of everyone around him, for better and worse- “…Told them niggas/Don’t fuck with me…”

-Ocrilim ‘Part 1′
Click here to download ‘Part 1′
A track from ‘AWWN’ the first, great album of 2008. It’s just guitarist Mick Barr shredding over layers of him shredding and it takes on a kind of hypnotic times-running-out-in-Zelda feeling. There’s the lead guitar shred with occasional change-ups and the sheer speed and volume of the music adds these kind of Merzbow-ian blasts of noise as well as what I assume are strings-hitting-fret plinks that sound like Pinball sound effects or something equally nerdy and from a time when like, Jason Becker ruled the world. Around the four and a half minute mark, Barr does this stop-the-riff-for-a-quarter-second thing and the sheer speed and insanity of the music makes that quarter second feel like that long-ass pause at the end of a cassette or something…incredible. Buy this album, its 79 minutes of this!

Click here to download a zipfile of all five tracks. They make for a decent, brief mix.

Written by Brandon

March 3rd, 2008 at 6:54 am

3 Responses to 'How Big Is Your World? Good, Kinda New Rap Songs'

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