Sunday (Feat. Frank Ocean)
The Earl Sweatshirt leaks continue to pour in as we ready ourselves for the release of his debut album, Doris, early next week. I had to blink twice as I wrote that last sentence, because it seems like Earl’s been a staple in our rotation for awhile now. That tells you just about everything you need to know about how talented he really is. Joining him on his latest effort is Odd Future running mate, Frank Ocean. While we all know and love Frank for his pristine vocal chords, he seizes this opportunity to get a few thoughts off his chest. Perfect for a “Sunday,” right?
What I appreciate about Frank is that while he does have bars, he doesn’t take every opportunity to try and shove his rap skills down our throats (unlike certain other artists who he may or may not be taking shots at during his verse); his entire process feels organic, and perhaps even a little cathartic. At the end of the day though, he knows when to stick to his strengths, which is why he’s such a brilliant artist. All that aside, “Sunday” is yet another stellar number to add to Earl’s collection. The anticipation is nearly suffocating us at this point, but with Doris right around the corner (August 20th), it looks like our patience will finally pay off.
It has been a minute since we were last graced with some new words from the Detroit spitter, Eminem. Although there has been a feature here and there, Em has not dropped any new solo material-until today. After teasing a new track via a commercial for the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts video game earlier today, a full version of his latest cut, “Survival,” was released shortly after. The DJ Khalil produced single finds the legend dropping some aggressive rhymes over a heavy guitar-ripped beat. Complete with Liz Rodrigues on vocals and the hook, this rock anthem about fighting back compliments the gritty vibe of the highly-anticipated game. The track is not an official single from Em’s upcoming full length, dropping later this year.
#DopeFrancis (American Trap)
We knew it was only a matter of time before Kendrick Lamar‘s verse from “Control” elicited some responses. After calling out just about every emcee in the game, it made sense that other rappers would take offense to Kendrick’s words. One such artist who wasn’t mentioned, garnered some attention late last night through his Twitter account. That artist would be Lupe Fiasco (his tweets have become private, but the backlash is just as widespread as before). After going on quite the tirade, and impersonating a few rappers by ghostwriting their responses along the way, fans were clamoring for Lupe to pen a comeback of his own. Finally, it seems as if he listened…well, sort of.
While “#DopeFrancis” (seriously, hashtagged song titles need to die) isn’t exactly a direct response, it does allow Lupe to put his skills on display. If we’re assuming this was conceived over the past 24 hours, then it’s a pretty impressive track, coupling themes of drug abuse with religion almost seamlessly. The song does sound fairly raw overall however, and I think it’s safe to say this is just a throwaway meant to prove that Lupe isn’t one to be slept on in the rap game.
Dark Star (Jez Dior/SmarterChild Remix)
It’s always a great day when we get another release from one of our favorites in the game, Jez Dior. This emotionally charged lyricist has graced the pages of TMN before with his artfully crafted lyrics, provoking reflection with the snap of his tongue, which is why we’re always excited to hear new work from him.
Two weeks ago Jez and SmarterChild released their most recent project, which consisted of playing around with the arrangement of Jaymes Young’s blogosphere hit, “Dark Star”. This remix has a slightly more beat centric tempo, which gives the perfect cadence for Jez to lay some lyrics over. Once again we’re left feeling something, as we always do with Jez’s lyrics. This is one thing that we’ve come to expect from him, and he once again makes sure we’re not disappointed.
Miley Cyrus has been at the epicenter of hip-hop discussion in 2013. To provide you with some brief highlights, in just a short span she’s already collaborated on songs with Snoop
Dogg Lion and Mike WiLL Made It, twerked on stage with Juicy J, starred in Big Sean‘s video for “Fire,” and became a Jay-Z punchline, meaning Miley hasn’t been far from our minds at all this year. Despite all of those achievements however, Miley is still lacking one last honor to add to her mantle: having a complete song dedicated to her. That is of course, until now.
2AM Club returns to the scene with a fly new single meant to be an ode to Miley’s newfound obsession with all that is ratchet and raunchy. The eclectic group once again brings together a suave blend of live instrumentation to couple with witty bars and a soulful hook courtesy of lead vocalists Tyler Cordy and Marc Griffin. While the song takes its name from the former Disney Channel star, its contents apply to all girls attempting to shed their previous image to pursue a certain type of lifestyle. I’ll leave that part for you to figure out on your own. Grab the FREE download above, and make sure to check out more music from 2AM Club on their official SoundCloud page.
Control (HOF) (Feat. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica)
Say what you want about Big Sean, but bringing together Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica on one track is an accomplishment in and of itself. Both deemed as saviors of hip-hop at one time, the dichotomy between how their two careers have diverged is truly amazing. While Kendrick is dominating the rap charts and garnering guest verses on just about every relevant single this year, Jay seems to be locked away in some lost corner of the globe, providing fans with a rare glimpse here and there, while leaving us all wondering when we’ll finally be able to hear his debut project, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn). Still, “Control (HOF)” gives us a chance to finally compare the two side by side through seven fiery minutes of “straight rap” as Sean puts it. If it were up to me I’d say Kendrick won this round, spitting one of his most venomous verses to date.
Unfortunately, “Control (HOF)” won’t be featured on Sean’s upcoming album due to some sampling clearance issues. We’ll also have to deal with the Funk Flex bombs for now as well, but we’re hoping the full, CDQ version drops soon. Hall of Fame will finally be in stores on August 27th.
J Cole Power Trip (cover version)
We always love hearing a good cover song, especially when it crosses genres. We love it even more when we get to premiere it, which is just the case today. Brooklyn four piece X Ambassadors (who are working with KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records) made a splash sometime back with their monster single “Unconsolable.” We were instantly hooked with their drum centric sound amplified by their lead singers power charged vocals. This very combination, as attractive as it is, seems to have found it’s way to covering J Cole’s monster summer jam, “Power Trip,” and we just couldn’t be any more pleased.
X Ambassadors’ take is a rhythmically inspired harmony focused one, using the beat and heavy bass to accentuate the lyrics which were already rich with emotion. While it very much conveys their own personal sound and style, it still gives a tip of the hat to the original.
Don’t forget to pick up X Ambassadors new EP, Love Songs Drug Songs, on itunes.