Rap Playlist

Here are some songs from rap artists that the library has acquired recently.

Talking to Myself/ Chiddy Bang

Electro-loving, hip-hop crew Chiddy Bang are skipping the intro and celebrating success, busting out clever, almost-Outkast party numbers like “Ray Charles” or bleeping chip-tunes style on the very Atari “Baby Roulette.” These playful diversions seem like second album stuff, plus “Mind Your Manners” isn’t that “Opposite of Adults”-type calling card single that made their 2010 Preview EP so necessary, but the second-line tunes and deep tracks have grown in strength with the wistful soul-searcher “Talking to Myself” becoming a surprise key highlight. – All Music Guide

Black Crowns/ Tyga

Cool ruler Tygasurprises with the slow and royal “Black Crowns,” a majestically soaring number that lasts over five minutes, one of which is given to a heartfelt answering machine message from mom. Growth since his previous effort is obvious, both for the good (writing skills) and an arguable definition of bad (Penthouse Forum might even balk at some of the aggressive sex talk here), meaning Careless World is a case of happening label meeting able artist, so just let the expensive tape roll and leave it to the audience to sort out. In this case, it’s well worth it.- All Music Guide

Drown/ Ja Rule

“Drown” feels like misplaced sober talk, even with great lines like “Please help me/I tested positive for being a sh*t.” Strange to gravitate toward the party and crossover numbers on an album that aims to be honest over all else, but with a little effort from the listener, PIL2can be rearranged into something much more sensible, maximizing the impact of the dark numbers. Of course, anyone who’s had a regretful relative, friend, or associate hauled away by the cops knows that unfinished feeling, and that PIL2  is much more than Ja Rule rushing to state his case before the doors slam is way above admirable.- All Music Guide

Tom Edison/ Diggy

“Tom Edison” presents the thrilling, not chilling, sound of a riot going on in advanced science class, and if “The Reign” is the usual starry-eyed, half-tempo closer these teen-aimed, pop-rap albums offer, Diggy’s hard push to make it sound distinctive is more attractive than your crinkled nose and jaded opinion. Kid-tested and parent-approved, this well-done debut makes hating on Diggy as ridiculous as it sounds.-All Music Guide

Roman Holiday/ Nicki Minaj

Vaudeville-hop opener “Roman Holiday” where the rapper/singer adds performance artist to the list by doing a British constable impression over knotty electro. A handful of equally inspired numbers that come from this angle of gangsta-girl-in- a-post-wonky-pop-world add to the excitement, and with RedOne and a batch of other innovative producers providing a kaleidoscope of beats, the first half of the album is an amusement park for production lovers. – All Music Guide

5 Star/ Yo Gotti

Gotti’s membership in the gangster elite is validated as Rick Ross shows up on the grinding “Harder,” and when “Cases” delivers the back-in-court blues with a slowed-down 2 Unlimited sample, this recently crowned Don proves he’s clever enough to deserve it. Tack his two-year-old single “5 Star” to the end in its remix version and the album is scatter-shot to its last breath, but the thrill of watching this hood star threaten to supernova is a real high, one that comes with no life-ruining side effects or any chance of Sosa’s men storming your mansion.- All Music Guide

Going No Where/ Obie Trice

Be it busting the Gucci heads for their lightweight threads (“Petty”) or declaring his comeback over an Eminem beat (“Going No Where”), rapper Obie Trice never falters on Bottoms Up, his first release since leaving Em’s major-label imprint, Shady. If it weren’t for all the respectful “thanks to my Shady family” talk during the Dr. Dre-produced intro, you’d never know he was off the label, as this long-delayed effort retains the polish and punch of a major-label release, and with Eminem also offering a verse on the great stuttering and stopping reggae-hop track “Richard,” it’s like 2003 all over again.- All Music Guide

Fire Fly/ Childish Gambino

Nerdy wonders and insightful laughs are the reasons you want to visit Camp Gambino, but you’ll stay for the lush, surprisingly large production from Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson, along with the thrill of untangling it all for hours on end, separating the incredibly cool moments from the touching ones and figuring out how this “actor who raps” packaged it all sensibly in a concept album about summer camp that doubles as his showcase debut. Try it and be stunned or submit to it and be satiated; Camp is like the Drake, Cudi,and Kweli camps all offered their best, but it’s really just Gloverand his overwhelming bundle of talent, taking indie hip-hop to new levels after spending the day working alongside Chevy Chase. Remarkable. – All Music Guide

Gold/ Common

The best moments are bathed in a warm radiance that fosters a comforting, uplifting mood — intensified by hooks from James Fauntleroy II and samples of the Impressions, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Graham Central Station, and gospel Kenny Loggins — that recalls 2005’s Be. “Gold” is particularly vivid, where he crams a post-birth visit from “three wise men,” trips to France and Sybaris (rhymed with syphilis), and references to Hot Tub Time Machine and “Stan.” However, the content isn’t exclusively cerebral, uplifting, and/or surreal. – All Music Guide

Say It With Me/ Chris Brown

By the time F.A.M.E. was released in March 2011, the album’s variety of styles was already known. A total of five songs, including the slinking pop-R&B of “Deuces,” had hit various singles charts. On the earnest ballad “Up to You,” the Michael Jackson/SWV- sampling “She Ain’t You,” and the remorseful “All Back” (written and produced by Timothy Brown, one to watch), Brown plays to his strength as a boyish, romantic pop-R&B singer, while “Say It with Me” shows that he can handle harder grooves that are more R&B than pop. This all makes F.A.M.E. the equal of Forever, if not slightly better, and it hints that Brown’sbest is yet to come. – All Music Guide

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