Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape October 20, 2012.
A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar, “F**kin Problem”
This entry to the canon of collaborative promotional singles brings to the table a perfect mixture of star power, malleability and broader-than-hell themes. You have the aggressive, “back-off” attitude of the whole enterprise, combined with a beat that will kindly step aside and allow A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar to remind you that, yes, they do in fact have LPs coming out in the near future. And 2 Chainz? Well he has an album that dropped not but two months ago.
Drake is included as well because all singles must now include Drake, as per terms of the Drake-hip-hop peace accords of 2010.
Bodega Bamz ft. Joell Ortiz & Tego Calderon, “My Name Is Part 2”
Bodega Bamz’s verse on this track plainly rules. No qualifiers needed. It’s vicious, razor-sharp and leans forward like the beat is a collar holding it back.
Joell Ortiz and Tego Calderon perform their fair share of the work, as does the siren-bound beat, but it’s Bamz’s furious opening salvo that makes this track. Check out his Strictly 4 My P.A.P.I.Z. mixtape for similar helpings of awesome.
Kendrick Lamar ft. Dr. Dre, “Compton”
This track is a bit older (like, a week), but it’s of a high enough quality to warrant a mention nonetheless.
You can’t have a better endorsement for your West Coast hip-hop LP than a collaborative single with Dr. Dre. However, this joint from Dre and Lamar would deserve attention even if it weren’t for its esteemed pedigree. “Compton”’s beat easily qualifies as some of producer Just Blaze’s best work in recent memory, even if it does seek with a bit too much assiduity to ape his earlier triumphs.
As for Lamar, this track justifies a healthy curiosity about his upcoming LP, due early next week.
Wiz Khalifa, Ghostface Killah & Boy Jones, “I Go Hard” (prod. by RZA)
You can play a fun game with the advance singles from the soundtrack to RZA’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists: While listening, try to imagine which plot point corresponds to which track.
With “I Go Hard,” I’m picturing a late second-act training montage, after the titular Man has faced a long-in-coming defeat, but before he has mustered his forces for the climactic battle. Either that, or it’s supposed to go behind a gloriously mis-produced romantic interlude.