Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape July 27, 2012.
Rick Ross ft. Andre 3000, “Sixteen”
While far from living up to its sizable potential, this track still presents a fine opportunity for hearing two hip-hop godheads in one concise package.
Andre 3000 turns in the better verse on this one, seeing as slow and sensitive are two modes with which he has a practiced facility. The same cannot be said of Mr. Ross, though he uses this track to make a respectable argument for the thesis that, “This ain’t just hip-hop, this is my life.”
Coming from a man who used to be a corrections officer and has sold little (or nothing) in the way of narcotics, that’s a tough statement to believe, though, like many of Rick Ross’s chosen fantasies, he does a very good job of selling it, regardless its authenticity.
Meek Mill, “Maybach Curtainz”
Maybach Music’s rising tide has lifted a great many ships, none more deserving than that of Philadelphia MC Meek Mill. On this slight track, culled from the Sour Hour 2 mixtape, Mill waxes poetic about his rise to fame. Though obscured by a buzzing swarm of shout-outs, Mill’s verse once more proves that his emotional range spreads far wider than that of Maybach’s flagship act—Rick Ross.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Though I have somehow avoided dedicating space on this blog to Seattle MC Mackchlemore and his production partner Ryan Lewis, it should be noted that the duo makes some of the best independent hip-hop in the country. At this point, the pair can pretty much take its pick of the major labels, and the fact that it has so far snubbed such offers suggests a level of business acumen on par with its impressive songwriting abilities.
This track went viral last week, owing both to Macklemore’s plaintive, plainspoken lyrics and the sentimental-political message behind them. A dewy eyed defense of gay marriage, “Same Love” combines with Frank Ocean’s recent admissions to signal a sea change in hip-hop’s ideology regarding homosexuality.
Childish Gambino ft. Jay Rock, “Sour Face”
Though the combination of hip-hop with pre-existing celebrity has proven disastrous in the past, respectable examples of this admixture occasionally turn up as well. Donald Glover (nee, Childish Gambino), while far from the best MC in the game, employs his minor television celebrity to his advantage, laying down quasi-comedic tracks that build from the starting point of his character on the sitcom Community.
“Sour Face” features Glover at his most unsmilingly self-serious. He pulls off this mood admirably, though Jay Rock still upstages his verses by dint of the fact that he’s, you know, a professional.