Welcome to your Weekly Mixtape July 7, 2012.
50 Cent, “My Crown”
By largely avoiding the syrupy club hits that laid the groundwork for his current fame, 50 Cent’s 5 (Murder By the Numbers) mixtape sidesteps many of the MC’s most frustrating tendencies, instead highlighting his persistent flow and the work of several ambitious producers.
Though the 10 tracks of this short tape offer plenty of quality examples of 50 Cent’s growling lyricism, “My Crown” earns its laurels thanks to an unstoppable beat. Producer Focus chops up a reggaeton sample to provide a hook that caters perfectly to Curtis Jackson’s sonic and thematic strengths.
Nas ft. Amy Winehouse, “Cherry Wine”
At this rate, Nas isn’t going to have any non-leaked tracks left by the time Life is Good drops later this month.
Making his second “Weekly Mixtape” appearance in a row, Nas employs an Amy Winehouse clip as the centerpiece for this sultry, midtempo track. The verses are classic Nas—quick, effortless and possessed of a minor social axe to grind.
I’ll leave it to you to consider the possible irony of rapping the line “life is good” over an Amy Winehouse clip, but in either case Nas’s talent for picking collaborators appears to have survived unabated.
Remember Curren$y’s The Stoned Immaculate from last month? You should, because even on that album’s most vacuously materialistic track (“Showroom”), Curren$y manages to supply an irresistible hook and a passionate reaffirmation of his willingness to keep his nose to the grindstone.
Despite an opening verse that threatens a full four minutes of automotive preening, Curren$y quickly changes gears (ha) to remind us that he’s “the picture of survival,” which, based solely on the evidence, is probably true.
E-40 ft. Cousin Fik, “I’m Laced”
Is hyphy still a thing? I hope it is, because the world could always use grander doses of longstanding Bay Area MC E-40.
This clip, culled from E-40’s March release, The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 1, 2 and 3, pits E-40’s hyper-articulate flow against a drawling chorus from acolyte cum associate Cousin Fik. As usual, E-40 produces more one-liners per verse than most MCs can manage in an entire album. Contrary to his habit, 40 appears to have let this track pass by without coining a single, fresh piece of slang, though the three discs of The Block Brochure more than compensate for that dearth.