Nicki Minaj- Lookin' Ass Niggas
Nicki Minaj's new track isn't quite a surprise but it sure is a relief. Scrap the flack she caught for not being "inventive" on her remix of Young Thug's "Danny Glover" (she was) because she's been shaping into form as of late (see "Boss Ass Bitch" too). "Looking Ass Nigga" is more like the latter, in that, her rap-for-sport flexing and parading of effortless lyrical superiority over most rappers (both male and female) frame her flip-the-script on misogynistic rap not as the bitter chick but as the empowering one. "Looking Ass Nigga" has enough fem power and fire to hold over Nicki fans who had one finger left on the towel before throwing it in. By the way, Nabil is king.
Butch Dawson- Yada Yada
A murky, weed-induced joint from Baltimore's Butch Dawson, per usual, but that's no slight. "Yada Yada" is a slow paced, key-heavy track quickly reminiscent of Earl Sweatshirt's "Chum" where Butch tightly jumbles words into bars. And like "Chum", the song fades into an alternate instrumental ending, but here Butch is singing a surprisingly beautiful, melodic harmony over his own production.
Bodega BAMZ- Recap
Bodega BAMZ is one of the few young NYC rappers that has been able to join old guard New York rap conventions with contemporary aesthetics in the least gimmicky way possible. He just raps well, no matter the beat or the not-so-original subject matter. The recent "Recap" is an introspective rundown of his 2013, good and bad: "Took a label meeting with a legend/ Told the O.G. I couldn't sign. The digits ain't add up to seven".
Buddy- Kids On The Block (Featuring Freddie Gibbs)
Compton's Buddy kinda tiptoes his way through this one. His energy combined with this beat make for a good vibe but the attention-grabbing verse comes from Gangsta Gibbs, who, when not tearing down Madlib beats, fairs best on sun-kissed, chill West Coast-styled production like this one. Here, he adds onto his consistent list of socially-charged, intelligent street rap. "We survive and get gentrified. They build condos in our projects./ Instead of books and shit they give us dope to flip. You want the powder pack then we got that."
More cruise rap from Philly's GrandeMarshall. Tailored for weed clouded car rides, there's a girl in pursuit (like a lot of his tracks) as he rolls up the green and hits on her. "Open" has a rappity rap neon glow to it like an early 2000's Rap City "Tha Basement" freestyle session. Grande flows endlessly to a beat he crafted himself.