This Week in Hip-Hop and My Head…

Posted by on May 19, 2013


It’s been a very exciting week for hip-hop. As A stated earlier, Yeezy is back, and out to prove a point with his lyrics, which has historically always made for the best hip-hop. I was talking with a friend yesterday about my deep love for Kanye, and I think it stems from his ability to simultaneously appease all aspects of the consumer in me. The College Dropout, and, really every album of his, features a lot of the glossy rap that constitutes most of my weekend playlists, yet is consistently rich in introspection and social observation throughout. That alone seems to be a major recipe for success in modern-day hip-hop — it’s the line that promoted Drake to major wealth and superstar status (the fact that he was capable of separately creating albums like So Far Gone and Thank Me Later is still bafflingly impressive), and has allowed rappers like Macklemore and Logic to find popular success — they smartly release radio-friendly songs, but disperse them throughout projects that please their loyal fans and are otherwise heavy and meaningful projects.

Since Yeezy’s been covered, I’ll skip over to a few others songs that highlight how well some newcomers are able to tread this line — and put out songs that can be equally enjoyed by a frat boy on Saturday night who is already a dozen Pong beers deep, or the hip-hop fanatic who spends their Sunday afternoon analyzing lyrics on RapGenius with the track on repeat. I’m not here to judge — hip-hop should be loved by all.

Hoodie Allen — Make It Home (feat. Kina Grannis)

It’s been really exciting and interesting to follow Hoodie’s path over the past four years or so as he’s developed his sound, taken chances, inevitably made mistakes, and ultimately found himself here. After his success skyrocketed last year behind All American, he released a new mixtape, Crew Cuts, three months ago for free. Both of the aforementioned projects have been decidedly pop-heavy, an intentional move to generate support through his capacity for making pop-friendly songs. While somehow it feels so, it isn’t really a departure from his original sound, just a continued acknowledgement that he values that aspect of his talent as much as any other. Recently, however, he was called into the studio at Fuse with fellow indie-success Kina Grannis, who has earned a large following on YouTube through her covers and, sparsely, originals. Faced with the challenge of writing alongside a talented songwriter, Hoodie turned inward a little more, and the result is one of my favorite Hoodie tracks I’ve heard in years. Like “Cake Boy”, “No Interruption”, and some of his other widely-loved yet hollower releases, it’s catchy, melodic, and sharp — but it’s also reflective, and thus relatable and compelling and all of these other things we love to experience when listening to music. Here’s the live footage from their performance at Fuse.

Mike Stud — Bad Habits (feat. Kinetics & One Love)

Last week Mr. Stud released his new full-length, Relief, which surrounds this terrific song. One Love’s production on it is so unlike anything else on the project, and has his trademark sense of melody that puts me in a state of captivation for hours anytime I hear something new. As for the writing — there’s a reason that anytime Kinetics gets a verse on someone’s track he also does the hook. He has this innate sense of how to both employ the pop potential of any given track, and also capture an emotion or sentiment that is easily accesible with a dash of more depth than the standard radio-destined track. This song just has a great feel, and is a standout from Relief that everyone needs to check out, whether Mike Stud is your cup of tea or not.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,